YEREVAN. – The key point discussed during and after the visit of Saudi Arabia King Salman to Moscow was a memorandum on the purchase of weapons that was signed by Moscow and Riyadh.
Russia's Kommersant newspaper wrote qouting its sources that the prospect of concluding a package of arms contracts worth over $3 billion depended on results of the talks. The newspaper suggested that the contracts imply, among other points, the delivery of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Riyadh.
After the recent escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, possible military cooperation between Moscow and Riyadh becomes more significant.
Nikolay Kozhanov, academy associate at the Russia and Eurasia Program, Chatham House, believes that the Iranians were very sensitive to reports of possible contracts and agreements that could have been reached during the visit of Saudi Arabia King to Moscow.
“Iran always fears that Saudi Arabia could try to ‘buy over' Russia and force Moscow to abandon Iran. This never happened, but the Iranian leadership remains cautious,” Kozhanov said talking to the Armenian News-NEWS.am correspondent.
According to him, Russia traditionally tries to find itself in the markets of the Gulf countries, and the signing of the agreement was an attempt to fill this niche.
“If the contract is signed with Riyadh, there is an opportunity for relations with allies, for example, with the UAE. For the Saudis, most likely the goal was not to let the weapons that could get to Iran get there,” the analyst said.
As for the possible purchase of S-400 system, the analyst believes that the Saudis do not need them, especially given the agreements they reached with the Americans. The expert points to the fact that this is a memorandum, not a contract, and the agreement was actually reached only on the launch of production of the Kalashnikov assault rifle.