ABU DHABI: Vladimir Putin signed deals worth more than $1.3 billion with the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday as his Gulf tour came to an end in Abu Dhabi.
The Russian president arrived in the UAE’s capital earlier in the day, following his visit to Saudi Arabia where he met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.
Putin was greeted by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, at the Presidential Airport with a 21-gun salute.
He then arrived at the Presidential Palace Qasr Al-Watan where there was an official welcoming ceremony.
The pair struck six agreements, including one on shared investments between Russia’s sovereign wealth fund and the Emirati investment fund Mubadala.
Deals worth more than $1.3 billion, notably in the energy, advanced technology and health sectors, were tabled during Putin's visit, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).
“You will not be disappointed by your Russian partners,” Putin said as he arrived.
Sheikh Mohammed tweeted: “This historic visit reflects the strength of UAE-Russia relations, which we will continue to jointly promote at all levels for the mutual benefit of our nations.”
I welcome President Vladimir Putin as an honoured guest to the UAE. This historic visit reflects the strength of UAE-Russia relations, which we will continue to jointly promote at all levels for the mutual benefit of our nations. pic.twitter.com/tFVGXuzKsC— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) October 15, 2019
“Among the Gulf countries, the UAE is the leader in terms of trade with Russia,” Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters ahead of the Gulf tour.
In 2018, commerce between the two countries tabled some $1.7 billion.
As Putin made his way to the presidential palace, jets painted the sky white, blue and red - the colours of the Russian flag - and cannons fired a ceremonial salute.
The streets of Abu Dhabi were lined with Emirati and Russian flags, while road signs that usually display traffic warnings instead greeted Putin in Arabic and Russian.
Putin and Sheikh Mohammed also met Emirati astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori, who last month became the first Arab to reach the International Space Station on board a Russian rocket.
“We are ready to continue providing all the necessary assistance to the United Arab Emirates in the space sector,” Putin told Sheikh Mohammed
In the build-up to his visit Abu Dhabi lit up its famous landmarks with colours of the Russian flag to mark Putin’s return to the UAE, his first official visit since 2007.
ADNOC’s headquarters at the Abu Dhabi Corniche was displaying at its facade a huge LED portrait of Putin and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed in a firm handshake – apparently taken during the latter’s visit to Moscow in 2017 – as well as the Russian flag.
Other landmarks that also draped their buildings with Russia’s flag colours were Emirates Palace, Marina Mall, Khalifa University, Capital Gate Hotel, Abu Dhabi Global Market and the UAE Cultural Foundation.
“The visit reflects the strong overall strategic partnership between the two countries and will enhance their cooperation in vital sectors,” Sergei Kuznetsov, the Russian ambassador to the UAE, earlier said, adding that the visit will strengthen the relations between the two countries, especially in light of their strategic partnership.
Kuznetsov also stressed that the Russian president’s visit to the UAE represented marked progress in the bilateral relations between the two countries.