Putin starts regional tour in Saudi Arabia
Russian President Vladimir Putin has kicked off a Middle East tour seeking to enhance economic and military ties. On the first leg of the trip in Saudi Arabia, the leaders are expected to discuss regional problems and bilateral links, including possible arms sales.
According to AFP, Putin will then head to Qatar and Jordan on the three-day tour aimed at bolstering energy and military links in a region. The visits will be the first by a Russian president to the three Arab states.
A diplomatic source said the visit in Saudi Arabia is expected to lead to a "verbal understanding" on the sale of some 150 Russian T-90 battle tanks to Saudi Arabia.
Putin, whose delegation will include officials from the state arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport, is scheduled to hold a meeting on Monday with Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, who is also defence minister, officials said.