News Updates

From Lockheed To Exxon, What New Saudi Crown Prince Means For Stocks – The Investors

Mohammed bin Salman, who is Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince, could have a big impact on Exxon Mobil (XOM), Lockheed Martin (LMT) and other U.S. companies’ relations with the kingdom, as the 31-year-old is expected to add volatility to oil markets and push for buying more U.S. weapons.

U.S.-Saudi relations cooled under President Obama, but President Trump has rekindled the relationship and announced weapons deals valued at $110 billion during his May visit, which was orchestrated in part by Salman.

“Trump seems to be in good with the Saudis,” said Ivan Eland, senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute. “They are one of his favorite dictatorships. U.S. business will definitely benefit from the military/political alliance we have there.”

During Trump’s visit last month, General Electric (GE) said it had agreements for $15 billion worth of projects in the kingdom, Dow Chemical (DOW) said it would build a polymer and coatings plant, and National Oilwell Varco (NOV) announced a joint venture to make specialty drilling rigs and equipment in Saudi Arabia.

Eland sees more infrastructure and tech deals on the horizon, and Salman is a key architect of the Saudi Vision 2030 program to diversify the economy and end the kingdom’s dependence on oil revenues.

Salman is somewhat of a known quantity in energy circles, making his mark in the spring of 2016, when he scuttled an oil deal at the last minute.

“Oil traders are already aware of MBS and his brash personality,” said Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group, using Salman’s initials in his daily energy report Wednesday. “Last April, the 31-year-old basically pulled out of the Doha oil accord, angering both friends and foes alike, as they all came to sign an oil agreement that was already agreed to before seasoned OPEC and non-OPEC ministers came to sign on the dotted line.”

Still, Salman has an incentive to lift oil prices, at least in the short term, as the kingdom shops around its state-run oil company, Saudi Aramco, for an initial public offering next year.

Aramco is also reportedly looking to Chevron (CVX) to help develop gas reserves, and Exxon has a history of petrochemical joint ventures in Saudi Arabia.

As defense minister, Salman has pushed for a stronger stance against Iran and increased air strikes in Yemen, and pushed for sanctions against Qatar.

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia would go “up, up and away” under the hawkish young Salman, said Mark Bobbi, an aerospace, defense and security analyst at consultancy IHS.

But business deals could come with a catch. Saudi Arabia will want foreign companies building products in the kingdom so Saudi Arabia can get licenses and jump-start its own industries, especially in defense, Eland said.

Unlike defense orders to Asia with strings attached in the form of technology transfers, sales to the Middle East historically tended to be simpler, with Gulf allies shopping for off-the-shelf technology that they could use right away. In addition, cost was of little concern, especially when oil was more than $100 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia still needs arms, but is now seeking tech transfers in the wake of crashing oil prices.

During Trump’s visit, for example, Lockheed signed a letter of intent with Saudi tech firm Taqnia to form a joint venture to support the completion of 150 S-70 Black Hawk helicopters.

Over time, as Saudi Arabia develops a home-grown industrial base, fewer U.S. exports may be needed to fill demand.

U.S. companies also might not have a monopoly on Saudi sales. Flaring tensions in the region has Riyadh looking at an unlikely ally as it plans to increase military spending by nearly 7% this year.

“Keep an eye on Saudi relations with Israel,” Bobbi said. “I look at Israel as the silent broker in the Middle East, thanks in no small part to their technical prowess.”

Source: http://www.investors.com/news/which-companies-will-be-winners-under-a-young-king-salman/

Mohammad congratulates Salman on appointing crown prince – GulfNews

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has sent a congratulatory cable to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King of Saudi Arabia, on the occasion of appointing Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as the Kingdom’s Crown Prince, who has also assumed the position of Deputy Prime Minister and will continue as the country’s Defence Minister.

In another cable to Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid wished him success in performing his duties, supporting the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and his continuing the process of development and renaissance in the Kingdom.

Source: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/mohammad-congratulates-salman-on-appointing-crown-prince-1.2047625

Saudi Arabia Rewrites Succession as King Replaces Heir With Son, 31 – The New York Times

BEIRUT, Lebanon — King Salman of Saudi Arabia promoted his 31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, to be next in line to the throne on Wednesday, further empowering a young, activist leader at a time when the kingdom is struggling with low oil prices, a rivalry with Iran and conflicts across the Middle East.

The decision to remove the previous crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, comes as some members of the royal family have chafed at the rise of the younger prince, who emerged from relative obscurity when his father, 81, ascended the throne in January 2015.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman has since accumulated vast powers in the wealthy kingdom, a crucial ally of the United States, serving as defense minister, overseeing the state oil company and working to overhaul the Saudi economy.

His supporters have praised him as hard-working and as offering a hopeful vision for the kingdom’s future, especially for its large youth population. His critics have called him inexperienced and power hungry.

The royal reordering brings to an end the career of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who served as interior minister and was widely respected by Saudis and their foreign allies for dismantling Al Qaeda’s networks inside the kingdom.

King Salman’s decrees on Wednesday removed Prince Mohammed both from his place in the line of succession and from his post as interior minister.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s few remaining absolute monarchies. All major decisions rest with the king, a structure that King Salman has used to empower his offspring.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s swift rise had led many Saudi watchers to suspect that his father wanted to make him the next king; the young prince had quickly assumed prominent roles handling some of the kingdom’s most important files.

As deputy crown prince, he spearheaded the development of a wide-ranging plan, called Saudi Vision 2030, which seeks to decrease the country’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy and loosen some of the conservative, Islamic kingdom’s social restrictions.

As defense minister, he also had primariy responsibility for the kingdom’s military intervention in Yemen, where it is leading a coalition of Arab allies in a bombing campaign aimed at pushing Houthi rebels from the capital and at restoring the government.

That campaign has made limited progress in more than two years, and human rights groups have accused the Saudis of bombing civilians, destroying the economy of what was already the Arab world’s poorest country, and exacerbating a humanitarian crisis by imposing air and sea blockades.

Prince Mohammed has taken a hard line on Iran, saying in a television interview last month that dialogue with the Shiite power was impossible because it sought to take control of the Islamic world.

“We are a primary target for the Iranian regime,” he said, accusing Tehran of seeking to take over Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia, which is home to Mecca and Medina. “We won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia. Instead, we’ll work so that the battle is for them in Iran.”

Saudi Arabia and Iran stand on opposite sides of conflicts in Bahrain, Syria and Yemen while seeking to lessen each other’s influence across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Oil prices fell on Wednesday, continuing their downward drift, with the international crude benchmark falling 1 percent to around $45.50 a barrel. Over the long term, though, Prince Mohammed’s increasing power over the world’s largest oil exporter could have far-reaching consequences.

The Saudi royal family had largely left the operation of the energy industry to technocrats, but Prince Mohammed has taken a more direct role.

In particular, he has drawn criticism for driving an initial public offering of the state oil giant, Saudi Aramco, a highly secretive company that has underpinned the kingdom’s economy and generated tremendous wealth for decades. He has also made pronouncements on oil production policy that sometimes seemed to undercut more experienced Saudi energy officials.

“The problem is that he is unpredictable, and it is not clear who he is relying on for advice,” said Paul Stevens, a Middle East oil analyst at Chatham House, a London-based research organization.

Prince Mohammed’s promotion comes at an awkward time for the Saudi oil industry.

Production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, largely orchestrated by the Saudis last year, have so far failed to bolster prices, presenting the Saudis and other big oil producers with few good options. Major oil exporters could further cut output, or the Saudis could go back to a policy they pursued in late 2014: allowing prices to fall, forcing smaller, lower-margin producers out of the market and, as a result, grabbing more market share.

During his rise, Prince Mohammed has looked for mentorship to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The two men have recently worked in tandem to isolate Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism, an accusation their small neighbor denies.

Prince Mohammed has pursued a uniquely public profile for the traditionally private kingdom, giving interviews to Western news outlets and taking high-profile trips to China, Russia and the United States, where he met President Trump in March.

Saudis who work with him praise him as detail-oriented and unafraid to take risks and break conventions, a rare trait in the historically cautious kingdom.

But his father’s moves to empower him rankled other branches of their family, which found themselves sidelined in favor of a young prince who had no significant military or business experience before 2015.

Another of the king’s sons, Prince Khalid bin Salman, was recently named ambassador to the United States.

Saudi news outlets portrayed the move as an orderly reshuffle, saying that 31 of 34 members of a council of senior princes approved the appointment and broadcasting footage of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef pledging allegiance to his successor. King Salman named a young and relatively unknown prince, Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, as interior minister.

The departing prince’s profile had waned as that of his younger cousin grew. As head of the powerful Interior Ministry, which is charged with domestic security, the older prince led a campaign against Al Qaeda in the kingdom a decade ago and had close ties to American and other Western officials.

In 2009, the prince was wounded when a militant, who came to his palace saying he wanted to turn himself in, detonated a bomb hidden in his rectum. People who have met with him recently said the injury’s effects have lingered, although it was unclear whether they played a role in the king’s decision to replace him.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/21/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman.html

Mohammed bin Salman Will Rule Saudi Arabia for Another 50 Years – Foreign Policy

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Before the sun rose Wednesday morning in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s order of succession had been transformed in ways likely to shape its leadership for decades to come.

In a series of royal decrees, King Salman ousted his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef as crown prince and named his favorite son Mohammed bin Salman as next in line for the throne. At just 30-something in age, Mohammed bin Salman could well be king for a half-century.

The shake-up was widely anticipated, though its timing was not. Mohammed bin Salman began consolidating his control over government portfolios from the moment he rose from obscurity to become deputy crown prince in 2015. Back then, there was scarcely a diplomat in Riyadh who could remember shaking his hand. Today, he controls almost all of Saudi Arabia’s levers of power, domestic and foreign, either directly or through a growing network of young, like-minded appointees.

“There was no surprise for such a decision,” said Abdullah al-Shammari, a former Saudi diplomat. “It was not secret that [Mohammed bin Salman] was the most powerful figure in Saudi [for the last] year.”

Mohammed bin Salman’s rise has been billed by advisors and supporters as a much-needed shift from the older generation to a new cohort of eager technocrats. “Following these decrees, Saudi Arabia is now even better poised to represent its youth and cater to their ever-growing needs,” said Salman al-Ansari, the founder and president of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee.

In laying the groundwork for his rise these last two years, Mohammed bin Salman has also raised expectations for what he can accomplish — largely without having delivered big wins so far.

At home, he has promised to create jobs for the country’s growing (and increasingly unemployed) youth population. Through the partial privatization of the state oil company Saudi Aramco, he vows to move the economy away from oil. This can be done while maintaining cherished benefits like free education and health care, he has argued. Coinciding with the decrees that announced Mohammed bin Salman’s promotion, the state promised to retroactively pay benefits it slashed last September in a brief experiment with austerity.

Abroad, Mohammed bin Salman has proved no less ambitious. One of his first appointments was as defense minister, a post that he used to emerge as the public face of a Saudi-led coalition that is waging a war in Yemen to oust Iranian-allied Houthi rebels. Saudi airstrikes have devastated Yemen’s already weak infrastructure and left the country on the brink of famine, even as the front line of battle has largely frozen.

Mohammed bin Salman has also spearheaded a drive to win over the new White House. The effort appears so far to be a ringing success: Donald Trump visited Riyadh on his first overseas trip as president and has since visibly tilted in Saudi Arabia’s direction in policy toward the rest of the region, most notably in his animosity toward Iran.

Mohammed bin Salman no doubt hopes for Trump’s support in another regional conflict as well. Saudi Arabia is currently embroiled in the worst internal political crisis in the history of the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council, as it joined with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and a growing list of other countries in halting or downgrading diplomatic relations with Qatar. Riyadh and its allies have accused Doha of supporting terrorism and not playing by regional rules. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have blocked Qatari access to their airspace and land routes, cut off Qatari websites and TV channels, and expelled Qatari citizens.

In one sense, Wednesday’s announcement brings some clarity to that crisis. Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut ties with Qatar sends a clear statement about what Doha can expect from Riyadh in the coming decades. Like a new CEO walking for the first time into a hostile boardroom, Mohammed bin Salman has set the tone: Saudi Arabia is laying out the rules of the game and won’t tolerate their being broken.

“It has long been assumed that [Mohammed bin Salman] was prominent in the decision to join or start the blockade of Qatar. Now we know,” said David Roberts, an assistant professor at King’s College London and the author of Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City-State.

At home, too, recent personnel shifts and ousters make more sense in the context of Wednesday’s announcement.

In April, Mohammed bin Salman led a reorganization of the Royal Court, the Saudi equivalent of a presidential cabinet, to create a National Security Center under his purview. The body, meant to act as a clearinghouse for all security- and defense-related matters, left many wondering what power was left for the then-crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, who was interior minister (a post he was also relieved of Wednesday).

Mohammed bin Nayef’s role was further diminished last weekend in royal decrees that moved the power of public prosecution, something like an attorney general’s office, from its historical seat in the crown prince’s office to a nominally independent authority reporting to the king.

In retrospect, it’s clear that this slow chipping away of Mohammed bin Nayef’s power was one of the major clues that a shake-up was coming. The shift did not come automatically: Mohammed bin Nayef was a well-respected leader, and his constituency within the royal family was well established — one reason that analysts initially brushed away the suggestion he might ever be removed from the line of succession. To win family backing, the king spent two years gradually introducing and elevating his son to office rather than simply naming him successor from the get-go.

Western allies had also taken heart when Mohammed bin Nayef was first named to the line of succession shortly after King Salman took power in 2015. As the West’s main Saudi security partner in a crackdown against al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks, he is a man they know well. Famed for his firm hand against extremists, Mohammed bin Nayef has survived four assassination attempts, one of which — by an al Qaeda suicide bomber in 2009 — left him slightly injured.

“He will be remembered for a long time for what he has done to secure the country,” said Sultan al-Saad al-Qahtani, the editor of the Riyadh Post website. “People maybe have mixed feelings about his retirement after three decades of working.

“He had a great harmony with [Mohammed bin Salman] during the last two years, but for medical reasons, he is out of the scene now,” he added.

The rollout of Mohammed bin Nayef’s retirement was replete with symbolism that will cushion the blow for many who admired and respected him. The decrees promised that Wednesday’s decision doesn’t rule out other branches of the family from eventually being king.

The announcement came as many Saudis were finishing their suhoor, the pre-dawn meal before fasting, on one of the last days of Ramadan. This weekend, the holy month will give way to Eid al-Fitr, a celebration of new beginnings. In that spirit, Mohammed bin Salman begins his tenure with the announcement that the kingdom has extended the public holiday by an extra week.

As Mohammed bin Nayef pledged allegiance to the new crown prince, it was Mohammed bin Salman who bowed deeply before his older cousin, kissing his hand repeatedly in a sign of respect.

Mohammed bin Nayef’s brief words in that exchange may be the best summary of what lies behind and ahead. Gone is a generation of Gulf leaders who give deference to ceremony and age. The new generation has been dismissive of such concepts in favor of a purer form of ambition. Whether in countering Iran, pressuring Qatar, or leading an economic shake-up, there is no backing down.

“I will rest now, and may God help you,” Mohammed bin Nayef said as he stepped aside.

Source: http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/06/21/mohammed-bin-salman-will-rule-saudi-arabia-for-another-50-years/

Mohammed bin Salman named Saudi Arabia’s crown prince – Al-Jazeera

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has appointed his son, Mohammed bin Salman, as heir, in a major reshuffle announced early on Wednesday.

A royal decree removed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a 57-year-old nephew of the king, as next-in-line to the throne and replaced him with Mohammed bin Salman, 31, who was previously the deputy crown prince.

According to the official Saudi Press Agency, the newly-announced crown prince was also named deputy prime minister and maintained his post as defence minister.

The former crown prince was also fired from his post as interior minister, the decree said.

The decision by King Salman to promote his son and consolidate his power was endorsed by 31 out of 34 members of the Allegiance Council, the decree said.

The council is made up of senior members of the ruling Al Saud family.

The Saudi king called for a public pledging of allegiance to the new crown prince early on Wednesday, the channel said.

Mohammed bin Nayef promptly vowed loyalty to his successor after the decree.

Newly appointed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif. Credit: Saudi NEws Agency Twitter

Restructuring power

Some royal observers had long suspected Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to power under his father’s reign might also accelerate his ascension to the throne.

The young prince was little known to Saudis and outsiders before Salman became king in January 2015. He had previously been in charge of his father’s royal court when Salman was the crown prince.

Over the weekend, the king had issued a decree restructuring Saudi Arabia’s system for prosecutions that stripped Mohammed bin Nayef of longstanding powers overseeing criminal investigations.

Instead King Salman ordered that a newly-named Office of Public Prosecution and prosecutor report directly to the monarch.

Mohammed bin Nayef was not believed to have played a significant role in Saudi and UAE-led efforts to isolate Qatar for its alleged support of Islamist groups and ties with Iran.

The prince had appeared to be slipping from public eye as his cousin, Mohammed bin Salman, embarked on major overseas visits, including a trip to the White House to meet President Donald Trump in March.

That visit to Washington helped lay the foundation for Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May, which marked the president’s first overseas visit.

The trip was promoted heavily by the kingdom as proof of its weight in the region and wider Muslim world.

Yemen and Iran

Despite Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitions, which include overhauling the kingdom’s economy away from its reliance on oil, the prince has faced criticism for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which he oversees as defence minister.

The war, launched more than two years ago, has failed to dislodge Iranian-allied rebels known as Houthis from the capital, Sanaa, and has had devastating effects on the impoverished country.

Rights groups say Saudi forces have killed scores of civilians and have called on the US, as well as the UK and France, to halt the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that could be used in the Yemen war.

The newly-minted crown prince also ruled out any chance of dialogue with Iran.

In remarks aired on Saudi TV in May, Mohammed bin Salman framed the tensions with Iran in sectarian terms and said it is Iran’s goal “to control the Islamic world” and to spread its Shia doctrine.

He also vowed to take “the battle” to Iran.

Iran and Saudi Arabia’s rivalry has played out in proxy wars across the region.

They back opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen and they support political rivals in Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq.

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/saudi-arabia-appoints-king-salman-son-crown-prince-170621033707437.html

Saudi deputy crown prince meets Iraqi PM Abadi

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met in Mecca on Monday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to review bilateral relations and latest developments in the region, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

An SPA statement said the meeting was “attended by Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to Minister of Interior, Minister of State and Cabinet’s Member Dr. Musaed Al-Aiban, Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Engineer Khalid Al-Falih, Chief of General Intelligence Khalid Al-Humaidan, Minister of State for Arab Gulf Affairs Thamer Al-Sabhan and Chargé d’Affaires of the Saudi Embassy in Iraq Abdulaziz bin Khalid Al-Shammari.

“On the Iraqi side, it was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ibrahim Abdul Karim Al-Jaafari, Minister of Interior Qassem Mohammad Al-A’araji, Minister of Planning Dr. Salman Al-Jumaili, Acting Minister of Industry Engineer Mohammed Al-Sudani, Minister of Agriculture Engineer Falah Al-Zaidan, the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Dr. Mahdi Al-Alaqi, and a number of officials,” SPA added.

Source: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/06/20/Deputy-Crown-Prince-meets-Iraqi-Prime-Minister.html

Muhammad, Tillerson discuss efforts to block terror financing – Saudi Gazette

Jeddah — Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, received a telephone call from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday.

During the conversation, they reviewed bilateral relations, latest developments in the region, and the joint efforts of the two countries in combating terrorism, extremism and blocking terror financing to achieve security and stability in the region. — SPA

Source: http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/501606/SAUDI-ARABIA/Muhammad-Tillerson-discussefforts-to-block-terror-financing

International conference to discuss coalition against terror

RIYADH: The second international conference on command and control solutions will be held at Riyadh’s King Saud University in October, under the theme “Coalition Against Terrorism.”
Operating under the patronage of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the event will take place from Oct. 17 to 19.
The conference will feature discussions on the importance of strengthening international alliances, achieving integration in the armed forces’ command and control systems, and providing them with the ability to monitor and respond to terrorist operations.
Conference organizing committee Chairman Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi said: “Command and control systems are now the vital nerve of the armed forces in confronting terrorism both through their field operations and through technical confrontation in cyberspace.”
He added: “The conference will focus on transferring technology knowledge and the localization of specialized expertise in command and control systems as one of its main themes, in line with Saudi Vision 2030.”
Al-Ghamdi said the conference would target major industrial and financial sectors, which are also vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Last year’s event, “Building Local Capabilities,” saw more than 2,000 industry experts and professionals attend.
October’s event will be attended by more than 700 people, including senior military officers from the Saudi armed forces, as well as other members of the International Alliance against Terrorism.

Source: http://www.arabnews.com/node/1112796/saudi-arabia

Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince praises relations with Russia

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:01 P.M.) – The Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Muhammad bin Salman al Saud gave praise to Russia’s relations with the Kingdom in a meeting with President Putin on Tuesday. Both Salman and Putin said during the talks in Moscow, that the two countries are speeding up their bilateral process to overcome the still existing differences.

The crown prince added, that “relations between Saudi Arabia and Russia are seeing one of their best stages at the moment.” He stressed, that there is already a common ground for the two countries and a clear mechanism established with which remaining issues can be solved out.

Especially the oil market was emphasized by Salman as a field of cooperation: ” The main thing is that we manage to built a strong foundation as concerns the oil market and prices of energy resources. This offers opportunities for building a strategic future further”.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are the two biggest oil exporters worldwide. Naturally their economies suffered from the heavy drop in oil prices since 2014. Together with other members of the OPEC cartell of oil producing states they recently agreed on limiting their oil output in order to stabilise the prices.
While Russia’s economy, despite being under additional sanctions by the West, is doing relatively well, Saudi Arabia seems to be heavier impacted by the low oil prices, which together with the costs of their war with Yemen cut into their household.
Saudi Arabia has recently downsized it’s social benefits program, increased taxes, started the privatisation of Saudi Aramco, a state owned oil producer and liquidated it’s foreign asset holdings, as shown in the chart below:
Henri Feyerabend | Al-Masdar News

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to Meet Putin in Moscow Visit

Riyadh – Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense will arrive Tuesday in Moscow where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss bilateral cooperation in various fields, in addition to Syria and Iran.

Also during his visit, the Deputy Crown Prince will sign a number of cooperation protocols between the two countries.

“The visit of Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Moscow is very important in its timing, because it comes after the visit of US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia as his first official trip overseas, and what accompanied this visit, including the Gulf-US Summit and the Arab-Islamic-US Summit,” Saudi Ambassador to Russia Abdurrahman bin Ibrahim Al-Rossi told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday.

Al-Rossi said there is a mutual desire to enhance cooperation between Riyadh and Moscow on all levels, and in line with the vision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Putin to achieve the benefit of both people and to strengthen security and stability in the region.

The Saudi Ambassador also uncovered that several Saudi officials had lately visited Russia to enhance relations between both countries.

The latest visit was made by advisor to the Royal Court and General Supervisor of the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief (KSRelief), Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah, who was in Moscow to further develop the Russian-Saudi cooperation, particularly in humanitarian relief and other issues of mutual interest. The advisor had also informed the Russian officials about the Saudi efforts in the humanitarian work and the Saudi plans implemented in a number of disaster areas around the world, particularly in Yemen and Syria.

The meeting between Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Putin also comes following the meeting of Putin with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, during which both men had mainly tackled the crisis in Syria.

Source: https://english.aawsat.com/theaawsat/news-middle-east/saudi-arabia/deputy-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-meet-putin-moscow-visit

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Quote by the Prince

"We seek to be proud of our country, and allow the latter to contribute to the development of the world, whether on the economic, environmental, civilisational, or intellectual levels."

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