Saudi Arabia to invest more than 25 Russian projects

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he has not decided on whether he would run for presidency again in 2018.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia will visit Russian Federation on Thursday, senior Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying.

The Saudi king gave a positive assessment of the Astana process on settling the Syria conflict, Lavrov said, adding that Russian Federation supports Saudi Arabia's steps to unite Syria's opposition so they can take part in the peace talks.

Analysts say King Salman and President Putin will try to put those differences behind them.

Putin said it wasn't his place to dictate USA policy, but also noted Russian Federation shares a border with North Korea, which makes it impossible for him to ignore the escalating global tensions over the reclusive nation's nuclear program.

According to Putin, now over one-third of Russia's electricity is produced with nuclear energy, hydroelectric energy and other renewable energy sources, while about 50 percent of it is generated with natural gas, which helps to significantly reduce emissions.

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While they are partners on the oil market, on the foreign policy front, Moscow and Riyadh are on opposite sides of the war in Syria, with Russian Federation supporting President Bashar al-Assad while Saudi Arabia supports the opposition.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, whose country is the de facto leader of the 14-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said he welcomed the contribution of US shale oil supplies as global demand for crude was on the rise.

Several investment agreements will be signed during King Salman's trip and plans for a $1-billion fund to invest in energy projects are likely to be finalised. Top officials, energy ministers and leaders of sovereign wealth funds are due to attend.

Vision 2030, a blueprint for Saudi Arabia to move its economy away from oil, is driving that change.

At the same time, Riyadh, in common with Israel, will raise with Moscow its concern that these zones may guarantee a long-term presence for Iranian and Hezbollah troops inside Syria.