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Riyadh plans trip to strengthen economic alliances

Mohammed bin Salman will visit Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan and Egypt for this purpose. The crown prince will also address regional and international issues and sign energy and trade agreements
Mohamed bin Salman

PHOTO/FILE  -   Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans multi-country trip

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's crown prince, is planning a multi-country trip to strengthen economic ties, sign energy and trade deals and address regional and international issues, four sources told Reuters. Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan and Egypt are among the nations Bin Salman will visit in the near future.

Riyadh has not yet set exact dates for the trip, although it is likely to take place in early June, according to the sources. The international clout of Saudi Arabia - the largest Arab economy - in the oil sector has pushed most world powers to reach out to Riyadh.

Among the international leaders who visited the Kingdom last year were French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. This year, the Saudi authorities have been visited by Cyprus's Nikos Anastasiadis and Turkey's leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan's trip to Riyadh initiated a new phase in Saudi-Turkish relations after several years of rift.

mohamed bin salman erdogan
PHOTO/FILE - Erdogan's trip to Saudi Arabia initiated a new phase in relations between the two countries after several years of tensions.

A senior Turkish official told Reuters that Mohamed bin Salman accepted Erdogan's invitation to visit and that the two sides were working to plan the visit. "The issues to be discussed are bilateral trade, regional developments, possible (currency) swap agreement and other investment and energy projects," he said. Within this new phase with Riyadh, Ankara is particularly interested in economic and trade cooperation due to the severe economic crisis in the Eurasian country.

The trip comes amid disagreements between Saudi Arabia and the US over oil production. Washington has called on Riyadh to increase production due to the energy and economic consequences of the war in Ukraine. The Kingdom, as well as other OPEC members, has taken a neutral stance on the issue and has maintained oil production levels despite Western demands.

joe biden mohamed bin salman
PHOTO/FILE - Since Joe Biden took office, relations between the US and Saudi Arabia have cooled.

With the aim of bringing closer together and improving relations, US President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia in June to meet with the crown prince. Since the arrival of the Democratic leader in the White House, ties between Washington and Riyadh have cooled considerably due to the Biden administration's foreign policy in the Middle East.

The kingdom feels that the US has given it little support against the Houthis in Yemen, while during talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal, the Gulf states' concerns have gone unheeded.