Putin talks investments and space in Abu Dhabi

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, is received by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed during an official welcoming in the Emirati capital's Al-Watan presidential palace on Tuesday. — AFP

ABU DHABI — Russian President Vladimir Putin signed deals worth over $1.3 billion with the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.

A day after inking a major oil cooperation deal with Riyadh, Putin was greeted by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed.

"You will not be disappointed by your Russian partners," Putin said.

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).

"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," Abu Dhabi's crown prince tweeted.

In 2018, commerce between the two countries tabled some $1.7 billion.

"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.

As Putin made his way to the presidential palace, jets painted the sky white, blue and red — the colors 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 Hazzaa Al-Mansoori, who last month became the first Arab to reach the International Space Station, to which Russia currently enjoys a monopoly on manned flights.

Mansoori came back to earth in early October after his eight-day mission, returning home last week to a hero's welcome.

"We are ready to continue providing all the necessary assistance to the United Arab Emirates in the space sector," Putin told Sheikh Mohammed, according to a statement.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, played up the two countries' "partnerships on Earth, but also in space", adding that the potential for cooperation was "unlimited".