Vladimir Putin hopes first official trip by Saudi monarch to Moscow will seal powerful new alliance centred on oil and conflicts in the Gulf states

Russia will host its first visit by a Saudi monarch on Thursday, in an attempt to seal an alliance that would confirm Moscow as a major independent force in the Middle East capable of shaping worldwide oil prices and the outcome of regional conflicts such as those in Syria and Libya.

With diplomatic alliances shifting across the Middle East, Moscow hopes that King Salman’s historic four-day visit will show that Moscow can forge close alliances with all the key Middle East players, including Turkey, Iran and now Saudi.

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