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Iran Press TV

'Russia, Saudi Arabia almost finalize S-400 deal'

Iran Press TV

Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:11AM

Russia and Saudi Arabia are in talks to sign an agreement on the purchase by Riyadh of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system.

"The talks are ongoing now, the terms are being agreed," and a contract could be signed "in the nearest time," Russian President Vladimir Putin said, Interfax news agency reported on Friday.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia last Wednesday became the first Saudi monarch to ever visit Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later briefed reporters about the content of the talks that had been held between Putin and Salman and said bilateral military cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia had not been aimed at other countries.

The trip was seen on the one hand as a sign that Saudi Arabia, which has been supporting the anti-Damascus militants since 2011, was coming to terms with the turn of the tide in Syria, where Moscow is successfully helping the government defeat them. On the other, it was seen as an attempt to converge Riyadh and Moscow around efforts to boost and stabilize oil prices, on which both countries heavily depend.

'Turkey, Russia talking S-500'

Separately, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said an agreement between his country and Russia on the purchase of S-400 was proceeding without problem, and that Ankara was in talks with Moscow to also purchase the more advanced S-500.

Erdogan said there would be no joint production in the first stage of S-400 purchases, but in the second stage, "God willing, we will take joint production steps."

"In our talks with Putin, we are not thinking of stopping with the S-400s. We have had talks on the S-500s, too," he added.

On Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had said Turkey might cancel its deal on S-400 with Russia and seek a deal with other partners if Moscow was reluctant to share the technology of its advanced air defense system with Ankara.

Last month, Turkey said it had paid a deposit as part of an agreement with Russia for the purchase of the missile system.

S-400 is designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.

Ankara's decision to buy the S-400s has been seen in some Western capitals as a snub to the US-led military alliance of NATO, of which it is a member.

However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said this week that Turkey was not seeking to antagonize the alliance by purchasing the system and was in talks with France and Italy to buy similar weapons.s

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