Saudis and Russians agree on diamonds

Saudi Arabians will soon be wearing diamonds cut in Smolensk and building Russian choppers under agreements reached Wednesday during the first state visit to Moscow by a Saudi ruler since 1932, the Russian newspaper The St. Petersburg Times reports.

A day after signing a landmark agreement to cooperate in stabilizing world energy markets, the world’s top two oil exporters moved to capitalize on the newfound friendship and lessen their dependence on hydrocarbons.

After meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, a delegation headed by Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, the de-facto ruler of the desert kingdom, met with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and other Russian officials and executives to explore additional areas of cooperation.

Kasyanov reiterated the Kremlin’s willingness to work with the OPEC heavyweight to preserve global oil-price stability.

Moving beyond oil, Kasyanov said Russia’s business community was “very much interested” in wider economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia, which appears to have been achieved on the sidelines of the royal visit. Kristall, the Smolensk-based diamond-cutting monopoly, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Trade and Industrial Chambers to export finished gems, the newspaper reports.

In addition, Saudi company Geralsy Group signed an agreement with Moscow conglomerate Sistema to produce under license civilian helicopters made by its Kamov subsidiary.

News agencies quoted a Geralsy executive as saying that the choppers would initially be used in the Saudi health-care system, but eventually be exported to other Persian Gulf countries, where “preliminary market research shows [considerable] demand for civilian helicopters.”