Putin Says Russia Can Play Key Role in Middle East, Has Good Iran Ties – Arabiya

FILE PHOTO: Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L), meets with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, Iran, REUTERS

DUBAI, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia can play a key role in the Middle East as it has good relations with Iran and the Arab world.

He was speaking in an interview with Arab broadcasters, including Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, ahead of his first visit to Saudi Arabia in more than a decade.

Putin said nobody in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates wanted a confrontation with Iran. He also said Russia was working on a free trade zone with Israel and Egypt, similar to one between Russia and Iran.

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(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli and Aziz El Yaakoubi Writing by Lisa Barrington Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)