Putin, Saudi king discuss Syria conflict, Iran nuclear drive
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Saudi King Abdullah on Sunday to discuss international efforts to end the Syria crisis and halt Iran's disputed nuclear drive, the Kremlin said.
The Kremlin said the two leaders "expressed a mutual interest in furthering (their) cooperation and maintaining contacts at various levels" aimed at helping resolve world disputes.
Russia and Saudi Arabia have had strained relations over Moscow's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and decision to complete the construction of Iran's first nuclear power plant.
Riyadh firmly supports Assad's ouster and fears that Iran's nuclear programme is masking an effort to develop an atomic bomb.
Russia last month sharply criticised Saudi Arabia's decision to reject membership of the UN Security Council over the body's failure to resolve the Syrian war, which has been fought for over two-and-a-half years.
The most significant recent contact between Moscow and Riyadh was a meeting between Putin and Saudi Arabia's influential intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Moscow on July 31.
Diplomats in the Middle East have said that Putin then rejected a proposal from Prince Bandar for Moscow to abandon its support for Assad in exchange for an arms order from Riyadh worth $15 billion (11 billion euros).
The Kremlin later denied that the two men had discussed military cooperation or any deals.
© 2013 AFP