OPEC+ partners to decide wheter to pump more oil

 As the world rushed to condemn the Russian invasion of its smaller neighbor, the wealthy Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have largely kept quiet. Middle East experts say their reticence is understandable given what's at play - energy, money and security.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that the UAE and Russian foreign ministers would meet today in Moscow to discuss "further expanding multifaceted Russia-UAE relations."

Gulf power house Saudi Arabia has not reacted to the invasion, like the UAE, Bahrain and Oman. Kuwait and Qatar have only denounced the violence, stopping short of criticizing Moscow.

"It is not only the economic ties that are growing, but also the security ties of these states with Moscow," said Anne Gadel, a Gulf expert and contributor to the French think-tank Institut Montaigne.

Gulf countries "understand that they need to diversify their alliances to compensate for the perceived withdrawal of the United States from the region," Gadel told AFP.

Trade between Russia and the GCC countries jumped from around $3 billion in 2016 to more than $5 billion in 2021, mostly with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, official figures show.

The UAE, in particular Dubai, has been long seen as a magnet for Russian investment, and a vacation destination for the Russian elite.

As major players in the energy markets, most GCC states have a relationship with Russia as fellow producers.
Riyadh and Moscow are leading the OPEC+ alliance, strictly controlling output to buoy prices in recent years.

"Arab members of OPEC are in a tough spot diplomatically, as maintaining" the OPEC+ deal, which controls production, "is clearly at the forefront...

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