Russian President Vladimir Putin, staking out a more influential role in the Middle East, will visit the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia today (06), and host Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Moscow the following day.
The talks will focus on bilateral relations and the Israel-Hamas war, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
Peskov said that discussions on oil market cooperation will be on the agenda of talks, as Moscow cooperates with all three countries through OPEC+, which is comprised of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia.
“These discussions are held within the OPEC+ format, but of course, cooperation in this area is always on the agenda,” said Peskov.
The OPEC+ group, which Putin helped create in 2016, announced new voluntary supply cuts last week, which met scepticism from the oil market.
Separately, Putin’s foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov said that Saudi-Russian cooperation within the oil cooperation body was “fruitful”.
“Fairly close Russian-Saudi coordination in this format is a reliable guarantee of maintaining a stable and predictable situation in the global oil market,” Ushakov said, according to Russian news agencies.
Putin’s drive to bolster its ties with Gulf and other Middle Eastern states is part of his efforts to demonstrate that Western attempts to isolate Moscow through sanctions for its war on Ukraine have failed.
The Russian leader has not made many international trips after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him in March, accusing Putin of deporting Ukrainian children.
Neither the UAE nor Saudi Arabia have signed the ICC’s founding treaty, meaning they would not have to arrest him if he entered their territories.
With regards to Israel’s current bombardment of Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’s October 7 attacks, Putin has sought to cast the war as a failure of U.S. diplomacy, charging that Washington had opted for economic “handouts” to the Palestinians and abandoned efforts to help create a Palestinian state.
He has suggested Moscow could play the role of mediator, thanks to its friendly ties with both Israel and the Palestinians, saying that “no one could suspect us of playing up to one party.”
Agriculture and tourism key sectors for the nation’s swift recovery- President
Addressing the 37th session of the Asia and Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Colombo today (20), President Ranil Wickremesinghe affirmed the government’s dedication to elevating Sri Lanka as a prominent exporter of agricultural produce through rapid agricultural sector transformation. He emphasized the pivotal role agriculture played in navigating Sri Lanka through the previous economic crisis and highlighted agriculture and tourism as key sectors for the nation’s swift recovery.
The conference, which commenced on the 19th of February in Colombo with the participation of diplomats and representatives from 34 countries including the United States, China, and Russia, will conclude tomorrow (21). Sri Lanka’s chairmanship of the Asia-Pacific region of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization will extend from now until 2026.
This year’s conference, themed “Transformation of the Agro-Food System,” will delve into key areas such as promoting nutritious food production, ensuring food security, enhancing food production, safeguarding the environment, curbing greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigating climate change risks.
Sri Lanka hosted the 2nd Asia and Pacific Regional Conference in 1955.
2024 Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Day to be held on 10th March
The Cabinet of Ministers was informed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs that actions were being taken to hold the 2024 Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Day at the Gall Face, grounds on 10th March with the participation of Diplomatic missions of member countries, partner states and a large number of school students from all provinces of the island.
The theme for 2024 IORA Day is “A Sustainable Indian Ocean for Future Generation”
Mathews, Hasaranga all-round show helps Sri Lanka seal series
Angelo Mathews and Wanindu Hasaranga’s brilliant all-round show, well complimented by a steady half-century from Sadeera Samarawickrama, helped Sri Lanka prolong Afghanistan’s winless streak on in the ongoing multi-format tour and seal the T20I series 2-0 with a game to go. Sri Lanka posted a commanding 187/6 riding on the back of Samarawickrama’s fifty and cameos from the two all-rounders. However, Mathews opened the bowling as well after his unbeaten knock and triggered a top-order collapse that the visitors failed to recover from, eventually collapsing to 115 all out in reply.
Put in to bat first, the Sri Lankan openers got their team off to a flying start with a quickfire 45-run stand in under four overs. The pair launched a flurry of boundaries – they hit nine between them – as the hosts quickly raced away before Azmatulllah got the much needed breakthrough for Afghanistan by trapping Pathum Nissanka LBW. Kusal Mendis fell three balls later, as Afghanistan dented their progress.
Losing both set openers, and then Dhananjaya da Silva, in quick succession set was a setback Sri Lanka needed to quickly recover from and Samarawickrama came to the rescue with a steady half-century and caemos around it gave Sri Lanka firm control of proceedings. First, it was Wanindu Hasaranga who smacked a couple of sixes in his 9-ball stay for 22. And later it was Mathews who hammered four maximums and two more boundaries, chipping in an invaluable 42* in just 22 balls. His knock, that helped Sri Lanka plunder 49 runs in just the last three overs, proved the turning point as the hosts finished with a daunting 187 on the board.
Fresh off his batting heroics, Mathews picked up the new ball and delivered in the very first over by having Hazratullah Zazai caught behind. He accounted for the Afghanistan skipper, Ibrahim Zadran, as well in his following over, finishing his brief powerplay spell with impressive figures of 2-9 as Afghanistan slipped to 19/2. To make matters worse, Binura Fernando struck twice in the fifth over to make it 31/5 and Afghanistan were eventually at the point of no return.
The 39-run stand that ensued between Mohammad Nabi (27) and Karim Janat (28) was probably the only thing to write home about in all of Afghanistan’s chase. Nabi in particular was aggressive during his 17-ball 27, hitting a couple of sixes, but the target in front of them was too tall a mountain to climb. Hasaranga and Pathirana wrapped up the tail fairly quickly once the stubborn sixth-wicket stand was broken by Dasun Shanaka and Afghanistan fell a staggering 72 runs short.
Sri Lanka 187/6 in 20 overs (Pathum Nissanka 25, Kusal Mendis 23, Sadeera Samarawickrama 51, Wanidu Hasaranga 22, Angelo Mathews 42*; Fazalhaq Farooki 1-31, Azmatullah Omarzai 2-40, Naveen-ul-Haq 1-46, Mohammed Nabi 2-25) beat Afghanistan 115 all out in 17 overs (Karim Janat 28, Mohammad Nabi 27; Angelo Mathews 2-9, Binura Fernando 2-18, Maheesh Theekshana 1-30, Wanindu Hasaranga 2-19, Matheesha Pathirana 2-22, Dasun Shanaka 1-17 ) by 72 runs
Fair weather will prevail except for evening showers in Kalutara, Galle, Matara and Rathnapura districts
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