Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince made a surprise visit to Russia last week, meeting with President Putin on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Mohammed bin Salman’s visit—and his invitation to Putin to visit the King—only adds to speculation that, after several years of frozen relations, Saudi-Russian cooperation is finally improving.

This is good news: though a friendlier Saudi-Russian relationship raises some concerns for the United States, it may just be the key to a more stable and peaceful Middle East.
The meeting produced six agreements on issues such as civilian nuclear power and energy production. Announcements of the agreement’s contents were vague, and final details may not be known until Putin’s upcoming trip to the Kingdom. Possible areas of cooperation included space exploration, infrastructure development, and trade, all of which would boost the Russian economy.
The main agreement was a legal framework for civilian nuclear cooperation, with Saudi TV reporting that the country may pay Russia to operate as many as sixteen civilian nuclear power reactors. If accurate, such a deal would be hugely beneficial for both sides: Russia’s Rosatom would receive a lucrative contract, topping up government coffers, while the Saudis would be able to export significant amounts of oil and natural gas that are currently used to meet high domestic energy demand.