DUBAI (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 told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

On his first visit to Saudi Arabia in more than a decade, Putin said nobody in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates wants 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.

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