China President Xi Arrives in Saudi Arabia as Part of Middle East Tour

China President Xi Arrives in Saudi Arabia as Part of Middle East Tour
Tue Jan 19, 2016 22:23:56

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Saudi Arabia on the first leg of his five-day Middle East tour seeking to bolster relations with major countries in the region.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud greeted the Chinese delegation on their arrival on Tuesday.

Saudi state television reported that President Xi and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud were holding talks.

“Since China and Saudi Arabia forged diplomatic ties 26 years ago, our relationship has developed by leaps and bounds, with mutual political trust deepening continuously and rich results in cooperation in various fields," China's official Xinhua news agency cited Xi as saying in written remarks.

The visit is expected to be "conducive to lifting our cooperation in various fields to a new level and to elevating the collective cooperation between China and [P]GCC nations," the Chinese president said in reference to the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council.

On Wednesday, Xi will accompany King Salman to inaugurate an energy research center in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The two officials will later open a refinery, which is a joint venture between the state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco and China Petrochemical Corporation.

After his visit to Saudi Arabia, the Chinese head of state will travel to Egypt, where he will meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He will also deliver a speech at the Cairo headquarters of the Arab League on China's Mideast policies.

Following the upcoming visit to Egypt, Xi will travel to the Iranian capital, Tehran, where he will meet Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and other senior officials.

The tour comes more than two weeks after Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran over the issues that ensued the execution by the Riyadh regime of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 other people. The Saudi regime cut ties after protests outside its embassy and consulate in Iran where the buildings were partly damaged. Iranian officials condemned the incidents at the Saudi diplomatic missions.

Several countries, including China, Pakistan and Russia, have expressed readiness to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Iran says it will not allow Saudi Arabia’s provocations to adversely affect ongoing efforts aimed at resolving the crisis in Syria and Yemen, Press TV reported.


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