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Beijing, Saudi Arabia agree to more oil cooperation, exports to China

Beijing, Saudi Arabia agree to more oil cooperation, exports to China

Saudi Arabia is opening its arms to Muslims from Iran to travel to Mecca and celebrate this year's hajj, the annual religious journey that is one of the five pillars of Islam.

"The Prince's senior advisor, who attended the White House on his behalf, said in a statement that the meeting was a "huge success" that marked a historic turning point in the bilateral relations [between the] two countries".

"The ministry of hajj and the Iranian organization have completed all the necessary measures to ensure Iranian pilgrims perform hajj 1438 according to the procedures followed by all Muslim countries", Saudi Arabia's official SPA news agency quoted the Saudi Hajj ministry as saying on Friday.

Iran boycotted the Hajj for three years between 1988 and 1990 after clashes between Iranian pilgrims and Saudi police in 1987 left around 400 people dead.


Iranian Muslims skipped the journey to Mecca, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the place where the Quran was first revealed, for the first time in three decades past year. Prince Mohammed expressed his regrets that Saudi Arabia did not apply this experience earlier on the Saudi-Yemeni border, noting that the success of the northern border experience will accelerate applying it on the Saudi southern border.

The visits to countries that are some of world's biggest importers of Saudi oil aim to promote investment opportunities in the kingdom, including the sale of a stake in national oil company Saudi Aramco.

In January past year, relations were severed again after Iranian demonstrators torched Saudi Arabia's embassy and a consulate following Saudi Arabia's execution of a Shia figure along with 47 "terrorists".

Yet, it remains to be seen if the Hajj compromise will create any spillover effects for the two countries which back opposite sides in Syria and Yemen. Saudi Arabia has sought to increase its oil sales to China, also the world's second-largest oil market, after losing some of its market share to Russian Federation in 2016.


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