Saudi Arabia has decided to join as a "
" state with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), headed by Beijing and Moscow, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday (March 29th). .
Created in 2001 to foster political, economic and security cooperation, in order to compete with Western institutions, the SCO comprises eight countries: China, India, Pakistan and Russia, as well as four Central Asian states ( Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan).
Historic reconciliation agreement
The Saudi government approved the decision at a meeting chaired by King Salman, the agency added.
It gives Ryad "
the status of dialogue partner within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
", according to the same source.
Other countries with SCO observer or dialogue partner status include Egypt, Iran and Qatar.
Saudi Arabia's decision to join the SCO comes less than three weeks after the announcement of a historic reconciliation deal with Iran, brokered by China and aimed at restoring relations complete diplomatic relations, broken seven years ago.
Rival powers in the Middle East, Shia-majority Iran and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia are engaged in a series of proxy conflicts in the region, notably in Yemen.
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The Chinese mediator
Chinese President Xi Jinping's role in the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement has raised eyebrows, given the traditionally close partnership between Saudi Arabia and the United States, although that relationship has recently come under strain. due to disputes over human rights and oil production.
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In a phone call on Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler, Xi Jinping hailed what he called the easing of tensions in the Middle East.
In his first reaction on the subject to be made public since the conclusion of the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Xi Jinping said that the dialogue promoted by China "would play a major role in strengthening
the regional unity and cooperation