Flyovers criss-cross against the backdrop of a Shanghai skyline. File/Reuters
Saudi Arabia's Cabinet approved on Wednesday a decision to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as Riyadh builds a long-term partnership with China despite US security concerns. Saudi Arabia has approved a memorandum on granting the kingdom the status of a dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), state news agency SPA said.
The SCO is a political and security union of countries spanning much of Eurasia, including China, India and Russia. Formed in 2001 by Russia, China and former Soviet states in Central Asia, the body has been expanded to include India and Pakistan, with a view to playing a bigger role as counterweight to Western influence in the region. Iran also signed documents for full membership last year. Joining the SCO was discussed during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia last December, sources have told Reuters.
Dialogue partner status will be a first step within the organisation before granting the kingdom full membership in the mid-term, they said. The decision followed an announcement by Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) which raised its multi-billion dollar investment in China on Tuesday, by finalising a planned joint venture in northeast China and acquiring a stake in a privately controlled petrochemical group. Riyadh's growing ties with Beijing have raised security concerns in Washington, its traditional ally.
Washington says Chinese attempts to exert influence around the world will not change US policy toward the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have voiced concern about what they see as a withdrawal from the region by main security guarantor the United States, and have moved to diversify partners. Washington says it will stay an active partner in the region. Countries belonging to the organisation plan to hold a joint "counter-terrorism exercise" in Russia's Chelyabinsk region in August this year.
"Landed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, marking the start of an important visit aimed at strengthening ties with a valued friend. Will be taking part in a wide range of programmes during this visit."
Mohammed stressed that this candidacy is an important and symbolic challenge for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, expressing his confidence in the Kingdom's ability and commitment to establishing a historic version of the World Expo with the highest levels of innovation, and to provide an unprecedented global experience in the history of organizing this global forum.
The city will be a model for the development of the non-profit sector globally and an incubator for youth and volunteer groups as well as local and international non-profit institutions.
Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia said that the aircraft was dispatched for Magadan airport from Mumbai and it would take six hours to reach there.
The Sharjah Taxi fleet comprises 750 vehicles of various models and brands to ensure passenger satisfaction, safety and comfort.
Presenting the plans, US Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann said that while the exercise was purely defensive in nature, it was intended to send a message to countries including Russia.
The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has cancelled the registrations of Seagull Insurance Services Co. and Al Shorafa Insurance Services from the insurance broker register, in accordance with the applicable insurance brokers’ regulation.