Saudi Arabia moves towards Russian-Chinese bloc – RT World News

The Kingdom has approved the status of “partner” in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud signed the documents granting Saudi Arabia the status of “dialogue partner” with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – the political, economic and security bloc currently chaired by China.

The king signed the memorandum of understanding during the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, held at al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

In addition to formalizing the partnership, King Salman also endorsed technical and vocational training with China. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman thanked Beijing for its mediation in the talks with Iran, which resulted in the restoration of “good neighborly relations” earlier this month.

The Saudi state agency also said Iran was close to joining the bloc. “Soon.” Tehran had applied for membership in 2021.

The SCO was established in 2001 by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It has since expanded to India, Uzbekistan and Pakistan as full members. The dialogue partner status was created in 2008 and includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Egypt, Nepal, Qatar, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

The bloc initially focused on security issues, primarily terrorism, separatism and extremism. It has reached an agreement with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on the joint fight against security, crime and drug trafficking. Over the years, it began to foster cooperation in trade, economy and culture.

In addition to getting closer to the SCO, Saudi Arabia would be interested in joining the BRICS group – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the Russian ambassador in the kingdom, Sergey Kozlov, said in February.

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