Published: Fri, February 22, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Saudi to free 850 Indian prisoners from its jails

Saudi to free 850 Indian prisoners from its jails

Meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Saudi leader said Riyadh is looking to tap into over $100 billion in investments in India.

On February 18, Prince Mohammed ordered the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistanis incarcerated in Saudi jails.

Saudi Arabia will release 850 Indians from its prisons after a request from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's (MBS) visit to New Delhi, India's Foreign Ministry has said.

China's desire to develop close ties with Iran will remain unchanged, regardless of the worldwide situation, President Xi Jinping told the speaker of Iran's parliament, ahead of Thursday's visit to Beijing by Saudi Arabia's crown prince.

Saudi Aramco, the world's top oil exporter, will sign a pact to build a refinery and petrochemical project in northeastern Liaoning province in a joint venture with China's defence conglomerate Norinco, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

China is Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade in goods totalling $63bn a year ago. Saudi Aramco is set to boost market share by signing supply deals with non-state Chinese refiners.

Saudi Cultural Attaché in China Dr. Fahd Al-Shareef stressed that the visit of Crown Prince to China reflects the deep-rooted ties between the two countries that are joined by distinguished strategic relations, which are witnessing a huge development in all fields.

His visit to China also comes on the heels of a visit by the parliament speaker of the kingdom's arch-rival Iran, Ali Larijani, who met with Xi on Wednesday.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Modi, and in remarks that will not have gone down well in Islamabad, MBS said: "On the issue of extremism and terrorism, which is a common concern, we want to tell India that we will cooperate in every way, including intelligence sharing".

"China won't be a geopolitical player in the Middle East".

Thus far, Turkey has been the only majority Muslim country to criticize Beijing, with its Foreign Ministry this month calling the treatment of minority Uighurs "a great cause of shame for humanity" and saying it is "no longer a secret" that China has arbitrarily detained more than a million Uighurs in "concentration camps".

China advocates cooperation among global and regional parties to swiftly put the Middle East on the road of stability and development, he said.

"Many Arab countries are also concerned with Islamist political groups. and see these as ideological threats to their governments", he said.

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