Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia for Chinese chief Xi’s go to

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Gulf Arab leaders and others within the Mideast met Friday in Saudi Arabia as a part of a state go to by Chinese chief Xi Jinping, in search of to agency up their relations with Beijing as a long time of U.S. consideration on the area wanes.

Earlier than a joint assembly with Xi, representatives of the Gulf Cooperation Council met in a summit helmed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, additional signaling his management of a kingdom nonetheless overseen by his father, the 86-year-old King Salman.

Amongst them was Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, whose nation now hosts the FIFA World Cup and has largely restored ties to its Arab neighbors after a yearslong boycott. Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, whose island nation nonetheless has strained relations with Qatar, additionally attended.

Prince Mohammed made a degree in his opening remarks, aired on state tv, to applaud Qatar for its internet hosting of the World Cup. He additionally might be seen warmly greeting Sheikh Tamim earlier than the assembly, one thing unthinkable solely two years earlier amid the boycott.

The GCC consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The chief of the Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, didn’t attend, as an alternative sending the ruler of the emirate of Fujairah, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi. Kuwait’s crown prince and a consultant of Oman’s sultan additionally attended.

Xi’s go to comes as China depends on the Gulf Arab states, significantly Saudi Arabia, for billions of {dollars} in crude oil imports to energy his nation’s economic system. Whereas the U.S. nonetheless maintains bases throughout the area and stations tens of hundreds of troops, Gulf Arab nations really feel Washington’s consideration has shifted elsewhere after the tip of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Additionally they wish to keep relations with China whilst U.S. officers imagine they face a rising risk from China in Asia and Russia as Moscow wages its monthslong battle on Ukraine.

Throughout Xi’s go to, Saudi officers have mentioned offers had been signed between Riyadh and Beijing, together with some involving Chinese expertise firm Huawei on cloud-computing, information facilities and different high-tech ventures. The U.S. has already has warned its Gulf Arab allies about working with Huawei over spying issues.

Xi and King Salman additionally agreed to carry conferences between the 2 international locations’ leaders each two years, the state-run Xinhua information company reported.

The company reported that Xi met Thursday with Sudanese army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan after a deal Monday to ascertain a civilian-led transitional authorities following the army takeover there final yr. Nevertheless, no timeline has been set and the deal sparked renewed protests Thursday within the nation.

Xi individually met Thursday with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as nicely in Riyadh.

On Friday, Xi held one-on-one assembly with Tunisian President Kais Saied, in addition to Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and Sheikh Tamim of Qatar.

Comply with Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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