China seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia on ‘Belt and Road Initiative’

Chinese Ambassador Li Huaxin
Updated 11 May 2017
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China seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia on ‘Belt and Road Initiative’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and China could work together and link Saudi Vision 2030 and China’s “One Belt One Road Initiative” for the benefit of both countries, said Ambassador Li Huaxin following a press conference recently at the Chinese Embassy in Riyadh.
“If we connect them together, it will create very good opportunities for both sides and not just the two sides, even other sides will benefit from this connection,” he said.
“I can tell you that different government bodies and ministries met to discuss it; they already have some specific projects in this field and hope this will come true very soon.”
Saudi Vision 2030 aims to diversify revenue sources and develop a knowledge-based economy while the “One Belt One Road Initiative” aims to create the largest economic corridor in the world.
“We think Vision 2030 is a sustainable development strategy by the Kingdom and offers a good chance for Chinese companies to participate to work together to benefit both sides,” Li said.
At the press conference, the ambassador said the “Belt and Road Forum” for international cooperation will be held next week on May 14 and 15 in Beijing.
The forum aims to build a more open and effective international platform for cooperation and partnership. The envoy said that China has invited leaders of nearly 20 countries to attend the forum to discuss how to take this initiative forward in the future.
He said the Kingdom has also been invited, but since King Salman visited China in March, Khalid Al-Falih, minister of energy, industry and mineral resources is going to attend the forum instead with a delegation including senior officials and businessmen.
He said Al-Falih will be speaking at a session, adding: “I think it is a good opportunity to share his ideas at this important forum, especially how to build this initiative in the future.”
President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the forum, he added.
The forum has been designed to identify cooperation directions, push forward the implementation of projects and improve supporting systems.
The Belt and Road comprises the land-based Silk Road economic belt and the 21st-century maritime Silk Road, which were put forward for the first time by President Xi in September and October 2013 in his subsequent state visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia.


Kiswa of Kaaba raised in preparation for Hajj

Updated 14 min 18 sec ago
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Kiswa of Kaaba raised in preparation for Hajj

  • Up to 50 people worked on the raising of Kiswa this year
  • The Kiswa is replaced with white cloth during Hajj

DUBAI: The lower part of Kaaba’s Kiswa, the black cloth draped around the holy shrine, was raised 3 meters in preparation for the new Hajj season and was replaced with white cloth instead, Reasah Al-Harmain said on Friday.
The procedure is done every year before the Hajj season in order to protect the Kiswa, as some pilgrims touch and pull on the black cloth when they circumambulate the Kaaba.

Up to 50 technicians and specialists oversaw the annual process, head of the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Ahmad bin Muhammad Al-Mansouri said.
What some pilgrims do to the Kiswa stems from wrongful beliefs, which is why the black cloth is raised and replaced with white textile during Hajj, he added.
The original Kiswa will be draped again after the Hajj season concludes, Al-Mansouri said.