Iranian pilgrims to take part in Haj this year

Mar 19, 2017, 00:51

The agreement comes after the two sides reached a consensus on February 23 on a package which includes arrangements for safety measures as well as consular, and medical services following months of negotiation, the announcement further said.

The visits to countries that are some of world's biggest importers of Saudi oil aim to promote investment opportunities in the kingdom, including the sale of a stake in national oil company Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Arabia said the crush happened because pilgrims went the wrong way down a one-way passage but has never provided a detailed explanation of what went awry. Saudi Arabia has sought to increase its oil sales to China, also the world's second-largest oil market, after losing some of its market share to Russian Federation in 2016.

Iran boycotted the Hajj for three years between 1988 and 1990 after clashes between Iranian pilgrims and Saudi police in 1987 left around 400 people dead.

In China, King Salman oversaw the signing of deals worth as much as $65 billion on the first day of his visit there on Thursday. China is pivoting towards the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia is strengthening its alliances in east Asia, as the United States global diplomatic stance under President Donald Trump remains unclear.

China notoriously supported Russian Federation in its attempts to protect the Assad regime by vetoing several UN Security Council resolutions against the Syrian dictatorship.

China has had to tread a careful line, though, as it also has close relations with Iran.

Saudi Arabia says Iranian citizens will attend this year's annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, after missing last year's event following a bitter rift between Riyadh and Tehran. “This visit will push forward and continue to improve the quality of our relations and bear new fruit, ” Xi told the king.