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China inks billions of dollars deals in Middle East, $20 bn fund to be invested with UAE

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced billions of dollars in special loans and investments in the Middle East as Beijing seeks to boost its economic ties and clout in the oil rich region, including the establishment of a common investment fund worth US$20bn for the UAE and Qatar.

In his address to the Arab League in Cairo, China president Xi Jinping offered $55bn (Dh202bn) of financial support to the region.

An investment fund worth $20bn will also be established with Qatar and the UAE.

Talking of the $15bn deal, Mr Xi said in a joint statement with Mr El Sisi: “The two sides have agreed to undertake 15 projects … mainly in sectors like electricity, transportation and infrastructure.”

State television broadcast the live signing at a presidential palace in Cairo.

Mr El Sisi said the agreements were the “best evidence of the two countries’ determination to improve their levels of cooperation”.

In Saudi Arabia, Mr Xi met with King Salman and oversaw the opening of a joint-venture oil refinery in the Yanbu Industrial City on the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia is China’s biggest supplier of crude.

Few details have emerged of Mr Xi’s talks with leaders in Riyadh, but the Saudi Press Agency reported that the two countries decided to establish a “comprehensive strategic partnership”. During his visit to Riyadh, Mr Xi had been expected to seek to ease tensions between Saudi Arabia, the region’s main Sunni power, and Shiite rival Iran.

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