The two nations call for efforts to avoid any escalation of the conflict Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping in the capital Riyadh, on December 8, 2022. © BANDAR AL-JALOUD / Saudi Royal Palace / AFP

China and Saudi Arabia have warned against any further escalation between Ukraine and Russia, and called for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Riyadh and Beijing also reiterated their policies on mitigating the humanitarian crisis.

In a joint statement following a summit between Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, the two sides “stressed the importance of resolving the [Ukraine] conflict by peaceful means.”

They called for “all possible efforts to reduce escalation in a way that contributes to restoring security and stability,” and to limit the negative consequences of the crisis, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Beijing reiterated its commitment to its six-point initiative aimed at alleviating the situation in Ukraine. In March, China outlined a plan for preventing a humanitarian disaster, warning against “politicizing humanitarian issues” and calling for those in need to be given all necessary assistance in a timely manner.

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China also praised Saudi efforts to provide humanitarian support to Ukraine, particularly a recent aid package worth $400 million, SPA said. Beijing welcomed Riyadh’s mediation activities, apparently referring to a major prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia in September, which involved almost 300 people. The eventual deal was reached with the help of Türkiye and Saudi Arabia.

More recently, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates helped broker a deal to secure the exchange of Russian businessman Viktor Bout for American basketball star Brittney Griner.

The joint Sino-Saudi statement was released after Xi met a number of Arab leaders in Riyadh, in what he described as “milestone events,” and signed a strategic partnership agreement with Saudi Arabia.

The historic rapprochement between China and Saudi Arabia comes at a time of frosty relations between Riyadh and Washington. The traditional allies recently clashed over a decision by the Saudi-led OPEC+ oil cartel to cut crude production, a move the White House described as “shortsighted.” (RT)