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Saudi Arabia, Turkey to boost ties with 'strategic cooperation council'

A new joint council between Turkey and Saudi Arabia is expected to bolster security and investment cooperation. Ankara and Riyadh are key supporters of rebels fighting to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia and Turkey agreed on establishing a "strategic cooperation council" in a bid to bolster military, economic and investment cooperation between Riyadh and Ankara.

"The council will be interested in many matters, including security, military, political, economic, trade and investment fields as well as energy, education, cultural affairs, medicine and other fields," al-Jubeir told a press conference, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The council will be led by the foreign ministers of both countries, with input from several ministries, institutions and sectors, according to al-Jubeir.

The announcement came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday to discuss boosting ties.

The two leaders also talked about how the newly formed counterterrorism coalition comprising 34 Muslim-majority nations will handle mechanisms of action in its quest to curb militant groups in the region.

Both Ankara and Riyadh back rebels fighting against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria, and have been critical of Russia's involvement in the conflict.

Al-Jubeir noted that the two countries' views on various political and security issues were nearly identical, and that the council would foster further cooperation.

ls/bk (Reuters, dpa)

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