Month: February 2017

  • Landmark visit to Indonesia by King Salman will usher in new era: Envoy

    Wed, 2017-03-01

    RIYADH: The landmark visit by King Salman to Indonesia beginning today, the first by a Saudi monarch since 1970, will usher in a new era of bilateral relations, Indonesian Ambassador Agus Maftuh Abegebriel told Arab News.
    “King Salman is scheduled to tour Indonesia ... after the official visit of President Joko Widodo to the Kingdom in late 2015,” said Abegebriel.
    “This historic visit is expected to mark a new level of relations between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia... in various fields and at all levels, including the government level as well as people-to-people exchange.”
    He added: “Of all the fields of cooperation, I believe economic cooperation will be top of the list. This is in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and Indonesia’s priorities for economic cooperation. As members of the G20, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia have so much untapped potential in economic sectors, from trade and investments to the mining sector.”
    Drafts of joint declarations, memoranda of understanding and agreements in various fields have been exchanged by the relevant ministries and institutions in both countries, including cooperation in the fields of trade, education, health, culture, information, science, technology, civil aviation, fisheries and combating transnational crimes, Abegebriel said.
    “I think the fact that both governments are working as a team and hand-in-hand to make this visit a success in itself outweighs any agreement that may be signed thereof,” he added.
    “I believe strategic and defense cooperation will be among the topics to be discussed... since Indonesia and Saudi Arabia signed a defense cooperation agreement in 2014, and it was discussed during the state visit of the president of the Republic of Indonesia in 2015.”
    The envoy said the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), whose headquarters are in Riyadh and Jakarta respectively, have had relations since 1990.
    There is a lot of potential in enhanced cooperation between the two regional blocs, in light of impressive growth in trade and investment between them in the past decade, he added.
    “Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, being one of the key players in ASEAN and the GCC respectively, will surely take into account the potential between these two inter-governmental organizations and ways to further enhance relations,” he said.
    As Indonesia sends the largest number of Haj pilgrims annually, on the increased Haj quota Abegebriel said Indonesia “conveys its highest appreciation” to King Salman “for continuous efforts in very successfully organizing the most important rituals in Islam.”
    The envoy said bilateral bonds started in the 13th century, when Muslim traders and Islamic scholars from the Arab world arrived in the Indonesian archipelago.
    “Take for example, the high number of Arabic words that have been immersed into the Indonesian language, or the ways of celebrating Islamic festivals. All these signify the strong bonds between the peoples of the two brotherly countries,” he added.
    “I believe cultural cooperation, designed among other things to further promote people-to-people contact, is also on the table and currently being discussed by the relevant ministries of the two governments. This visit is an important showcase of how strong cultural relations have been, and will be, between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.”
    King Salman decorated the Indonesian president with the prestigious King Abdul Aziz Medal when he visited the Kingdom in September 2015.
    To welcome King Salman, the Indonesian government has made elaborate civil and security arrangements with the Transportation Ministry, issuing a notice to all stakeholders to facilitate the smooth arrival and stay for the monarch, who is also expected on a private family trip to the island of Bali during his tour of the archipelago.

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  • King Salman calls for unity and solidarity to solve problems facing Muslim nations

    Ghazanfar Ali Khan
    Wed, 2017-03-01

    RIYADH: King Salman has called on Muslim nations to unify their ranks to solve problems facing Islamic countries in the current volatile situation in regional and international developments.
    The king spoke in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday when he met a group of senior Malaysian scholars including muftis and Islamic workers.
    A day before King Salman wraps up his visit to Malaysia and travels to Indonesia, the king was conferred an honorary doctorate by the premier International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) on Tuesday.
    The honorary degree and a “Lifetime Outstanding Achievement Award” were presented to him at a special convocation ceremony at the IIUM Cultural Center by Pahang state ruler Sultan Ahmad Shah, head of the university.
    “The Muslim world is confronted by many challenges that require patience, compassion and determination. King Salman is not an ordinary person; his duties and obligations to his country and followers of Islam demand composure and great patience by him,” Sultan Ahmad said. “King Salman represents the qualities that our religion urges us to acquire.”
    On meeting senior Islamic scholars in Malaysia, King Salman said the major challenge facing the Muslim nation is how to protect countries from extremism. “The king talked about campaigns against Islam, which are trying to undermine its moderation and tolerance,” said a Saudi Press Agency (SPA) report on Tuesday.
    The king noted the challenges facing the Muslim world require more cooperation and solidarity among Islamic countries. He emphasized the Kingdom’s willingness to “provide everything it can do to serve Islam and communicate with Muslims all over the world.”
    In another meeting, King Salman received at his residence in Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Minister of Defense Hishammuddin Hussein. They reviewed bilateral relations, prospects of cooperation between the two countries and the latest developments in the region including cooperation in the defense sector.
    On the sidelines of the visit, the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment organized the Saudi-Malaysian Business Forum in the presence of a large group of Saudi and Malaysian businessmen in the Malaysian capital on Tuesday. The meeting was addressed by Ghassan Ahmed Al-Sulaiman, governor of the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises.
    Al-Sulaiman said that the Kingdom wants to attract investments in accordance with the goals of Vision 2030. The forum was also addressed by Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa bin Mohamed. He said: “The visit of King Salman to Malaysia gives Saudi-Malaysian relations a strong push forward and enhances economic and trade cooperation.”
    He also said the two countries have available business opportunities for investment and cooperation. He also noted the volume of trade exchange between the two countries is witnessing quantitative and qualitative growth. Malaysia, he said, hopes to forge closer ties with Saudi Arabia in trade, investment, tourism, and the halal sector and in developing small and medium enterprises.
    King Salman also received at his residence in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur a group of Saudi students on scholarships in Malaysia and Malaysian students who graduated from Saudi universities. The king told them: “I’m glad to see you … at the same time you must know that you are from the land of Muslims’ Qiblah, and you should be good models for those who see you in this country.”
    On the sidelines of the royal visit, Ali bin Nasser Al-Ghafis, Saudi minister of labor and social development, met in Kuala Lumpur Rohani Abdul Karim, Malaysian minister of women, family and community development.
    They discussed ways of strengthening “social development and the exchange of expertise, as well as topics related to the promotion of women’s role in community development.”

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  • Saudi-Malaysian deals give new impetus to bilateral ties: Experts

    Wed, 2017-03-01

    RIYADH: Newly signed deals between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia will give new impetus to bilateral relations, according to economic experts and academics.
    On Monday, four deals were signed covering trade and investment, labor and human resources, science and education, and media. King Salman and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak attended the signing ceremonies.
    Dr. Salim Ajajah, an academic at Taif University, said the Kingdom maintains solid relations with Malaysia in particular, and other East Asian countries in general. He said the king’s tour of five Asian countries will have a positive impact on the Saudi economy, notably in the areas of technological localization, diversification of investments, and trade.
    Economic expert Fadl Albo Ainain said the king’s visit to Malaysia has two dimensions: Boosting Islamic ties with Asian countries, and economic and trade aspects, which will have a great impact on Saudi investments.
    Academic Dr. Mohammed Al-Subaihi said Saudi-Malaysian relations have been based on mutual respect since the establishment of diplomatic ties in the early 1960s.
    Ali Al-Quraishi, a legal adviser and international arbitrator, said current regional developments have created fruitful political cooperation between the two countries.
    Cooperation has developed into a strategic partnership, whereby Malaysia joined the Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm to liberate Yemen from Houthi terrorism, he added.
    Malaysia’s participation in the Northern Thunder joint military exercise with Arab and Islamic countries, held in Saudi Arabia in March 2016, provides substantial evidence of Saudi-Malaysian solidarity and cohesion, he said.
    Chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), Dr. Hamdan Al-Samrin, said the Saudi business sector is optimistically following the king’s Asian tour, which is in line with Vision 2030’s objectives to solicit foreign investments, diversify the economy and promote business partnerships.
    Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yusuf Al-Othaimin, said the king’s Asian tour embodies joint Islamic action, and boosts the OIC’s efforts to enhance political and business cooperation between member countries.

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  • Yemen president in Riyadh for talks on reconstruction, military effort

    Wed, 2017-03-01

    RIYADH: Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi arrived in Riyadh Monday evening to enhance coordination of efforts to defeat Yemeni rebels and carry out reconstruction in liberated areas.
    Yemeni Tourism Minister Mohamed A. Qubaty told Arab News on Tuesday that the visit concerns “coordination of our efforts to defeat the rebels completely.”
    He added: “There are other key matters regarding rebuilding the country, reconstruction and development work. Those are the main topics to be discussed during the visit in Riyadh with our brothers in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and our Arab allies in general.”
    Qubaty said more than 80 percent of Yemen is in the hands of the internationally recognized government. “We need to wage war against terrorists, Al-Qaeda and Daesh so people can see a bright future,” he added.
    Hadi last week said Saudi Arabia has allocated $10 billion in aid “for the reconstruction of liberated provinces, including $2 billion as a deposit in the central bank to shore up the (Yemeni) riyal.” Hadi has called on his government to focus on power, water, roads, health and education in liberated areas.
    Pro-government forces backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition have taken back five southern provinces from Iran-backed rebels, who still control the capital and much of northern Yemen.

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  • Saudi Emergency forces commander inspects tactical training exercise

    Wed, 2017-03-01

    MADINAH: Lt. Gen. Khaled bin Qarar Al-Harbi, commander of the Special Emergency Forces, inspected the Mohammed bin Naif Center for Special Operations and Developed Applications.
    The center is hosting the second tactical joint exercise “Homeland 87,” with the participation of various security sectors of the Interior Ministry. Al-Harbi was briefed on the progress of the training operations and virtual exercises.
    The commander of the tactical exercise, Maj. Gen. Mohammed bin Obaid Al-Osaimi, explained what has been achieved to ensure the success and safety of the training exercise.
    The assistant commander, Col. Omar bin Ibrahim Al-Odwan, reviewed with Al-Harbi the overall exercises that are being applied in parallel with data provided by all forces taking part.
    He also met with the leader of the command-and-control center, and listened to an explanation of all elements involved in the exercise.
    Col. Mohsin bin Yahya Al-Shahrani, director of the media center of “Homeland 87,” said Al-Harbi met with leaders of the exercise.
    He added that Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Mohammed bin Naif is being briefed on efforts aimed at “improving the security level, in accordance with the vision of King Salman, to achieve the security of the homeland, citizens and residents, and maintain the security of pilgrims and visitors of the Two Holy Mosques as well.”

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  • Saudi Arabian Airlines gets apology from Kuwaiti company for posting rumors of alleged flights to Tel Aviv

    Wed, 2017-03-01

    JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) forced a Kuwaiti company to issue a formal apology in three Kuwaiti newspapers after the company, which specializes in Internet services, falsely announced that Saudia organizes flights from Riyadh to Tel Aviv.
    The Kuwaiti company said in the apology statement, which was published in Al-Qabas, Al-Watan and Al-Rai, that it officially apologizes for the false news posted on its website, which was then copied to the social networking site Twitter.
    The company said it acknowledges publishing the false news, which was “contrary to the truth,” by claiming that Saudia organizes flights between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.
    Mansour Al-Bader, media and public relations director at Saudia, said the management at the Saudi carrier noticed that a tourism and travel office in Kuwait recently published a news item on its website confirming reservations on Saudia flights from Riyadh to Tel Aviv.
    “We immediately contacted the office ... and we requested correcting the false information. We did not receive any response in this regard,” said the spokesman.
    He added: “Saudia management directed the legal affairs department to follow up on the case, which, in turn, filed a lawsuit against the company in Kuwait.”
    The owner of the company then contacted Saudia and expressed deep apologies, and sent a formal letter of apology, and offered to do whatever it takes in exchange for dropping the lawsuit against his company.
    Al-Bader said that Saudia demanded publishing an official apology, an official apology statement by the company in three major newspapers in Kuwait, in the size of quarter page on the front page of each paper.
    The owner of the company responded to this request and published the official apology statement to end the lawsuit amicably.

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  • Saudi gets 27 years in prison for terrorist offenses

    Wed, 2017-03-01

    JEDDAH: The Specialized Criminal Court delivered a preliminary sentence of 27 years in prison for a Saudi found guilty of corruption and security breach by joining a terrorist gang, and involvement in attacks on security headquarters and police patrols. 
    The accusations included colluding with another criminal, and storing and sending items to undermine public order via the social networking app WhatsApp. He also used the app to spread time schedules and locations of gatherings among two groups to promote riots in Awamiyya.
    He was found guilty of participating in riots in Qatif Governorate, and of statements against the leaderships of the Kingdom and another Gulf state. He was also accused of carrying photographs of people arrested in security cases. The Saudi was also charged with using slogans that promote sectarian strife and division, and harboring participants in these crimes.
    The court sentenced him to prison for 27 years from the date he was arrested. Three years of this sentence are based on Article 6 of the Anti-Cybercrime Law, and 12 years are based on Article 15 of the Explosives and Bomb Disposal Law. After he completes his sentence, he is banned from leaving the country for 27 years.

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  • Saudi businessmen attend German metalworking presentation

    Wed, 2017-03-01

    RIYADH: Forty Saudi businessmen on Monday attended an Exposition Mondiale de la Machine Outil (EMO) metalworking technology presentation, organized at a hotel in Riyadh by the German Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs (GESALO).
    Jochen Koeckler, EMO partner and board member of fair operator Deutsche Messe, invited the participants to attend the Hannover Trade Fair in September.
    He said the event has proven itself an efficient international contact and business platform for the metalworking industry. EMO is the world’s leading trade fair for metalworking technology.
    “We are proud to be the representative of EMO in Saudi Arabia,” said Oliver Oehms, GESALO secretary general for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen.
    “This trade fair offers vast opportunities for Saudi experts to learn about the latest trends and technologies in the metalworking industry. GESALO welcomes Saudi businessmen to attend EMO and organize an exclusive program.”
    He said EMO benefits Vision 2030, which paves the way for prosperous development of the Kingdom.
    “Saudi Arabia can benefit by attending EMO in Hanover, Germany. Both countries share a long trade history, and bilateral trade volume was around SR44 billion ($11.7 billion) in 2015,” Oehms added.
    He said the products and technologies presented at EMO provide a great chance to modernize the Saudi industry sector and strengthen Saudi-German trade relations.
    “Therefore, GESALO is offering to organize an exclusive program and make a delegation visit a unique experience,” he added.

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  • Oil Majors’ Costs Have Risen 66% Since 2011

    The oil majors reported poor earnings for the fourth quarter of last year, but many oil executives struck an optimistic tone about the road ahead. Oil prices have stabilized and the cost cutting measures implemented over the past three years should allow companies to turn a profit even though crude trades for about half of what it did back in 2014. The collapse of oil prices forced the majors to slash spending on exploration, cut employees, defer projects, and look for efficiencies. That allowed them to successfully lower their breakeven price…