Saudi delegation participates in symposium on regional security, transnational crimes

Wed, 2017-11-08 21:22

RIYADH: A Saudi delegation participated in an international symposium on regional security and transnational crimes in Taiwan that exchanged ideas on modern threats and security issues.

The two-day symposium was organized by the Investigations Bureau of the Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice in Taipei, said Muhammad Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at King Saud University, who represented KSU in the international symposium attended by experts from 33 countries.

Khan, who just returned from Taiwan, told Arab News on Wednesday that the main objective of this symposium was to discuss and exchange ideas and knowledge about modern threats, crimes and security issues in the region that could undermine the overall security of nations.

Khan said: “This conference was very important to create harmony and dialogue against emerging global security challenges.”

He further stated that networking and information exchanges with other attendees of this conference will enable the Kingdom to enhance skills and approaches to address different facets of terrorism and crimes across borders.

The government of Taiwan invited over 155 foreign scholars, law-enforcement agents, political representatives, think-tanks and senior officials from 33 countries to attend this symposium for exchanging ideas and creating synergy in curbing transnational crimes.

Recommendations from the symposium underlined that the criminal groups and terrorist organizations that use modern science and technology, social media, cyberspace and other resources, have seriously threatened national and regional stability, and should be dealt with seriously.

In addition, global law enforcement agencies must take steps and adopt modern strategies to effectively control emerging cross-border crimes and combat international terrorism, both in the physical space or cyberspace.

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Saudi Arabia is a dynamic country with a high volume of trade with EU

Wed, 2017-11-08 21:39

RIYADH: Visiting European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said on Wednesday that there is a positive trend to develop businesses with the Kingdom since it is a growing and dynamic country, which has recorded a high volume of trade with the EU.
Hogan was speaking to Saudi businessmen on “Doing Business in the Saudi Arabian Agri-food sector” at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry during a business event chaired by its chairman, Ahmed Al-Rajhi.
The visiting minister met GCC Secretary-General Abdul Latif bin Rashid and Minister of Water, Environment and Agriculture, Abdul Rahman Al-Fadli on Wednesday. The meeting was also attended by EU Ambassador to the Kingdom Michele Cervone D’urso.
Hogan is currently leading a 40-member EU delegation to promote quality food and beverage products from Europe.
Speaking on the occasion, Hogan said that Saudi Arabia is a dynamic country whose population is 32 million and many of them are young and urban. “We believe that this growing generation of consumers will be happy to choose our high-quality EU food and agricultural products,” he said, pointing out that EU agri-food exports to Saudi Arabia had increased from €1.5 billion to €4.6 billion between 2009 and 2016.
Describing Saudi consumers, Hogan said they are well informed and demanding, and the delegation wants to tell them how safe and healthy EU products and the raw materials that are supplied to the Kingdom from EU countries are.
“From farm to fork, at each stage of the food production chain, the EU sets a series of rules to ensure that our 500 million citizens enjoy the safest food in the world.”

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Saudi Shoura Council to discuss proposal to amend Anti-bribery Law

Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.
Wed, 2017-11-08 20:58

RIYADH: The Shoura Council will next Wednesday discuss a proposal to amend the Anti-bribery Law after the Security Committee recommended it.

The sponsors of the proposal include Dr. Latifa Al-Shaalan and Atta Al Sabaiti, who are current Shoura members, and Dr. Haya Al-Manea, a former member.

Local media reported that sources within the Security Committee, which examined the proposal, said that the proposal had been submitted for the last 14 months.

The proposal includes the amendment of a number of articles, in addition to the proposed new articles on the Anti-bribery Law issued 27 years ago.

One of the most important new articles proposed is that the provisions of the law “apply to employees of private companies and institutions within the Kingdom.”

The proponents justified this by not including private sector employees in the current Anti-bribery Law, despite the considerable damage caused by bribery in the private sector, which indirectly falls on the state, thus weakening the structure and fundamentals of the national economy.

The sponsors added several new articles to the statute including one that states that criminal investigation officers may, in case of suspicion regarding the integrity of the employee, take the necessary action to incriminate him.

Regarding the rationale for the proposal, the sponsors mentioned the need to reduce the growing phenomenon of administrative corruption, favoritism and social relations at the expanse of efficiency, and reduce exploitation of the job for illegal gains.

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Saudi Arabia offers its expertise for training imams and preachers in Belgium

Wed, 2017-11-08 20:33

RIYADH: The Kingdom has offered its assistance for training imams and preachers in mosques and Islamic centers in Belgium, during discussions which took place between the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance and the visiting delegation from Belgium.

The joint meeting between the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi ministry was held on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs Riyadh.

The Saudi team was headed by the special adviser to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Zaid, and the Belgian group was headed by Dirk Achten, vice-minister and secretary-general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, who wrapped up his two-day visit to the capital on Tuesday. Belgian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Geert Criel was also present during the discussions.

Belgium has some 700,000 Muslims out of its 11 million population.

During the meeting, discussions focused on the issues of extremism, the fight against extremist ideas, religious fanaticism at various regional and international levels and its motives, methods of containment and treatment, and the conditions of religious institutions in Belgium.

During the meeting, the Islamic Affairs Ministry told the Belgium delegation what the ministry can provide in the field of training and qualifying imams and preachers in mosques and Islamic centers in Belgium.

Al-Zaid stressed the depth of relations between the Kingdom and Belgium in various fields, noting the Kingdom’s appreciation and respect for the Muslims in Belgium, pointing out that the mosque and the Islamic Center in Brussels was established by the Kingdom during the reign of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz.

The center, which was opened by King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz in 1978, remains as one of the first mosques and Islamic centers established in Europe.

He stressed that this center has been playing a great role in strengthening relations between the Kingdom and Belgium. He described Saudi-Belgian relations in the field of Islamic affairs as “age-old.”

During his brief visit to Riyadh, Achten held talks with officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the GCC Secretariat and also visited Mohamed bin Naif Center for Counseling and Care headquartered in Riyadh.

In an earlier interview with Ambassador Criel, the envoy said the talks of his country’s delegates with Saudi officials focused on countering extremism and they were also interested to learn more from the Kingdom’s experience in combating extremism.

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‘Historical Nights of Jubbah’ — a new touristic destination in Saudi Arabia

Wed, 2017-11-08 19:39

HAIL: The “Live Saudi Arabia” program, launched by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), has created a number of trips from Hail city to Jubbah in Hail province to encourage people to attend the “Historical Nights of Jubba” event and learn about the city’s rock art (petroglyphs), Jabal Umm Sinman and Jubbah’s civilization and growth.

The event, organized by SCTH in Hail, created several temporary career opportunities in the crafts, handicrafts and productive families’ pavilions.

Many families from Jubbah and surrounding villages display their products during the event at 15 pavilions.

“The Historical Nights of Jubbah event is a good opportunity to introduce the heritage of Jubbah and the petroglyphs found in the city, promote social conscience and strengthen citizens’ love for their homeland,” said the director general of SCTH’s branch in Hail, Faisal bin Khaled Al-Madani.

“This is achieved through educating the youth on their homeland’s accomplishments and different cultures as well as building cognitive and personal capacities; instilling positive values in the hearts and minds of the youth; encouraging them to play a part in introducing their country to the world; and introducing them to their country’s heritage,” he continued.

He pointed out that such tourism events aim to benefit the local community, which is the key driver of tourism activities, and he praised the efforts of the municipality of Jubbah, the Social Development Committee of Jubbah and all private sector partners.

The “Historical Nights of Jubba” event was organized by SCTH in Hail in conjunction with the first Saudi Antiquities Forum and in collaboration with the municipalities of Hail and Jubbah, the Tourist Development Council, and the committees of social and tourism development in Jubbah.

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Conserving archaeological and cultural heritage is part of Vision 2030, King Salman says

Thu, 2017-11-09 03:00

RIYADH: Conserving Saudi Arabia’s archaeological and cultural heritage is a part of Vision 2030, and the Kingdom is proud to be the birthplace of inspiration and the cradle of civilization, King Salman said on Wednesday.
In a speech delivered on the king’s behalf at the first Saudi Antiquities Forum, Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the governor of Riyadh, praised a Saudi archaeological expedition that has toured 11 museums in Europe, the US, China and South Korea.
The exhibition, called Saudi Archaeological Masterpieces Through the Ages, features 466 rare archaeological pieces presenting Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage and civilization.
The governor honored 140 Saudis who have donated archaeological pieces to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), revealed new archaeological locations and cooperated in maintaining the Kingdom’s cultural heritage.
He also presented the Abdul Rahman Al-Ansari awards to recipients who had best served Saudi heritage and antiquities.
It is named after Abdul Rahman Al-Ansari, the pioneer of archaeology in the Kingdom and the doyen of Saudi archaeologists. He was the first Saudi to study archaeology at the University of Leeds. Under his supervision, generations of Saudi archaeologists graduated. He led various archaeological surveys and explorations in different regions of the Kingdom for more than half a century. He was also involved in the first Saudi prospecting unit at Al-Faw village of Wadi Ad-Dawaser.
The Riyadh governor also honored groups participating in archaeological excavations in the Kingdom.
“Saudi Arabia holds the key to solving many mysteries of the prehistoric era due to its geographic location, which provided a gateway for early human migrations from East Africa to the ancient world’s continents,” Dr. Al-Abbas Sayed Ahmed of the University of Dongola, Sudan, told a scientific conference at the antiquities forum.
“Until recently, the Arabian Peninsula remained outside the world archaeology map due to historical circumstances that led to the scarcity of work in this field.”
Experts also discussed the depth of Saudi Arabia’s history, and referred to a collection of ancient rock carvings that reflect the evolution of human civilizations and their lifestyles.
Dr. Robin Engels, Professor of Archaeology at the University of York, said that although Saudi Arabia was the junction of ancient trade routes, only a few of the rock carvings and pictographs had been studied. “The southwestern region housed many pictographs that can help us understand ancient man’s passage to Africa,” he said.
Abdulrazzaq Al-Maamari, professor of Archaeology at King Saud University, presented a research paper in which he discussed how rock art provided evidence that ancient man crafted and used nets.
Robert G. Bednarik, the Australian prehistorian and cognitive archaeologist, said: “The carvings and drawings on rocks can be viewed and discussed using radioactive carbon and colors in order to discover the dates and information they convey.”
Dr. Majeed Khan, an archaeologist at the SCTH, presented photos of rock art found in different parts of Saudi Arabia, the most modern of which are 900 years old. They show that ancient man’s clothing was made of animal skin and not much different from that of modern man, which provides evidence that Saudi Arabia were a center for human activities in the ancient world and not merely a route for trade and convoys.
Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro, an anthropologist at the University of Islamabad, spoke about how Saudi civilizations reached East Asia, and said identical rock drawings of Arab camels had been found in both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

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Muslim World League chief lauds Saudi Arabia for opposition to extremism

Thu, 2017-11-09 03:00

RIYADH: The secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, said on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia has established itself as “an international platform to fight extremist ideas” and that the Kingdom has put into place “strong and effective procedures” to prevent the funding of terrorism.
Al-Issa — who is also the Kingdom’s minister of justice — was speaking to a high-level diplomatic delegation from Belgium headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Derek Ashton, in the presence of Belgian Ambassador to the Kingdom, Geert Criel.
Al-Issa briefed the delegation on the MWL’s own efforts to combat extremism, support moderation and strengthen cultural ties among people, stressing the League’s adoption of programs that promote civilized communication between the Islamic World and those with different political, religious, intellectual and cultural views, in accordance with its new vision.
He described the League as “a global umbrella for Islamic people that promotes the principles and values of peace, forgiveness, co-existence, and humanitarian cooperation.”
Al-Issa discussed June’s meeting in Makkah — organized by the MWL — of Islamic community leaders from around the world. The historic meeting, he said, resulted in an important report ascertaining that the League promotes religious, intellectual and cultural awareness and positive integration among Muslim minorities, and rejects extremism.
Al-Issa explained that while terrorists and extremists come from different intellectual and religious backgrounds, and some have no link to religion at all, they have unfortunately chosen Islam to be “the umbrella for their crimes that have nothing to do with religion.”
For his part, the Belgian deputy foreign minister praised the League’s new vision, its transparent approach and its efforts to support cultural integration programs.

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White House: Iran ‘prolonging Yemen war’

Thu, 2009-11-12 03:00

JEDDAH: Iran is prolonging the war in Yemen in pursuit of regional domination and is undermining UN efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict, the White House said on Wednesday.
The US accused Iran of supplying Yemen’s Houthi militias with advanced weapons, including ballistic missiles used to attack Makkah and Riyadh, echoing allegations made by Saudi Arabia.
A White House statement condemned Iran’s actions and pledged US support to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf partners against Tehran’s “blatant” violations of international law.
“Houthi missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, enabled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, threaten regional security,” the White House said. “These missile systems were not present in Yemen before the conflict, and we call upon the UN to conduct a thorough examination of evidence that the Iranian regime is perpetuating the war in Yemen to advance its regional ambitions.”
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Tuesday the missile attack on Riyadh on Saturday was a “direct military aggression by the Iranian regime.”
The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Saudi Arabia would “achieve nothing by threatening the might of Iran.”
James F. Jeffrey, former US ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Arab News: “It is symptomatic of what we have seen for 35 years: Iran expands and threatens and strikes via surrogates and refuses to admit responsibility.”
Countries affected by Iran’s policies over the years have had difficulty deterring Tehran from its destabilizing policies, Jeffrey said. “Until countries are willing to hit Iranian interests directly and bear the risks, this will just continue. US and Saudis should warn Iran: Another such attack and they will jointly strike a target in Iran. Nothing else will cause Iran to pause.”
Ellen Laipson, a Distinguished Fellow and President Emeritus of the Stimson Center in Washington, told Arab News: “Neither Tehran nor Riyadh appears ready to back down or find a path to a compromise and negotiated settlement of the crisis, and Iran would not necessarily be at the negotiating table. The stakes are higher for Saudi Arabia than for Iran, which sees Yemen as a target of opportunity rather than a vital national interest.”
Reports that Saudi Arabia had prevented the internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi from returning to Yemen were “lies,” the president’s office said on Wednesday.
The reports were part of a “systematic campaign targeting Saudi Arabia, which leads a battle to stop Iranian interference in Yemen and the region,” a spokesman said.

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$500m deals signed at Saudi investment forum

SIRAJ WAHAB | Arab News Staff
Thu, 2017-11-09 02:22

JEDDAH: King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) signed agreements worth SR2 billion ($533 million) with various companies on the sidelines of the Time Forum on Wednesday.
Time Forum is a platform where KAEC’s leaders can meet with partners from ministries, government agencies, the private sector and other interested parties.
More than 300 investors and leaders from business and government attended the forum, including representatives from international organizations, including the Young Professionals’ Organization (YPO) and a delegation of global leaders interested in the development of major global infrastructure projects.
KAEC’s new deals include an agreement with the General Customs Authority and the Economic Cities Authority (ECA) to establish a deposit and re-export zone in KAEC; an agreement to establish an auto-racing circuit at Lagoona and Marina Dreams; an agreement to establish a gas station; and an agreement to expand the Industrial Valley.
In addition, deals were signed in the real estate development, tourism and leisure, and administrative services sectors.
Time Forum was held under the patronage of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar.
In his address to the attendees, Al-Omar said: “Under Vision 2030, we are creating new growth engines in strategic sectors including transport, health care, ICT, renewable energy, and local manufacturing to drive greater economic diversification in the Kingdom.
“KAEC, which combines a strategic location, strong national and international connectivity, and a robust private-sector mindset, is an important part of our vision for the future.
“KAEC is one of the main development engines in the region and is witnessing rapid growth in a range of promising sectors such as infrastructure, services and facilities.
“The interaction and turnout of local, regional and international companies at the Time Forum shows the strength and attractiveness of the Saudi economy.”
Fahd Al-Rasheed, managing director and chief executive officer of KAEC, presented KAEC’s strategic vision, as well as its latest developments and achievements.
Al-Rasheed emphasized the important role that the Saudi government has played in the success of KAEC through its emphasis on the development of the non-oil economy.
He stressed the value of the public-private partnership model in attracting investors to the promising opportunities offered by KAEC.
Al-Rasheed also highlighted the key role played by the economic city in generating quality employment opportunities for young Saudis.
“At KAEC, we need to focus on the creation of jobs. That is our primary driver. Everything we are doing aligns with Vision 2030,” he said. “The vision is telling us where we are heading and what our pivot should be.”
Speaking to Arab News later in the day, Al-Rasheed revealed KAEC had launched new projects that offered investment opportunities worth more than SR7 billion.
“These are the investments that we are offering to the private sector to develop either entirely on their own or in partnership with us,” he said.
“These are opportunities that we want to develop and we will make sure that every investment we are offering today is delivered and developed.”
Al-Rasheed explained that, so far, KAEC had funded a number of different projects in their entirety but was now looking to establish partnerships with investors because “we believe that, ultimately, a city is built by hundreds of entities.”
He revealed that KAEC had already signed two hotel development deals, including one yesterday, along with “other real estate deals, such as compounds.”
Mohanud Helal, secretary-general of the Economic Cities Authority, said: “We take pride in KAEC’s achievements and we look forward to further growth in all developmental fields.
“Today, economic cities are among the social and economic pillars that attract large companies, embrace small and medium-sized enterprises, and provide residential solutions, career opportunities and modern lifestyles to meet people’s aspirations and the leadership’s ambitions.
“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently highlighted that the government is working with KAEC on 45 programs, showing the enormous support given by the Kingdom’s government to the private sector, which strengthens KAEC’s position on the national economic map.”
SAGIA chief Ibrahim Al-Omar declared that the Kingdom is “the hub of Arab and Islamic countries,” adding that since the launch of Vision 2030, the number of investment licenses SAGIA has issued is up 40 percent compared to last year.
“Investment is the major theme of the vision,” he said. “To increase foreign direct investment in our economy and to increase the contribution of the private sector.”
Talking of SAGIA chief Al-Omar’s focus on facilitating ease of investment in the Kingdom, Al-Rasheed told Arab News, “SAGIA is responsible for the investment environment in Saudi Arabia. We work with them because SAGIA can be a great enabler for us to attract global companies to KAEC.”
Al-Rasheed stated that he had told Al-Omar that KAEC was willing to offer considerable incentives to investors, including “the provision of free office space for five years, education and travel costs for their children, as well as subsidized accommodation.”
“We want to accelerate investment in the city. We have done this already in Industrial Valley, attracting 120 companies,” Al-Rasheed continued. “We believe that with partners we will do things faster and bigger.”

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