Saudi Arabia offers investment opportunities to Russian companies

Wed, 2017-11-08 03:00

RIYADH: As part of Saudi Vision 2030’s aim to diversify economic sources, the Kingdom has offered Russian companies the opportunity to set up “strategic partnerships in the industrial sector.”
The state-owned Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON), which has set up 35 world-class industrial cities across the Kingdom, revealed the plans for Russian collaboration here on Tuesday.
A statement from MODON, following a meeting with various Russian businessmen at its offices, said that Russian Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Vasily Osmakov had met with the National Industrial Clusters Development Program and MODON to discuss “the need for continued and increased coordination and cooperation between the Kingdom and Russia in all industrial sectors, especially mining.”
The statement said that Osmakov took the chance to highlight the role that Russian expertise could play in “the creation of integrated and transformational value-added industries that are globally competitive.”
MODON said the Russian minister and his accompanying delegation were briefed on investment opportunities in MODON’s industrial cities, as well as the various benefits that MODON provides to industrialists, such as incubators and ready-built factories, as well as economic advantages and attractive incentives.
The statement said that the authority’s plans to collaborate with Russian companies comes as “a continuation of the trade and investment talks between the Kingdom and Russia, which began in the Russian capital Moscow, during the visit of King Salman to Moscow last October.”
In another statement released to Arab News, Khalid Al-Salem, director general of MODON, explained that the authority has streamlined the period for issuing building permits in industrial cities from three days down to one day, which he claimed would encourage more investors and entrepreneurs to locate their businesses there.
Al-Salem said that MODON’s e-portal has made the process simple, fast, and cost-effective, as well as transparent. The e-portal can be used by investors for land allocation in industrial cities, renewal and transfer of contracts, approval of drawings and more.
Investment in MODON’s 35 industrial cities across the Kingdom had exceeded SR500 billion at the end of last year. There are more than 3,000 factories and over 6,000 industrial, service and logistics entities operating in the cities, with over 528,000 people employed.

Main category: 
Continue reading »

US ‘will not turn blind eye’ as Iran supplies missiles

Wed, 2017-11-08 05:00

JEDDAH: The US accused Iran on Tuesday of breaking international law by supplying ballistic missiles fired at Saudi Arabia, and said the US would “not turn a blind eye to these serious violations.”
“By providing these types of weapons to the Houthi militias in Yemen, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is violating two UN resolutions simultaneously,” said Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN.
“We encourage the UN and international partners to take the necessary action to hold the Iranian regime accountable.”
Iran supplied missiles fired at Makkah in July, and most recently at Riyadh last Saturday. Both were launched from Yemen. The Houthis boasted on Tuesday that they had ballistic missiles with a range of 1,500km and threatened to attack more cities in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Col. Aziz Rashed, an army spokesman with a Houthi-allied unit, warned travelers to stay away from Saudi and UAE airports. “All airports, ports, border crossings and areas of any importance to Saudi Arabia and the UAE will be a direct target of our weapons,” a Houthi spokesman told reporters in Sanaa, according to The Associated Press.
Haley has accused Iran in the past of illegal arms deals and military support in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria, and has repeatedly called on the UN Security Council to take a tougher stance.
Under the UN Security Council resolution that enshrines the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Tehran is prohibited from supplying, selling or transferring weapons outside the country unless approved in advance by the Security Council.
A separate UN resolution on Yemen bans the supply of weapons to militia chief Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, two Houthi commanders, Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, his son, and “those acting on their behalf or at their direction.”
Washington’s options now are to ask the Security Council’s 15-member Yemen sanctions committee to blacklist individuals or groups, or to seek a new Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on Iran. The latter is likely to be vetoed by Russia, according to a Reuters report.
In a phone conversation on Monday night, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that the involvement of the Iranian regime in supplying Houthi militias with missiles “is considered a direct military aggression by the Iranian regime and may be considered an act of war against the Kingdom.”
Johnson condemned the missile launch against Riyadh last Saturday and the deliberate targeting of civilians, and said Britain stood with Saudi Arabia in confronting security threats.
The missile launch was “most likely a war crime,” Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday, and was carried out by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said. “It was an Iranian missile launched by Hezbollah from territory occupied by the Houthis in Yemen,” Al-Jubeir said in an interview with CNN on Monday.
In the US, Pentagon spokesman Marine Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway said Saudi Arabia had exposed Iran’s “malign role in Yemen” and its provision of dangerous missile systems to Houthi militants. “We continue to maintain strong defense ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and work together on common security priorities to include combat operations against violent extremist organizations, and neutralizing Iran’s destabilizing influence in the Middle East region,” he said.
In Riyadh, Canadian Ambassador Dennis Horak condemned the missile attack on the city. “This attack constitutes a serious escalation in the conflict and poses a growing risk to regional stability and security,” he said in a written statement to Arab News.
“The intentional targeting of civilians cannot be tolerated and Canada calls on the Houthi rebels and their supporters to refrain from such indiscriminate attacks against civilians in both Yemen and Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, said: “It is clear that the leadership in Tehran is shipping more advanced missiles to Houthi militias with the specific aim of targeting major Saudi cities, such as Riyadh.
“Iran is already banned from proliferating advanced missiles to regional terrorist organizations like Lebanese Hezbollah, but they continue to move these deadly weapon systems which are ultimately used as a terror weapon to target civilians. The Houthi militias are copying Hezbollah’s playbook. The only real solution is to neutralize the problem at its source — the missile shipping and manufacturing centers in Iran.”
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani “care little about UN Security Council Resolutions where they can count on the Russian veto,” Shahbandar said.
“The only language they truly understand is that of power and deterrence. They must be made to believe that they have crossed a red line and that any further strategic missile strikes will be met with a crippling response.”

Main category: 
Continue reading »

Saudi Cabinet acclaims royal order to form anti-corruption committee

Wed, 2017-11-08 03:00

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday appreciated the royal order to form a supreme committee chaired by the crown prince to identify violations, crimes, individuals and entities involved in public corruption cases.
The Cabinet stressed that royal order emanates from the king’s responsibility toward the homeland and citizens and his consideration of the risks of corruption and its bad effects on the state at political, social, economic and security levels.
The weekly meeting was chaired by King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh.
The king began the session by briefing attendees on the outcome of his talks with US President Donald Trump; Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi; Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe; Italy Premier Paolo Gentiloni; Lebanon Premier Saad Al-Hariri; and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.
The Minister of Culture and Information Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad said that the Cabinet renewed the Kingdom’s condemnation of the launching of a ballistic missile by Houthi armed militias from Yemeni territories on the capital Riyadh to target populated civilian areas.
The Cabinet stressed that this hostile and indiscriminate action proved Iranian involvement in supporting Houthi armed groups with qualitative capabilities in defiance of the UN resolution 2216. It is considered as an open aggression targeting neighboring countries and international peace and security in the region and the world, and it affirms the Kingdom’s right to legitimate defense of its territory and people under Article 51 of the UN Charter.
Ministers dealt with the World Bank Group’s report on the Kingdom’s unprecedented progress in indicators of the ease of doing business after implementing many reforms and procedures that have improved the business and investment environment, as well as investor confidence.
The report also referred to the Kingdom’s ranking among the top 20 reformist countries in the world, and its position of second among the best high-income countries and G-20 countries in terms of implementing reforms to improve the business environment.
The Cabinet also pointed out the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of a UN committee report that the UN had presented $14 million to the so-called Yemeni Ministry of Education, an affiliate of Houthi militias which are planting thousands of mines inside Yemen and on the Saudi border. It asked for reconsideration of the report submitted to the committee to reflect the facts that had been ignored and the commitment of all UN organs to the relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2216, stressing that UN support for Houthi militias was unjustifiable or unacceptable.
Ministers expressed their condemnation of the recent truck-ramming accident in New York, the suicide bombing in Kabul and the two suicide attacks in Kirkuk, Iraq, which resulted in a number of victims and injuries. It expressed its condolences to the families of the victims, the US administration and people in addition to the governments and peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom’s firm stance rejecting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and the importance of international efforts to confront and eradicate it.

Main category: 
Saudi Cabinet reaffirms support to Yemen’s legitimate govt
Saudi Cabinet hails Trump’s Iran stance, reiterates KSA’s support for fight against terrorism
Saudi Cabinet praises Palestinian reconciliation efforts
Continue reading »

Crown prince decorates commander of naval forces with new military rank

Arab News
Tue, 2017-11-07 23:12

RIYADH: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday decorated Adm. Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Ghifaili with his new military rank on the occasion of the Royal Order appointing him as commander of the naval forces.

The crown prince congratulated the commander on this occasion, wishing him all success.

For his part, Al-Ghifaili expressed his appreciation of and thanks to King Salman and the crown prince for the great trust bestowed on him by the country’s leadership.

Main category: 
Continue reading »

Saudi crown prince accuses Iran of direct military aggression

Arab News
Tue, 2017-11-07 17:19

JEDDAH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iranian regime of direct military aggression against Saudi Arabia by supplying its Houthi militias with missiles, Saudi Press Agency reported.
“The involvement of the Iranian regime in supplying its Houthi militias with missiles is considered a direct military aggression by the Iranian regime and may be considered an act of war against the Kingdom,” the crown prince was quoted as saying during a telephone conversation with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
During the conversation, Johnson expressed his condemnation of the Iranian-allied Houthis launching a ballistic missile on Riyadh and denounced the deliberate targeting of civilians.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition said in a statement on Monday that the ballistic missiles being fired by Houthis from Yemen toward Saudi Arabia, including the one intercepted over Riyadh on Saturday night, were manufactured in Iran.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir also said that Saudi Arabia reserves the right to respond to hostile acts against it by Iran.
Johnson affirmed his country’s stand with the Kingdom in confronting security threats.
The two leaders also reviewed regional and international developments.

Main category: 
Missile attack on Riyadh ‘an act of war’ by Iran
Saudi-led Coalition closes land, sea and air ports in Yemen to stop Iranian arms smuggling
Iran ‘arming Houthis to attack Saudi Arabia, UAE’
Continue reading »

Trump expresses ‘great confidence’ in Saudi anti-corruption push

AP, Reuters, AFP
Mon, 2017-11-06 06:00

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump expressed “great confidence” in Saudi leaders Monday amid an ongoing anti-corruption push, writing in a tweet, “They know exactly what they are doing.”
In a two-part Twitter message sent from Tokyo, Trump said he has great confidence in King Salman and the crown prince, adding some of the arrested people “have been ‘milking’ their country for years!“

….Some of those they are harshly treating have been “milking” their country for years!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2017

Trump is addressing the arrests of prominent Saudi royals and business leaders ordered by a committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

The Saudi government has described the action as a sweeping effort to combat corruption.

It underscores an unprecedented restructuring of the kingdom as Prince Mohammed steps up a dramatic reform drive for a post-oil era while consolidating power before his eventual succession as king.
The US and Saudi Arabia have historically enjoyed close ties, which Trump re-affirmed in May when he visited the country in his first foreign trip since taking office.

Washington and Riyadh announced contracts worth more than $380 billion, including a $110 billion arms deal aimed at countering perceived threats from Iran and radical Islamists.

Trump spoke with King Salman by phone on Saturday, according to a readout from his office, in which he lauded the monarch and his son’s “recent public statements regarding the need to build a moderate, peaceful, and tolerant region” and urged the kingdom to choose Wall Street as a venue for the IPO of oil giant Aramco.

Main category: 
Cabinet reshuffle, crackdown on corruption in Saudi Arabia
Anti-graft committee will ‘create new era of financial transparency’ in KSA
Continue reading »

Condolences pour in over deputy governor of Asir Prince Mansour bin Muqrin’s death in air crash

Tue, 2017-11-07 03:00

JEDDAH: Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, deputy governor of Asir region, has been killed in a air crash, the Royal Court announced on Monday.
The prince, accompanied by officials, boarded a helicopter to tour a number of coastal projects west of Abha city on Sunday morning, the Interior Ministry’s security spokesman said.
While he was returning in the evening, contact with the helicopter was lost in the vicinity of the Reda reserve.
The funeral prayer will be performed at Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh after Asr prayer on Tuesday.
King Salman paid a visit to the palace of his brother Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz and offered condolences on the death of the son of Prince Muqrin.
For his part, Prince Muqrin consoled the king on the death of Prince Mansur and his accompanying delegation.
Later, King Salman received messages of condolences and sympathy from Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa; Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah; and Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said.


Main category: 
Saudi deputy governor and 7 others killed in helicopter crash
Saudi Coast Guard rescue 4 yachtsmen stranded off Asir coast
Abha named Capital of Arab Tourism 2017
Continue reading »

OIC pledges to cooperate with UNESCO for protection of cultural heritage

Tue, 2017-11-07 03:00

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Monday pledged to cooperate with UNESCO in fighting intentional destruction and illegal trafficking of the cultural heritage in conflict zones.
Addressing the 39th session of UNESCO’s general conference in Paris, OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen applauded the UN body’s call to include protection of cultural heritage in the tasks of peacekeeping missions and other global programs.
Al-Othaimeen said combating terrorism and extremist ideology is at the top of his organization’s agenda. In this regard, he said, the OIC has launched “Voice of Wisdom” project, which seeks to spread the concepts of tolerance and moderation.
The OIC, Al-Othaimeen added, seeks to raise awareness among the youth about the perils of joining the ranks of terrorist outfits.
The OIC chief also condemned Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and its persistent attempts to alter the demographics of the occupied East Jerusalem.
He urged the UNESCO to take necessary measures to ensure preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of the Palestinian state.
The OIC chief also met the newly elected director-general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, on the sidelines of the conference.
Heads of both the organizations reiterated their commitments to further strengthen cooperation to ensure protection of cultural heritage, access to quality education and technology for sustainable development.
Speaking at the UNESCO event, the director-general of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Abdul Aziz bin Othman Al-Twaijri, said proper education is crucial to lasting peace.
Therefore, he said, UNESCO has huge responsibility over its shoulders, especially in the current global scenario marked by political tensions, economic crises and armed conflicts.
“As a result, millions of children are deprived of their right to pursue a decent education in a normal atmosphere of security and stability,” Al-Twajiri said.
The ISESCO chief said education is a must for economic and political development.
He deplored the state of education in the developing word. “Today, the number of refugees in the world exceeds 50 million, 25 percent of whom are children…
“While ISESCO is monitoring this situation and making constant efforts to ensure access to education for refugee children … international cooperation in this important area is still a very pressing need,” Al-Twaijri said.
He expressed hope that UNESCO will play its due role in this regard.
The ISESCO director-general said the world should take necessary steps to save the present and future generations from the dangers of ignorance, extremism and terrorism.
“A real mobilization is required to ensure security and peace and equal education opportunities for all …” he said.

Main category: 
OIC calls for urgent action to save remaining Islamic cultural heritage
OIC calls for recognition of Palestine as independent state
OIC to discuss international prize for promoting tolerance, dialogue
Continue reading »

EU trade delegation visits Riyadh to boost ties in agri-food products

Tue, 2017-11-07 03:00

RIYADH: A 50-member trade delegation from the EU arrives in Riyadh on Tuesday to promote food and beverage products from Europe.
The delegation, led by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, consists of representatives of companies from 19 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. A number of pan-European producers’ will also be represented.
Michele Cervone D Urso, head of the EU delegation in Saudi Arabia, told Arab News on Monday that this is the first official delegation led by Hogan to the Kingdom.
Saudi’s rapidly expanding population and relatively high levels of disposable income make it an attractive market for EU agri-food producers. Last year, the Kingdom was the sixth largest export destination for agri-food from the EU, generating €4.6 billion ($5.3 billion).
The visit aims to enhance cooperation between the EU and Saudi Arabia in the field of agriculture and rural development, with a view to further developing bilateral trade in agri-food products.
Besides meeting officials at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), Hogan will meet his Saudi counterpart, Minister of Water, Environment and Agriculture, Abdul Rahman Al-Fadli to discuss bilateral trade between the EU and the Kingdom and the GCC.
Hogan will also hold talks with key officials from the Saudi Food Drug Authority (SFDA) and is slated to appear in the opening session of a business event in Riyadh, “Doing business in Saudi Arabia: Agri-Food Sector.”
Traditionally, trade relations between the Kingdom and the EU have taken place through the Gulf Cooperation Council and have focused primarily on industrial goods and energy resources.
The EU delegation will promote a wide variety of food and beverage products.

Main category: 
Britain frozen out as EU finance chiefs plot future
Boom in entrepreneurs expected after ban on Saudi women driving lifted
European chains ‘profit on back of Syrian refugees in Turkish factories’
Continue reading »