King Salman says to consider Japan’s request to support Tokyo listing of Aramco

Kiyoshi Takenaka | Reuters
Mon, 2017-03-13

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asked King Salman to support the listing of Saudi state oil giant Aramco shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, a Japanese senior government official said on Monday.
King Salman said that the kingdom would look into the request because he wants Japanese investors to buy Aramco shares, the official said after the two leaders met.
Bourses in Asia and elsewhere are vying to win the $100 billion listing.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka)

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King Salman’s visit to Japan, China to expand bilateral partnerships, says expert
King Salman arrives in Japan
King Salman starts Japan leg of Asian tour today
King Salman’s visit to Asian countries to achieve Vision 2030 aims, say experts

Saudi deputy crown prince heads to US for official visit, set to meet Trump

Mon, 2017-03-13

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman left the Kingdom on Monday for the United States where he is expected to meet President Donald Trump, according to an official Royal Court statement.
Prince Mohammed, who will begin the official trip on Thursday, will meet Trump and senior US officials to discuss “the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries and regional issues of mutual interest.”
The prince is spearheading the kingdom’s economic overhaul to become less dependent on oil and its major investments in US technology firms.
No details were given on when he would meet Trump. He will be the first Gulf Arab royal to meet the president since his inauguration.
Key issues at the top of the agenda are likely to include discussion on global energy prices, as well as the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition backed by Washington has been bombing Iran-backed Shiite rebels for nearly two years.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and biggest buyer of American-made arms, is also part of the US-led coalition bombing campaign against the Daesh group in Syria.
The trip takes place less than a year after Prince Mohammed visited Silicon Valley to sell his vision of market-oriented reforms and a transformation of the kingdom’s society.
By freeing the kingdom from the statist model of its past, he hopes ultimately to create new private sector jobs for younger people in a country where half the population of 21 million Saudis — there are also 10 million expatriates — are estimated to be under 25.
Younger Saudis face entrenched unemployment, a skills shortage, a lack of housing and growing pressure on living standards as the kingdom’s oil income grows ever less able to finance the needs of a rising population.
Before his departure for the United States, Prince Mohammed met Citigroup’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat in Riyadh on Sunday to discuss investment opportunities in the kingdom and globally, SPA reported.
(With input from AP & AFP)

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Iraqi delegation in Riyadh for political, economic talks

Mon, 2017-03-13

RIYADH: An Iraqi delegation arrived in Riyadh on Sunday to discuss political and economic issues of mutual concern between the two countries, a Saudi Foreign Ministry spokesman told Arab News.
The meetings were headed by the Saudi Foreign Ministry undersecretary for political and economic affairs, Dr. Adel bin Siraj Mirdad, and the Iraqi Foreign Ministry undersecretary for bilateral affairs, Nazar bin Eisa Al-Khairallah.
The talks followed a visit last month by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir to Iraq, during which he met with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari.
Al-Jubeir expressed happiness at visiting Iraq for the first time, saying the Kingdom stands equidistant from Iraq’s various communities, and describing his meeting with Al-Abadi as positive and fruitful.
Al-Jubeir congratulated Iraq on its achievements in countering terrorism, stressing the desire of both countries to eliminate the scourge.

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Saudi envoy: King’s visit to Japan has paramount importance, significance

Arab News
Mon, 2017-03-13

TOKYO: King Salman’s visit to Japan is of vital importance and significance because he is highly respected and appreciated by the Japanese, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Japan, Ahmed bin Younes Al-Barrak said.
In a statement to Saudi Press Agency, Al-Barrak said the king demonstrates resolve for his decisions in both the domestic and foreign policies.
Al-Barrak said the visit of king to Japan is “a big event in the process of the Saudi-Japanese friendship relations between the two countries that translate and reflect the extent and strength of these relationships. The visit is particularly important, being the king’s first visit to Japan since assuming the reins of power in the Kingdom.”
He said that Japan contributes to greater stability and peace in the world, including the Middle East, and participates in the efforts of the international community to shoulder its responsibility toward various issues.
He pointed out that there is political coordination and consistency in positions with the Kingdom in many regional and international issues, including the Arab peace initiative, the prohibition of nuclear weapons, the importance of achieving security and stability and supporting legitimacy in Yemen, achieving the aspirations of the Syrian people, and the fight against terrorism.
The ambassador said that during the visit several agreements will be signed in the trade, investment, scientific, cultural and health fields to enhance cooperation and open new opportunities.
Japan and Saudi Arabia have developed a good relationship over more than 60 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1955.
Al-Barrak said economic and trade data confirmed the volume of trade exchange between the two exceeds $50 billion. The Kingdom is one of the top 10 trading partners of Japan. Japan also is the third largest trading partner Saudi Arabia.
Al-Barrak has also said that Japan is one of the destinations for Saudi students who want to continue their educational process. There are currently 400 Saudi students, mostly studying in different scientific disciplines in Japan.
He said the visit by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, deputy crown prince, second deputy prime minister and defense minister, to Japan last year “has laid a solid platform for the form and nature of the joint strategic framework between the two countries through ambitious and promising visions and ideas.”
The successive summit meetings between the leaderships of the two countries have significantly contributed to promote the exchange at the national level for both countries.
He said that Japan is seeking to develop ideas to support the economic, investment and business partnerships in line with the Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030, including the transfer of technology and investment in the industrial sector and technological industries.

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Wanted terrorist killed in Qatif

Author: Mohammed Al-SulamiMon, 2017-03-13ID: 1489356273909735700JEDDAH: Saudi security forces killed the wanted terrorist, Waleed Al-Areed, who was involved in several crimes committed against security men and citizens in the town of Awwamiyy…

Israel last country to talk about justice, says Jordanian official

Hani Hazaimeh
Mon, 2017-03-13

JEDDAH: Israel is the last country to talk about justice, as its hands are full of Palestinian blood, Nabil Al-Sharif, Jordan’s former minister of information, told Arab News on Sunday following Israeli reaction to the release of Ahmed Dagamseh after serving 20 years in jail.
Dagamseh, who was jailed in 1997 after shooting dead seven Israeli girls, was released on Sunday after serving a life sentence. In his first statement to the media, the father of three girls said that he is not a politician and wants nothing to do with politics.
“I just want to spend what’s left of my life with my family and beloved ones. I am not a politician nor interested in politics,” Dagamseh said in a statement to Al-Jazirah TV upon arrival to his hometown Ebdar in the northern governorate of Irbid some 100 km from the capital Amman.
The news of his release was welcomed by Jordanian society, which had been eagerly awaiting Dagamseh’s release.
However, Israelis were outraged, describing Dagamseh as a murderer who should remain in prison. But Al-Sharif said Israel is not in a position to express outrage.
“The is a pure Jordanian internal affairs issue. Dagamseh did what he did and was found guilty by the court, which sentenced (him) to life imprisonment. The man served his time and was released. The Israeli hands are stained with Palestinian blood and they are the last nation in the world to talk about justice,” Al-Sharif said.
“They should look at the murders committed by Israeli soldiers on a daily basis against innocent Palestinians before judging others,” he added.
Dagamseh’s cousin, Mohammed Yahya Dagamseh, told AFP by phone: “The authorities released Ahmad Dagamseh this Sunday around 1 a.m. after he finished his jail term. He is now a free man.”
Ahmed Dagamseh, a fomer soldier, was released from the Bab Al-Hawa prison in Irbid. Videos circulated on social media showed Dagamseh greeting relatives and posing for selfies with visitors.
Dagamseh, who suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes, was hospitalized in 2014 after he went on a five-day hunger strike to demand his release.
Al-Sharif, however, said things should not be taken out of perspective.
“Exaggerated celebration of Dagamseh’s release is unnecessary and sends a wrong message to the world. He should be left alone and given space to have a normal life with his family,” he said.
In March 1997, Dagamseh fired an automatic weapon at Israeli schoolgirls on a trip to the Jordan-Israel border, killing seven of them and wounding five others and a teacher.
He had been sentenced to life imprisonment, which in Jordan is equivalent to 20 years.
A family member said he was 46 years old at the time of his release, which would have made him 26 when he was sentenced.
Dagamseh, who is originally from Irbid’s Bani Kananah area near the Israeli border, was a married father of three at the time.
His motives were never entirely clear, but he told the National Security Court at his trial that he fired his weapon at the schoolgirls after they mocked him while he was praying.
Jordan’s late King Hussein condemned the attack and later traveled to Israel to offer his condolences to the families of the murdered schoolgirls. Amman also paid compensation.
Dagamseh was driven home on Sunday in a convoy of dozens of cars whose drivers were honking their horns, a video shared on social media showed.

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King Salman’s visit to Japan, China to expand bilateral partnerships, says expert

Arab News
Mon, 2017-03-13

RIYADH: The visit of King Salman to Japan and China will add momentum to trade and investment relations with the Kingdom, according to an expert.
The visit, expected to result in the signing of several agreements, will expand partnerships between the Saudi business sector and Japanese and Chinese counterparts, Tariq Al-Qahtani, the board chairman of the Saudi-Japanese Business Council, told local media.
The Council of Saudi Chambers is dispatching two business delegations during the king’s visit to Japan and China, he said
Meanwhile, the Saudi-Japanese business forum will explore aspects of cooperation and shed light on strategic partnerships between Japan and the Kingdom, he said.
He said Japan is a key partner and strategic ally of the Kingdom, adding that cooperation covers many areas, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), young businessmen, knowledge exchange, technology transfer and localization, and training.
Saudi Arabia and Japan maintain strong economic relations. Japan is considered a key trade partner of the Kingdom.
The volume of trade between the two countries reached SR117.9 billion in 2015. Saudi exports to Japan stood at SR80.6 billion. Saudi imports from Japan reached SR37.2 billion, a trade balance of SR43.3b in favor of the Kingdom, Saudi Press Agency said.
In 2014, the volume of trade exchange between the two countries stood at SR194 billion. Saudi exports to Japan reached SR156 billion and its imports from Japan totaled SR37 billion, or a trade balance of SR113 billion in favor of the Kingdom. The Kingdom’s key exports to Japan were represented in oil products, methanol and petrochemicals. Imports from Japan focused on vehicles and heavy industries, SPA said.
The number of Saudi-Japanese joint ventures in the Kingdom reached 83 projects, including 24 industrial and 59 non-industrial plans. The volume of capital invested in these projects hit SR56 billion, and the number of Saudi employees stood at 3,759, with a Saudization rate of 45 percent.

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Saudi Civil Affairs inaugurates services for deaf

Mon, 2017-03-13

RIYADH: Crown Prince Mohammed bin NaIf said the Saudi government is eager to harness all human and material potential to better serve citizens, residents and visitors.
While chairing the meeting of the Ministry of Interior’s Agency for Civil Affairs at his office on Sunday, Prince Mohammed instructed agency workers to provide special services to citizens throughout the Kingdom by relying on better investments in human capital through specialized training.
During the meeting, Prince Mohammed also inaugurated the “Al-Mowathaf Badr” program targeting the deaf and hard of hearing, which focuses on providing immediate translation for the deaf.
He also launched a fleet of 32 fully equipped vehicles to serve provinces and villages where there are no Civil Affairs offices.
He also launched the issuance of the mobile bag equipped with the “Taqdeer” service and geared toward elderly and special needs individuals who are unable to visit Civil Affair offices in person.

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King Salman to hold talks with Japanese premier today

Ghazanfar Ali Khan
Mon, 2017-03-13

RIYADH: King Salman, whose ongoing visit to Japan has rich political and economic connotation for the two countries, will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

On arrival, Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito and top Japanese officials at Haneda airport greeted the king and his entourage of about 1,000 members.
“King Salman is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday, while the king will attend a lunch banquet hosted by Japanese Emperor Akihito on Tuesday,” said Setsuo Ohmori, charge d’affaires at the Japanese Embassy, here on Sunday. He said that several agreements would be signed during the royal visit.
“Some of them include an accord for implementation of Saudi-Japan Vision 2030, cooperation in the field of trade and investment, agreement in the field of art and culture, industry, health care, science and technology, education and sports,” said Ohmori. He said the Japanese Embassy will release details of the agreements after formal endorsement by both sides.
Ohmori said that an order named “Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of Chrysanthemum” will be conferred on the king. “This is the order of the highest rank and conferred exclusively to the kings and high-profile royalties,” said the diplomat.
Commenting on the visit of the king to Japan, an SPA report quoting Norihiro Okuda termed the visit as “important,” which will enhance bilateral relations between the two countries. Okuda said, “the regional issues in Asia and the Middle East would dominate the agenda of the meetings of the two leaderships, who are keen to achieve international peace and stability.”
He added that an earlier visit to Japan undertaken by Deputy Crown Prince, and Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman was a good opportunity that led to the cementing of relations between the two countries.
The envoy said that the Kingdom remains the key and dependable oil supplier to Japan, while Saudi Arabia will remain one of the key importers of Japanese industrial products. “This is a good proof that the future trade relations between the two countries will be promising and bright,” he added.

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Exclusive: Italy’s foreign affairs undersecretary sees ‘political solution’ to Yemen crisis

Mon, 2017-03-13

JEDDAH: Italy is working alongside Saudi Arabia to find an end to the ongoing conflict in Yemen, said Vincenzo Amendola, undersecretary of state for foreign affairs. As a non-permanent member of the United Nation’s Security Council (UNSC) starting this year, Italy is working on pushing efforts to find a political solution to this conflict.

In a recent two-day visit to Riyadh and Jeddah, the Italian undersecretary of state met with the UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and the Secretary General of the GCC Abdullatif Al-Zayani in Riyadh.
“The meeting was to confirm our common work on creating a political order in the Middle East that is now shaken by conflict,” Amendola told Arab News in an exclusive interview during his visit to Jeddah. He added that Italy is coordinating with the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Yemen.
“We are deeply involved in finding a political solution to this conflict,” he said. “We think that the base is already clear in the Kuwait dialogue when the UN proposed a solution that unfortunately the Houthis did not accept.”
He added that his country stands for political negotiation. “There are no other means,” he said. “The other means cost much more, especially cost human lives … the main way out for the conflict for Italy is always the political negotiations. So on the base of the work of the UN resolution, the Kuwait negotiations and the GCC proposals … we will work a lot in the Security Council to help the GCC (Gulf Council Countries) to go out from this conflict.”
He pointed to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) support of Italy’s role in political negotiations during the Italian foreign delegation’s visit to the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah.

Syrian refugee crisis
Italy along with the rest of Europe is creating a human corridor to move the most vulnerable Syrian refugees from refugee camps in Lebanon by flights “so they don’t risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean,” said Amendola. “We think that Syrians are one of the communities in terms of refugees that are suffering the most.”
Italy has received 1,000 Syrian refugees, which the Italian diplomat said, “is not a large number.” But he said he believes that Europeans should continue to help Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and all the countries that are hosting the refugees. Having escaped a conflict in their country, Syrians have a status of protection and inclusion. But many of them want to go back Syria once the conflict is over.
“So what we have to do is not only to host them in Europe or in Italy, but to stop the conflict and to have political solution that can provide us the possibility to rebuild the country and give them hope and possibility to stay safe,” said Amendola.

Italian efforts in Libya
Italy was the first country to reopen its Embassy in Libya in January 2016. The Italian efforts that to a large extent are shared with the Kingdom, according to Amendola, is to find an internal Libyan political agreement based on the UNSC Resolution 259 that is the framework for the political accord.
“Everyone has to work inside the country (through) the embassies or outside like all the friends in the region to help the Libyans set up their political agreement,” said Amendola.
Libya has been fighting to liberate the country from terrorist organization in the battle of Sirte and there are still ongoing operations in Benghazi, he said.
“The role of the regional actors is to bring the unity of the Libyan leadership. Our stress is to be in force all together to find a stable unity for the country,” he added.
The instability in Libya has created an environment for illegal migration from Africa to Europe. According to the Italian diplomat, 90 percent of migrants coming to Italy are from Africa escaping poverty and conflicts in their countries especially on the west coast of the continent and the horn of Africa.
He urged treating the problem from the roots and having a long-term political and economical investment that Europe could work on to help Africa. “Our proposal that we are working on in the European Union (EU) is that we invest in the countries from which the migrants are running away… This could also be a possibility of a common cooperation with the GCC to help the African countries to stand up and help their own development.”

Cultural exchange
The Italian diplomat underlined the importance of cultural exchange in the time of conflict. Showing harmony despite ethnic or religious differences in the time of Daesh is vital. He said the Middle East, especially around the Mediterranean, takes pride for being full of differences, culturally, religiously and ethnically, even within one country.
“If we see countries like Iraq, Lebanon, Syria… historically (they) were places of differences and they were living together,” he said, adding the best counter-narrative against a terrorist organization like Daesh is to show the differences and that dialogue is possible at cultural and religious levels.

Italian-Saudi economic collaboration and Vision 2030
Saudi Arabia is Italy’s first economic partner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, said Amendola who discussed launching the Saudi-Italian joint commission to boost the collaboration at an economic and business level.
“We saw in the Vision 2030 (that) Italy could be a partner,” he said. “Our economical system and our entrepreneurship can be partner for this project.
Enhancing the small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) is part of the Vision, Italy believes it can contribute in that sector being a country where SMEs form the largest segment of its GDP (gross development product).
“Within the Vision 2030, Italy can offer development of small medium-sized enterprises in terms of exchanging and creating a local economical infrastructure here (in Saudi Arabia) for SMEs,” he said.
He said that despite Italy being the top MENA economic partner, Amendola would like the Italian Embassy and consulate to do much more in terms of joint work with the Kingdom, not just in terms of trade, but also in terms of proposing some Italian business partner working from inside the Kingdom.
He added: “This means creating employment, prosperity and joint venture with local actors. It’s not just a question of selling and trading goods. But for us it’s also a question of coming and producing a “made in Italy” and not just selling a “made in Italy.”

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