Cabinet lauds Riyadh conference on defeating Daesh

Tue, 2017-01-17

RIYADH: The Cabinet, chaired by King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace on Monday, commended the Kingdom’s hosting of a conference aimed at enhancing efforts by Islamic and friendly countries to defeat the Daesh terror group.
Representatives of the Anti-Daesh Global Coalition participated in a conference in Riyadh on Sunday, which pledged to defeat Daesh, with a focus on identifying the operational needs.
The Cabinet said the conference embodied the Kingdom’s commitment to continue with its support for global efforts to counter terror organizations.
The Cabinet commended the final communique of the conference and its pledge to continue efforts so as to stamp out Daesh, as it represents a danger and threat to peace in the region and the global community.
The Cabinet also congratulated King Salman for winning the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam this year in recognition of his care and service to the Two Holy Mosques and their visitors.
The Cabinet also listened to a number of reports on the latest developments at regional and international levels and voiced strong condemnation of terror acts in a number of Afghan cities, which led to the killing and injuring of dozens of people including the death of five citizens from the United Arab Emirates.
“These heinous terrorist acts are contrary to Islamic values,” the Cabinet asserted.
On regional issues, the Cabinet explored the outcome of the Middle East peace conference in Paris and reaffirmed the Kingdom’s long-standing policy on the Palestinian cause, saying that the two-state solution and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions are the only basis for solving the conflict, which was adopted by the Arab Peace Initiative.
On domestic affairs, the Cabinet commended the Ministry of Housing for launching the first phase of a housing program that comprises 280,000 residential and funding projects Kingdom-wide, including 120,000 housing units in partnership with the private sector.
The projects will be allocated in 2017 and delivered within three years, in addition to 75,000 plots of land and 85,000 support funds subsidized by the government in partnership with the Real Estate Development Fund, banks and financial institutions.
The Cabinet also approved a number of decisions including an agreement on air transport services with Tajikistan, and a memorandum of understanding between the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and the Heritage Administration of the People’s Republic of China for cooperation in the area of cultural heritage.

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KSrelief: Donations to Syria aid campaign exceed SR382 million

Arab News
Tue, 2017-01-17

RIYADH: Donations to a Saudi campaign to raise funds for those affected by the Syrian conflict have exceeded SR382 million ($102 million), an official has said.
Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabiah, supervisor-general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) confirmed that the popular campaign ordered by King Salman is still ongoing.
“The campaign’s donations until today (Monday) amounted to SR382,800,868,” Al-Rabiah said in a press statement, noting that the center operates and distributes relief within Syria through partners under a KSrelief supervisory team.
The Saudi National Campaign to support Syrians continues to provide relief to displaced people in northern Syria within the initiative it launched under the title “For you, O Aleppo.”
The campaign has delivered basic relief items to the Turkish-Syrian border region, specifically in the area of Bab Al-Hawa.
Khaled Al-Salama, director of the Saudi National Campaign office in Turkey, said that the initiative comes after the recently bloody events in Aleppo.
“The convoys loaded with relief materials were allowed to pass after coordination with the concerned Turkish government agencies to ensure that these aids are delivered to beneficiaries and to cover the largest possible number of displaced Syrians in the camps bordering Turkey from the Syrian side,” Al-Salama said.
Dr. Badr bin Abdulrahman Al-Samhan, regional director of the campaign, stressed that the relief effort “is a confirmation of the sincere stand with displaced Syrian brothers, who are suffering a lack of humanitarian and relief services since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, in order to fill their needs and alleviate their suffering.”
The aid delivered to the people inside Syria include 400,000 coats, 176,000 large blankets, 188,000 blankets for children, 288,000 sets of heavy clothes, 144,000 winter shirts and 172,000 women’s shawls.

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Prince Khaled Al-Faisal calls for workshop to update development strategy

Fouzia Khan
Tue, 2017-01-17

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal called for a workshop on Tuesday to update the public-private partnership in the Kingdom and Makkah region’s development strategy.
The region’s development strategy program was launched almost seven years ago under the patronage of Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Jeddah Gov. Prince Misha’al bin Majed.
Sultan bin Arar Dossari, spokesman of the Makkah Governorate, said with participation from various agencies, they will discuss strategic planning and a road map for the development of the Kingdom’s regions and youth programs. Particular attention will focus on the integral progress of the various provinces and regions. They will also discuss a 10-year plan for the development of the region, as well as development of the people of the region.
Dossari said the development of the Makkah-area strategy has seen the launch of many different projects to develop the place and build a human development strategy for the development of the region.
He noted that the workshop falls within the efforts of the Makkah Governorate to achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, believing in the importance of working as a team that includes all segments of society, and consolidates efforts under one umbrella.
Dossari indicated that since the beginning of the program, the Governorate of Makkah has 2,568 projects under way, of which, 560 are new projects. There are 739 projects in small provinces in line with the strategic plan aimed to achieve a balanced and parallel development.

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Spanish king keen on boosting Saudi trade ties

Tue, 2017-01-17

RIYADH: Spanish King Felipe VI expressed Monday his country’s desire to bolster economic, trade and investment relations with Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), the visiting king said that bilateral relations between the two countries rest on a long-standing historical and cultural base.
Saudi Arabia and Spain are already established trading partners, with Spain ranking third among the biggest European importers from the Kingdom, King Felipe VI said at the chamber.
The king said that the presence of many Spanish companies and their contribution to developmental projects in the Kingdom is proof of the technical experience of the Spanish companies.
He voiced the desire of Spanish companies to contribute to the objectives set under the Vision 2030 reform plan and the National Transformation Program.
The success achieved by the Spanish companies in implementing developmental projects in the Kingdom is considered a stimulus to implement more projects, the king underscored.
Ahmad Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, chairman of the board of directors of the RCCI, said the Spanish king’s visit will give a boost to Saudi-Spanish relations.
“Saudi (Arabia’s) business sector appreciates the level of relations between the two countries, thanks to the support of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and King Felipe VI,” he said.
The Spanish king earlier paid a visit to the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE), where he was welcomed by the city’s president, Hashem Abdullah Yamani.
During the meeting they discussed various aspects of mutual cooperation in the field of the peaceful use of atomic and renewable energy.
The visiting king, accompanied by Minister of Culture and Information Adel Al-Toraifi, was briefed on K.A.CARE’s programs in the field of sustainable energy.

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Best global practices to help strengthen consumer protection: Minister

Mohammed Rasooldeen
Tue, 2017-01-17

RIYADH: Best global practices will be implemented in an effort to better protect consumers in Saudi Arabia, Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qassabi said recently.
The minister was chairing the first Consumer Protection Standing Committee Meeting held at his ministry headquarters in Riyadh. The meeting was attended by representatives from all government agencies.
The agenda included the preparation of a national strategy for government agencies to play a part in protecting consumers and ensuring their rights.
The minister said the committee has been tasked to implement best global practices relevant to consumer protection, and to review the current regulations and legislation in the Kingdom.
Dr. Mohammed Al-Nasser, executive director of the Local Markets Control at the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, expressed his optimism for launching the agenda of the Consumer Protection Standing Committee.
“The first meeting of the aforementioned committee was fruitful during which the participants exchanged views and experiences in the field of consumer protection,” Al-Nasser noted.

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Germany ready to share expertise for Saudi Vision 2030

Mohammed Rasooldeen
Tue, 2017-01-17

RIYADH: Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder said here on Monday that his country is ready to cooperate with the Kingdom and share its expertise in the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030.
Schroder, who was leading a trade delegation from his country, was addressing local business people in the capital at the headquarters of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC).
The former chancellor said he was representing a number of German companies to discuss the economic cooperation between the two countries. He pointed out that these companies are willing to participate in the Vision 2030 plan.
“Even in the implementation of the National Transformation Program 2020, we have the necessary expertise to share with the Kingdom’s private sector for its successful implementation,” he added.
Schroder is on a three-day visit to the Kingdom in his capacity as chairman of the German Near and Middle East Association (NUMOV). During his stay in the capital, Schroder is meeting Saudi officials to boost relations with Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia.
CSC vice president Shuwaim Al-Qitab said the two countries enjoy a long history of bilateral relations, with trade reaching $12.6 billion in 2015, compared with $6.9 billion in 2006.
Al-Qitab called for several agreements between the two countries and asked the delegates to form partnerships with the Kingdom in mining, industry services and renewable energy.
German Ambassador Dieter Haller said in a statement that he hoped Schroder’s visit would boost links with the Kingdom. “Our close coordination in bilateral fields, as well as at multilateral fora as two G20 members, has been very intense,” said the envoy.
He said that the Kingdom and Germany have been working closely to boost “peace efforts,” and that security cooperation and commercial engagements are the major components of Saudi-German relations.

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OIC: Arab initiative remains realistic opportunity for Mideast peace

Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.
Tue, 2017-01-17

RIYADH: Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) officials said on Sunday at the Paris international conference that the Arab peace initiative remains a realistic opportunity in the Middle East.
OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen said the participation of of OIC member states at the conference indicated their commitment to supporting the Palestinian people’s rights.
He said the Arab initiative is still a historic, serious and realistic opportunity, and a courageous step toward peace, stability and security in the region.
He reiterated the OIC’s position welcoming the adoption of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2334, which condemns Israeli settlements and demands a halt to their construction in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.
He expressed hope that the resolution would be a step toward the UNSC carrying out its responsibilities and embodying a political reference that would enhance the chances of success of the Paris conference to achieve desired objectives.
These include the launch of a timed multilateral political process to end the Israeli occupation and achieve peace based on the two-state vision.
Al-Othaimeen reaffirmed that East Jerusalem is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories, and the capital of the State of Palestine.
He referred to the religious and spiritual centrality of the city, and the eternal ties of Muslims worldwide to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
He said this asserts the need to respect and ensure the unquestionable right of Muslims to practice their religious rights there.
Samir Bakr, OIC assistant secretary general for Palestine affairs, attended the preparatory meeting of senior officials to the conference on Saturday.
A joint declaration was agreed on at the preparatory meeting in Paris, attended by 69 delegates, which affirmed the international community’s commitment to the two-state solution. The joint declaration was formally adopted at the international conference.

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Saudi Arabia says optimistic on Trump, welcomes stance on Iran, Daesh

Mon, 2017-01-16

PARIS: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Monday he was optimistic about the incoming US administration especially the way it wanted to restore American influence in the world, contain Iran and fight Daesh.
Speaking to reporters in Paris, Al-Jubeir said that proposed talks in the Kazakh capital Astana aimed at reaching a cease-fire in Syria were worth testing, but warned that ties with arch rival Iran remained “tense” and could only improve if Tehran’s “aggressive actions” stopped.
He also said that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union would not have an impact on Riyadh’s relationship with London or the bloc.

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Royal visit a boost to Saudi-Spanish ties

Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.
Mon, 2017-01-16

RIYADH: The three-day visit to Saudi Arabia by Spain’s King Felipe Vl “is a shot in the arm for Saudi-Spanish bilateral trade relations,” said Abdullah Al-Meleihi, a board member of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, on Sunday.

Spanish Ambassador Joaquin Perez Villanueva said King Felipe Vl’s visit “is mainly intended to exchange notes on subjects of mutual interest … and drum up support for consolidating economic relations.”
The Spanish king’s delegation comprises a high-level delegation that was expected to meet local business leaders to promote bilateral trade and investment.
“Spain has longstanding … economic relations with the Kingdom, thanks in part to the excellent relationship between former King Juan Carlos and the Saudi royal family,” said Villanueva.
Al-Meleihi, president of Al-Ramez International Group, said: “Saudi Arabia as a country needs know-how, which Spain has in various sectors such as mining, solar energy and construction, among others.”
He added that the visit engenders the transfer of technology, paving the way for Saudi Arabia to eventually export its own finished products to other countries instead of raw materials.
“It would be in stark contrast to the situation some 30 years ago when we were after imports and looking for foreign investors to come to our country for investment purposes,” said Al-Meleihi, whose group is an investor in Euromarche, a major shopping center in the Saudi capital, and in other business ventures.
Dr. Yasser Al-Harbi, a member of the Saudi-Spanish Business Council, said he hoped the meetings would bolster bilateral trade.
“The Saudi and Spanish leaderships have been enjoying a good friendship for a long time now, and we in the private sector in the Kingdom consider Spain a good partner in technology and knowledge transfer,” said Al-Harbi, who is also vice chairman of the Aparal Group, which is involved in information and communications technology (ICT) in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is Spain’s third-largest trade partner in the Arab world, and is ranked 12th among exporting countries to Spain from outside the EU.
The two countries are near to finalizing a $2.1 billion deal that will see Spain sell five warships to Saudi Arabia.
Spain is also involved in the $22.5 billion Riyadh Metro project, also called the King Abdulaziz Project for Riyadh Public Transport. The Spanish construction group FCC leads the FAST consortium in the ongoing project.
The Metro system will meet the demand of the city’s growing population while reducing congestion in the city. The population in Riyadh by 2030 is expected to reach 8 million.
The FCC said Riyadh Metro is the largest international contract in the history of construction in which a Spanish company has been awarded a contract. The contract covers the design and construction of three lines totaling 64.6 km.
Spain is also involved in building a high-speed rail line between Makkah and Madinah. Major Spanish companies such as Talgo, OHL, Adif and RENFE formed a consortium and won the railway project in 2011.

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