King Salman, Trump begin consultations on fighting terror, Syria safe zone

Author: 
Joyce Karam | Special to Arab News
Mon, 2017-01-30
ID: 
1485729441330091400

WASHINGTON: In his first phone call to an Arab leader, US President Donald Trump discussed with Saudi King Salman bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud yesterday a full range of bilateral and regional issues, including extensive coordination in combatting terrorism, establishing safe zones in Syria and deepening Saudi-American economic ties.
The call which according to a White House official occurred at at 1:30 p.m. Washington time (9:30 p.m. Riyadh time) was attended at the oval office by Trump’s most senior advisers. The pool report noted that US national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump’s son-in-law and trusted adviser Jared Kushner, the chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon as well as the White House spokesperson Sean Spicer were in the room. 
In a statement released by the White House few hours later, the Trump administration confirmed that the “two leaders reaffirmed the longstanding friendship and strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.” On the issues, Trump and King Salman “agreed on the importance of strengthening joint efforts to fight the spread of radical Islamic terrorism and also on the importance of working jointly to address challenges to regional peace and security, including the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.”
On Syria particularly both leaders agreed “support safe zones in Syria and as well as other ideas to help the many refugees who are displaced by the ongoing conflicts.” The phone call also discussed Iran, with mutual agreement “on the importance of rigorously enforcing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and of addressing Iran’s destabilizing regional activities.”
Bilaterally, Trump “voiced support for the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic program and expressed a desire to explore additional steps to strengthen bilateral economic and energy cooperation.” The White House also confirmed that King Salman passed an invitation to Trump “to lead a Middle East effort to defeat terrorism and to help build a new future, economically and socially, for the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region.” King Salman was also the first Arab leader to congratulate Trump in a statement after winning the election on November 9th.
Both world leaders extended invitations to boost bilateral ties and cooperation and agreed to schedule visits in the upcoming period.
President Trump also had a phone call with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Sunday during which they explored ways of enhancing bilateral ties, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
Sheikh Mohammed affirmed that extremism and terrorism have no religion or identity and the groups that preach false slogans and ideologies seek to disguise their criminal intention in spreading chaos and destruction.
The two sides took stock of the latest regional issues and developments in light of the UAE and US’ vision regarding important ideas and initiatives that aim to put an end to the security and humanitarian deterioration in the region.
The also emphasized their commitment to realize stability and security in the region and support joint efforts to counter extremism, violence and terrorist groups that threaten security and safety of countries and peoples.
“The UAE is looking forward to overcome this stage of chaos and instability in the region through joint co-operation and efforts that serve mutual interests, achieve peace and stability and restore security,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

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Riyadh to host camel festival, beauty contest

Author: 
Ghazanfar Ali Khan | Arab News Staff
Mon, 2017-01-30
ID: 
1485724645559664800

RIYADH: The Saudi capital is set to host a major camel festival, which will feature its very own four-legged beauty contest.
The festival, to be inaugurated on March 19, typically features more than 15,000 camels from the Kingdom and the Gulf states.
The camel beauty pageant was once a local desert custom that has now been transformed into a major competition, with prizes and gifts worth millions of Saudi riyals.
“The month-long camel fest will witness something distinct this year, and will offer world-class entertainment for heritage enthusiasts,” said Talal bin Khalid Al-Tarify, official spokesman of the festival, on Sunday.
The festival is being organized under the aegis of the Riyadh-based King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (KAFRA).
KAFRA was founded in 1972 by a royal decree with a mandate to promote the history and heritage of the Kingdom, the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the wider Arab and Islamic world. The foundation is managed by a board of directors chaired by King Salman.
The camel festival will be held on the outskirts of Riyadh.
Al-Tarify called on participants to register their camels and comply with all regulatory provisions for taking part in the festival and the contests, including the beauty pageant.
Camels will have to be electronically numbered and pass medical tests. The winners will be given awards under different categories.
The organizers of the festival plan to transform the event into an international festival within the framework of the Saudi Vision 2030.

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SCTH, King Abdulaziz University ink cooperation deal

Author: 
Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr. | Arab News Staff
Mon, 2017-01-30
ID: 
1485724645579665100

RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and the King Abdulaziz University recently signed an agreement for the development of cooperation programs.
Prince Sultan bin Salman, SCTH president, and Dr. Abdurrahman Al-Youbi, King Abdulaziz University rector, signed the agreement at the SCTH headquarters inside the Diplomatic Quarter.
Part of the agreement involves converting the Tourism Institute to the College of Tourism, to keep pace with major expansion in services and projects in the field.
Prince Sultan said that the King Abdulaziz University is one of the most important educational entities in the Kingdom.
He added that there are other paths of cooperation between the SCTH and the university with regard to education and training in the fields of cultural heritage, tourism, training and qualification of investors, in addition to programs of archaeological explorations. He added that discussion is afoot to establish an Architectural Heritage Center, in which the SCTH plans to cooperate with the university in research and studies related to urban heritage in areas adjacent to the Red Sea.
Prince Sultan indicated that the cooperation between the SCTH and the university aims for the “rehabilitation of investment entities in the fields of tourism and national heritage through training programs, taking advantage of the available expertise in the country.”

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Attempt to distribute 835,900 Captagon pills thwarted

Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Mon, 2017-01-30
ID: 
1485724645609665400

JEDDAH: Narcotics control squads have thwarted a bid to distribute 835,900 Captagon pills.
The drugs were hidden inside glue bags allocated for tile construction, and were seized in a warehouse in the capital Riyadh.
A Syrian expat who received the drugs shipment was arrested.
Col. Abdulaziz bin Mohammad bin Kadsah, spokesman for the General Directorate of Narcotics Control (GDNC), said the directorate acquired information that a cell in Saudi Arabia had been coordinating with outside assistants to smuggle large quantities of drugs into the Kingdom.
After further search efforts, the GDNC confirmed that the members of the cell were able to smuggle a quantity of narcotics, which reached Riyadh. The field security squad formed to follow up and investigate the issue managed to find the drugs stored in the warehouse.
“When the security authorities raided the warehouse they found the pills hidden professionally within the bags of tile glue, about 835,900 Captagon pills. Further efforts are still continuing to find the cell’s agents outside the Kingdom,” said the GDNC spokesman.
The GDNC said it will continue its task and mission to protect the children of the Kingdom from the scourge of drugs.
It is not the first operation by GDNC to foil drugs smuggling in recent months. In October, the directorate foiled the smuggling of 2,105,000 Captagon pills hidden inside concrete blocks in the Al-Aflaj region. Authorities arrested six people in Riyadh, Madinah and Dammam including one the Saudi citizen, three Syrians, one Pakistani and one Indian. The authorities found in their possession a sum of SR271,000, $40,000 and 2kg of jewelry.

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SRMG appoints new chief executive

Author: 
Arab News
Mon, 2017-01-30
ID: 
1485724645639665700

RIYADH: The board of directors of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) on Sunday accepted the resignation of Dr. Azzam Al-Dakhil, chief executive and managing director of the company, who opted to leave for private reasons.
In a statement shared with the Saudi stock exchange, known as the Tadawul, SRMG said the resignation took effect as of Jan. 29.
The board has appointed Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl as its new managing director and chief executive of the group, starting on the same date. The appointment will be presented to the first meeting of SRMG’s general assembly for approval.
Al-Shibl holds a Ph.D in engineering management with specializations in the economy and computer science from George Washington University in the US, and a master’s in engineering management from the same university. He holds several diplomas in manufacturing, technical and accounting management.
He is currently chairman of Saudi Arabian Airlines, and has been a board member for several organizations, most notably the Advisory Board for Economic Affairs at the Supreme Economic Council.

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Prince Sultan bin Salman receives joint Bosnian-Serbian delegation

Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Mon, 2017-01-30
ID: 
1485720838009221600

RIYADH: Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), on Sunday received a joint economic delegation of the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The delegation arrived in Riyadh as a unified delegation for the first time, at the invitation of Prince Sultan, and met at the SCTH headquarters.
Prince Sultan welcomed the delegation and conveyed the greetings of King Salman.
He said the visit will help achieve desired results through joint projects that contribute to developing relations between the Kingdom and the two friendly countries.
Prince Sultan also thanked the delegation and the government of the two countries for their positive response to the invitation to visit as a unified delegation, noting that the Kingdom is proud to receive the delegation and cares deeply about ties with both countries.
“The visit will enhance and open … the door to developing relations in the field of economy, especially as the Kingdom, Bosnia, and Serbia all have the means and resources to contribute to a successful relationship,” he said.
“We consider this visit to be unprecedented and reflective of the stability and development enjoyed by Bosnia and Serbia, which encourages investment in these two countries.
“We (at the SCTH) have a cooperative agreement with Serbia in the fields of tourism and heritage, and expect to sign an agreement soon with Bosnia. We are keen on activating these agreements and enhancing fruitful cooperation with both countries.”
Mirko Sarovic, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s minister of foreign trade and economic relations, thanked Prince Sultan for the warm reception and kind hospitality.
He praised the support provided by the Kingdom during the times of the war and era of reconstruction.
“Bosnia would not be what it is now without the support of the Kingdom, and the infrastructure, education, and culture, as well as other tourism accomplishments are reflective of this.”
Rasim Ljajic, Serbia’s deputy prime minister and minister of trade, tourism and telecommunications, also thanked Prince Sultan and other officials for their warm hospitality and kind reception.
“This visit does not only address tourism and investment opportunities, but is also an important political and peace message that highlights the region’s stability,” he said, expressing appreciation for the Kingdom’s role in the achievement of peace in the region.
The delegation, which includes officials from the ministries of commerce, economy, and tourism, and a number of businesspeople from both countries, addressed means of cooperation and development in the fields of tourism and heritage, as well as other areas.

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Specialized Saudi clinics treat 2,940 patients in Zaatari camp

Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Mon, 2017-01-30
ID: 
1485720837969221000

AMMAN: Specialized Saudi Clinics have dealt with 2,940 cases in the space of a week at the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Clinic registers show that 1,115 cases of seasonal illnesses were treated in the children’s clinic, while the heart clinic received 64 patients and the women’s clinics received 162 patients. The dental clinic treated 134 Syrian refugees and 231 cases were dealt with in the skin clinic.
The ear clinic received 258 cases while the vaccine clinic dealt with 244 children who were vaccinated under a Saudi National Campaign medical program. The lab section dealt with 116 medical tests during the 212th week of operation of the Specialized Saudi Clinics.

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Anti-corruption conference to be held in KSA

Author: 
Arab News
Mon, 2017-01-30
ID: 
1485720838029221900

RIYADH: A conference devoted to anti-corruption initiatives is set to be held in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 20-21.
It will be organized by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) in Riyadh, and held under the patronage of King Salman.
It will feature specialists and experts in the field of protecting integrity and fighting corruption, from the Kingdom and internationally.
The conference will discuss topics related to governance, transparency, accountability in the public and private sectors, international cooperation, asset recovery, as well as showcasing best practices in the field.
Khaled bin Abdulmohsen Al-Muhaisen, president of Nazaha, said that the conference comes in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan, and from the Kingdom’s keenness to participate in international efforts to fight corruption.

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