Saudi-Chinese Talks to Discuss Linking Arabian Gulf with Red Sea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi-Chinese Talks to Discuss Linking Arabian Gulf with Red Sea

Friday, 13 December, 2019 – 11:15
Riyadh – Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi Ministry of Transport has revealed that talks are underway with a company owned by the Chinese government to discuss linking the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea through Saudi lands.

It is part of a giant project the Kingdom seeks implementing as part of its strategic plans in transport and logistics.

Saudi Arabia plans to launch public-private partnership (PPP) transport projects worth tens of billions of dollars in 2020, under an ambitious strategy to diversify the economy and create jobs, the newly appointed transport minister told Reuters.

To reduce dependence on oil revenues, Riyadh aims to have the private sector operate much of its transport infrastructure, including airports and sea ports, with the government keeping a role as regulator.

The government expects real economic growth of 2.3 percent next year, supported by non-oil sectors.

“Saudi Arabia has an impressive transportation and logistics infrastructure, where about SAR400 billion ($106.7 billion) have been invested in the last 10 years only,” Minister Saleh bin Nasser al-Jasser noted.

He explained that the plan is to continue investing while increasing private sector participation.

The ministry is also planning a railway project linking Dammam in the Eastern Province to the Red Sea city of Jeddah through the capital, he was quoted as saying.

“The funding will come through the private sector, either through PPP or government-to-government…these are big projects worth tens of billions of riyals.”

Riyadh has set a goal of generating SAR35 billion to 40 billion ($9.3 billion to $10.0 billion) of non-oil state revenues from its privatization program by 2020.

Some of that money would come from asset sales, while the rest would come from public-private partnerships.

The transportation sector is one of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Vision Realization Program’s (NIDLP) pillars.

This program aims to transform the Kingdom into a leading industrial hub and an international logistic platform in a number of promising areas.

This would contribute to generating ample job opportunities for Saudi cadres, enhancing the trade balance and maximizing local content.

It focuses on four main sectors, namely industry, mining, energy and logistics.

In March, a Saudi official told Reuters that six public-private partnership deals worth around $3.5 billion were sealed in Q1 2019 and at least 23 more are expected by 2022.

Saudi Aramco Tops $2 Trillion Value in Day 2 of Trading

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Aramco Tops $2 Trillion Value in Day 2 of Trading

Thursday, 12 December, 2019 – 11:30
Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Saudi Armco and stock market officials celebrate during the official ceremony marking the debut of Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO) on the Riyadh’s stock market in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Riyadh- Asharq Al-Awsat
Saudi Aramco achieved the $2 trillion valuation sought by Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday as the newly-listed state-owned oil company’s shares rose sharply on their second day of trading.

Shares jumped in trading to reach up to 38.60 Saudi riyals, or $10.29 before noon, three hours before trading closes.

Aramco has sold a 1.5% share to mostly Saudi investors and local Saudi and Gulf-based funds.

With gains made from just two days of trading, Aramco sits comfortably ahead of the world’s largest companies, including Apple, the second-largest company in the world valued at $1.19 trillion.

MbS is the architect of the effort to list Aramco, touting it as a way to raise capital for the kingdom´s sovereign wealth fund, which would then develop new cities and lucrative projects across the country that create jobs for young Saudis.

He had sought a $2 trillion valuation for Aramco when he first announced in 2015 plans to sell a sliver of the state-owned company.

International investors, however, thought the price was too high, given the relatively lower price of oil, climate change concerns and geopolitical risks associated with Aramco. The company’s main crude oil processing facility and another site were targeted by missiles and drones in September, knocking out more than half of Saudi production for some time. The kingdom and the US have blamed the attack on rival Iran, which denies involvement.

In the lead-up to the flotation, there had been a strong push for Saudis, including princes and businessmen, to contribute to what´s seen locally as a moment of national pride, and even duty. Gulf-based funds from allied countries also contributed to the IPO, though it has largely been propelled by Saudi capital.

At a ceremony Wednesday for the start of trading, Aramco Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan, described the sale as “a proud and historic moment for Saudi Aramco and our majority shareholder, the kingdom.”

Houthi Projectiles Land on Hospital in Jazan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Houthi Projectiles Land on Hospital in Jazan

Wednesday, 11 December, 2019 – 12:45
Al-Harath General Hospital. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Saudi civil defense teams received on Tuesday several complaints that projectiles, fired by the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, had landed on a hospital in Jazan.

General Directorate of Civil Defense spokesman in Jazan, Yehya al-Qahtani, said the projectiles hit the al-Harath General Hospital and civilian infrastructure near the facility.

No one was injured.

The outer fence surrounding the hospital was damaged in the incident, Qahtani added.

Deadly shooting at Pensacola naval base

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Deadly shooting at Pensacola naval base

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39 min ago

Sheriff says suspect used a handgun

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said that the suspect in the naval station shooting used a handgun in today’s attack.

Morgan would not confirm other information about the shooter including his name or whether a room on campus was raided as part of the ongoing investigation.

38 min ago

Acting Navy Secretary: “These acts are crimes against all of us”

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly released a statement about the two separate shootings that have occurred at naval bases this week.

Modly’s statement addresses today’s fatal shooting in Pensacola, Florida, as well as Wednesday’s shooting on the Pearl Harbor naval shipyard in Hawaii as well as an incident in Little Creek, Virginia.

“These acts are crimes against all of us,” Modly said in the statement.

Read the full statement below:

“Our entire Navy and Marine Corps team is struck and deeply saddened by the attacks within our own naval family over the past several days, at Little Creek, Virginia last week, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Wednesday, and today in Pensacola, Florida. These acts are crimes against all of us. Our prayers are with the families of the fallen and with the wounded. It is our solemn duty to find the causes of such tragic loss and ceaselessly work together to prevent them. Let us make concerted efforts to care for the families of those lost, and those wounded, visibly and not. Let us shepherd them through these first moments of despair, and make them, and our greater Naval family, whole and strong. “

42 min ago

Suspected shooter was in aviation training, official says

The suspected gunman in today’s shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida was in aviation training, Capt. Tim Kinsella said at a news conference.

About the shooter: Five US defense officials and another person familiar with the investigation told CNN a member of the Saudi military training at US Naval Air Station in Pensacola is the suspected shooter in today’s incident.

At least four people were killed, including the suspected gunman, in the shooting.

43 min ago

Captain: There was “real heroism” today

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said there is going to be a lengthy investigation following today’s shooting.

“You can be proud of your community, and you can be proud of your Navy,” he said.

“We are in recovery mode right now,” Morgan said.

NAS Pensacola Commanding Officer, Captain Tim Kinsella, said he is “in awe” of the responders during the shooting, saying there was “real heroism” today.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the uniform I wear,” Kinsella said.

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said this is a tragic day for the city. “This is a community of great resiliency,” he said. “The city will bounce back and be stronger.”

33 min ago

Florida governor on the shooting: “This is a dark day for a very great place”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said “this is a dark day for a very great place,” noting he is a Navy veteran.

DeSantis mentioned the suspect’s ties to the Saudi Air Force and said he spoke to the President about this connection.

Authorities are speaking at news conference right now about the shooting.

You can follow along here or watch it live in the video player above.

1 hr 22 min ago

Officials are allowing some personnel to exit the base

Some personnel will be allowed to exit the installation via the west gate, according to posts on the Naval Air Station Pensacola social media accounts.

The base is closed until further notice.

NAS Pensacola@NASPCOLA

All non-essential personnel on the western side of NAS Pensacola main side, including the museum, the airfield, etc, proceed to the west gate to exit the installation. If you are on the east side of the Interior Command Posts on Taylor or Radford, remain sheltered in place.

FBI takes over the shooting investigation

The FBI has taken over investigation into the shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, according to an FBI spokesperson.

The FBI’s Evidence Response Team has arrived on site and has begun processing the scene, a law enforcement source told CNN.

What we know about the shooting: A total of four people died in the shooting, including the shooter, who has not been identified. Several other people were injured.

Two deputies from Escambia County Sheriff’s Office “negated” the shooter, according to the sheriff. One was shot in the knee and the other in the shoulder, but both are expected to make a full recovery.

1 hr 58 min ago

Saudi national suspected in shooting at Pensacola naval air station

A member of the Saudi military training at US Naval Air Station in Pensacola is the suspected shooter in today’s incident, according to five US defense officials and another person familiar with the investigation.

The investigators are looking into whether it was terror-related, but it is early in the probe.

CNN has reached out to the Saudi embassy in the US and has not heard back.

2 hr 45 min ago

This is the second shooting at a US naval base this week

The fatal shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida this morning is the second shooting at an American naval base this week.

On Wednesday, a US sailor killed two civilians and himself at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii.

Investigators have yet to identify motives in either shooting.

2 hr 21 min ago

Officials will give another update at 1 p.m. ET

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office will hold another news conference about the shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida at 1 p.m. ET.

Officials just wrapped up a news conference about the shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, this morning.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • The timeline: Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said officers received notice that there was an active shooter at 6:51 a.m. local time.
  • 3 people and the shooter were killed: A total of four people died in the shooting, including the shooter, who has not been identified.
  • 11 people were shot: Officials said a total of eleven people were shot. Eight of them were transported to a local hospital, where one of them died.
  • Deputies engaged the shooter: Two deputies from Escambia County Sheriff’s Office “negated” the shooter, according to the sheriff. One was shot in the knee and the other in the shoulder, but both are expected to make a full recovery.

What we don’t know: It’s still unclear if the shooter was military personnel. Officials have also declined to answer questions about the weapons used by the shooting and the specific building in which the shooting took place.

3 hr 46 min ago

Sheriff: “Crime scene was like being on the set of a movie”

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said they received the call about the active shooter at 7:51 a.m. ET.

The sheriff said they are in the middle of the investigation, and cannot provide much information. However, he said, “walking through the crime scene was like being on the set of a movie.”

The two officers who negated the threat are in the local hospital, both shot in the limbs. They’re expected to recover.

“We do have several deceased and several wounded,” Commanding Officer Captain Tim Kinsella at NAS Pensacola said.

The active shooter has been neutralized. The base is shut down until further notice.

Mayor of Pensacola, Grover Robinson called it a “tragic day” for the city of Pensacola, “We are a military town.” The mayor asked residents to stay away from that side of town.

3 hr 50 min ago

11 people were shot

A total of 11 people were shot this morning at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.

Four of those are deceased, one of whom was the shooter, Escambia County’s Chief Chip Simmons said.

Eight people were transported to a local hospital, where one of the injured died.

There are currently three others inside the building who are deceased.

Commanding Officer Captain Tim Kinsella at NAS Pensacola said the shooting happened in a classroom building.

3 hr 54 min ago

Sheriff: Deputies engaged the shooter

David Morgan, sheriff of Escambia County, said two deputies engaged the shooter, and “It was a member of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office that did negate the threat.”

The two officers were shot during the exchange with the gunman.

Morgan said that one deputy was shot in the arm and another was shot in the knee. “Both expected to survive,” Morgan said.

How Wealthy Countries Can Step Up Their Contribution to Fight Global Poverty

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

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How Wealthy Countries Can Step Up Their Contribution to Fight Global Poverty

Wednesday, 4 December, 2019 – 12:30
Impoverished girl | Photo: REUTERS
Ferid Belhaj
How can the wealthiest nations around the globe continue to help the world’s poorest countries? This is a question that delegates will look to address during a meeting organized by the International Development Association, or IDA, in Stockholm next week.
IDA
The role of IDA, a financial institution and a member of the World Bank Group, is to offer loans, grants and debt relief to poor countries unable to borrow on the terms offered by another arm of the World Bank, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Its member states will gather in the Swedish capital on December 12 and 13 to set the agenda for assistance to these countries for the three-year period starting in July 2020. While countries in the Mena region, including Saudi Arabia, had contributed funds to the previous cycle, it is critical that they – and potentially others – sustain and increase their participation in this forum and support a global public good.

Many people are unaware that countries such as China, India, and South Korea were beneficiaries of IDA assistance in the past but now they have become donors giving back to the international community

This upcoming replenishment, as it is called, is indeed an opportunity for the region as a whole to make its presence felt. Beginning next year, it will be the epicenter of several global events. Saudi Arabia will host members of the G20, Egypt is the chair of the African Union and the UAE is preparing to host the region’s first World Expo. The World Bank-IMF annual meetings will take place in Marrakech in 2021. While these events are significant in their own right, a substantially higher financial contribution from Mena countries to IDA will demonstrate the region’s capacity to lead on long-term challenges such as poverty reduction, inclusive growth, and climate change.

Since its creation in 1960, IDA has become one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries and the foremost instrument to channel multilateral funding where it is needed the most and in the quickest and most efficient way possible. Over six decades, it has provided almost $400 billion for investments in over 100 countries, its support paving the way towards equality, economic growth, job creation, higher incomes and better living conditions. IDA’s work covers primary education, basic health services, clean water and sanitation, agriculture, business climate improvements, infrastructure, and institutional reforms. More recently, it has intervened to bring hope to people affected by conflict and violence.

Since 2000, it has provided more than $88 billion in financial assistance to Arab and Muslim countries. In the previous replenishment, more than 50 percent of the resources were allocated to 28 members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, including Djibouti, Syria, and Yemen.

In Yemen, IDA has played a critical role in providing relief and mitigating the lasting impacts of conflict. It has helped Yemenis fight diseases and famine, helped train nearly 12,000 health personnel and immunize 6.9 million children. Through an emergency program, it has helped ensure around nine million vulnerable Yemenis have access to food and other basic necessities.

Meanwhile, the conflict in Syria continues to take a heavy toll. More than 5.6 million people are registered as refugees, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In Lebanon, where many of them live, IDA is helping the country enroll 200,000 children in public schools. In Jordan, IDA assistance is creating 100,000 jobs for Jordanian nationals and Syrian refugees.

Beyond the Mena region, IDA is a development partner for the poorest countries.

International institutions remain important for some of the most lagging regions and communities in the world. Independent assessments have documented the tremendous benefits of IDA’s support for the development of poor countries. Many people are unaware that countries such as China, India, and South Korea were beneficiaries of IDA assistance in the past but now they have become donors giving back to the international community.

Multilateral institutions deserve our utmost support because when misfortune strikes countries, the knowledge and financial resources of these institutions can save, protect and nurture lives. They can provide ideas for development strategies and funds for critical infrastructure. To eliminate extreme poverty and shared growth, they are a valuable ally for governments and citizens.

The World Bank Group is grateful for generous financial contributions from the international donor community to IDA. However, I believe that the more fortunate Mena countries can and must enhance their contribution to this agency. Its economic heft presents an opportunity for the region to take on a leadership role in this forum. It is also a wonderful opportunity to help those in need, which is fully in line with the region’s rich history of generosity towards the less fortunate.

Ferid Belhaj is World Bank regional vice president for Mena

Saudi Arabia Underlines Harmony with UAE for Interests of their People, Region

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Arabia Underlines Harmony with UAE for Interests of their People, Region

Tuesday, 3 December, 2019 – 12:15
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz presides over a cabinet meeting in Riyadh. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat

The Saudi cabinet hailed on Tuesday the visit paid to the United Arab Emirates last week by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz chaired the cabinet meeting that was held in Riyadh.

The ministers stressed that the Crown Prince’s visit underscored the harmony between Saudi Arabia and the UAE in achieving the interests of their people and bolstering development in the region.

They hailed the meeting of the Saudi-UAE coordination council, which was held in Abu Dhabi during the Saudi royal’s visit.

Crown Prince Mohammed had met during his trip with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The Saudi cabinet also welcomed the Kingdom’s assuming of the presidency of the G20 as it prepares to host next year’s summit in November. It welcomed the launch of Saudi Arabia’s preparations to host the global event at the directives of King Salman and the follow-up of Crown Prince Mohammed.

Saudi Arabia is committed to continuing the work that kicked off during the 2019 summit in Osaka as it seeks to achieve tangible accomplishments and benefit from Saudi Arabia’s unique location between three continents.

Moreover, the cabinet welcomed Gulf rulers and royals as Riyadh prepares to host next week the 40th Gulf Cooperation Council summit.

Discussions will focus on bolstering Gulf relations in all fields and tackling political and security regional and international developments.

The cabinet then reviewed a number of regional and international developments, underlining that the Palestinian cause will remain the Kingdom’s priority until the Palestinian people achieve all of their rights, starting with the establishment of an independent state.

Riyadh rejected any measures aimed at undermining the historic and legal status of the holy city of Jerusalem and attempts to Judaize it by Israel. It called on the international community to assume its responsibilities in protecting the Palestinian people against Israeli practices.

Saudi Ministry of Justice Launches 2nd Phase of Alimony Fund

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Ministry of Justice Launches 2nd Phase of Alimony Fund

Monday, 2 December, 2019 – 12:45
View shows the King Abdullah Financial District, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
Riyadh- Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has launched the second phase of the Alimony Fund initiative, a stage covering “temporary maintenance” for those with a ruling in their favor but not yet enforced for a reason other than insolvency.

With this phase, the ministry wants to ensure financial coverage for beneficiaries during a transitional period in order to create stability.

The ministry completed the pilot phase of the fund, which cover “permanent maintenance,” and plans for a third phase covering “urgent maintenance” in cases still being heard.

“The fund aims at the prompt disbursement of maintenance and the financial stability of families,” the ministry said.

“In order to fast-track applications, we opened direct communication with clients through an online platform.”

The first phase of alimony fund was launched in April 2019; it financially covers applicants with alimony rulings to their favor but that were not implemented.

IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Held Secret Summit to Join Forces Against Saudi Arabia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Report: IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Held Secret Summit to Join Forces Against Saudi Arabia

Monday, 18 November, 2019 – 13:00
Former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meet in Tehran in 2012. AFP file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
The Intercept revealed on Monday that the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) held a summit with the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey in 2014 in an attempt to join forces against Saudi Arabia.

The disclosure that two sides held a summit is included in a leaked archive of secret Iranian intelligence reports obtained by the American news organization.

One of the most important things the two sides shared was considering Saudi Arabia “the common enemy” of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, said The Intercept.

The Muslim Brotherhood was represented in the meeting by three of its most prominent leaders in exile: Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, Mahmoud El-Abiary, and Youssef Moustafa Nada, according to the document.

What neither side knew was that there was a spy in the summit. Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, MOIS, a rival of the Revolutionary Guards within the Iranian national security apparatus, secretly had an agent in the meeting who reported everything that was discussed.

The Muslim Brotherhood delegation opened the meeting with a boast, pointing out that the outfit “has organizations in 85 countries in the world.”

“Differences between Iran as a symbol and representative of the Shiite world and the Muslim Brotherhood as a representative of the Sunni world are indisputable,” the Brotherhood members noted, according to the MOIS cable. But they emphasized that there “should be a focus on joint grounds for cooperation.”

Perhaps, the Brotherhood delegation said, the two sides could join forces against the Saudis. The best place to do that was in Yemen.

“In Yemen, with the influence of Iran on Houthis and the influence of the Brotherhood on the armed tribal Sunni factions, there should be a joint effort to decrease the conflict between Houthis and Sunni tribes to be able to use their strength against Saudi Arabia,” the Brotherhood delegation argued.

There were public meetings and contacts between Iranian and Egyptian officials while Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Morsi was president of Egypt from 2012 to 2013, said The Intercept.

The Iranian intelligence cable about the 2014 meeting provides an intriguing glimpse at a secret effort by the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian officials to maintain contact — and determine whether they could still work together — after Morsi was removed from power.

Saudi Arabia Slams Iran’s Ongoing Deception over Nuclear Program

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Arabia Slams Iran’s Ongoing Deception over Nuclear Program

Tuesday, 12 November, 2019 – 12:45
King Salman bin Abdulaziz chairs a cabinet meeting in Riyadh. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi government slammed on Tuesday Iran’s ongoing deception related to its nuclear program.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz chaired the cabinet meeting that was held in Riyadh.

The cabinet hailed the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in monitoring the program, condemning Tehran for its stalling and maneuvering in providing necessary information to the watchdog.

Iran must cooperate fully with the agency and respect IAEA inspectors, stressed the cabinet.

Turning to Yemen, it praised the signing of the Riyadh agreement last week between the legitimate government and Southern Transitional Council. King Salman sponsored the deal and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, presided over the signing ceremony that was held in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia continues to support all efforts to achieve the security and stability of Yemen, lauding the parties for prioritizing their nation’s and people’s interests.

The cabinet highlighted Crown Prince Mohammed’s remarks at the signing ceremony in which he said the Kingdom has been keen on aiding the Yemeni people since the eruption of their country’s crisis.

It continues to seek a political solution to the conflict according to the three references and it seeks an end to foreign meddling in its internal affairs and an end to the Iran-backed Houthi coup.

The Riyadh agreement is a major step forward in resolving the conflict, Information Minister Turki al-Shabanah said after the cabinet meeting.

King Salman also briefed the ministers on the telephone call he held with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the message he received from Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah.

The cabinet hailed the signing of an agreement between Saudi Arabia and the World Economic Forum to establish a Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Kingdom.

“The center will provide space for the development of the mechanisms, plans and applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Kingdom and will contribute to the adoption of technology and best practices in the region and the world,” read a statement after the inking of the deal.

Saudi: GCC Defense Ministers Assert Importance of Protecting Int’l Maritime Navigation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

GCC Defense Ministers Assert Importance of Protecting Int’l Maritime Navigation

Thursday, 31 October, 2019 – 12:30
The 16th meeting of the joint defense council of the GCC defense ministers hosted by Oman in Muscat. (Saudi Ministry of Defense’s Twitter Account)
Muscat – Asharq Al-Awsat
Gulf defense ministers discussed regional developments and conflicts, and their effects and risks on the interests of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, stressing the importance of protecting freedom of international maritime navigation in the Arabian Gulf.

The ministers also discussed the impact of regional developments on the security and integral unity of the GCC countries and peoples.

Their statement came during the 16th meeting of the joint defense council of the GCC, hosted by Oman in Muscat. The meeting was chaired by Oman’s Defense Minister Sayyid Bader bin Saud al-Busaidi.

The ministers condemned the September attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, asserting their support to Saudi Arabia and any measures taken to protect its sovereignty, stability, and interests.

GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif al-Zayani, who attended the meeting in Muscat, praised the operation carried out by US forces on Saturday in Syria’s Idlib province, which left ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and a number of extremists dead.

The ministers stated that Baghdadi’s death is an important step in eliminating the terrorist organization’s cells.

Zayani also lauded the preparedness of the GCC armed forces to defend their countries and peoples, vowing to further upgrade their defense plans. He also praised the cooperation between GCC armed forces and allied countries.