KSA, Sri Lanka to sign labor pact today

Updated 13 January 2014
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KSA, Sri Lanka to sign labor pact today

Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka will sign a landmark labor pact on Monday in a renewed bid to regulate hiring of domestic workers from the island nation and to ensure protection to all domestic help already employed in the Kingdom.
The labor agreement will be signed by Dr. Ahmed F. Al-Fahaid, deputy labor minister for international affairs on behalf of the Kingdom and the Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Employment, Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera.
Giving details of the pact, Al-Fahaid, told Arab News: “The agreement will have the same provisions including protection mechanism for domestic help like the one we signed with India earlier this month.”
He said the labor agreement for domestic workers recruitment was a joint effort by Riyadh and Colombo to create a unified and well-regulated system for recruitment with emphasis on monitoring the working conditions of workers. “The pact will cover 12 categories of domestic workers including housemaids, drivers, cleaners, and waiters employed by individuals,” Al-Fahaid explained.
Sri Lankan Ambassador V. Krishnamoorthy welcomed the joint initiative stating that it ensures rights and safety to domestic workers who travel to Saudi Arabia for jobs. “In fact, the new agreement will ensure that all job contracts entered into by domestic maids or workers traveling to the Kingdom are with the consent of the three parties concerned,” he said.
“All parties including the sponsor, the agent and the recruitment agency will have to be aware of the details of the contract,” a report explaining the clauses of the new pact said. Sri Lanka has been lobbying for the rights of the domestic worker since 2012, and the agreement would go a long way in preventing cases of abuse and in ensuring fair and humane treatment to domestic workers.
The pact also offers a protection mechanism, including insurance for domestic workers. At present, around 350,000 Sri Lankan workers are in the Kingdom, with domestic workers accounting for 80 percent of the workforce. Colombo is providing training courses for domestic workers prior to their departure to Saudi Arabia. Sri Lankan workers receive language training, hospitality training, lessons on how to run washing machines and home appliances, cooking lessons, and training on how to care for the elderly and children.
Saudi Arabia has plans to sign similar agreements with several other countries in the near future. Riyadh has already endorsed labor pacts with the Philippines and India, which greatly help to safeguard the interests of workers as well as employers. Major labor-exporting countries, such as Indonesia, Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia, are working closely with Saudi Arabia to sign similar labor agreements in the near future.


Trump vows to remain steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia

Updated 2 min 14 sec ago
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Trump vows to remain steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia

  • The Kingdom is a great ally in our fight against Iran and terrorism, said US president.
  • Saudis have worked closely with us to keep oil prices at reasonable levels, he added.

JEDDAH: US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the United States intends to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia.

In a statement issued by the White House, he said he would not cancel multibillion-dollar military deals with Riyadh, adding: “If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries.”

Trump said US intelligence agencies are still studying the evidence in an attempt to discover how Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, and who planned it.

“The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone,” the president said. “Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and the disposal of his body.

“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information.

“We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world.”

Describing the world as “a very dangerous place,” Trump condemned Iran for its malign activity in the region.

“Iran...is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more,” he said. “Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel.’ Iran is considered ‘the world’s leading sponsor of terror.’

“Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against radical Islamic terrorism.”

Describing agreements reached during his trip to Saudi Arabia last year, Trump said: “The Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States.

“Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great US defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries — and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States.”

Trump said that members of Congress were free to reach their own conclusions.

“I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction — and they are free to do so,” he said. “I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America.

“After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil-producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keep oil prices at reasonable levels (which is) so important for the world. As president of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply, it is called ‘America First.’”