Curbs slapped on Dutch firms

Updated 22 May 2014

Curbs slapped on Dutch firms

Saudi Arabia has started imposing sanctions on Dutch companies after the Netherlands failed to take action against a right-wing politician for abusing Islam and the Kingdom, a Foreign Ministry source said on Tuesday.
“Religion is the red line which nobody will be allowed to cross,” the source said, adding that Riyadh’s action was aimed at putting an end to such irresponsible behavior.
“Saudi Arabia is a leading country in the Islamic world. Muslims in Holland and other parts of the world have supported the Kingdom’s action,” the source said and hoped the Netherlands would pass a law to combat abuse of religions.
The Dutch government has reportedly distanced itself from Wilders' actions, pointing out that the populist firebrand is not part of, or representative of it. Wilders previously compared the Qur’an to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. He also blamed Saudi Arabia for terrorist attacks around the globe.
Earlier, an official of the Dutch Embassy in Riyadh said The Hague is sending an envoy to the Kingdom this week for high-level talks as part of all-out efforts to improve relations.
Maurice Pourchez, first secretary for economic and cultural affairs at the embassy, said that Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans had told the country’s official television outlet that he would send the executive director for political affairs to the Kingdom.
“Timmermans has also expressed his desire to visit Saudi Arabia shortly to strengthen relations,” said the official, noting that trade between Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands stands at 6 billion euros (about SR31 billion) with Saudi exports to the country reaching nearly SR20 billion.
Pourchez said the embassy has not received any official information about Saudi Arabia’s decision to slash trade ties.
The Council of Saudi Chambers had said that it had received an order from the Saudi government banning Dutch firms from taking part in future projects in the Kingdom, directly and through subcontracting.
About 30 Dutch companies operate in Saudi Arabia and there are many in the Netherlands that have trade relations with the Kingdom.


Saudi Arabia implements end to travel restrictions for Saudi women

Updated 20 August 2019

Saudi Arabia implements end to travel restrictions for Saudi women

  • Any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel
  • The rules were announced in a royal decree of sweeping reforms last month

RIYADH: New laws that mean Saudi women no longer require permission from a male guardian to travel or obtain a passport came into effect Tuesday.
The rules were announced in a royal decree of sweeping reforms last month. It means adult women can travel feely and exercise more control over family matters.
“The passports and civil status departments and their branches in all regions of the Kingdom have started to implement the amendments stipulated in the royal decree,” Saudi Press Agency reported.
The decree said every Saudi citizen had the right to obtain a passport, and limits the need for a guardian’s approval to minors only. 
The Kingdom has steadily removed some restrictions in recent years, including ending a ban on women driving last year.
The regulatory changes stipulated that a Saudi passport should be issued to any citizen who applies for it and that any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel.
They also granted women for the first time the right to register child birth, marriage or divorce and to be issued official family documents and be eligible as a guardian to children who are minors.