Kingdom, UAE sign deal for Coordination Council

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SOLIDARITY: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman holds talks with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in Jeddah. (SPA)
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WARM WELCOME: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, deputy premier and interior minister, receives Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in Jeddah. (SPA)
Updated 17 May 2016
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Kingdom, UAE sign deal for Coordination Council

JEDDAH:The Kingdom and the UAE have set up a joint council to coordinate efforts and bolster ties between the two countries.
A protocol to set up the council was signed Monday at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah in the presence of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces
Nizar bin Obaid Madani, minister of state for foreign affairs, signed for Saudi Arabia while Ali bin Mohammed Al-Shamsi, deputy secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Security, signed for the UAE.
King Salman earlier received at his palace Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
At the outset of the meeting, the king welcomed the Abu Dhabi crown prince and the accompanying delegation.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan thanked King Salman for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to him and his delegation.
During the meeting, they reviewed the close brotherly relations between the two countries and aspects of bilateral cooperation in various fields, in addition to the latest developments at regional and international arenas.
King Salman hosted a lunch banquet in honor of the UAE leader and his delegation before they left Jeddah.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 25 min 32 sec ago
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.