US-Gulf intellectual events help educate, effective communication

Marcelle Wahba. (Courtesy photo)
Updated 14 May 2017
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US-Gulf intellectual events help educate, effective communication

WASHINGTON: Arab Gulf intellectual events recently concluded here, attracted a wide range of experts, media figures and officials, reflecting the US interest in listening to Gulf voices in a clear discussion about the region’s issues.
The 11 events, which lasted for two weeks and were held in partnership with think tanks and research centers, dealt with economic reform in the Gulf, effective communication of the US-Gulf relations, the economic dynamics of the US-Gulf relations, progress registered by and challenges facing Gulf women, the fight against terrorism, and the situation in Yemen.
A number of officials, ambassadors and researchers said the activities, which concluded on Friday, provided the necessary educational information to promote understanding and correct misconceptions.
In statements to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), they said that the discussions during these events were fruitful and are bound to help decision makers and those who have leverage over decision makers.
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture and Information for Foreign Media Abdul Mohsen Farouk Elias said there was American interest in the US-Gulf events, reflected in the participation of a large number of American officials and experts.
He stressed that “these events contributed to help the voice of the GCC states be heard regarding the present and future of US-Gulf relations in general or specific issues of importance, such as the Yemeni issue, combating terrorism, the role of Gulf women in society and economic and development issues.”
President of the Gulf Research Center Abdulaziz Othman bin Saqr stressed that holding meetings in important international capitals that are instrumental in forming public opinion is very important.
He pointed out that “the aim of these meetings was to clarify the facts and the false images, and present them as they are, without falsification and distortion, and explaining the reasons and motives.”
Former ambassador and President of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, Marcelle Wahba, said such seminars are an opportunity for people from the Gulf and America to “sit down and talk together, and we hope to receive good reactions from decision makers in the Gulf and in the US.”
“The aim of these events is to educate members of Congress, the media and anyone interested in Middle East politics,” said former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Middle East Policy Council Chairman Ford M. Fraker, stressing the importance of such events to educating both sides on issues of concern.


Saudi Military Industries signs warships JV, corvettes with Spain’s Navantia

Updated 43 min 17 sec ago
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Saudi Military Industries signs warships JV, corvettes with Spain’s Navantia

  • The program will start this autumn with the last unit to be delivered by 2022
  • The contract will generate 6,000 direct and indirect jobs for five years

RIYADH: State-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) signed an agreement with Spain’s Navantia to set up a joint venture in the Kingdom to build five warships, the state news agency SPA reported on Thursday.
The deal is part of a wider framework agreed in April by Spain and Saudi Arabia for Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia to supply warships to the Gulf Arab state under a deal estimated to be worth around 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion).

SPA said the agreement between SAMI and Navantia was for the design and construction of five Avante 2200 Corvettes under a program that would start this autumn, with the last unit due to be delivered by 2022. It gave no value for the deal.
In line with the contract, SAMI said the joint venture would “localize more than 60 percent of ships combat systems works,” including installation and integration in the Saudi market, perfectly aligned with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, by localizing 50% of total military spending by 2030.
The contract will generate 6,000 direct and indirect jobs for five years, as follows: 1,100 direct jobs, more than 1,800 from the auxiliary industry, and more than 3,000 indirect jobs generated by other suppliers.
In this respect, the JV will focus on program management and combat system integration and installation, system engineering, system architecture, hardware design, software development, testing and verification, prototyping, simulation, modelling, and through-life support.
Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Chairman of Saudi Arabian Military Industries, said: “SAMI remains committed to being a key enabler of the Saudi Vision 2030, and the establishment of this Joint Venture with Navantia will localize more than 60% of ship combat systems work including, installation, and integration, which contribute to the Kingdom’s objective to be at the forefront of shaping the local military industries ecosystem. We will continue to explore collaborations and leverage partnerships that meet our key mandate to localize more than half of the Kingdom’s total military spending.”
Esteban Garcia Vilasanchez, Chairman of Navantia, said: “Navantia is very happy with the signature of this contract that means a starting point for the collaboration with Saudi Arabia. Navantia is committed to contributing to Saudi Vision 2030 and will support the country in this endeavour. The JV between SAMI and Navantia is an opportunity to develop capabilities in the country and jointly explore future opportunities.”
For the Avante 2200 contract, the JV will be responsible, among others, of supplying the Combat System of all five ships. Corvettes 4th and 5th will be finalized and delivered to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the JV will do the installation, integration and test of the complete Combat System.

Saudi Arabia’s top sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), launched SAMI last year as part of a government plan to diversify the economy, reduce reliance on oil export revenues and create jobs.
SAMI aims to contribute more than 14 billion riyals ($3.7 billion) to the country’s gross domestic product by 2030, according to SPA.