Saudi Arabia to host 2020 G20 summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets Saudi Arabia Minister of State Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf as he arrives for the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 08 July 2017
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Saudi Arabia to host 2020 G20 summit

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will host the G-20 Summit in 2020, said an official statement issued on Saturday at the end of this year’s event in Hamburg, Germany.
“We thank Germany for hosting a successful Hamburg summit, and look forward to meeting again in Argentina in 2018, in Japan in 2019 and in Saudi Arabia in 2020,” AFP quoted the statement as saying.
Under the terms of the revolving presidency, G-20 hosts can set the summit agenda. Germany this year used the opportunity to focus on development partnerships with Africa.
The G-20 is a prestigious forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies, including China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UK, the US and the EU.
Among the first to congratulate Saudi Arabia was Germany’s ambassador to the Kingdom, Dieter W. Haller.
“This is a true reflection of the rising stature of Saudi Arabia on the world stage. I applaud the heads of state behind this significant decision,” he said. “As we’ve seen with the decisions reached at the Hamburg summit, Saudi Arabia is a very important element of global governance.”
The Kingdom is the only Arab country and member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in the G-20, so “this is a great honor not just for Saudi Arabia but for the entire Arab world,” Haller added.
It is not just hosting the summit that is significant, but also the G-20 presidency, he said, adding: “It runs for a whole year and culminates in the final summit. Saudi Arabia will be in charge of setting the agenda and organizing the summit of this very important forum.”
Germany is always ready to share its experience in hosting such an event “with our Saudi friends,” Haller said. The Saudi delegation at the Hamburg summit was led by Ibrahim Al-Assaf, minister of state and Cabinet member.
At the summit, Saudi Arabia reaffirmed its stance against terrorism in all forms, saying it is a “crime that targeted the entire world” and poses “one of the most serious threats to world peace and security.”
The Kingdom added that there is a “need to combat and prevent all sources and means of funding terrorism.”
The Saudi delegation said terrorism does not differentiate between religions or ethnic groups, and the responsibility of combating it and extremism lies with the entire international community, as does the promotion of moderation, cooperation and coordination between countries.

— With input from AFP


Al-Ula Royal Commission launches second phase of university scholarship program

Updated 31 min 17 sec ago
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Al-Ula Royal Commission launches second phase of university scholarship program

  • High-quality education will make students ‘valuable assets’ in transformation of the region
JEDDAH: The Royal Commission for Al-Ula has launched the second phase of its overseas scholarship program, giving students the chance to study at universities in the US, UK, France and Australia.
The program is intended to broaden the horizons of Saudi students, creating more rounded graduates with wider experiences of foreign cultures and practices.
The students will also learn the languages of their host countries, which will aid them in later life depending on what path they choose, and encouraging interaction and exchanges between the Al-Ula region and the rest of the world.
Rami Al-Sakran, capabilities development manager for the commission, said the Al-Ula scholarship program was one of four strands in a community development plan.
“We have four different units, sector planning and business licensing so that covers economic development, with community engagement and human capability under the social development plan,” he told Arab News.
The second phase of the scholarship program will run for five years following the positive response to the first phase, which was launched last year. The second phase has been expanded to accommodate 300 students and is open to all genders.
Last September, 165 students were sent to the US, UK and France with Australia to focus on fields such as hospitality, tourism, agriculture, archaeology and heritage.
Many residents from the area had migrated to larger cities because of the lack of job opportunities, he said, so it was important to engage and employ locals first.
“We’ll flood the equation. We’ll see people coming in and our priority is the local community and to provide them with jobs. We want these jobs that we’ll create to be filled by the locals first.
“We’ve currently provided jobs, whether directly or indirectly, some of them temporary and others permanent. At Winter in Tantora, we have volunteers, ushers, drivers as this is seasonal but we’ve established a database and some jobs are permanent, whether they’re directly employed by our CEO or some contract.”
Al-Sakran said locals were key to the success of turning Al-Ula into a major tourist destination.
“Locals, locals, locals. Without the locals, we can’t succeed. We have a very transparent relationship, it’s a two-way street with them. We cooperate with them and communicate with them on every basis. We have a strong relationship with the governor of Al-Ula and we listen to the locals.
“Whether it was our social or economical development, as you can see Winter in Tantora has a major socio-economic impact on the area and ... the locals are working everywhere here and that’s what we want. It’s theirs. We’ll unveil it to the Kingdom ... that’s the idea, to make it a strong and significant destination for all.”