US-Saudi joint exercise ‘Earnest Leader 2017’ concludes

The joint exercise strengthened military cooperation in the face of global challenges.
Updated 13 August 2017
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US-Saudi joint exercise ‘Earnest Leader 2017’ concludes

RIYADH: US-Saudi ground forces on Thursday concluded their joint exercise “Earnest Leader 2017” in Tabuk, which aimed to develop and strengthen military relations, plans and programs between the two countries.
The joint exercise was held in the presence of Maj. Gen. Dhafer bin Ali Al-Shehri, commander of the Northwest Region, and Deputy Commander of the US Central Command Gen. Terrence McKenrick.
“We are very pleased with what we have seen between the interaction of our personnel and the U.S. personnel, enhancing their relationships,” said Al-Shehri during his closing statements. “We are also very happy to see the spirit of cooperation between all participants and the lessons learned that were gained from this exercise.”
“The successful execution of this exercise is a testament to the Royal Saudi Land forces, the United States Army, planners, Soldiers, as well as the gracious hospitality that has been extended to us,” said McKenrick.
This year’s Earnest Leader exercise focused Saudi and U.S. troops on border security and the logistical challenges faced in today’s irregular warfare environment, according to a US Central Command statement.


Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program ‘fundamental to Kingdom’s energy sector’

Updated 2 min 26 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program ‘fundamental to Kingdom’s energy sector’

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s atomic energy program is fundamental for developing a sustainable energy sector, a senior minister told the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday.
The Kingdom plans to start building its first two nuclear power reactors this year and as many as 16 over the next 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion. The plan is to provide 15 percent of Saudi Arabia’s power from nuclear by 2032.
Speaking at the IAEA’s annual conference in Vienna, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the atomic reactor projects were were part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to diversify its energy sources to nuclear and renewables.
The program “abides by all international treaties and conventions and best practices, adhering to the highest standards of safety, security and transparency,” Al Falih said.
The minister said Saudi Arabia was committed to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which calls for nuclear disarmament and stresses the commitment of nuclear power states to share their peaceful technologies with abiding member states.
He also said the Kingdom had called for cooperation with the international community to make the Middle East a nuclear weapons free area.
The US has started to reintroduce heavy sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, after Donald Trump pulled out of a deal with the country earlier this year to curb its atomic ambitions.
Al-Falih called on the international community to take a more stringent stance against all threats to regional and international security, particularly Iran, given its “alarming efforts to build its nuclear capabilities, in tandem with its increasing acts of sabotage and aggression against other states in the region.”