Saudi-Iraqi border sees heavy flow of pilgrims headed for Hajj

A member of the Saudi border guards patrols the fence on Saudi Arabia's northern border with Iraq, near Arar City, in this February 23, 2015 file photo. (AFP)
Updated 18 August 2017
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Saudi-Iraqi border sees heavy flow of pilgrims headed for Hajj

ARAR: The Arar crossing on the Saudi-Iraqi border is seeing a heavy flow of Iraqi pilgrims heading to the Kingdom to perform Hajj.
It has also been attracting diplomats. Saudi minister of state for Gulf affairs, Thamer Al-Sabhan, and Brett McGurk, US special envoy for the anti-Daesh coalition, on Wednesday inspected the crossing.
This came two days after a similar visit by Saudi Ambassador in Baghdad Abdul Aziz Al-Shemary, and his Iraqi counterpart Rashid Al-Any.
The vice president of the Anbar provincial council, Faleh Al-Issawi, said he had received Al-Sabhan and McGurk at the crossing.
Sabhan tweeted a picture of himself with McGurk and Al-Issawi during his visit, with the caption “from the Iraq of fraternity and brotherhood.”
Al-Issawi said the visit was intended to “inspect the crossing, its working mechanism and the mechanism of receiving Hajj pilgrims, in addition to its readiness for trade between Riyadh and Baghdad.”
The deputy governor of Anbar, Mustafa Al-Ersan, said the visit is “a positive step,” and the crossing will be open after the Hajj season for bilateral trade.
Saad Al-Hadithi, spokesman of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, said: “There is an agreement with Saudi Arabia on reopening the crossing for trade and visits between the two countries.”
The decision was made during Al-Abadi’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Al-Hadithi said, adding that Riyadh and Baghdad are also preparing to reopen the Jamima crossing.


Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

Updated 25 April 2018
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Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

  • The Privatization Program is one of 12 key elements of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
  • The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs on Tuesday approved the Privatization Program that is one of 12 key elements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals, attracting the latest technologies and innovations, and supporting economic development.

It encourages both local and foreign investment in order to enhance the role of the private sector, with government entities adopting a regulatory and supervisory role. The aim is to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40 percent to 65 percent by 2030. 

The program will aim to reach its objectives through encouraging the private sector to invest in establishing new schools, universities and health centers, while the government pursues its organizational and supervisory role in health and education.

The privatization program aims to benefit from previous success stories, with the private sector’s collaboration in the development of infrastructure, and its involvement on a large scale in sectors such as energy, water, transport, telecommunications, petrochemicals and finance.

The program sets out a series of objectives in three areas: Developing a general legal framework for policies related to privatization; establishing organizational foundations and dedicated institutions to execute the policies; and setting a timescale for their delivery. 

The Council of Economic and Development Affairs is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.