Detainees were pushing ‘extremist agenda,’ Saudi foreign minister claims

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir attends a high level meeting to discuss the current situation in Libya during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 20, 2017. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
Updated 23 September 2017
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Detainees were pushing ‘extremist agenda,’ Saudi foreign minister claims

NEW YORK: A group of prominent clerics, academics and businessmen in Saudi Arabia who were arrested earlier this month were “pushing an extremist agenda,” according to Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir.
The minister also claimed the detainees had taken funding from foreign countries.
Many of those arrested had previously been critical of the government or its policies, and some have ties to a brand of political Islam the country’s rulers have long opposed. While there have been social media posts apparently identifying some of those arrested, the government’s Center for International Communication has not responded to requests for comments and the names cannot yet be independently confirmed.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York on Wednesday, Al-Jubeir said that more information would be released “when the investigations are concluded,” and stressed that “(those) detained were pushing an extremist agenda. They were inciting people, and this was not going to stand.”
He added that, since Saudi Arabia expected others to have “zero tolerance for extremism and terrorism,” then “we ourselves will live by this.”
In contrast, he later referenced Qatar, saying Saudi Arabia’s neighbor — currently embroiled in an ongoing feud with the Kingdom, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt — “has to stop supporting terrorists, stop financing terrorists, stop providing safe harbor to people implicated and wanted for terror financing.”
Al-Jubeir went on to name Iran as “the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism,” claiming Saudi Arabia’s longtime rival was “on a rampage” that is destabilizing the Middle East.
“Iran is a huge threat to all of us in the region and unless it changes its policy our region will always be troubled,” he said.
Asked about the Kingdom’s commitment to Saudi Vision 2030, a blueprint announced last year to diversify the economy away from oil, Al-Jubeir said the government has taken tangible steps toward implementing the plan, citing the building of entertainment venues, the introduction of laws giving companies “direct licensing to have retail operations in Saudi Arabia,” and the diversification of the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund to invest more overseas as examples.
“These are things that are noticeable,” he said.


Riyadh governor launches SR3 billion educational projects in Saudi capital

Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar inaugurates SR3 billion worth of educational projects on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 26 April 2018
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Riyadh governor launches SR3 billion educational projects in Saudi capital

  • 253 schools will open their doors to students: governor
  • The school buildings would serve 206,465 male and female students at all stages of schooling with 5,899 classrooms

RIYADH: Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar launched SR3 billion ($800 million) worth of educational projects on Wednesday at the Riyadh General Administration of Education. 

The launch was in the presence of Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa and a number of educational and pedagogical leaders as well as governmental bodies.

Prince Faisal said: “Today, we are seeing the cancelation of many old schools and the enhancement of many new ones; 253 schools will open their doors to students, a very high number that is not very common in many other states.”

The director general of education in Riyadh, Hamad bin Nasser Al-Wahaibi, said the educational projects aimed to achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which includes providing an adequate educational environment for students and teachers.

He said that the number of educational projects launched on Wednesday by Prince Faisal totaled 253 educational buildings, including 132 for boys and 121 for girls, along with 122 modern gyms, 44 playing fields, and 28 kindergartens and educational offices. He said that the school buildings would serve 206,465 male and female students at all stages of schooling with 5,899 classrooms. 

The total worth of these projects was SR3 billion ($800 million) and the current school year had seen the operation of 48 educational projects worth more than SR572 million.

These projects included four kindergartens, 12 primary schools, 11 educational projects for middle school, five for high school and 13 educational complexes and gyms. 

This year, seven kindergarten buildings, 22 primary schools, 15 middle schools, nine high school buildings and 20 gyms were operated, along with 31 buildings for boys (including 757 classrooms for 22,000 students) and 33 buildings for girls (including 404 classrooms for 12,000 female students), he said.

He said that the Riyadh administration supervised 119 educational projects worth more than SR1.2 billion.