King Salman to lead high-level delegation to Russia

Saudi King Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet at the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, in this Nov. 16, 2015 photo. The two leaders will be meeting again when King Salman leads a high-powered delegation to Russia in the next few days. (SPA file photo)
Updated 02 October 2017
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King Salman to lead high-level delegation to Russia

MOSCOW: King Salman will arrive in Russia in the next few days at the head of a high-powered delegation of key government and private-sector figures.
Preparations for the visit, the first by a reigning Saudi monarch, “have entered a final stage,” the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson Dimitry Peskov said on Sunday.
“Saudi Arabia plays an important role in Arab and inter-Arab affairs as one of the leaders of the Arab world,” he said. “Our main hope is that this visit will give new impetus to the development of bilateral relations, because the potential of our relationship is much richer than the de facto situation.
“Certainly, Russia is interested in maintaining a dialogue, including a discussion of the situation in the Middle East and in Syria in particular.”
Andrey Baklanov, former Russian ambassador to Saudi Arabia and president of the Russian Association of Diplomats, said he had high hopes for the visit.
“The level of talks we had with the Saudis in the past, and the mutual cooperation, will give impetus to more stable relations. In the past, Russia and Saudi Arabia were in cyclical relations, drifting from being active and positive to fading,” Baklanov told Arab News.
Venyamin Popov, a leading Russian diplomat and coordinator of the Group of Strategic Vision (Russia-Islamic World), said Saudi Arabia and Russia had reached a mutual understanding, especially in the energy field.
“Through our cooperation with the Saudis, the price of oil has reached $56 per barrel. This is a mutual benefit,” he said. “We have great prospects in other fields of cooperation, as in the case of Syria, as we in Russia and Saudi Arabia seek the integrity of Syria.”
Nikolay Sukhov, senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences, said the two countries would have to tackle many obstacles before reaching compromises.
“In spite of all the challenges and hindrances, there are ways and means to reach compromises through bilateral cooperation,” he said.


Saudi customs thwart smuggling attempts on buses transporting Umrah worshippers

Updated 36 min 52 sec ago
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Saudi customs thwart smuggling attempts on buses transporting Umrah worshippers

RIYADH: The Halat Ammar Customs on the Kingdom’s northwestern border prevented two attempts to smuggle a quantity of 184,737 Fenethylline tablets, also known by the brand name of Captagon.
The pills were discovered hidden on two buses that were transporting passengers to the Kingdom’s holy sites.
Mohammed Qaisi, the customs general manager, said the first bus was carrying 47 passengers and after the customs procedures were finalized and the passengers were processed, a bag containing 100,000 tablets was found.
“The narcotics were hidden in an artistic way and were placed inside the bag’s lining,” he said.
Qaisi also said the second attempt was thwarted in a similar way. The other bus was transporting 31 passengers, on which a total of 84,737 Captagon pills were seized.
Saudi Arabia usually witnesses a rise of smuggling attempts during the Umrah and Hajj seasons, as they are exploited by smugglers trying to transport narcotics and other contraband. 
Saudi Customs said it is exerting great efforts and working with all its human and technical capabilities to prevent the entry of illegal substances.