Saudi-Russian ties stronger than ever, say experts

A panel of scholars and officials discuss Saudi-Russian ties on the sidelines of King Salman’s state visit, in Moscow on Friday.
Updated 07 October 2017
0

Saudi-Russian ties stronger than ever, say experts

MOSCOW: Saudi-Russian relations are stronger than ever, scholars and officials from both countries said Friday during a panel discussion in Moscow on the sidelines of King Salman’s state visit.
Houda Al-Helaisi, a member of the Saudi Shoura Council, said both countries are trying their best to improve ties, and the king’s visit has helped in this regard.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Russia last year.
“What we’re witnessing represents solid ground for better relations in various sectors,” Al-Helaisi said.
“We should concentrate more on cultural affairs, because culture is the field of cooperation and communication, while politics is always related to rivalry and competition,” said Maria Dubovikova, president of the International Middle Eastern Studies Club.
Saleh Al-Khathlan, vice president of the Riyadh-based National Society for Human Rights, said despite some differences between Russia and Saudi Arabia, “we’re on the right track.”
He added: “Our two countries are key players in regional stability and in energy. They reached an agreement that stabilized oil prices. We’re the two biggest oil producers, and our cooperation is a must to stabilize the market.”
Shoura member Noura Al-Yousuf said Saudi Arabia is thoroughly implementing its Vision 2030 reform plan.
“We’re working hard to boost small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to offer job opportunities,” she added.
“SMEs at present contribute only 20 percent of Saudi Arabia’s GDP (gross domestic product). We want to improve it to 35 percent.”
The Kingdom seeks to localize more than 50 percent of its military industries and 75 percent of its oil and gas sector, Al-Yousuf said.
“We seek to rise from our current position of 25 to the top 10 countries on the Global Competitiveness Index,” she added.
“We’re also working on increasing FDI (foreign direct investment) from 3.8 to 5.7 percent of GDP, and raising the private sector’s contribution from 40 to 65 percent of GDP,” she said. “The share of non-oil exports in non-oil GDP will increase from 16 to 50 percent by 2030.”
Saudi businesswoman Basma Omair said women have a major role to play in achieving Vision 2030.
“Women are playing a big role in our economy… There are no hindrances that prevent us from achieving our goals.”


Saudi Arabia arrests 13 accused of planning terrorist attacks

Updated 38 min 38 sec ago
0

Saudi Arabia arrests 13 accused of planning terrorist attacks

  • Four attackers were killed in failed terrorist attack claimed by Daesh on Interior Ministry building in Zulfi
  • The Presidency of State Security released identities of the 4 attackers

RIYADH: Thirteen people were arrested after finding plans to execute criminal acts that were targeting the Kingdom’s security, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.
The statement published by SPA included the names of the 13 men arrested, in addition to their civil ID numbers.
The spokesperson for the Saudi Presidency of State Security said explosive belts were found during a raid on the house of the Zulfi attackers.
Four heavily armed attackers were killed in a failed terrorist attack claimed by Daesh on an Interior Ministry building in Zulfi, north of Riyadh on Sunday.
The four terrorists that were killed belonged to Daesh.
The Presidency of State Security released the identities of the four attackers: Abdullah Hamoud Al-Hamoud, Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Mansour, Samer Abdulaziz Al-Madid and Salman Abdulaziz Al-Madid.

Saudi authorities discovered a house in Al-Rayyan neighborhood in Zulfi governorate, rented by Abdullah Al-Hamoud, one of the four perpetrators, where they found what resembled to be a factory for manufacturing explosives and explosive belts.
A total of five explosive belts were found, four of which were worn by the perpetrators, and another inside a car. The belts contain detonating keys and grenades with shrapnel-like screws.
Authorities also seized 64 homemade grenades, 61 pipe fittings, of which nine were being processed as pipe bombs, three mobile phones, three pressure cookers ready for detonation, two Kalashnikov machine guns, six pistols, and other various weapons.
They also found four bags (74,900 kg) containing organic fertilizers, along with sets of laboratory glass containers, a number of plastic containers, a package of liquid chemical containers, sulfur-fiber cartons, a homemade explosive detonator and a set of screws that were equipped with shrapnel.
Authorities also seized a set of ATM cards, two national identity cards, SR 228, a number of publications and CD-ROMs with content related to terrorist organization.
The Presidency of State Security said it is continuing to follow up with terrorist elements that threaten the security and stability of the Kingdom.