Robots to roam $500 billion Saudi city

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Updated 24 October 2017

Robots to roam $500 billion Saudi city

DUBAI: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday unveiled ambitious plans for a new city state that would also straddle Jordan and Egypt in the kingdom’s northwest with up to $500bn in investments.
Called Neom, the city will be powered by solar and wind energy, and is likely to have more robots than people living there.
The business zone, spanning 26,500 square kilometers, would be a showcase for modernity, Saudi ingenuity and new technologies, the Crown Prince told a panel discussion at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh.

The forum that has attracted business and financial leaders from around the world is being sponsored by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). He said: “We will build the city from scratch, it will be drone-friendly and a center for the development of robotics. We want to create something different. Neom is a place for dreamers who want to create something new in the world, something extraordinary.”
Klaus Kleinfeld, former head of aluminum giant Alcoa has been appointed CEO of NEOM. In response to a question, he told the panel’s audience: “Saudi Arabia hasn’t only been blessed with oil and gas, but with sun and wind as well. We can use technology to accelerate economic development.
The plans are part of the Crown Prince’s vision to overhaul the country’s economy and decrease its reliance on oil. The Neom project will focus on nine different investment sectors including energy, water, biotech and robotics.
Masayoshi Son, chairman of Japan’s Softbank, disclosed the bank would be making an investment in Saudi Electric as part of a push to develop green energy in the Kingdom. Son said robots could outnumber people in Neom.
Marc Raibert, CEO of Boston Dynamics told the conference: “Robots could perform a variety of functions – covering areas such as security, logistics, home deliveries and even looking after the elderly and infirm.

President Trump vows to remain steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia

Updated 17 min 17 sec ago

President Trump vows to remain steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi Arabia is a great ally in our fight against Iran, terrorism, he says.
  • Saudi Arabia has worked closely with us in keeping oil prices at reasonable levels, says Trump.

JEDDAH: US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States intends to remain a "steadfast partner" of Saudi Arabia.

In a statement issued by the White House, Trump said he would not cancel multibillion-dollar military contracts with Riyadh. "If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries," he said.

Trump said US intelligence agencies were still studying the evidence of how Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, and who planned it.

"The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone," he said. "Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body."

Trump said: "King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information.

"We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!"

Terming the world as "a very dangerous place," Trump blasted Iran for its malign activity in the region.

"Iran ... is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, 'Death to America!' and 'Death to Israel!' Iran is considered 'the world’s leading sponsor of terror'.”

He said: "Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism."

Recalling his trip to Saudi Arabia last year, Trump said: "The Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great US defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!"

Trump said Congress was "free" to "go in a different direction."

"I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction — and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels — so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!"