We will fight corruption ‘fairly and firmly,’ King Salman says

All smiles as King Salman arrives to deliver his address at the Shoura Council in Riyadh on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 13 December 2017
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We will fight corruption ‘fairly and firmly,’ King Salman says

RIYADH: Corruption undermines societies and prevents their development and growth, and Saudi Arabia is determined to confront it, King Salman said on Wednesday. 
The issue would be dealt with “in a fair and firm way so that our country enjoys the renaissance and development hoped for by every citizen,” the king told the Shoura Council in Jeddah. 
He said this was why he had ordered the formation of a supreme committee to fight public corruption, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The committee began its work last month, with the arrest and detention of up to 500 people on charges of money laundering, bribery, extorting money from officials, and taking advantage of public office for personal gain.
King Salman said he was thankful that relatively few people were involved in corruption. “And what they have done does not prejudice the integrity of honorable citizens of this country of princes, ministers, businessmen, employees, and workers at all levels in their various positions of responsibility in public and private sectors, as well as resident workers and investors, of whom we are proud, and wish them all success.”
The king said Saudi Arabia intended to “develop its present, build its future and move forward on the track of growth, modernization, and continuous development, in a way that does not contradict our principles, adhering to moderation as a way and approach … We are proud of our values and constant fundamentals.
“There is no place among us for an extremist who sees moderation as degeneration and exploits our tolerant religion to achieve his goals, and there is no place among us for a degenerate one who sees our war on extremism as a means of disseminating decadence. We will hold accountable anyone who does that.”
He said he had directed ministers and officials to expand a number of programs affecting the main needs of citizens. “Notably, the most important one is the housing program,” he said.
Saudi Arabia had continued its pioneering and effective role in combating terrorism and drying up its sources of funds and support, the king said. 
He called for a political solution for crises in the region, topped by the restoration of the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights, including the right to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“I would like to reiterate the condemnation of the Kingdom and its deep regret at the US decision on Jerusalem, which represents blatant bias against the historic rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, which have been guaranteed by international resolutions and have been recognized and supported by the international community,” King Salman said. 
He said Saudi Arabia was working with its allies to confront interference in countries’ internal affairs, which fueled sectarian strife and undermined regional security and stability. Saudi Arabia sought to consolidate the values of tolerance and coexistence, the king said.
 


Germany, Saudi Arabia agree to turn page after diplomatic row

We should have been clearer in our communication and engagement, said Maas. (AFP)
Updated 10 min 42 sec ago
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Germany, Saudi Arabia agree to turn page after diplomatic row

UNITED NATIONS: Germany and Saudi Arabia agreed on Tuesday to enter a new phase in relations after a diplomatic row that had soured ties between the two countries.
“In recent months, our relations have witnessed a misunderstanding which stand in sharp contrast to our otherwise strong and strategic ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we sincerely regret this,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said alongside his Saudi counterpart, Adel Al-Jubeir.
“We should have been clearer in our communication and engagement in order to avoid such misunderstandings between Germany and the kingdom,” he said.
Jubeir said he welcomed Maas’ statement and invited him to the kingdom to intensify their ties.