Saudi Arabia, Russia cement nuclear energy ties

Rosatom said Russia and Saudi Arabia would look to establish a center for nuclear science and technology in KSA. (Rosatom)
Updated 15 December 2017
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Saudi Arabia, Russia cement nuclear energy ties

LONDON: Saudi Arabia and Russia have signed a roadmap deal to implement a civil nuclear cooperation program that was inked in Moscow in October when King Salman met President Vladimir Putin.
A statement from Russian state-owned nuclear company Rosatom said on Thursday the countries aim to cooperate in the field of small and medium-sized nuclear reactors that can be used for both power generation and water desalination.
“The parties also plan to cooperate in training personnel for the Saudi nuclear industry and developing the Kingdom’s nuclear infrastructure,” Rosatom said.
Additionally, Russia and Saudi Arabia would look to establish a center for nuclear science and technology in KSA, one based on a Russian-design research reactor, said Rosatom in an announcement on its website.
Evgeny Pakermanov — president of Rusatom Overseas, a subsidiary of Rosatom responsible for promoting Russian nuclear technologies in overseas markets —  and Maher Abdullah Alodan, chief atomic energy officer of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE), signed the document on behalf of Russia and Saudi Arabia respectively.
Jane Kinninmont, a senior research fellow specializing in the Middle East at London-based Chatham House, told Arab News: “As the Saudi king’s unprecedented visit to Moscow in October indicated, these days most players prefer to hedge their bets, balancing different relationships and avoiding over-aligning with any single power.”
The nuclear roadmap comprises a set of steps to be implemented by the parties in order to promote cooperation in areas designated in the accord, signed into effect in Moscow on Oct. 5, 2017.
The historic summit in the Russian capital indicated a thawing of relations between the two countries, which are on different sides in the Syrian civil war — but which, nevertheless, have a common interest in maintaining a stable oil price and have other joint commercial and geopolitical interests.
At the time of that meeting, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said: “We (and Saudi Arabia) have a vast potential for developing cooperation in nuclear power. Nuclear power may become one of the basic sources and an extra catalyst for the development of various industries and innovation technologies in Saudi Arabia.”
Nabi Abdullaev, associate director at Control Risks in London, told Arab News: “With trade between Russia and Iran being below $2 billion (compared to $40 billion with Turkey), Russia is interested in balancing Tehran politically and in exploring economic opportunities with Saudi Arabia.”
 


Turkey cuts investment criteria for foreigners seeking citizenship

Updated 30 min 50 sec ago
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Turkey cuts investment criteria for foreigners seeking citizenship

  • Turkey made it easier for foreigners to become Turkish citizens by cutting the financial and investment criteria required for citizenship
  • Foreigners now need only to have $500,000 deposits in Turkish banks

ANKARA: Turkey on Wednesday made it easier for foreigners to become Turkish citizens by cutting the financial and investment criteria required for citizenship, according to a decree from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Foreigners now need only to have $500,000 deposits in Turkish banks, down from $3 million before while fixed capital investment was reduced from $2 million to $500,000 dollars, the decree published in the Official Gazette said.
Meanwhile individuals can obtain citizenship if they employ 50 people, down from the previous 100, while those who own property worth $250,000 can become Turkish citizens, compared to the previous value necessary of $1 million.
The decree is the latest in a series by Erdogan in what appears to be a bid to prop up the embattled Turkish lira and the economy which slowed down in the second quarter.
Last week, the president ordered that contracts for the sale, rent and leasing of property in or indexed to foreign currencies would not be allowed.
The Turkish currency fell against the US dollar drastically in August after one of the most bitter spats between Ankara and Washington over the detention of an American pastor.
The lira lost nearly a quarter in value against the greenback in August.
But there had been investor concerns over domestic economic policy and Erdogan’s continued opposition to high interest rates, although the central bank aggressively hiked its main policy rate 6.25 percent to 24 percent last week.
Erdogan will later meet with representatives of American companies working in Turkey at 1500 GMT at his presidential palace in Ankara, according to the presidential website.
He will meet with 30 senior executives, according to HaberTurk daily, including representatives from Microsoft and Google.