Women’s reforms ‘will unleash Saudi economy’, says US lawmaker

US Representative Ed Royce. (Reuters file photo)
Updated 23 February 2018
0

Women’s reforms ‘will unleash Saudi economy’, says US lawmaker

NEW YORK: Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, praised the “bold vision” re-shaping Saudi Arabia and improving women’s lives on Wednesday after two days of meetings on Iran and other regional problems.
“Saudis are optimistic about the future, and rightly so. The government has a bold vision for its economy and reforms are giving women new opportunity,” Royce said. “A country that utilizes only half its population can never realize its full potential. Empowering Saudi women will help unleash its economy.”
The California Republican met with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is spearheading the “Vision 2030” plan to modernize the Kingdom’s society, create jobs and diversify its economy away from oil.
They also discussed efforts to tackle Tehran’s support for proxy militias in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen amid concerns in Washington and among its Middle Eastern allies of a growing crescent of Iranian influence.
“Of course, Saudi Arabia — and the Middle East as a whole — faces serious threats from Iran. In our productive meetings, we discussed efforts to apply more financial and diplomatic pressure against Iran’s missile program and its support for terror,” Royce said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump told the Europeans last month that they must agree to “fix the terrible flaws” in the 2015 international Iran nuclear deal or he would re-impose the sanctions Washington lifted as part of that pact.
Royce also addressed the Arab coalition’s fight against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels of northern Yemen, where fighting, hunger and disease have snowballed into what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
“In Yemen, I’m encouraged that the flow of relief has improved, but more must be done to increase access to food, water and basic medicine,” Royce said. “The Iranian-backed Houthis are pushing this conflict into a third year and eight million innocent people are on the brink of starvation.”
Royce was accompanied by his committee colleague Paul Cook, another Republican. They also met with Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, Prince Khaled bin Salman, Riyadh’s ambassador to Washington, and a group of Saudi women entrepreneurs.


King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed ‘lend new dimension to unification’

Millions of citizens plan to celebrate the Saudi national day on Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 23 September 2018
0

King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed ‘lend new dimension to unification’

  • More than 900,000 fireworks will light up the sky from 58 locations across the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Day, celebrated every year on Sept. 23, has come a long way in broadening the concept of unification over the years.
Though the National Day meant unifying disparate sheikhdoms under the nation’s founder, the late King Abdul Aziz, its implications across the political, socioeconomic and cultural spectrum have not been lost on successive rulers.
It was King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who fine-tuned the definition of unification as an operating philosophy. This is why millions of citizens plan to celebrate the Saudi National Day on the streets on Sunday.
The capital city, along with other Saudi cities, will witness fireworks and the unfurling of the largest national flag. More than 900,000 fireworks will light up the sky from 58 locations across the Kingdom.
Car owners, limousine drivers and young Saudi motorcyclists said that they planned to go for drives, particularly on the fashionable streets of the capital city, to celebrate. Grocery shops, stationery shops and vendors were selling bunting, flags, banners and pictures of national heroes.
“We went around the city to see the lighting and fireworks,” said Saleh Al-Omri, a local pharmacist. “Green and white balloons fill either sides of Riyadh streets,” he said.
In his National Day congratulatory message, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, said: “The wise policy of the leaders of this country contributed to peace, security and stability.”
Fakhr Al-Shawaf, chief executive of Al-Bawani Contracting Co., said: “We are celebrating the 88th anniversary of our unification, a day when the late King Abdul Aziz established the Saudi nation.”
Ali Al-Othaim, a member of Riyadh Chamber’s board of directors, said: “The Kingdom is on the path of comprehensive economic and social development under Vision 2030.”
Shafik Namdar, a taxi driver, said that he had bought an SR10 flag for his car and planned to work and also drive with his friends to look at the city and its landmark buildings.
Several young boys, including Arslan, 12, and Mishal, 14, said that they had bought bunting, badges and flags to decorate their houses. They planned to celebrate with a special meal at home with relatives, before going into the city streets for dance and music. Some of them had plans to organize celebrations in public parks.