Saudi Arabia seeks to build robust defense industry

The latest developments in military products and technology are on display at the Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversity of Requirements and Capabilities (AFED 2018), on Sunday in Riyadh. (AN photo)
Updated 25 February 2018
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Saudi Arabia seeks to build robust defense industry

RIYADH: Gen. Abdul Rahman bin Saleh Al-Bunyan, chief of staff of the Saudi armed forces, inaugurated a major defense exhibition on Sunday on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
On behalf of Turkey, the guest-of-honor country at the Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversity of Requirements and Capabilities (AFED 2018), Prof. Ismail Demir, chief of the Turkish defense industry, participated in the inaugural ceremony.
The exhibition is an important government initiative. “Spread over seven days, AFED 2018 is showcasing the latest developments in military products and technology,” said Maj. Gen. Attiya Al-Maliki, an AFED spokesman. “This fourth edition of AFED shows an increase in the number of exhibitors and displayed products.”
Referring to the participation and achievements of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), the state-owned Saudi defense company, Dr. Andreas Schwer, SAMI chief executive, said: “Saudi Arabia is one of the top five countries in the world in terms of military spending, and the establishment of SAMI was an ambitious step as part of the country’s strategy to localize and globalize its military manufacturing industry.”
Schwer said: “SAMI’s participation will open up doors for future long-term partnerships, laying the cornerstone for SAMI to localize 50 percent of government military spending, and become one of the top 25 military industry companies in the world.
“With a strategic framework in place, SAMI aims to contribute around SR14 billion ($3.73 billion) directly to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product (GDP), increase the value of national exports by about SR5 billion, invest over SR6 billion for research and development, and create over 40,000 direct jobs locally, by the year 2030.”
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Referring to the Turkish participation in AFED and the possibilities of a tie-up with Saudi companies, especially SAMI, Prof. Demir said: “Saudi Arabia announced that Turkey is the first guest-of-honor country at the AFED, making it an international exhibition, which has been held at the national level before. This decision reflects the deep historical relations and close cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia,” he said, referring to the participation of 25 top-notch Turkish companies in the exhibition.
He added: “Within this framework, it is a pleasure for the leading Turkish defense industry firms, which have developed significant capabilities at designing and producing major defense platforms and systems in line with the procurement projects and needs of the Turkish armed forces, to demonstrate their products and capabilities at AFED 2018. The aims of AFED are to gather Turkish defense industry companies with their Saudi counterparts in order to seek and explore joint production opportunities and deepen the already strong cooperation between the two countries within the framework of Vision 2030.”
Prof. Demir said that the high participation and strong interest of the Turkish defense industry firms in the exhibition demonstrated their sincere will and importance attached to cooperation with Saudi Arabia. As a result of large investments in the defense industry of Turkey, the number of the country’s defense projects has reached 600 at a size of $60 billion, and the defense industry has reached a production capacity of more than $6 billion per year and an export capacity of $2 billion as of today.
Several ministers and diplomats including Minister of Labor and Social Development Ali Al-Ghafis, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah A. Al-Sawahah; and Turkish Ambassador Erdogan Kok attended the inaugural ceremony.


Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

Updated 19 July 2019
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Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

  • The president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury Shagaf Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey
  • Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back”

CHRISTCHURCH: King Salman’s Hajj offer to host families of those affected by March’s Christchurch terror attacks is “something really special,” said the president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury, Shagaf Khan.
The Saudi king has offered to host and cover the expenses of 200 Hajj pilgrims when they journey to Makkah this year.
Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey. “For some of them, it’ll be a great comfort feeling like they’ve fulfilled the obligations of being a Muslim,” he added.
Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back.”
When asked what the offer would mean for Canterbury’s Muslim community, Khan said it is part of the solidarity and support that has been shown to them since the Christchurch terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 51 people.
“Four months on … people still feel supported and they feel they’re still being remembered,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed Amir, who is working closely with the local community, Saudi Arabia’s Embassy and its Ministry of Islamic Affairs to implement King Salman’s offer, said it will be available for those who had lost family members or been injured in the mosque attacks.
Canterbury’s Muslims are “very appreciative” of the offer, added Amir, who is chairman of the Islamic Scholars Board of New Zealand.
“I’ll say with full confidence that this will be a big relief for the deceased’s families, for the victims, for all those who’ve been injured and affected,” he said.
When asked how the organization of the pilgrimage is going, Amir said “so far, so good,” but added that it has been challenging without official records to track everyone down.
He said it is an honor and a responsibility to help organize the pilgrimage, which he has been helping to plan since the end of Ramadan. “People are very excited about it,” he added.
He said he believed that the king’s offer had been made to help people’s rehabilitation after the terror attacks.
“The community believes he’s going to contribute in building Christchurch and bringing people to a normal life,” Amir added.