Saudi Arabia and Austria pledge to bolster trade ties

Photo shows Austrian Ambassador Gregor Koessler (left) with Walter Ruck, president of Vienna Chamber, middle, and Dr Kurt Altmann, Austrian commercial counsellor, posing for photo after the press briefing in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo by Ghaffar Ahmed Khan)
Updated 24 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia and Austria pledge to bolster trade ties

RIYADH: Austria has pledged to ramp up cooperation in key commercial sectors with Saudi Arabia after a group of business leaders representing about 25 top-notch Austrian companies had wide-ranging talks with Saudi officials and businessmen on Monday and Tuesday in Riyadh.
The pledge comes within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030, which calls for forging partnerships with foreign companies to achieve the desired objectives of the vision.
“The new Austrian government is business-friendly, and hence more cooperation and collaboration in various sectors are expected,” said Gregor Koessler, Austrian ambassador, who called on Austrian companies to ensure their “local presence” in the Kingdom for intensive contacts and for doing business.
Koessler was speaking during a networking lunch, which was attended by several Saudi businessmen and members of the Austrian business mission.
Walter Ruck, president of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is leading the Austrian commercial mission, together with Dr. Kurt Altmann, Austrian commercial counselor. The mission, which traveled to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, consists of top Austrian business representatives.
The companies in the mission are specialized in medical technologies, energy and solar energy, railway, air-conditioning, engineering services, transport, data management systems, electromechanical equipment and water treatment.
Vienna Chamber chief Ruck told Arab News: “The Austrian business mission seeks to strengthen trade and investment ties with the Kingdom.”
He said Austrian business leaders have had wide-ranging talks with top officials of the Riyadh-based Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and Council of Saudi Chambers with the aim of ramping up cooperation in the economic field.
He said Austria was committed to working with the Kingdom in implementing Vision 2030. In fact, the prospect of bilateral cooperation within the framework of Vision 2030 is brighter as the Austrian economy is picking up speed with a projected growth of 2.8 percent.
Ruck noted the growing business ties, saying that “the two-way trade between Riyadh and Vienna has been in the region of SR1.9 billion ($0.5 billion) annually.”
He said Austria and Saudi Arabia have built a solid relationship on the commercial front. “Many of our companies have been working closely with Saudi enterprises over the past decades, either as joint ventures or in close collaboration with Saudi side on a number of projects,” said the Austrian commercial counselor.
Altmann also spoke about growing investment relations, saying that there are 20 joint ventures operating in different sectors.
He further pointed out that “Austrian investment in the Kingdom exceeds SR1.2 billion, while Saudi investment in Austria totals SR1 billion.”
“This will further grow as we look forward to discussing how best to partner in implementing Vision 2030, particularly in areas where Austria has specific expertise,” said Altmann.
The Vienna Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the legal representative of the entire Viennese business community with a total membership of more than 140,000 companies.


Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

Updated 26 May 2019
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Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

  • Umrah trip held as part of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah's “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative 

JEDDAH: Several Muslims with special needs have benefited from a special Umrah pilgrimage organized by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.

According to statement from the ministry, the Umrah trip, was held on the 17th of Ramadan  (May 22) under the “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative in partnership with Sawt Alasm association in Jeddah.

A busload of 20 people with special needs were accompanied by 12 volunteers of Sadiq Almutamir, including sign language interpreters for the deaf pilgrims. 

The first stop was at Kuday area in Makkah, where pilgrims received the special gifts of Sadiq Almutamir, supported by the Establishment of Motawifs of South East Asian Pilgrims. Next was their arrival at the Grand Mosque, wherein the pilgrims performed Umrah, enjoyed Iftar meals, and received souvenirs from Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association. 

Volunteers assisted the pilgrims by communicating with them, providing instructions and directions in addition to sharing their feelings with the support of the sign language interpreters. 

Sadiq Almutamir also accompanied pilgrims during the performance of Umrah, providing wheelchairs for the elderly, sharing breakfast, and learning about their impressions of performing Umrah for their first time. 

Sadiq Almutamir is one of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s initiatives in Makkah’s Cultural Forum. It focuses on promoting the culture of giving and cooperation between the Saudi youth as well as elevating the volunteering services provided to Umrah pilgrims in order to enrich their experiences. It also provides optional tours to visit attractions, monuments, and places contribute to enriching experiences of Mutamirs and immortalizing beautiful memories in the Kingdom.

Launched late last year, the initiative aims to develop the spirit of volunteerism among Muslims and to invest in the youth by engaging young men and women in service and social responsibility.

“It focuses as well on improving the efficiency level of services provided to pilgrims, promoting the culture of volunteering, helping elderly and special needs’ people to perform Umrah rituals, and finally contributing to the realization of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 of reaching 1 million volunteers annually,” ministry statement said.

The trip was held in cooperation with the Western Fleet Transport, in coordination with the undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for pilgrims’ transportation affairs and Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association.