Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Jeddah on Tuesday. SPA
Updated 18 July 2018
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Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

  • The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers
  • China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has expressed his appreciation to scholars who took part in the International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan in Makkah, saying the Kingdom was making efforts to “heal the divisions and differences among the Afghan people.”

Chairing the Cabinet session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday, the king said Saudi Arabia was working toward “unifying the ranks and words of Muslims worldwide.”
He briefed the Cabinet on the results of his recent talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa, on future cooperation between the two countries.
The Cabinet welcomed the final statement by the Makkah conference calling on states, organizations and Islamic elites to play positive roles in achieving security and peace in Afghanistan.
The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers, extinguishing the fire of sedition.”
Muslims worldwide should continue their “firm stand in front of the advocates of violence and extremism in defense of their religion and maintaining the unity of the Islamic world,” it said.
The Cabinet also reviewed a ministerial meeting of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum in Beijing and welcomed a decision by Chinese leader President Xi Jinping to establish an Arab-Chinese strategic partnership.
China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries and “add to the prosperity and economic advancement of all,” it said.
The Cabinet denounced recent suicide attacks on two election gatherings in Pakistan and the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and offered condolences to families of the victims.
In the local arena, the Cabinet extended its appreciation to the king, based on a report by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for pardoning all troops who have taken part in the Saudi Renewal of Hope operation in Yemen of their military and disciplinary penalties for their heroism and sacrifices.
The Cabinet approved a license for the Iraqi Commercial Bank to open a branch in Saudi Arabia and authorized the Minister of Finance to decide on any subsequent requests to open other branches.


Saudi Arabia, Russia ‘aim to build bridges through culture’

Russia is looking to bolster cultural ties with Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock)
Updated 4 min 42 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia, Russia ‘aim to build bridges through culture’

  • Culture not only supports economic growth, but also builds bridges between nations: Dmitriev

RIYADH: Russia seeks to extend its close economic ties with Saudi Arabia into the world of arts and culture, a leading Russian businessman writes today in Arab News.

The arts are “a source for new jobs and sustained economic growth, and private companies realize this trend is an opportunity,” says Kirill Dmitriev.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that identified this trend early. Cultural development is an important part of the Vision 2030 program led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” he writes.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of which Dmitriev is chief executive, “believes that culture not only supports economic growth, but also builds bridges between nations, creating an atmosphere of mutual trust.” 

As an example, five paintings by the Russian avant-garde artists Wassily Kandinsky and Pavel Filonov are being exhibited at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. Such cultural ties “will contribute to the long-term relationship.” Dmitriev writes.