Organization of Islamic Cooperation urges all Afghan factions to join the peace process

OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, second right, and Afghan Deputy Foreigner Minister Dr. Nasir Ahmad Andisha, third right, during the OIC meeting in Jeddah. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Organization of Islamic Cooperation urges all Afghan factions to join the peace process

  • Saudi Arabia provides economic and humanitarian aid as well as other means of assistance to help in Afghanistan
  • The insurgents are fighting under the name of jihad and they have lost the base of their fighting because Saudi Arabia and the highest authorities in the Islamic world have condemned it

JEDDAH: Afghanistan has witnessed terrorist acts and bombings that go against the teachings of the Islamic Shariah, said Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Zuhair bin Mohammed Al-Idrisi.
“The situation (in Afghanistan) required an intervention from the OIC and efforts made by Saudi Arabia under the guidance of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman. Today this meeting has been set by Saudi Arabia’s efforts to explore means of implementing this decision,” said Al-Adrisi at a meeting of OIC permanent representatives on supporting peace and stability in Afghanistan, held in the OIC headquarters in Jeddah on Tuesday.
Al-Adrisi said that the first step was the International Ulema Conference on peace and security in Afghanistan, which was held in the Kingdom in July and resulted in a call for an end to violence in the country, saying fighting between Muslims was strictly prohibited in Islam.
King Salman told the ulema during that conference that Saudis had lived through the Afghanistan crisis and shared the suffering of the Afghan people from the beginning of this conflict, which resulted in civil war.
“Saudi Arabia provides economic and humanitarian aid as well as other means of assistance to help in Afghanistan,” Al-Adrisi continued.
The Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Dr. Nasir Ahmad Andisha said: “The conflict in Afghanistan does not have only domestic or internal aspects; it has regional and international aspects too. There are countries that are right now unfortunately supporting the Taliban, giving them sanctuary. Our message is that prolonging support for terrorists and extremists, as history has shown, cannot be beneficial to any country. The foreign policy should not be based on supporting enemies and terrorists from other countries, especially for neighboring countries.
“That is why it is taking longer because when the Taliban retreats when they are beaten on the battleground, they move to neighboring countries and get treatment at the hospitals. Their families are there. I think that is the reason it’s prolonged, otherwise, a terrorist insurgent group which all the world has condemned does not have support to continue the war. So the idea of coming to this kind of forum is to bring international pressure, especially from Islamic countries, over those countries to end their support for the terrorists.”
Andisha believes the first step would be for the countries who have larger influence over the Taliban to bring them to the peace negotiation table.
“The insurgents are fighting under the name of jihad and they have lost the base of their fighting because Saudi Arabia and the highest authorities in the Islamic world have condemned it,” he said. “They don’t have a base, but now it is our job to take this message of solidarity of the Islamic world to the local people, to the villages of Afghanistan, to tell them that this war is devoid of any Islamic ideology and religious support.
“The problems we have within our own region have adversely affected the unity of the Islamic nations and have an adverse affect in Afghanistan, because if some countries have their own problems on a regional level it makes their cooperation very difficult,” he concluded.
Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the OIC, stressed how important it was for the Afghan government to crystallize what it considers appropriate to establish sustainable peace, security and reconciliation among the segments of the Afghan people. This was part of his statement at the meeting, held at the request of Saudi Arabia.
Al-Othaimeen noted that the OIC is following with interest the efforts of Ashraf Ghani, president of Afghanistan, in calling upon the Taliban to engage in peace talks.
He urged OIC member states to harness their diplomatic influence to bring all factions in Afghanistan to the negotiating table.


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 30 min 55 sec ago
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.