DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia and Latvia poised to take official ties to next level, envoy says

Latvian Ambassador Astra Kurme with officials of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. (AN photo)
Updated 15 November 2018
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DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia and Latvia poised to take official ties to next level, envoy says

  • Kurme: “The Kingdom and Latvia will hold political consultations following the ratification of their memorandum of understanding by the Shoura Council"

RIYADH: Latvia intends to develop its commercial and cultural relations with Saudi Arabia, with a particular focus on a number of cooperative areas including education, the economy, information technology, culture, food and food processing, Astra Kurme, Latvia’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said on Tuesday. The countries are also discussing plans to hold their maiden round of political talks in near future, she added.
“The Kingdom and Latvia will hold political consultations following the ratification of their memorandum of understanding by the Shoura Council,” said Kurme, who is the first envoy of a Baltic state in Saudi Arabia. “We are also talking about setting up a legal framework and endorsing agreements such as the avoidance of double taxation.”
The ambassador said that she discussed with Saudi officials possible areas of cooperation during several meetings last week at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Princess Nourah University, King Saud University and at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“One of the potential projects can be establishing an Arabic language and culture center in Latvia,” she said, adding that there are also many opportunities to work together in the fields of information technology and cybersecurity.
Some Latvian companies already have a direct or indirect presence in the Gulf region, Kurme said. She also pointed out that Latvia has some of the fastest internet connections in the world, having taken major step to develop high-speed internet, and that there are plenty of commercial opportunities for both countries.
She noted that Air Baltic already flies to Abu Dhabi four times a week and that Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa also serve the Gulf-Latvia sector.
Latvia welcomed a large number of Saudi tourists this summer, said Kurme, adding that Latvia is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its independence this year.


Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

Updated 23 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting
  • Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE will participate in a conference next month in Bahrain aimed at encouraging investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as part of US President Donald Trump’s long–awaited Israel–Palestine peace plan. 

The Peace to Prosperity conference, to be hosted on June 25–26 in cooperation with the US, has already been rebuffed by Palestinian officials and business leaders, who want their political demands met by any proposed solution to the conflict.

The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting.

The Saudi minister of economy and planning, Mohammed bin Majid Al–Tuwaijri, will attend, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said Abu Dhabi would also send a delegation.

The Palestinian Authority has boycotted American peace efforts since late 2017, when Trump decided to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the latter as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of US policy.

The Trump administration has sought to enlist support from Arab governments.

But Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands, which include affirming East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, the right of return for refugees, and a freeze on Israeli settlement construction.