Dubai ruler says Middle East can become the ‘new Europe’

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) talks to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during the Future Investment Initiative FII conference which was held in Riyadh in October. (File/AFP)
Updated 25 November 2018
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Dubai ruler says Middle East can become the ‘new Europe’

  • Dubai ruler says region's conflicts should act as motivation to modernize
  • UAE stands by Saudi Arabia through 'thick and thin', says Sheikh Mohammed

DUBAI: The Middle East can become the new Europe if its countries adopt modernity and development, Dubai ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum has said.

The Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE told newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat he believed the conflicts in the region offered further motivation to adopt modernization and development.

He said he agreed with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s belief that the Middle East could be the new Europe, he said.

“I believe that conflicts offer further motivation to adopt modernization and development,” he explained.

“Can you competently manage a crisis if you do not have the appropriate tools of the age? Can old circumstances, methods and ways of thinking produce anything else than the products that they had yielded before?”

He said that for more than 20 years he has been warning leaders of the severity of the situation and the need for change.

“But some officials were shocked at the thought that problems in their countries could escalate. Indeed, they escalated until they reached a dead end.”

But he said he remained optimistic about the future. Though costly, he said the lessons learned from the Arab Spring (which he referred to as the Arab Fall), “were valuable.”

“I believe that the majority of the leadership in the Arab world have learned these lessons, which are that the winds of reforms, change and modernization are blowing through the majority of our Arab world. They hold a promise of a real spring.”

Asked about relations with Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mohammed said: “We always stand by Saudi Arabia, through thick and thin.”

“Our bilateral ties are bolstered through the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council. The council set a joint vision for a complimentary strategy between the two countries, on the economic, development and military levels, through 44 joint strategic projects. We look forward to building a complementary model that supports the GCC and joint Arab work.”

He said he also looked “with optimism and hope at the massive development and modernization operation in the Kingdom.”

“Vision 2030 demands our brothers to work around the clock to implement its projects and programs. They are capable of accomplishing it and they know that the goals of the plan are not a choice. They are necessary to confront current and future challenges.

“Saudi Arabia is a young society, more than half the population is under the age of 30. They need job opportunities. Above all, they need modern education and an environment that is open to change and modernity. Moreover, the developments and changes in the global economy demand the diversification of the economy and reducing dependence on natural resources. This is what Vision 2030 is preparing for.”


Crown prince: Saudi investment in India to reach $100bn

Updated 20 February 2019
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Crown prince: Saudi investment in India to reach $100bn

  • Mohammed bin Salman says value of investments to increase rapidly over next two years
  • Modi praised relations between the two countries after signing cooperation agreements

DUBAI: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Wednesday he expects Saudi Arabia’s investments in India will be worth $100 billion in the next two years.

During a press conference with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the crown prince said the Kingdom had invested $10 billion in technology and small companies in India which had “achieved very remarkable returns.”

Speaking on the second day of hist India visit, and after the signing of five agreements with Modi, the crown prince also said that there were many opportunities for India in Saudi Arabia.

“We expect that the opportunity we are developing in India in many fields will exceed 100 billion dollars over the next two years,” Prince Mohammed said. “We want to work as two governments to ensure these investments and achieve beneficial returns for both countries. 

“We also hope that relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and India will contribute to providing more opportunities for Indian laborers and manpower to contribute to the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and building the Kingdom's Vision 2030.”

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The crown prince spoke of the depth and history of relations between the two countries, acknowledging the role Indian labor and businesses had played in the Kingdom’s development.

He also said the economic partnerships were grounded in the two nation’s similar challenges - “extremism, terrorism and the security of the Indian Ocean.”

He said Modi’s visit to the Kingdom in 2016 had achieved investments worth $44 billion in refining and petrochemicals.

The two countries planned to expand India’s oil storage capacity to make India an “important regional center in distributing oil and its products.”

"As a neighbor who guarantees suppying us with energy needs, the Kingdom is considered India's most important partner," Modi said. "We have enhanced our relations through establishing a strategic partnership."

The crown prince and Modi earlier oversaw the signing of agreements in the fields of investment, tourism, housing and information and broadcasting.

It was also announced that the Kingdom would join the International Solar Alliance, a group of countries focussed on improving solar technology.

Prince Mohammed then met a number of CEOs from India's leading businesses.

The crown prince arrived in India after a two-day trip to Pakistan as part of a tour of Asia.

Earlier he attended a ceremonial welcome in New Delhi after landing in the country on Tuesday evening.