AS IT HAPPENED: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets world leaders at G20

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Participants of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Buenos Aires, pose for a family photo. (AFP)
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Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attend the G20 Leaders' Summit in Buenos Aires, on November 30, 2018. (AFP)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) is welcomed by Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri at Costa Salguero in Buenos Aires during the G20 Leaders’ Summit, on November 30, 2018. (AFP)
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France's President Emmanuel Macron (L) is welcomed by Argentina's President Mauricio Macri at Costa Salguero in Buenos Aires during the G20 Leaders' Summit, on November 30, 2018. (AFP)
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Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) is welcomed by Argentina's President Mauricio Macri at Costa Salguero in Buenos Aires during the G20 Leaders' Summit, on November 30, 2018. (AFP)
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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is welcomed by Argentina's President Mauricio Macri as she arrives for the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. (Reuters)
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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) is welcomed by Argentina's President Mauricio Macri at Costa Salguero in Buenos Aires during the G20 Leaders' Summit, on November 30, 2018. (AFP)
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Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, shakes hands with Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri at the start of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP)
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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) is welcomed by Argentina's President Mauricio Macri at Costa Salguero in Buenos Aires during the G20 Leaders' Summit, on November 30, 2018. (AFP)
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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gestures during the opening of the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. (Reuters)
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US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are seen during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. (Reuters)
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President Donald Trump arrives and joins other heads of state for a family photo at the G20 summit, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Reuters)
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Saudi Arabia's crown prince meets with the UK's Prime Minister Theresa May in the sidelines of the summit on Friday evening. (SPA)
Updated 01 December 2018
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AS IT HAPPENED: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets world leaders at G20

  • World leaders pose for family photo as meeting in Buenos Aires gets underway
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman holds talks with a number world leaders on the sidelines

BUENOS AIRES: Leaders from the world’s leading economies gathered for the G20  summit in the Argentinian capital on Friday to discuss development, infrastructure and investment. 

Saudi Arabia’s delegation was headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was greeted by world leaders including Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron.

The summit is overshadowed by issues including the US-China trade dispute to the conflict over Ukraine. Also expected to loom are tensions between the United States and Europe.

LATEST

 

02:00 GMT

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the G20. They discussed cooperation in the fields of energy and investment. 

22:00 GMT

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attended a Gala event at Colon Theatre with other leaders of the G20.


21:00 GMT

Saudi Arabia's crown prince meets with the UK's Prime Minister Theresa May in the sidelines of the summit on Friday evening.

19:55 GMT

Thousands of demonstrators are flooding a downtown avenue in Buenos Aires to protest against the G20 summit, AP reported.
Activists from France, Germany, Italy and several Latin American nations are taking part alongside Argentines in a demonstration organized by left-leaning groups and labor unions.
About 22,000 police officers and other security forces are guarding the world leaders.

19:25

Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid Al-Falih has met with the Russian energy minister, Alexander Novak to discuss oil output.

SEE MORE: For the best images of the world's most powerful shaking hands and talking shop, click here.

18:36: 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continued his series of meeting with world leaders. He met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and the country's two delegations held talks.

18:35

18:11 GMT

Donald Trump lauded "good signs" ahead of talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on resolving their trade war.
"There's some good signs, we'll see what happens," Trump said. He is due to have dinner with Xi on Saturday.

READ MORE: Mauricio Macri, President of Argentina's full opening address at G20 Summit

17:46

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a meeting with the Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla. Earlier he met with the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

17:20

Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid Al-Falih will meet with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak during the summit to discuss an oil output in 2019, the Russian news agency RIA reported. Novak also said that Russia's 2019 oil output is expected to be at the same level as this year but could be adjusted, depending on a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC members. Producer group OPEC and its allies are meeting in Vienna next week to discuss oil production.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Russian president Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit. (Screenshot)

17:04 GMT

Donald Trump says "the sole reason" he canceled a meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 was because of Russia seizing Ukrainian ships

15:55 

G20 leaders including the presidents of the United States, Russia and China opened summit talks on Friday.
Argentinian President Mauricio Macri convened the two-day summit in Buenos Aires with a call for member nations to support international cooperation and multilateralism. He added that it will be an agenda "centered on people."

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin both grinned broadly and shook hands robustly as leaders converged for the start of the 2-day summit.

15:28 

Participants of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Buenos Aires, pose for a family photo.

14:55 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with a number world leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
The crown prince spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and others at the summit venue on Friday in Buenos Aires.

 

READ MORE: For an alternative guide to the meeting in Buenos Aires, click on Frank Kane’s G20 diary. Today he discusses the obligatory taxi driver story, the state of Argentina’s economy and some of the fine venues where world leaders will conduct their business.

14:25 

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived at the G20 summit in the Argentinan capital, Buenos Aires.

14:27 

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday denounced the “vicious” use of sanctions and trade protectionism, in a veiled swipe at Donald Trump at the G20 summit.
“One cannot help but see a dishonest competition increasingly taking the place of honest dialogue based on equality among states,” Putin told leaders of emerging economies as the summit opened in Buenos Aires.
“A vicious practice of returning to illegal, unilateral sanctions and protectionist measures is spreading, going around the UN Charter, the rules of the WTO and internationally recognized legal norms,” Putin said.
Putin said that the result was “an extremely negative effect on the spirit of international cooperation,” discouraging business.

11:36 

British Prime Minister Theresa May will hold a bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit in Argentina, her spokesman confirmed on Friday.
The meeting will take place at 20:00 GMT.

Read More: UK PM May to hold bilateral meeting with Saudi crown prince

9:50 

The leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada on Friday signed a huge regional trade deal to replace the old NAFTA, denounced by President Donald Trump as a killer of US jobs.
“This is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever,” Trump said at the signing ceremony in Buenos Aires, on the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ summit.
But he insisted that the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, was an “incredible milestone” that would aid US workers, especially in the auto industry, while putting in place “intellectual property protection that will be the envy of nations all around the world.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was less effusive about the renegotiated pact, but said the USMCA would resolve the threat of “serious economic uncertainty” that “would have gotten more damaging.”
Mexican President Pena Nieto, on his last day in office, called the revamped version of NAFTA important in shoring up “the view of an integrated North America with the firm belief that together we are stronger and more competitive.”

Read More: Trump joins leaders of Canada, Mexico to sign new trade pact

3:05 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in Argentina and discussed cooperation between the two countries in security, energy and investments, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Friday.


The two leaders, who are attending the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, also discussed Saudi Arabia’s readiness to supply India with all its needs of oil and petroleum products and Saudi oil giant Aramco’s investments in the fields of oil refining and oil storage in India, SPA said. 

Read More: Saudi crown prince and Indian PM meet in Buenos Aires


How ‘Absher’ app liberates Saudis from government bureaucracy

The Absher website also provides information on how to report wanted persons, or administrative or financial corruption. (Supplied)
Updated 17 February 2019
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How ‘Absher’ app liberates Saudis from government bureaucracy

  • Western media mistaken in portraying app as a tool of repression, leading female journalist says

JEDDAH: Absher, the “one-click” e-services app launched by the Interior Ministry in 2015, is now regarded as the leading government platform for Saudi citizens, freeing them from bureaucratic inefficiency and endless queuing for everyday services.
However, in a recent New York Times article, the app was criticized as a “tool of repression” following claims by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and women’s rights groups.
Apple and Google were urged to remove the application from their devices over claims that it “enables abhorrent surveillance and control of women.”
In an official statement, the ministry rejected the allegations and said the Absher platform centralized more than 160 different services for all members of society, including women, the elderly and people with special needs.
The app makes electronic government services available for beneficiaries to access directly at any time and from any place in the Kingdom, the ministry said.
Absher allows residents of the Kingdom to make appointments, renew IDs, passports, driver’s licenses, car registration and other services with one click.
Many Saudis still recall having to queue at government agencies, such as passport control offices and civil affairs departments, for a variety of official procedures. Appointments could take weeks to arrange, with people relying on their green files, or “malaf allagi” — the 1980s and 1990s paper form of Absher that was known as the citizen’s “lifeline,” both figuratively and literally.
Hours would be spent as government departments ferried files back and forth, and if a form was lost, the whole transaction process would have to start again. As complicated as it was for men, women suffered more.
Muna Abu Sulayman, an award-winning strategy adviser and media personality, told Arab News the introduction of Absher had helped strengthen women’s rights.
Sulayman said she was disappointed at comments on the e-services platform being made abroad. “There are consequences that people don’t understand. It’s a very idealistic and naive way of understanding what is going on,” she said.
“The discussion on the guardianship law is internal and ongoing — it is something that has to be decided by our society and not as a result of outside pressure. We’re making strides toward equality and Absher is a step in the right direction,” she said.
“In a Twitter survey, I asked how many women have access to their guardian’s Absher. Most answered that they control their own fate. Men who don’t believe in controlling women gave them access to their Absher and that shows an increase in the participation of women in their own decision-making.”
Absher also provides services such as e-forms, dealing with Hajj eligibility, passport control, civil affairs, public services, traffic control, and medical appointments at government hospitals.
The platform is available to all men and women, and removes much of the bureaucracy and time wasting associated with nonautomated administrative systems.
On the issue of granting women travel permits, the law requires a male guardian to grant it through the portal, as well as for men under the age of 21.
Retired King Abdullah University professor Dr. Zainab M. Zain told Arab News: “I always had issues with my passport renewal as well as my children’s as they are both non-Saudi. For years it was risky not to follow up properly at passport control — you never knew what could happen, but now I can renew their permits by paying their fees online through Absher from the comfort of my home in Abu Dhabi.”
Ehsanul Haque, a Pakistani engineer who has lived in the Kingdom for more than 30 years, said: “Absher has helped tremendously with requests, such as exit and entry visas for my family and myself. I can receive approval within an hour whereas once it would’ve taken me days,” he said.
“The platform has eased many of my troubles.”
The Absher website also provides information on how to report wanted persons, or administrative or financial corruption.
In April, 2018, the ministry launched “Absher Business,” a technical initiative to transfer its business services to an interactive digital system.
With an annual fee of SR2,000 ($533), business owners such as Marwan Bukhary, owner of Gold Sushi Club Restaurant in Jeddah, used the portal to help manage his workers’ needs in his expanding business.
“There are many features in Absher that helps both individual and establishment owners,” he said. “I took advantage of the great features it provided, and it saved me a lot of time and trouble and also my restaurant workers. It’s a dramatic change. When Absher Business was launched last year, it organized how I needed to manage my workers’ work permits.
“Through the system, I could see the status of all my employees, renew their permits, grant their exit and entry visas, and have their permits delivered to my house or my business through the post after paying the fees. It saved business owners a lot of time and energy.
“I used to have to do everything manually myself or have my courier help. I believe it’s the government’s most advanced system yet with more features being added every now and then,” Bukhary said.
“Absher has eased our burden, unlike the old days when we needed to visit government offices and it would take four weeks just to get an appointment. One click is all it takes now.”