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


Saudi Arabia ‘will remain strongest ally of the US in Middle East’

Updated 13 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘will remain strongest ally of the US in Middle East’

  • Kingdom lies at the core of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, political and economic leaders told

Saudi Arabia will remain the strongest ally of the US in the Middle East and lies at the “heart and core” of President Trump’s foreign policy, some of the world’s leading politicians, economists and strategic analysts heard as they gathered to forecast the geopolitical state of the world in 2019.

At the 11th Arab Strategy Forum, an annual gathering to discuss worldwide political, economic, security and social scenarios and plan ways to help the region prepare for future challenges, speakers talked about a steadfast bond between the US and Saudi over the next 12 months. They said that Trump views the Kingdom as an unshakable ally with common regional interests including America’s fight against Iran, the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a turbulent and fluctuating oil market.

“The Trump administration has been fighting very hard to move beyond Jamal Khashoggi,” said Fawaz Gerges, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, who joined Ambassador Dennis Ross, former assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and Bernardino Leon, director general of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, in a panel discussion titled the “State of the World Politics in 2019.” 

“They have made it very clear that they want to focus on other interests; the Israel-Palestine peace process, the question of Iran, the oil market … President Trump has made it very clear that Saudi Arabia really lies at the heart and the core of his foreign policy.”

He said that despite “tremendous pressures to take further steps” against the Kingdom, “the reality so far seems to be that the president will not listen to the critics.”

Dr. Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia. 

He said that although the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia has come under strain, “as long as Donald Trump remains in power the relationships will continue to stay.”

In the panel discussion, moderated by CNN’s Becky Anderson, Leon also addressed Saudi and US relations.

“There are two dimensions; one is internal US politics, the other is in terms of foreign policy. Foreign policy has to be determined by the government and will continue to be determined by the government — this is the rule. So if you see these relations, in historical terms Saudi Arabia has always been the main ally in the region for the United States. 

“This is a region where another traditional very strong ally, Turkey, is now in a different position and even though we are at a time where this region is probably experiencing more difficulties than ever before, the United States will continue to act on that basis. I do not expect big changes. I am sure we there will be waves and I am sure the US Congress will call for more transparency and more information after what happened after Khashoggi, probably this is going to happen. But there will be no structural changes.”

Ross said that US policy — which states that if the president vetoes a decision, Congress may override the veto by a two-thirds supermajority of both houses — means it would be “very difficult” for Congress to overturn any decision on sanctions against the Kingdom that Trump, who has been vocal in his continuing support and relations with Saudi Arabia. He added that “most of the pressure” from federal government would be more likely to be dominated by the ongoing Trump-Russia investigations.

Faisal Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News, left, in conversation with Dr. Ian Bremmer. 

After being addressed by Faisal Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News, who posed a question about US-Middle East relations and asked if the US would distance itself from the Arab world, Ross said that the US would continue to have a vested interest in Middle Eastern activities.

“Las Vegas rules do not apply to the Middle East, what takes place in the Middle East doesn’t stay in the Middle East. That is ultimately why we have to stay involved in it.” 

Abbas began the first panel discussion of the day, “Discussing Megatrends in 2019,” by questioning speaker Dr. Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia, about oil prices, Saudi Arabia’s international and regional relations and his predictions for the year ahead. 

Bremmer addressed the recent announcement by Qatar that it was withdrawing from the oil exporters’ group OPEC, saying the move would have little impact or fallout.

“Qatar in OPEC is a marginal player so I do not think their leaving is significant.”

Bremmer said that Qatar attended the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) annual summit in Riyadh this week and that Qataris and Saudis “directly engaged” was a move to be looked at in a “positive” way.

At the forum, attended by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Bremmer began his address by saying that 2019 should not see any real turbulent crisis, and highlighted the “good news” of “robust” predictions laid out by the International Monetary Fund that state the global economy will grow 3.7 percent this year. 

However, he said that 2020 is likely to witness another recession and warned — unlike the shows of unity after the 2008/09 financial crisis — of a fractious and “dysfunctional” geopolitical landscape that will mean the world will be unlikely to be able to bounce back easily.

“The good news is the 2019 economy will not be horrible. The bad news; the next economic downturn will be much worse. My worry is that whenever the next downturn comes we have a problem. The thing about the last major recession … which was a big one, is the response from all the world’s major economies. They all worked together in saying we have a problem, we need to get out of this together.

“Whenever the next downturn happens — which economists say is 2020 — when it comes the political reaction it is not going to be like 2008/9.”

Instead, the world is likely to witness a “blame-game” with countries pointing the finger at one another. Bremmer warned: “This is the most fraught geopolitical period in my lifetime … and the dysfunction is only going to grow.”

The geopolitical landscape has been heightened by a series of world events, including the “disastrous”  negations over Brexit, France’s “yellow vest” protests, the looming end to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s reign,  the state of US-China relations and the recent US sanctions on Iran.

Bremmer also raised concern over cybercrime and the shadow economy. He said that three of his biggest concerns from 2018 were North Korea-linked hackers stealing millions from ATMs across the world, Russian hackers using antivirus software to steal US cyber capabilities to attack Ukraine’s online network and the accounts of millions of Chinese web users being compromised in a series of hacks.

At the forum, speakers also discussed mega-trends and forecast the future of economics and government policies in the region.

The role of Iran as a leading state sponsor of terror and the impact of US sanctions was a factor among many of the key discussions. Ross said: “The interesting thing with Iran in 2019 is to see how they will tackle the internal pressure internally due to there economic decline,” while Bremmer said it was likely that Tehran would seek to wait out the Trump administration.

The growing role of China also dominated discussions. Leon said: “The US and China are two heavyweights that will keep their battle going on but it will not need to escalate much more, due to the nature of global economic markets,” while speakers highlighted the “winding down” of the war in Yemen as a positive trend in 2019.

In the “State of the Arab World Economy in 2019,” Dr. Nasser Saidi, former Lebanese minister of economy and trade, and Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, senior vice president of the World Bank Group, said that there was a general consensus that the economic recession would most likely start in 2019 and predicted an era of “turbulence” over the next 12 months, including a ripple effect across the GCC caused by oil price fluctuations. 

At the same panel discussion, H.E Nasser Judeh, former deputy prime minister of foreign affairs of Jordan, Dr. Ayad Allawi, former prime minister of Iraq and the leader of the National Accord, and H.E Nabil Fahmy, former foreign minister of Egypt, deliberated on the regional landscape over the next 12 months, with Allawi warning that the region is a “fertile ground” for terrorist groups should it not stabilize and not implement reforms that the Arab world is in “dire need of.” 

Fahmy addressed Qatar relations, saying that while a fragmented Arab world comes at the expense of every country, he was “not optimistic for radical change” in Qatar’s policies and said that the GCC could not back down to a country that refuses to “change its internal methodology.” 

“Qatar has to be a player — not an adversary.”

Ahead of the forum, Mohammed Al-Gergawi, minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, and chairman of the organizing committee, said the Arab Strategy Forum was launched as a platform for balanced analysis by decision-makers to offer a clearer understanding of the economic and political outlook for the Arab region and the world.