Saudi crown prince India visit ‘historic event,’ says ambassador

The first state visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India later this month will be a historic event, India’s ambassador to the Kingdom said Thursday. (Photo: Supplied)
Updated 14 February 2019

Saudi crown prince India visit ‘historic event,’ says ambassador

RIYADH: The first state visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India later this month will be a historic event, India’s ambassador to the Kingdom said Thursday.
Ahmed Javed told media the two countries would sign agreements across different sectors including energy, infrastructure, housing, tourism and information technology.
The deals would attract potential infrastructure investment and boost development in India, he said.
India and Saudi Arabia enjoyed cordial and friendly ties that were deeply rooted in a shared history and nurtured by vibrant personal exchanges, he said. These links had been strengthened over the years through trade and commercial ties, the ambassador added.
Last month Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah teamed up with Indian hotelier Oyo to support the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan and improve hospitality in Makkah and Madinah.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih has visited India three times, meeting Indian authorities to discuss energy sector investment, while Saudi Aramco has signed an agreement with an Indian consortium to jointly develop a $44 billion refinery in the western port town of Ratnagiri.
Accompanying the crown prince will be a high-level delegation, including ministers and leading Saudi businessmen, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Bilateral trade was $27.48 billion during the last financial year, making Saudi Arabia India’s fourth-largest largest trading partner, the MEA said in a statement issued earlier this week. It added that the Kingdom also supplies around 20 percent of India’s crude requirements.
Nearly 3 million Indians live in Saudi Arabia, making them the largest expatriate group in Saudi Arabia, it said. “Their positive and highly appreciated contribution to the development of their host country has been an important anchor of our excellent bilateral engagement. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also facilitates Hajj pilgrimage to over 175,000 Indians every year.”
The crown prince arrives in Pakistan on Feb. 16 and will stay there for two days. He will be in India from Feb. 19 to 20.

Saudi Arabia urges UN to bolster efforts to criminalize racism, hatred

Updated 22 May 2019

Saudi Arabia urges UN to bolster efforts to criminalize racism, hatred

  • Strong legislation in cyberspace stressed to combat extremism

VIENNA: Saudi Arabia has called on the UN to strengthen global efforts to criminalize racial discrimination, the promotion of hatred and intolerance.

Addressing an international legal conference in Austria, Dr. Abdullah bin Fakhri Al-Ansari, an adviser to the Saudi Interior Ministry, said the Kingdom is considering new laws to clamp down on what has become a major threat to world peace and security.

Al-Ansari, who is also the ministry’s director general of legal affairs and international cooperation, told delegates that urgent action is required to combat intolerance based on ideology and race.

Leading the Saudi delegation at the 28th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, at the UN’s offices in Vienna, he said Islam and Muslims in many countries have been subjected to deliberate campaigns of distortion.

Based on reports, Al-Ansari added that in the past few years, hatred and intolerance against Islam had reached “disturbing” levels.

The opening session of the meeting, which runs until May 24, began with a discussion on effective and humane criminal justice systems to prevent and respond to crimes motivated by intolerance or discrimination.

Al-Ansari reviewed the legislation and regulations enacted by the Kingdom to criminalize all forms of racial discrimination, hatred, intolerance, incitement, and dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred.

He said Saudi authorities are considering a new law to criminalize racism, hatred, the formation of racist organizations, attacks on places of worship, contempt for religion, the promotion of hatred, discrimination against individuals and groups, and the undermining of historical figures. The draft law also aims to protect society from discrimination on ethnic, tribal, regional, doctrinal, intellectual or political grounds.

Al-Ansari said hate speech based on extremist thought not only targets Islam and Muslims but also democratic regimes.

He urged all regional and international organizations to strengthen efforts to combat impunity for crimes against religions, condemn and prevent intolerance and discrimination, and continue to issue laws restricting hate speech against religions and their followers.

He noted the need for strong legislation in cyberspace, which he said has become a breeding ground for extremist ideas. The Saudi delegation joined representatives from Japan, Australia, Austria, Colombia and Mexico in presenting four draft resolutions on technical assistance to implement international conventions against terrorism, sexual exploitation, abuse of children and cybercrime.