Washington ‘committed to defending KSA’

Updated 26 August 2016
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Washington ‘committed to defending KSA’

JEDDAH: US Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized on Thursday that the safety of Saudi Arabia is a high US priority and that the US is committed to defending Saudi Arabia.
Addressing a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir at the Royal Terminal, he said the two sides affirmed their commitment to rebuild Yemen's infrastructure. The two officials expressed their concerns and said efforts must be exerted to end the conflict in Yemen.
Al-Jubeir said: “We have no interest in Yemen… We are just responding to the attacks on our land.” He said the meeting held the day before to discuss Yemen was productive.
“Saudi Arabia has been providing, and will continue to provide, Yemen with humanitarian aid. Saudi Arabia has been the largest contributor of humanitarian aid to Yemen.”
Kerry thanked Saudi Arabia for its efforts to find a solution to the Yemeni issue and said that the US and the GCC countries understand very well that “we have to put an end to the Yemen issue as the conflict has lasted for very long and resulted in the displacement of over 2 million Yemenis, food shortages and the increase of food prices by 60 percent since last March.
“Over all, 80 percent of Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance,” he said, adding that “we (the US and the GCC countries) must find a way to end the war… and we know that military action is not the solution.”
Kerry added that the US and the GCC states are working alongside Yemenis to have a cease-fire in Yemen; they are also offering the Houthis the chance to hand over heavy weaponry and come to a collective and rational solution that involves a third party.
Both Al-Jubeir and Kerry said that Saudi military action is being taken in defense, since the Houthis have been targeting the Saudi territory with missiles, which resulted in deaths of innocent civilians and destruction of property. 


Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.