Saudi-Lanka talks focus on investment, tourism

Updated 25 August 2014
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Saudi-Lanka talks focus on investment, tourism

Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin and Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the Kingdom, Mohammed Hussein Mohamed, held a meeting in Jeddah on Monday to promote investment and tourism between the Kingdom and the island nation.
Mohamed told Arab News that the talks, which were cordial, addressed issues of bilateral interest. He said that the deputy crown prince was confident that Saudi businessmen could invest in countries like Sri Lanka if they were offered attractive incentives.
He planned to launch a drive to attract Saudi investors to open up joint ventures in Sri Lanka. The envoy was confident that investments in his country would generate substantial returns for Saudi businessmen.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into Sri Lanka totaled $817 million in the first half of this year, 51 percent more than the inflow during the same period a year ago.
Sri Lanka has set a $2 billion FDI goal this year, though it has failed to meet that target for two years in a row.
Colombo drew a record $1.42 billion in 2013, 6 percent more than the $1.34 billion attracted in 2012, central bank data showed.
Sri Lanka’s ambitions for more FDI were hampered by inconsistent investment policies, investors’ complaints of corruption and lack of good governance, as well as the government’s failure to address human rights violations in line with UN resolutions.
However, Sri Lanka still attracted FDI, mainly to its tourism industry due to optimism following the end of a 26-year civil war in May 2009.
Hussein Mohamed said that a good number of Saudi tourists visit the island frequently for holidays. “We hope to improve this segment since the country is an ideal destination for family holidays,” he said, adding that Saudi families will enjoy complete privacy and safety in all places of tourist interest.
The envoy said that he had extended an invitation to Prince Muqrin to visit Sri Lanka so that he could see for himself how peace has been restored following the defeat of terrorism by the government.
The ambassador also thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for various forms assistance to the country from time to time.
Hussein Mohamed is slated to present his credentials to King Abdullah in Jeddah on Thursday.


Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sponsors military graduation ceremony

Updated 14 min 52 sec ago
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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sponsors military graduation ceremony

JEDDAH: Makkah’s Deputy Gov. Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz on Monday sponsored the 15th graduation ceremony of the King Abdullah Air Defense College on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
It was attended by Air Defense Forces Commander Lt. Gen. Mazyad bin Sulaiman Al-Amro. Maj. Gen. Abdullah bin Mohammed Mishary, commander of the college, welcomed Prince Abdullah and the other attendees.
“The crown prince’s sponsorship is a clear indication of his support to the graduates as he shares their joy of graduating and joining the fields of pride, dignity and honor as part of the Saudi Armed Forces,” Mishary said in his speech.
“In particular, they will be taking part in the Air Defense Forces and the Strategic Missile Force, which has become a source of pride for Saudis and a force armed with knowledge, faith and modern weapons under the generous support of King Salman and his crown prince,” Mishary added.
“This year’s graduates include a number of students from fraternal and friendly states… They grew in education and knowledge through the latest education and training techniques under the supervision of distinguished Saudi teachers and trainers,” he said.
“The excellent training helped the graduates acquire the skills that qualify them to be leaders armed with education and faith, so they can defend the homeland and gain this great honor.”
Mishary congratulated the graduates and wished them good luck in their professional life, telling them that “the journey of giving goes on as long as one is faithful to his religion, leadership and homeland.”
The graduates presented a military parade, after which they took the oath. At the end of the ceremony, Prince Abdullah honored outstanding students and received a gift.