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.


Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Jeddah on Tuesday. SPA
Updated 18 July 2018
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Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

  • The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers
  • China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has expressed his appreciation to scholars who took part in the International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan in Makkah, saying the Kingdom was making efforts to “heal the divisions and differences among the Afghan people.”

Chairing the Cabinet session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday, the king said Saudi Arabia was working toward “unifying the ranks and words of Muslims worldwide.”
He briefed the Cabinet on the results of his recent talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa, on future cooperation between the two countries.
The Cabinet welcomed the final statement by the Makkah conference calling on states, organizations and Islamic elites to play positive roles in achieving security and peace in Afghanistan.
The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers, extinguishing the fire of sedition.”
Muslims worldwide should continue their “firm stand in front of the advocates of violence and extremism in defense of their religion and maintaining the unity of the Islamic world,” it said.
The Cabinet also reviewed a ministerial meeting of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum in Beijing and welcomed a decision by Chinese leader President Xi Jinping to establish an Arab-Chinese strategic partnership.
China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries and “add to the prosperity and economic advancement of all,” it said.
The Cabinet denounced recent suicide attacks on two election gatherings in Pakistan and the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and offered condolences to families of the victims.
In the local arena, the Cabinet extended its appreciation to the king, based on a report by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for pardoning all troops who have taken part in the Saudi Renewal of Hope operation in Yemen of their military and disciplinary penalties for their heroism and sacrifices.
The Cabinet approved a license for the Iraqi Commercial Bank to open a branch in Saudi Arabia and authorized the Minister of Finance to decide on any subsequent requests to open other branches.