KSA appoints ambassador to Baghdad after 25 years

Updated 30 April 2015
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KSA appoints ambassador to Baghdad after 25 years

Saudi Arabia has appointed an ambassador to Iraq after nearly a quarter of a century of severed diplomatic relations between the two countries, according to diplomatic sources.
A delegation had been appointed to survey the area and pave the way for opening the Saudi Embassy in Iraq, Asharq Al-Awsat daily reported.
The name of the ambassador has not yet been revealed.
“The ambassador-designate has previously worked as a military attaché at one of the Kingdom’s embassies in an Arab country. He will submit his papers to the Iraqi government shortly before a formal announcement,” sources said.
The sources said that the ambassador, after nearly a quarter of a century of diplomatic standoff following former President Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, will undertake his diplomatic functions with members of the Saudi diplomatic mission, some of whom have been assigned their tasks.
The late King Abdullah and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman (then crown prince) had sent congratulatory messages to Iraq’s President Fouad Masum, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, and Parliament Speaker Salim Al-Jabouri when they had formed a new government in August.
The comprehensive report of the delegation included options available, especially after Iraq provided headquarters for the Saudi Embassy in the diplomatic compound in the Green Zone, a source said.
The source said the Saudi delegation, headed by former Saudi Ambassador to Iran Abdul Rahman Al-Shahri, who is also deputy chairman of the information department at the Foreign Ministry, met with a number of Iraqi officials in Baghdad and Erbil during his survey.
Iraqi Deputy Primier Bahaa Al-Araji had earlier told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saudi Arabia would open its embassy in Iraq within two months, adding that his government “provided the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s delegation with all possible support”.
Al-Araji, who believed that the opening of the Saudi Embassy would end the stand-off between the two countries, said another building has been allotted to house the staff; what remains is the repair and furnishing of the embassy building by Saudi Arabia, which should not take a long time.
The Saudi delegation also met Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani, who wished the Saudi consulate to be successfully opened in Erbil.


Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince says Brexit opens UK for greater business opportunities with Kingdom

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
Updated 07 March 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince says Brexit opens UK for greater business opportunities with Kingdom

LONDON: People in the UK and Saudi Arabia are much safer if the two countries have a close relationship, the Kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said ahead of his visit to Britain.
Prince Mohammed arrived in the UK from Cairo last night to begin the second leg of his first overseas tour since becoming heir to the throne.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph newspaper, the crown prince said Brexit potentially freed up Britain to do more business with the Kingdom.
“We believe that Saudi Arabia needs to be part of the global economy,” he said. “People need to be able to move freely, and we need to apply the same standards as the rest of the world. After Brexit, there will be huge opportunities for Britain as a result of Vision 2030.”
He said the two countries enjoyed historic ties that dated back more than 100 years to the foundation of the Kingdom.
“We have a common interest that goes back to the earliest days of the relationship,” he said, adding: “Our relationship with Britain today is super.”
The 32-year-old crown prince, who is making his first official visit to Britain, has overseen a raft of reforms to modernize the Kingdom.
During the trip, he will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May, the Queen and other members of the British royal family.
A number of events have been scheduled, including a forum on business partnerships between the two countries and a discussion event at Chatham House.
The visit is expected to focus on defense, security and economic ties. The two sides will also review key bilateral and regional issues.
Billboards highlighting his UK visit have been erected in parts of the capital, Saudi state-news channel Al-Ekhbariya reported.
One shows the flags of the two countries with “United Kingdoms” written across the top. Another shows Crown Prince Mohammed with the slogan: “He is bringing change to Saudi Arabia.”
The Telegraph interview touched on the wide-reaching reforms in the country that include allowing Saudi women to drive, work and run businesses.
He said that while Vision 2030 worked to diversify the economy, the inclusion of women in driving that economy was essential to the long-term success of the project.
The crown prince said that global travel had made Saudis increasingly aware how other countries operated. Such an insight, he explained, had led to a change in the aspirations of the country’s younger population.
Currently, UK trade with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states accounts for 10 percent of total commercial transactions — more than the total amount of trade with China, the newspaper added, citing British diplomats.
Security and intelligence cooperation are expected to feature heavily during talks in the UK.
“The British and Saudi people, along with the rest of the world, will be much safer if you have a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia,” the crown prince said.
He said the job at hand was to promote a “more moderate Islam,” to counter the “extremists and the terrorists (who) are linked through spreading their agenda.”
Economic growth in Saudi Arabia would benefit the rest of the Middle East, which would help to defeat extremism.
He dismissed claims that the Saudi government’s current stance against Iran and Qatar could potentially provoke new regional conflict.
Britain was “very supportive” of the Kingdom’s concerns over Iran and other regional security issues, he said.
Before leaving Egypt, Crown Prince Mohammed visited Al-Azhar, the world’s leading seat of learning for Sunni Muslims.
Accompanied by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam, he was shown the completed restoration work carried out on Al-Azhar Mosque.
The three-year project was financed by a grant from Saudi Arabia. The mosque, built in the 10th century, is now part of a sprawling university, which teaches Islam as well as secular subjects, and a nationwide network of schools.
Hundreds of Al-Azhar students met the crown prince and Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
During the trip, Crown Prince Mohammed visited the main Christian cathedral in Cairo and met the head of the Coptic church. He also toured infrastructure projects and the Suez canal and attended a play at Cairo Opera House.
The two countries signed deals linked to investment funds and the building of a project in Sinai connected to Saudi Arabia’s Neom megacity project.