Sweden tries to end maelstrom over Wallstrom

Updated 22 March 2015

Sweden tries to end maelstrom over Wallstrom

Sweden’s Parliament summoned Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom to formally appear in an investigation into the crisis she caused with her criticism of Saudi Arabia, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Saturday.
Swedish-Saudi trade ties have been greatly affected by Wallstrom’s statement and are now uncertain after the Saudi decision to halt visas for Swedish businessmen and not renew expired visas.
Wallstrom tried to back down on her statement and said Saudi Arabia is a pivotal country in the Middle East and its stand is very important to Sweden and EU countries.
In her statement before Parliament, Wallstrom said: “Saudi Arabia is a member of the G-20 countries and holds a key to many international issues, and is also one of the important donors in the world, not to mention its role in international efforts to combat terrorism.”
She said the cooperation agreements between the two countries in other areas would not be affected by the decision to not renew the military agreement between her country and Saudi Arabia.
Wallstrom stressed the respect of Sweden for Islam as a global religion, and its contribution to human civilization.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Swedish Royal Court said King Carl XVI Gustaf wants to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis and he will meet Wallstrom on Monday.
According to Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Erik Boman, the meeting comes at an appropriate time.
“It is important to have a dialogue and good relations between nations,” said the king.
Separately, on Friday, the Comoros declared its support to Saudi Arabia in its row with Sweden.
In a statement, the Comoros expressed its rejection and condemnation of anti-Saudi remarks by Wallstrom.
“The Swedish foreign minister’s remarks are deemed interference in internal affairs of the Kingdom,” said the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Comoros. “(Wallstrom’s) abusive remarks are against 1.5 billion Muslims of the world and not just against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said a statement carried by the SPA. It said the Comoros called on all nations of the world “to respect the values of coexistence, tolerance of cultures and respect for all religions.”

Hani Al-Muqbil, Saudi nominee to the ALECSO executive council

Updated 7 min 40 sec ago

Hani Al-Muqbil, Saudi nominee to the ALECSO executive council

Hani Al-Muqbil was recently nominated as Saudi Arabia’s representative in the executive council of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), based in Tunisia. 

King Salman approved the nomination based on the recommendation of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, culture minister and chairman of the Saudi National Commission for Education, Culture and Science.

Al-Muqbil has more than 17 years’ experience in different governmental entities, including in the cultural and charitable sectors. He recently worked on a project to nominate the Kingdom for membership of UNESCO’s executive board, and was secretary of the nomination committee. 

He worked as executive director of the King Salman Youth Center between 2014 and 2017, then as a member of its board of directors.  

He worked as an adviser to the secretary-general of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk), where he is a member of several boards, including the board of directors of the Misk Art Institute, the Misk Initiatives Center, Manga Productions and the Misk Media Forum. 

Prior to that, Al-Muqbil served as general manager of communication for the King Abdul Aziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba), which provides training and internship opportunities to gifted students across the country.

Al-Muqbil is a graduate of Harvard Business School in the field of leadership, where he completed various executive training programs. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from King Saud University in Riyadh.