Obama visit brings greater consensus for Gulf nations, US

Obama visit brings greater consensus for Gulf nations, US
Updated 23 April 2016

Obama visit brings greater consensus for Gulf nations, US

Obama visit brings greater consensus for Gulf nations, US

RIYADH: The high profile Riyadh visit by US President Barack Obama to hold talks with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, on Wednesday, and leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), on Thursday, was strategically important with the two sides seeking greater consensus and stronger ties to address concerns of mutual interest such as Iranian meddling, the Syrian crisis, the Yemen conflict and a stronger alliance on combating terrorism.

During his meeting with King Salman, the US president on Wednesday said: “The American people send their greetings and we are very grateful for your hospitality, not just for this meeting but for hosting the GCC-US summit.”
Responding to the greeting, King Salman also offered similarly gracious words for President Obama saying, “The feeling is mutual between us and the American people.”
On Thursday, President Obama issued a statement saying the US continues to have “serious concerns” about Iran’s behavior even after the watershed nuclear deal last year.
After the GCC-US, summit King Salman lauded the constructive discussions and what has been reached between them saying, “In my own name, and on behalf of the GCC leaders, I thank you for attending this constructive and fruitful summit which will contribute in enhancing consultations and cooperation among the GCC states and the United States.”
King Salman also stressed the keenness and commitment of the GCC countries on developing historical and strategic relations with the US in order to serve common interests, and security and peace in the region, and the world at large.
Earlier, highlighting the strategic significance of the key visit, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier and defense minister said: “We must work together to successfully overcome challenges facing the region, the most important of which are terrorism, instability and Iranian interference in the affairs of the Gulf countries.”
The Kingdom, which leads the coalitions fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen and the 39-nation broad global military alliance against terrorism, agreed during the talks to cooperate on security and counterterrorism measures in the wake of escalating threats from Iran and Daesh.
Moreover, the GCC countries and the US agreed to further intensify sea patrols to completely stop Iranian arms shipments from reaching Yemen.
“The US and the GCC will stage joint maritime patrols to stop Iran from supplying weapons to terrorists,” said Abdullatif Al-Zayani, GCC secretary-general, after the meeting between GCC defense ministers and US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Wednesday.
The Saudi-led coalition recently intercepted a cargo ship coming from Djibouti to the Hodaidah Port under the guise of carrying medical supplies, but actually carrying encrypted military communication equipment and other military hardware in containers originating from the Port of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran.
This was not the first such incident, as the coalition earlier seized ships on many occasions carrying Iranian arms for the Houthis.
The GCC-US also reached consensus for cooperation on helping to build a joint missile defense system for the Gulf countries and in developing special forces.
As counterterrorism was a major issue topping the agenda, the US urged the Gulf countries for more engagement in helping the Iraqi government fight Daesh and to rebuild areas where militants have been pushed out in order to help bring life back to normal in these areas.
During a string of sessions with the Gulf leaders, President Obama urged them to provide more support to war-torn Iraq to help the grand anti-terror coalition, backed by the US, take back ground from Daesh and restore peace in the region, thus making this group meeting an opportunity to mend strained ties and seek more consensus over key issues.
Moreover, just ahead of the crucial GCC-US summit White House spokesman Josh Earnest made a statement on the 9/11 bill saying President Obama does not support the legislation against Saudi Arabia over the Sept.11 attacks and would not sign it as by doing so we would be opening up the US to being continually sued by individuals from other countries.
Notably, a year ago in May 2015, President Obama hosted Gulf leaders at the White House and the Camp David retreat, the first meeting of the Gulf countries after a framework agreement on limiting Iran’s nuclear program.


Saudi Arabia warns against travel to destinations on ban list amid COVID-19

Saudi Arabia warns against travel to destinations on ban list amid COVID-19
Updated 2 min 15 sec ago

Saudi Arabia warns against travel to destinations on ban list amid COVID-19

Saudi Arabia warns against travel to destinations on ban list amid COVID-19

DUBAI: The Saudi Arabian government has warned against travel to destinations on the Kingdom’s ban list amid COVID-19.

The Interior Ministry says citizens who have traveled to banned countries will be barred from traveling for three years, state news agency SPA reported.

Saudi citizens have been earlier banned from traveling to Indonesia over coronavirus disease concerns. Saudi citizens currently in the Asian nation have been told to exercise caution, stay away from areas with high infection rates.

– More to follow –


Saudi FM arrives in Islamabad, discuses with Pakistani counterpart bilateral relations

Saudi FM arrives in Islamabad, discuses with Pakistani counterpart bilateral relations
Updated 27 July 2021

Saudi FM arrives in Islamabad, discuses with Pakistani counterpart bilateral relations

Saudi FM arrives in Islamabad, discuses with Pakistani counterpart bilateral relations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, arrived in Islamabad on an official visit that Pakistan said provided a ‘timely opportunity’ to deepen bilateral cooperation. 

This will be Prince Faisal’s second state visit to Pakistan in a year. He was last in Islamabad in December 2020.
The foreign office has said the Saudi foreign minister was visiting Pakistan on the invitation of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The visit by the Saudi FM “holds significance” in the backdrop of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Qureshi’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2021, the foreign office said on Twitter, adding:
“It will provide a timely opportunity to review progress in bilateral coop. in line with vision of the leadership of the two countries.”

“The visit of the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia will further strengthen the ongoing positive momentum in high-level contacts and deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields,” the foreign office said in a separate statement, saying Prince Faisal and the Pakistani foreign minister would meet at the Foreign Ministry shortly.
“After the meeting between the two Foreign Ministers, there will be delegation level talks between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. In addition to all aspects of bilateral relations, important regional and global issues will be discussed during the talks,” the foreign office said. “The Saudi Foreign Minister will also meet with senior government officials during his visit.”
Prior to the arrival of the Saudi foreign minister, senior delegation-level talks were held in Pakistan between officials of the two nations.
“Key focus was on Saudi-Pak Supreme Coordination Council, highest level platform to provide strategic direction to bilateral ties,” the foreign office said.

Related


US condemns latest Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, calls for Iran-backed group to return to negotiations

US condemns latest Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, calls for Iran-backed group to return to negotiations
Updated 27 July 2021

US condemns latest Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, calls for Iran-backed group to return to negotiations

US condemns latest Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, calls for Iran-backed group to return to negotiations
  • ‘We condemn the Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia following the calm over Eid Al-Adha’
  • ‘Time to return to negotiations and end the conflict’

DUBAI: The US has condemned the latest Houthi attack against Saudi Arabia as the Iran-backed group targeting the Kingdom’s southern region with a ballistic missile and three explosive-laden drones.

The US State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs also called for the Houthis to cease its military actions and commit to a ceasefire that would end the conflict in Yemen.

“We condemn the Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia following the calm over Eid Al-Adha. The Houthis must stop their destabilizing actions and commit to an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire to help end the Yemen war. Time to return to negotiations and end the conflict,” the US government agency posted on Twitter.

Tim Lenderking, the US special envoy for Yemen, earlier emphasized the importance of resolving the conflict in the war-torn country.

“The US is in this effort to help Yemen truly turn the corner toward peace and security. A ceasefire is only one step. We must continue to build from there,” the envoy said during one of the forums on Middle Eastern security.

Yemeni government troops and allied tribesmen, backed by Arab coalition jets, on Sunday repelled the “biggest and most fierce” Houthi assault of Marib since February.

More than 200 Houthi militants were killed in clashes during recent days or in Arab coalition strikes during recent days, a Yemeni army commander said.


Saudi online platforms bridge gap between creatives, inquisitive minds

 These two platforms helped local entrepreneurs to work in the creative sector to achieve their goals. This will ultimately contribute to the Kingdom’s goals for the private sector. (Supplied)
These two platforms helped local entrepreneurs to work in the creative sector to achieve their goals. This will ultimately contribute to the Kingdom’s goals for the private sector. (Supplied)
Updated 27 July 2021

Saudi online platforms bridge gap between creatives, inquisitive minds

 These two platforms helped local entrepreneurs to work in the creative sector to achieve their goals. This will ultimately contribute to the Kingdom’s goals for the private sector. (Supplied)
  • Offering people easy ways to learn new skills, explore methods to promote self, business

JEDDAH: Online platforms are helping smaller creative businesses to pass on their knowledge to interested parties. Two such platforms that have been attracting attention from Saudi locals are Suplift and Upgrade.

These online platforms began popping up on social media a few years ago with experiences and activities offered with a registration fee.
Fadi Yahya, the founder of Suplift, told Arab News that the question that inspired Suplift was “How can I ask people with skills to share them with other people who are interested in learning?”

I started noticing that people here didn’t have easy access to activities and workshops or a platform to access these activities.

Fadi Yahya, Founder of Suplift

“I started noticing that people here didn’t have easy access to activities and workshops or a platform to access these activities,” he said. “It was extremely hard for an average person to try any activity they like.”
This led to Yahya giving over a few years of his life to build a business from scratch that allowed profits to be given back to a talented person rather than an organization. “Our job was to make the structure simple.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Suplift extends across 18 cities in Saudi Arabia, with more than 1,000 experiences on offer. This has helped 10,000 people to make money simply by following their passion.

• Upgrade-sa.com’s targeted audience is people who want to learn new hobbies and explore different worlds, as well as business owners who want to build more connections and move toward expanding their work.

He said there were many challenges as the team was building a new market. “We are not running away or finding the easy way out. One thing we had trouble with was the lack of experience.”
Yahya said that to enable the experiences, the team had to find locations, work out the structure, marketing, customer service, technology, management, as well as ways of working with the government.
The aim of Suplift is to promote the idea of having hobbies. “The thing I am most proud of is that we help so many people make money. Many people say that passion can not help you make money, but I think it is needed in order to help the Saudi economy move further.”
Suplift extends across 18 cities in Saudi Arabia, with more than 1,000 experiences on offer. This has helped 10,000 people to make money simply by following their passion.
“Now that people understand that they can make money doing what they love, we will have more artists, golfers, divers, archers and so many more,” he said. “This makes me proud of my team and myself.”

When we started, we were the ones designing the workshops and we used to seek out the trainers — training and being creative are two different things.

Mohammad Mujahid, COO of Upgrade-sa.com

Mohammad Mujahid, COO of Upgrade-sa.com, told Arab News that their platform’s targeted audience is people who want to learn new hobbies and explore different worlds, as well as business owners who want to build more connections and move toward expanding their work.
The early days of the business were very challenging, Mujahid said. “When we started, we were the ones designing the workshops and we used to seek out the trainers — training and being creative are two different things. So now when the trainers or upgraders, as we call them, come to us, we provide them with guidelines so they can spread their knowledge.”
These two platforms helped local entrepreneurs to work in the creative sector to achieve their goals. This will ultimately contribute to the Kingdom’s goals for the private sector — supporting Saudi economic diversification objectives and building a prosperous future.


Virus recoveries pass half-a-million mark in Saudi Arabia

The ministry urged all residents eligible for the vaccine to register and receive it as a necessity to not only protect themselves, but ensure the safety of the community. (SPA)
The ministry urged all residents eligible for the vaccine to register and receive it as a necessity to not only protect themselves, but ensure the safety of the community. (SPA)
Updated 27 July 2021

Virus recoveries pass half-a-million mark in Saudi Arabia

The ministry urged all residents eligible for the vaccine to register and receive it as a necessity to not only protect themselves, but ensure the safety of the community. (SPA)
  • More than 25 million vaccine doses have been administered so far at a rate of 288,858 per day

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has reported 1,299 new recoveries from COVID-19, raising the total number over the course of the pandemic to 500,428, passing the half million mark.

The Kingdom’s recovery rate now stands at 96.3 percent and rising.
Community response in coordination with the Kingdom’s health authorities has helped stabilize the daily confirmed case count through precautionary measures and high immunization rates. As a result, the number of recoveries has continued a steady rise in recent weeks.
On Monday, the Saudi Health Ministry announced 1,252 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of cases over the course of the pandemic to 519,395.
The Makkah region topped the case count with 316 cases, while the Riyadh region reported 265, the Eastern Province 169 and Asir 145. Jouf remains the region with the lowest case count, recording only three cases on Monday.
The number of active cases continues to fluctuate between the 10,000-11,000 mark. With today’s numbers, there are now 10,788 active cases, 1,424 of which are in critical care, a rise of 16 in the past 24 hours.

FASTFACTS

• The Kingdom’s recovery rate now stands at 96.3 percent and rising.

• On Monday, the Health Ministry recorded 1,252 new COVID-19 cases.

• The number of active cases continues to fluctuate between 10,000 and 11,000.

• There were 12 new COVID-19-related deaths reported on Monday.

There were 12 new COVID-19-related deaths reported on Monday, bringing the Kingdom’s death toll to 8,179.
As part of precautionary measures, 90,510 PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, raising the total number completed to more than 24.4 million.
More than 25 million vaccine doses have been administered so far at a rate of 288,858 per day. So far, 71.8 percent of the Kingdom’s population have received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 18 percent have received both doses.
Ahead of the Aug. 1 deadline requiring visitors and employees of government, private and commercial entities and establishments to be immunized by at least one vaccine dose or recovered from an infection, the number of registrations for vaccine appointments has surged.
Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said in Sunday’s press conference that more time slots have been made available for appointments.
The ministry urged all residents eligible for the vaccine to register and receive it as a necessity to not only protect themselves, but ensure the safety of the community.