Curbs slapped on Dutch firms

Updated 22 May 2014

Curbs slapped on Dutch firms

Saudi Arabia has started imposing sanctions on Dutch companies after the Netherlands failed to take action against a right-wing politician for abusing Islam and the Kingdom, a Foreign Ministry source said on Tuesday.
“Religion is the red line which nobody will be allowed to cross,” the source said, adding that Riyadh’s action was aimed at putting an end to such irresponsible behavior.
“Saudi Arabia is a leading country in the Islamic world. Muslims in Holland and other parts of the world have supported the Kingdom’s action,” the source said and hoped the Netherlands would pass a law to combat abuse of religions.
The Dutch government has reportedly distanced itself from Wilders' actions, pointing out that the populist firebrand is not part of, or representative of it. Wilders previously compared the Qur’an to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. He also blamed Saudi Arabia for terrorist attacks around the globe.
Earlier, an official of the Dutch Embassy in Riyadh said The Hague is sending an envoy to the Kingdom this week for high-level talks as part of all-out efforts to improve relations.
Maurice Pourchez, first secretary for economic and cultural affairs at the embassy, said that Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans had told the country’s official television outlet that he would send the executive director for political affairs to the Kingdom.
“Timmermans has also expressed his desire to visit Saudi Arabia shortly to strengthen relations,” said the official, noting that trade between Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands stands at 6 billion euros (about SR31 billion) with Saudi exports to the country reaching nearly SR20 billion.
Pourchez said the embassy has not received any official information about Saudi Arabia’s decision to slash trade ties.
The Council of Saudi Chambers had said that it had received an order from the Saudi government banning Dutch firms from taking part in future projects in the Kingdom, directly and through subcontracting.
About 30 Dutch companies operate in Saudi Arabia and there are many in the Netherlands that have trade relations with the Kingdom.

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

Updated 27 min 40 sec ago

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

  • “We share common values,” said Majid Al-Qasabi

TOKYO: Saudi Arabia has a “special relationship” with Japan, which is “reliable strategic partner and friend” of the Kingdom, the Saudi Minister for Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi said on Monday.

The minister was speaking at the launch in Tokyo of the Japanese-language online edition of Arab News, in the latest stage of its global expansion. The event came on the eve of Tuesday’s ceremonial enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in the Japanese capital. “This is a great opportunity, a moment in history,” Al-Qasabi said.

The news website, published in Japanese and English, will focus on enabling the exchange of information between Japan and the Arab world in business, current affairs, and arts and culture. “It will be good to have news in Japanese so many Japanese can read about the Arab world,” Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono said at the launch.

Common values

“We share common values, we have a high respect for the elders and we think that the family is very important … to me we are friends and I think we need to work together.

“In order to do that we need to know what people in the Middle East are actually thinking, what is happening on a daily basis, and we haven’t got the source for that — but now Arab News is in Japan.

“This is a very good means to exchange information between the Middle East and Japan, so I am very much looking forward to it.”