Saudi Arabia’s Khalid bin Salman discusses Yemen with Pompeo

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Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman, left, walks with David Schenker, right, Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs, as he leaves the State Department in Washington on Wednesday. (AP)
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Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman, left, walks with David Schenker, right, Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs, as he leaves the State Department in Washington on Wednesday. (AP)
Updated 14 September 2019

Saudi Arabia’s Khalid bin Salman discusses Yemen with Pompeo

  • Pompeo praises Saudi efforts to mediate between the Yemen government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council
  • The two men also discussed the need for stronger maritime security and Iran's destabilizing activities in the region

WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed developments in Yemen with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday.

During the meeting in Washington, Pompeo reiterated US support for a negotiated resolution between the government of Yemen and the separatist Southern Transitional Council. Forces from the two parties have been part of a coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthi militants, who sparked the conflict in 2014. But in recent weeks the separatists have clashed with governement troops, particularly in the interim capital Aden.

Pompeo thanked Prince Khalid for Saudi Arabia’s efforts to mediate the dispute. The Kingdom invited the parties involved to hold talks in Saudi Arabia and insisted on a ceasefire in Aden after sveral days of fighting earlier this month killed dozens of people.

Pompeo and Prince Khalid agreed that "dialogue represents the only way to achieve a stable, unified, and prosperous Yemen," the State Department said.

The two men also discussed the need for stronger maritime security in order to promote freedom of navigation and Iran's destabilizing activities in the region.

Saudi Arabia and the US have both reacted strongly to a spate of attacks on shipping in and near the Arabian Gulf that has been blamed on Iran.

The attacks came after the US ramped up its military presence in the region in response to threats from Tehran. Tensions have been high since Donald Trump withdrew the US from an international agreement designed to curb Iran's nuclear program.

Saudi Arabia, and other Arab nations, say the deal has allowed Iran to continue developing its ballistic missiles and helped it fund an aggressive foreign policy of destabilizing the Middle East with proxy militias.


Riyadh governor opens high-profile Saudi economic forum

Updated 45 min 48 sec ago

Riyadh governor opens high-profile Saudi economic forum

RIYADH: A high-profile conference to tackle some of the main challenges facing the Saudi economy was on Tuesday opened by Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar.

Speaking at the opening session of the influential three-day Riyadh Economic Forum (REF), the prince praised the Saudi business community for its cooperation with the government in helping to strengthen the country’s economic fortunes.

The ninth edition of the forum, being held under the title “Human-Centered Economy,” will discuss some of the key future economic issues confronting the Kingdom.

Thanking King Salman for his patronage of the event, vice chairman of Riyadh Chamber and chairman of the forum’s board of trustees, Hamad Al-Shuwaier, said important recommendations linked to the Vision 2030 plan would be announced during the gathering.

These would be related to the areas of public finance reform, the nonprofit sector, future jobs, the environment, and reverse migration.

“What distinguishes the forum, which serves as a research center for national issues, is its focus on the principle of dialogue and participation between all concerned, specialized and responsible parties within the economic and social community, by intensifying meetings and promoting participation in all study discussions, with the aim of touching barriers in a close and intensive manner.

“Accurately diagnosing the facts gives accurate results when identifying solutions,” he added.

Special sessions of the forum will aim to generate practical suggestions and solutions to help with economic decision-making and to establish the principle of dialogue and participation among sectors of the business community.

In July 2019, the REF held a panel discussion at the chamber’s Riyadh headquarters on a study detailing the role of balanced economic development in reverse migration and sustainable and comprehensive development in the Kingdom.

Its focus was to identify the obstacles preventing the movement of young workers between towns and big cities, as well as highlighting ways to improve the quality of life in small urban centers through an analytical survey of industrial and service resources in different regions.

Al-Shuwaier noted that the forum was special in bringing together a broad range of intellectual and practical minds from government and private sector organizations covering many fields.

He added that the chamber was working on the final touches to transforming the forum into an independent economic think tank that served national economic issues.

Ajlan Al-Ajlan, chairman of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), which organized the event, said the forum’s main objectives included using scientific studies and methodology to identify issues affecting the national economy, analyzing constraints on economic growth and working to combat them by learning from the experiences of other countries.

He pointed out that the forum coincided with the Kingdom’s presidency of the 2020 G20 summit of global leaders, being held in Riyadh in November, and that the eyes of the world would be on Saudi Arabia.

The forum is one of the participants in T20, an official G20 engagement group, with four topics related to important sectors discussed by the group.

The opening ceremony of the REF was followed by a session on future jobs, administered by Education Minister Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh. Delegates discussed employment requirements linked to the fourth industrial revolution and how to tackle the prospect of 40 percent of jobs becoming obsolete due to mechanization in the farming and industrial sectors.

The session highlighted that education should go hand in hand to prepare students for the jobs of the future.

Forum data showed its previous eight sessions attracted 33,938 attendees, an average of 4,243 participants per session.