Bloomberg backs dialogue — in US politics and in the Middle East

Bloomberg backs dialogue — in US politics and in the Middle East
Bloomberg, a former presidential candidate, urged Americans to support US President Donald Trump despite their own political views. (Reuters)
Updated 26 September 2019

Bloomberg backs dialogue — in US politics and in the Middle East

Bloomberg backs dialogue — in US politics and in the Middle East
  • In interview to Arab News, ex-NYC mayor says political divisiveness will harm the American people
  • Michael Bloomberg lauds Saudi Arabia's reform process and 'progress in the right direction'

NEW YORK: In a wide-ranging interview with Arab News on Wednesday, billionaire former New York Mayor and host of the Global Business Forum Michael Bloomberg warned political divisiveness in Washington, D.C. will harm the American people.

Democratic leaders announced this week they would pursue impeachment charges against US President Donald Trump. But without referencing impeachment, Bloomberg said partisan animosity will hurt the interests of Americans, arguing Trump “should be helped.”

Bloomberg also praised Saudi Arabia for making advances in freedom through the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plans, especially for women, and stressed that although there remains uncertainty in the results of Israel’s recent elections, he supports the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine and hopes the sides will come together.

“Trump, whether you like him or not … and I have certainly disagreed with him … I even said back in the Democratic Convention in 2016 he was the wrong guy for the job. But the American public elected him and we all have a vested interest in him doing a good job,” Bloomberg said.

“If we dumb ourselves down that we want to hurt him even if it hurts us, what kind of world are we leaving for our kids? You don’t have to like him to want to help him. We need him — he still is the most powerful person in the most powerful country in the world, we need him to do a good job. I hope he does. It doesn’t mean I am going to vote for him, it doesn’t mean I like him or not. Unfortunately, we’ve turned everything into partisanship and you can’t run a railroad that way.”

Bloomberg said both sides are responsible: “There is no good guy here. The Republicans and the Democrats equally hate the other side so much they don’t want to work with him. And that hurts the country and that hurts our children and that is unconscionable.” He said many people just do not understand Trump or how he is different from others who have come from business and political backgrounds.

“Unfortunately, I think the President is not a business guy. I’ve said that in the beginning. He is a real estate guy. In real estate you have one transaction. I saw your building or house and you walk away. It is a win-lose situation. Or, there is no penalty for having a win lose situation,” Bloomberg said.

“Whereas in normal business, we (Bloomberg L.P.) deal with Citibank. They are a competitor. They are a customer. They lend money to us. We deposit money in here. We do things in joint ventures. Businesses learn how to deal on different levels based on different subjects simultaneously. Unfortunately, in the political world, where good guys where white hats and bad guys where black hats, they don’t do that and we all suffer because of it.”

Bloomberg said the 3rd Annual Global Business Forum brings divergent views and ideas together. More than 50 world leaders, many participating in the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly also being held this week are focused on addressing climate change.

But Bloomberg, a former candidate for president with a long and successful political career, could not avoid the challenges of politics in the Middle East which he acknowledged has a direct impact on America, the world’s economy and on climate change. Bloomberg said that world leaders should take a leaf from the Global Business Forum noting that bringing divergent and individuals with different views can help overcome challenges.

“One of the things that will make a difference in the world is if we talk to each other and trade with one other. Swap ideas, swap cultures, religions, clothing,” Bloomberg said.

One of the things that will make a difference in the world is if we talk and trade together.

“We need to have products from around the world because it gives us more things that are useful that we can buy. We need the rest of the world because we want to sell to them. It creates jobs here. Because of global trade, the last 3 decades, we have reduced worldwide poverty by 50 percent … 50 percent if we measure it by a roof over your head, a meal in your stomach and being literate. If we pull away from global trade, a lot of those gains will be lost and an awful lot of poor people are going to be badly hurt.”

He added: “That kind of practice, of speaking with each other, talking to each other and engaging with others is the formula that can result in positive change everywhere including in the Middle East.”

Bloomberg, who has visited Saudi Arabia several times and hosted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in New York City last year, praised the advances taking place in Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plans outlined by King Salman and the crown prince.

He praised the Saudi vision and drive “to take that country into the new world … they have made progress going in the right direction.”

Although he said people in the West who separate religion and politics often do not understand the emphasis on religion in the Arab world, he said he is encouraged by the changes taking place in Saudi Arabia.

“I have had a number of women come up to me and say you don’t understand this is the best thing that has ever happened to Saudi Arabia because half the population was cut out and now they are going in the right direction,” Bloomberg said, acknowledging that the US only gave women the right to vote 100 years ago.

“We make a mistake in America of saying we are perfect, and the rest of the world is screwed up. That is not true. Everybody makes progress at different paces. Some are doing better than America, some are doing worse than America. There are parts of the Middle East that are back in the middle ages and there are parts that are very modern. I think if you look at the populations in those, the average person’s life is safer, they are healthier. They enjoy what we have on Earth.”

Bloomberg said he is unsure how Israel’s recent elections will affect Israeli-Palestinian peace, but he stressed continued support for the two-state solution.

Half the Saudi population was cut out and now they are going in the right direction.

“If they do have a new government in Israel, I think what they should do — and it is not my business to run their government — but I think what they should do is sit down and try to go with little steps in that direction,” Bloomberg said.

“Because if you constantly have tension, everybody is going to lose. Some day both sides will be on the wrong side of a transactions, or a war in this case. The world cannot and will not tolerate people suffering and being left out. We all have a reason to help.”

Praising Israel and citing its advances in technology, Bloomberg said he wants to see the same thing for the Palestinians, but he encouraged a return to negotiations to resolve the challenges.

“The same thing is true for the other side. History is what it is when you have two groups who both believe God gave them the same piece of land, it is never going to work out. Winston Churchill once said that ‘jaw-jaw is better than war-war’ meaning that it is better to talk than not,” Bloomberg said.

“My personal opinion is that you have to have a two-state solution because of the fact that both sides think God gave them the same piece of land. You have got to split the piece of land and each will have half of it. You have half a cake. It’s better than no cake. And it can bring peace. So, your people and my people and his people and her people can have a better life.”

Bloomberg said he has no inside information about Trump’s plans for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he described the ongoing crisis with Iran as “a recurring problem” that may not easily go away. But he said talking, meetings and compromise are always better options.

“It is recurring. I don’t think we should take it lying down and say that is just the way the world is. Iran and its population has the very same interest in peace and prosperity and commerce that everybody else does,” he said.

“Sometimes their leaders, our leaders, and your leaders and his leaders don’t understand that and they worry for partisan reasons about different things and make different decisions. But I think we would all be better off if we would ratchet down the verbiage and try to understand the other guy a little bit.”

 


King Salman issues royal order to promote members of Public Prosecution Office

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a royal order to promote a number of members of the Public Prosecution Office. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a royal order to promote a number of members of the Public Prosecution Office. (SPA)
Updated 38 min 6 sec ago

King Salman issues royal order to promote members of Public Prosecution Office

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a royal order to promote a number of members of the Public Prosecution Office. (SPA)
  • Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mujib praised the issuance of the royal order

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a royal order to promote a number of members of the Public Prosecution Office, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday.

Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mujib praised the issuance of the royal order, and said that it came within the framework of the king and crown prince’s support for the Public Prosecution, and their “interest in promoting the principle of universal sufficiency for all its needs,” SPA said.

The attorney general said this included stimulating the administrative system in a way that contributes to fulfilling its duties to the fullest.

Sheikh Al-Mujib urged employees of the Public Prosecution to redouble their efforts to meet the expectations of the leadership and society.


Al-Jubeir calls on Kingdom’s accusers in Bezos phone hack to ‘acknowledge their mistake’

Saudi Arabia's Adel Al-Jubeir called on Saturday for people who
Saudi Arabia's Adel Al-Jubeir called on Saturday for people who "accused the Kingdom" with regard to claims it was involved with the hacking of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos' phone last year to "acknowledge their mistake." (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 33 min 19 sec ago

Al-Jubeir calls on Kingdom’s accusers in Bezos phone hack to ‘acknowledge their mistake’

Saudi Arabia's Adel Al-Jubeir called on Saturday for people who "accused the Kingdom" with regard to claims it was involved with the hacking of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos' phone last year to "acknowledge their mistake." (Reuters/File Photo)
  • Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said Saudi Arabia “had nothing to do with the allegations”
  • Saudi embassy in US rejected the claims at the time as “absurd”

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Adel Al-Jubeir called on Saturday for people who “accused the Kingdom” with regard to claims it was involved with the hacking of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’ phone last year to “acknowledge their mistake.”

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs posted to Twitter asking if now that the truth that “the Kingdom had nothing to do with the allegations” had been revealed, whether people would “simply delete their tweets” and “hope that their positions at the time disappear into the sunset?”

Reports in January 2020 suggested Bezos’ phone was hacked after receiving a WhatsApp message sent from the personal account of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia's embassy in the US rejected the claims at the time as “absurd,” while Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the allegations were “absolutely silly” while speaking to Reuters at last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

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Saudi crown prince and Pakistani prime minister discuss bilateral ties, international issues

Saudi crown prince and Pakistani prime minister discuss bilateral ties, international issues
Updated 35 min 46 sec ago

Saudi crown prince and Pakistani prime minister discuss bilateral ties, international issues

Saudi crown prince and Pakistani prime minister discuss bilateral ties, international issues
  • The two sides reviewed all regional and international issues, and agreed to intensify cooperation
  • Khan arrived in the Kingdom for his two-day visit on Friday

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan held talks on Saturday to discuss bilateral relations and ways to strengthen them in all fields.
Khan arrived in the Kingdom for his two-day visit on Friday upon an official invitation from the crown prince.
The two sides affirmed the depth of the historical relations between their two countries, a joint statement said, adding that they also reviewed all regional and international issues, and agreed to intensify between government officials and the private sector in both countries, with the aim of promoting bilateral relations to broader horizons in a way that serves their common interests.
Khan praised King Salman’s leadership role in promoting Islamic unity, the Kingdom’s positive role in resolving the issues facing the Islamic nation, and its endeavors for regional and international peace and security.
He also praised Prince Mohammed’s historic visit to Pakistan in February 2019, during which the launch of the Saudi-Pakistani Supreme Coordination Council was announced, and the two visits that his country made to the Kingdom in 2018 and 2019.
Khan said the visits “contributed to pushing bilateral relations toward more joint cooperation based on trust, mutual benefits and common interests between the two countries.”
The crown prince affirmed the Kingdom’s continued support for Khan’s vision of transforming Pakistan into a prosperous and developed country.
The two sides discussed ways to strengthen and enhance economic and trade relations between them by exploring areas of investment and opportunities available in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and Pakistan’s development priorities to shift from geopolitics to economic geography, in addition to increasing cooperation in the fields of energy, science, technology, agriculture and culture.
“They affirmed their satisfaction with the strength of bilateral military and security relations, and agreed to further cooperate to achieve common goals between the two countries,” the statement said.
It added that issues pertaining to the Islamic nation were at the forefront of discussions, and “they stressed the need for concerted efforts by Muslim countries to confront extremism and violence, reject sectarianism, and relentlessly pursue international peace and security.”
They also stressed the importance of continuing joint efforts to combat terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations regardless of their source, and should not be associated with any religion, race, or ethnic background.
The two sides also reaffirmed their full support for all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, especially their right to self determination and the establishment of an independent state with pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant UN resolutions.
They also expressed their support for political solutions in Syria and Libya, and the efforts of the UN and its envoys in this regard.
The two sides also stressed the importance of supporting efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the conflict in Yemen based on the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue, and the relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2216.
The crown prince and prime minister condemned ballistic missiles and drones attacks by “terrorist groups and militias,” including the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, on Saudi territory targeting vital installations and civilian objects.
“They expressed their grave concern over the threats (posed) to the security of oil exports and the stability of global energy supplies,” the statement said.
The prime minister praised the Saudi Arabia’s role and its peace initiative to end the war in Yemen, “which aims to achieve security and stability in Yemen for the benefit and development of the region and its people.”
The crown prince welcomed the understanding reached recently between the Pakistani and Indian military authorities regarding a cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir at the Line of Control (LoC), which is based on a 2003 understanding between the two regional rivals.
“The two sides stressed the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to solve the outstanding issues between the two countries (especially the Jammu and Kashmir conflict) to ensure peace and stability in the region,” the joint statement said.
On Afghanistan, Prince Mohammed said Pakistan played a pivotal role in facilitating the Afghan peace process, and the two sides agreed to continue mutual consultations and said that a comprehensive political settlement is the only way forward.
The two sides also agreed to continue exchanging support and coordination in international organizations and forums, and stressed the importance of all states committing to the UN Charter and the principles of international legitimacy, adhering to the principles of good neighborliness, respect for the unity and sovereignty of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, and to resolve disputes by peaceful means.
Khan congratulated the Saudi government for successfully organizing and holding the G20 summit last year and the positive decisions that it yielded in all economic, developmental, environmental, health, energy and other fields.
Pakistan also welcomed the Saudi Green and Middle East Green Initiatives launched by Prince Mohammed in late March, which shows the Kingdom’s leadership role toward common international issues, including combating climate change, and praised its positive impact on the region and its inhabitants.
The crown prince also praised the prime minister’s Clean Green Pakistan initiative, as well as the successful 10 Billion Tree Tsunami initiative.
Khan also praised Saudi Arabia’s efforts and its leadership in serving the Two Holy Mosques, pilgrims, Umrah performers and visitors, especially in organizing last year’s Hajj season despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Several agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were signed to further strengthen and diversify bilateral relations, including an agreement to establish the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC), a cooperation agreement to cooperate in combating crime and an agreement to transfer convicted prisoners, a MoU in combating illicit drug trafficking, and a MoU to finance projects in energy, hydropower generation, infrastructure, transport, communication, and water.
The prime minister expressed his gratitude and appreciation to King Salman, the crown prince, and the Saudi people.


Saudi Arabia records 14 COVID-19 deaths, 997 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 14 COVID-19 deaths, 997 new cases
Updated 08 May 2021

Saudi Arabia records 14 COVID-19 deaths, 997 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 14 COVID-19 deaths, 997 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 1,026 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • The highest number of cases were recorded in Riyadh with 372

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 14 new COVID-19 related deaths on Saturday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,059.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 997 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 425,442 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 9,707 remain active and 1,319 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 372, followed by Makkah with 250, the Eastern Province with 123, Asir recorded 54 and Madinah confirmed 49 cases.
The ministry also announced that 1,026 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 408,676.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs temporary closed nine mosques in five regions after nine people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed to 1,056 within 89 days, 1,037 of which have reopened after being sterilized.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 157 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.28 million.


Saudi Arabia, UAE reject Israeli measures to evacuate Palestinian homes in Jerusalem

Saudi Arabia, UAE reject Israeli measures to evacuate Palestinian homes in Jerusalem
Updated 08 May 2021

Saudi Arabia, UAE reject Israeli measures to evacuate Palestinian homes in Jerusalem

Saudi Arabia, UAE reject Israeli measures to evacuate Palestinian homes in Jerusalem
  • The ministry renewed its stand with the country’s people, and supported all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia rejects Israeli plans to evacuate Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and impose Israeli sovereignty over them, Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry stressed the country’s condemnation of any unilateral measures and violations of international legitimacy decisions. It also denounced anything that might undermine the chances of resuming the peace process to achieve security and stability in the region.

The ministry renewed its stand with the country’s people, and supported all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue.

It has also shown its support in enabling the Palestinians to establish their independent state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with international legitimacy decisions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

A night of heavy clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and elsewhere in Jerusalem left more than 200 Palestinians wounded, medics said Saturday, as the city braced for even more violence after weeks of unrest.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates has also condemened the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli authorities, stressing the need for them to assume responsibility in accordance with international law.