Oil prices stabilize as Saudi crown prince talks peace

Workers inspect a pipeline at Saudi Aramco's oil facility in Khurais that was damaged during a drone and missile attack by suspected Iranian terrorists on Sept. 14. (REUTERS)
Updated 01 October 2019

Oil prices stabilize as Saudi crown prince talks peace

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called for diplomatic solutions to the crisis with Iran and the war in Yemen
  • He expressed his views in an interview with CBS News on Tuesday

JEDDAH: Oil prices stabilized on Monday after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called for diplomatic solutions to the crisis with Iran and the war in Yemen.
Armed conflict with Iran would be catastrophic for global growth, the crown prince said. “Oil supplies will be disrupted and prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven’t seen in our lifetimes. This means a total collapse of the global economy, and not just Saudi Arabia or the Middle East.
“The political and peaceful solution is much better than the military one.”
The price of oil had been edging upwards after an attack on Saudi oil facilities last month, widely blamed on Iran. Prices fell by 1 percent on Monday after the crown prince spoke.
In an interview with journalist Rosie O’Donnell on the CBS show “60 Minutes,” he also answered tough questions on the war in Yemen, the treatment of Saudi women in jail and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“If Iran stops its support of the Houthi militia, then the political solution would be much easier,” the crown prince said. “Today we open all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen.”
The crown prince was pressed on claims that Saudi female activists had been tortured in prison, which he promised to investigate.
“If this is correct, it is very heinous,” he said. “Islam forbids torture. The Saudi laws forbid torture. Human conscience forbids torture. And I will personally follow up on this matter.”
Khashoggi’s murder last year in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was “a heinous crime,” he said.
“But I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government. This was a mistake. And I must take all actions to avoid such a thing in the future.”
Khashoggi’s son Salah said on Monday his father’s death was being exploited by enemies of Saudi Arabia and its leadership, and he had the “utmost confidence in the Kingdom’s justice system.”
“My father … never tolerated any abuse or attempt to harm (the Kingdom), and I will not accept his memory or his cause being taken advantage of to achieve that,” he said.


Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

Updated 19 February 2020

Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

  • The decision came after a debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a deal 6 years ago
  • The parliament also asked the finance ministry to review recent aircraft deals involving state-owned Kuwait Airways

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait's parliament on Wednesday formed a fact-finding panel to probe alleged kickbacks in a deal between the national carrier and Airbus, which last month paid massive fines to settle bribery scandals.
The parliament's decision came after a special debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a 25-aircraft deal six years ago.
It also asked the Audit Bureau, the state accounting watchdog, to investigate the deal, which was reportedly worth billions of dollars, although exact figures were never released.
Kuwait Airway Co. in 2014 ordered 15 Airbus 320neo and 10 Airbus 350, with delivery beginning last year and continuing until 2021.
Opposition lawmaker Riyadh al-Adasani told the session that Kuwait was mentioned in a settlement struck by Airbus in a British court on January 31, along with the names of some Kuwaiti officials and citizens.
Under the settlement, Airbus agreed to pay 3.6 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in fines to Britain, France and the United States to settle corruption probes into some of its aircraft sales.
Days after the settlement, Sri Lanka ordered an investigation into a multi-billion dollar aircraft purchase from Airbus after the deal was named in the settlement.
The former chief of Sri Lankan Airlines, Kapila Chandrasena, was arrested on February 6 for allegedly receiving bribes relating to the deal.
Earlier this month, two senior officials of the Malaysia-based AirAsia stepped aside while authorities probe unusual payments at the carrier, as the fallout from the Airbus scandal reverberated across the industry.
Kuwait in recent years also initiated criminal investigations into two large military aircraft deals involving Airbus -- a $9 billion Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes deal and a contract for 30 Caracal military helicopters costing $1.2 billion.