‘All eyes on the Kingdom’ as Saudi Arabia takes helm of G20

Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi (R) shakes hands with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan to mark the handover to Saudi Arabia as future hosts, at the end of the third plenary session of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Nagoya on Nov. 23, 2019. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 01 January 2020

‘All eyes on the Kingdom’ as Saudi Arabia takes helm of G20

  • KSA leads world’s most powerful group
  • The Kingdom takes over the role from Japan

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday assumed the presidency of the G20, the world’s most economically powerful group of nations.

The Kingdom takes over the role from Japan, and will direct the G20’s work for the next year. As chairman, King Salman will host the group’s 2020 summit in Riyadh over two days next November.

The Saudi presidency will focus on three aims: Empowering people, by creating the conditions in which everyone — especially women and young people— can live, work and thrive; safeguarding the planet, by fostering collective efforts on food and water security, climate, energy, and the environment; and long-term strategies to share the benefits of innovation and technological advancement.

“The Saudi G20 presidency is committed to continuing the work from Osaka and promoting multilateral consensus,” said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Working with our G20 partners, we will strive to deliver concrete actions and realize opportunities to enable us to face the challenges of the future.

“In hosting the G20, the Kingdom will have an important role to play by sharing the perspective of the Middle East and North Africa region. We believe this will be a unique opportunity to shape consensus on international issues as we welcome the world to the Kingdom.”

HIGHLIGHTS

Saudi Arabia will guide work of the G20 under the theme “Realizing opportunities of the 21st century for all” and will focus on three aims:

• Empowering people

• Safeguarding the planet

• Shaping new frontiers

For the next year, “all eyes will be on Saudi Arabia,” political analyst Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News.

“We know Saudi Arabia’s strength is both economic and diplomatic, and this will be the time to showcase it to the world,” he said.

Other countries realized that Saudi Arabia’s strength lay in oil, but it was charting a different course through Vision 2030 with a future focused on the non-oil economy, Al-Shehri said.

He pointed out the strategic significance of Saudi Arabia’s location, connecting three continents and linked to crucial maritime straits at Bab Al-Mandab, Hormuz and the Suez Canal. These shipping lanes were vital for international trade, Al-Shehri said, and Saudi Arabia protected them not just for itself and the region, but the whole world.

The G20 presidency was “a chance for the world to see the significance of our country and what it has to offer. It is a lively nation,” he said.


Oil coup for Saudi Arabia as output cuts are extended

Updated 06 June 2020

Oil coup for Saudi Arabia as output cuts are extended

  • ‘Compliance is vital,’ Prince Abdul Aziz says

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia pulled off a coup in the world of oil diplomacy on Saturday with an agreement to extend the historic output cuts credited with pulling energy markets out of chaos.

At a virtual meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producersled by Russia, 23 exporters agreed to roll over the record-breaking cuts until the end of July, with a monthly option to renew the agreement after that.

The deal has strict provisions against producers who fail to comply. Some countries, notably Iraq and Nigeria, have been accused of ignoring the agreed caps on crude production.

“Effective compliance is vital if we are to secure the hard-won stability in global oil markets and restore confidence in the unity and effectiveness of the OPEC+ group,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Saudi Energy Minister. “This stability and positive market sentiment will bring its own rewards.”


OPEC+ agreed unanimously that countries that have fallen short of full compliance since May 1 will make up that shortfall over the summer months and will adhere to production limits in the future.

Compliance will be assessed at monthly ministerial monitoring meetings until the end of the year. “We must be vigilant. Each of the 23 countries represented here must be on guard for any signs of backsliding from their commitments,” Prince Abdul Aziz said.


“All OPEC+ partners must deliver on their pledges for the collective pledges to be sustained. Each country has to adhere to its commitment to restrain production along the agreed guidelines.”

The minister referred to the recent “low point” when American crude briefly traded below zero, but said the OPEC+ deal, bolstered by extra voluntary cuts from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait, had helped the global market over the worst.


Brent crude, the global benchmark, has more than doubled in price since the cuts took effect. “Demand is returning as big oil-consuming economies emerge from pandemic lockdown,” Prince Abdul Aziz said. “Through our commitment to a proactive policy, within a cohesive and collective framework, we are restoring confidence and stability to global oil markets. Today, we have grounds to be cautiously optimistic about the future.”

Energy experts welcomed the deal, but echoed the minister’s caution. “This is an important success for OPEC+. It shows ability to deliver, willingness to address discipline, and coherence in the approach,” saidChristof Ruehl of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

“The problem is that the more OPEC+ succeeds, the easier it becomes for private producers to enjoy the fruits of its labor.”