Pakistan minister in Riyadh to discuss regional tensions

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (L) hold talks with Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud. (SPA)
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Updated 13 January 2020

Pakistan minister in Riyadh to discuss regional tensions

  • Any conflict in Mideast will affect Afghan peace process: Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was welcomed in Riyadh on Monday by his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) said on Monday.

Qureshi expressed concern over the mounting tension in the Gulf region and “stressed the peaceful resolution of issues through diplomatic means in order to normalize the situation and ensure regional peace and stability,” the FO said.
He also apprised his Saudi counterpart of his contact with other foreign ministers in the region and said that any conflict
could “affect the Afghan peace process, which has entered a critical stage.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan had said last week that he had instructed Qureshi to travel to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States to convey Pakistan’s willingness to play a constructive role for peace in the region.
On the first leg of this peace mission Qureshi met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian FM Javad Zarif in Tehran on Sunday, where Qureshi shared Pakistan’s perspective in detail and emphasized the importance of maximum restraint and the immediate steps for de-escalation by all sides, the FO said.
Qureshi reiterated that “Pakistan would not allow its territory to be used against anyone, nor would Pakistan be a part of any war or conflict in the region,” stressing that “Pakistan could only be a partner for peace.”
Islamabad-based political analyst Zahid Hussain told Arab News on Monday that Qureshi’s visits to Tehran, Riyadh, and Washington were part of PM Khan’s regional mediation promise made to Trump during the UN General Assembly session in New York.
However, he said that “Pakistan’s role is limited given the complexities of the crisis.”
Senior diplomat Javed Hafeez said: “Saudi Arabia is the most important nation on the southern side of Gulf, (and) can play a vital role for peace and stability.”
He said that the meeting between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is vital in the current situation.
Qureshi is scheduled to fly to the US on Jan. 16.
The restive Middle East region found itself on the brink of another conflict in the beginning of January, when the US killed top Iranian military commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an attack authorized by US President Donald Trump.
Soleimani was a high-profile figure in his country and was thought to be the man behind Tehran’s military influence in the region.
He was killed in a drone strike in Baghdad, only a few days after the American Embassy in Iraq was targeted by pro-Iranian militiamen.


Space program to establish national training base

Updated 18 February 2020

Space program to establish national training base

  • The program also aims to create a prosperous educational environment in the Kingdom by establishing a stimulating and enabling environment for the space sector to be a platform that launches economic and scientific paths

RIYADH: The Space Generations Program (Ajyal) launched by the Saudi Space Commission will contribute towards establishing a national base for human capital in the space sector, said Abdul Aziz Al Al-Sheikh, CEO of the Saudi Space Commission.

The program, he said, encourages interest in scientific research and learning various sciences in the areas of innovation: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM).

Al-Sheikh added that the program was striving to cooperate with specialized academic circles to achieve further progress in research related to space science and its applications.

The program also aims to create a prosperous educational environment in the Kingdom by establishing a stimulating and enabling environment for the space sector to be a platform that launches economic and scientific paths.

“We derive our inspiration from the experience of Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Space Commission, and his team, who were passionate, creative and determined to reach space,” said Al-Sheikh.

He added that the scientific team that supported the prince’s journey included a group of scientists as well as the most skilled technicians, designers and creative thinkers who contributed to achieving this dream.

The CEO said that the success of the trip was a result of the efforts of the entire team. “The Saudi Space Commission seeks to form a similar dream team that contributes to achieving our ambitious vision for the future of the space sector in the Kingdom,” he added.

Director general of the Space Generations Program, Ilham Al-Harbi, explained that the program had a comprehensive set of goals and strategic visions that aim to instill inspiration in generations to achieve leadership in space science.

She said that the program also aimed to build and develop future generations of Saudi space scientists and turn their dreams into a reality.