Saudi foreign minister calls for Iran arms embargo to stop attacks on ‘global economy’

Saudi foreign minister calls for Iran arms embargo to stop attacks on ‘global economy’
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan hold a joint press conference following their meeting in Moscow on Jan. 14, 2021. (File/AFP)
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Updated 11 March 2021

Saudi foreign minister calls for Iran arms embargo to stop attacks on ‘global economy’

Saudi foreign minister calls for Iran arms embargo to stop attacks on ‘global economy’
  • While meeting Russian FM, Prince Faisal says attacks on Kingdom’s energy sector require strong stand from international community
  • Arms blockade would make it harder for Iran to supply groups like the Houthis with advanced weapons

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister called on Wednesday for a renewed block on weapons sales to Iran after the latest attacks on oil facilities in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province.
Ras Tanura, one of the world’s biggest oil ports, was targeted by an armed drone on Sunday. Hours later, a ballistic missile was shot down over an Aramco residential area just to the south in Dhahran.
A UN arms embargo expired in October, allowing Iran to purchase foreign weapons for the first time in a decade. Efforts to keep the ban in place foundered in the UN Security Council, despite intense efforts by the United States to lobby support.
“We have witnessed widespread condemnation of the recent attempt on facilities in Ras Tanura, as well as a strong stance from the international community that parallels the gravity of the attack that comes not only against the Kingdom but also on the global economy,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan said at a press conference on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

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The attempted strikes were condemned by governments around the world and caused a brief spike in oil prices.
They took place amid a wave of drone attacks on southern Saudi Arabia by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen.
“Such attacks require a strong stand by the international community in confronting the perpetrators, and efforts must be concerted to stop the sources of the continuation of the conflict,” Prince Faisal said. “The most important of which is Iran’s supplying the Houthi militia with advanced weapons, including ballistic missiles and booby-trapped drones.”
Lavrov called the developments in Yemen worrying. “We need to immediately stop the military industry,” he said.
Since the start of the Yemen conflict, Iranian-backed militias have targeted the Kingdom with ballistic missiles and drones as Yemen slid into a humanitarian disaster.
The Kingdom’s oil infrastructure also came under fire in September 2019 when two key oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais were struck and set ablaze. A UN report confirmed Iranian involvement.
Prince Faisal said the UN arms embargo must be extended to Iran.
“It is necessary for the international community to have a firm stand, stop the continued flow of weapons to the Houthi militia and prevent the export of weapons to Yemen, as this is a violation of United Nations resolutions,” he said.
Saudi Arabia supports international efforts aimed at ensuring Iran does not develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, Prince Faisal added. 
He stressed the importance of making the Gulf region free of all weapons of mass destruction, respecting the independence and sovereignty of states, and not interfering in their internal affairs.
He said Saudi Arabia would continue to protect its land and people while keeping a steady eye on developments in Yemen.
“The Kingdom will never hesitate to protect its security and its citizens and will continue to address threats with effectiveness, firmness and strength,” Prince Faisal said. “Our priority is a ceasefire in Yemen in support of the efforts of the UN envoy.”
The prince and Lavrov also discussed OPEC+ meetings on global oil supplies and the Syria conflict. Prince Faisal said consultation and cooperation exist at a high level between the two countries.
“Any disagreements between Saudi and Russia regarding oil can be resolved through coordination,” Lavrov said. “We need to continue cooperating together.”
Prince Faisal said this is the mechanism of the OPEC+ group, which includes OPEC members and other leading oil producers like Russia.
“The Kingdom and Russia are keen on a fair price of oil for consumers and producers, and this is what the OPEC+ mechanism is based on, and there is good coordination in this regard, and they continue to support the global economy,” he said.
Lavrov described the meetings as fruitful, friendly and multi-level. Diplomatic ties between the two countries were restored 30 years ago as both sides agreed that more meetings need to take place.


Muslim World League and World Jewish Congress urge UN secretary general to promote religious freedom

Muslim World League and World Jewish Congress urge UN secretary general to promote religious freedom
Updated 12 sec ago

Muslim World League and World Jewish Congress urge UN secretary general to promote religious freedom

Muslim World League and World Jewish Congress urge UN secretary general to promote religious freedom

LONDON: The secretary general of the Muslim World League and the president of the World Jewish Congress have urged the secretary general of the UN to advocate for religious freedom and an end to violence against houses of worship.
During a meeting with Antonio Guterres at the UN on Tuesday, the two faith leaders urged the secretary general to promote interfaith dialogue and coexistence as a way to forge consensus on many of the world’s greatest challenges.
They emphasized that religions have a unique power to unite individuals given that their common source in mercy and peace.
“The world is under threat from pernicious individuals and groups that seek to use hatred, violence and discrimination to target Muslims, Jews and many other global communities,” Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said.
“Fortunately, however, we are seeing interfaith partnerships blossom more than ever before as we unite to fight the scourge of racism and extremism, and build bridges of tolerance, understanding, peace and harmony,” he said.
Meanwhile, the president of WJC Ronald S. Lauder said the world must stand together against racism.
“Campaigns against racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and other manifestations of hate will be infinitely more effective if they are united, both by the Abrahamic faiths and other religions worldwide,” Lauder said.
“We believe in working toward a better world, for generations to come,” he added. 
The two faith leaders renewed their commitment to working together to promote religious tolerance around the globe and leveraging their influence as leaders of independent, global organizations that are apolitical but wield significant moral standing.  
The MWL and WJC issued a joint statement before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Oct. 4 pledging an interfaith commitment to promoting and protecting human rights for all.
It marked the first time a coordinated statement
was presented by Jewish and Muslim representative groups before a UN body.
Both organizations reiterated the need to safeguard religious freedom globally and the right of individuals to practice their religion as a basic human right.


Saudi Arabia announces 3 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 3 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 21 October 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 3 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 3 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 537,149
  • A total of 8,773 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced three deaths from COVID-19 and 46 new infections on Thursday.

Of the new cases, 11 were recorded in Riyadh, nine in Jeddah, three in Makkah, two in Hail, two in Taif, two in Hofuf, and two in Dhahran. Several other cities recorded one new case each.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 537,149 after 54 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,773 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 44.9 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony

UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony
Updated 21 October 2021

UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony

UK honors ‘inspirational’ Saudi alumni at Riyadh awards ceremony
  • The Study UK Alumni Awards 2022 call for applications is open until Oct. 29, 2021

RIYADH: The British Embassy and British Council announced the recipients of the Study UK Alumni Awards 2020-2021Study UK Alumni Awards 2020-2021 in Saudi Arabia at an awards ceremony hosted by British Ambassador in Riyadh, Neil Crompton, on Wednesday.

UK alumni from Jeddah, Riyadh, Dhahran, Qassim and Thuwal were recognized for their outstanding achievements as business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders, and for their important contributions in strengthening collaborative ties between the UK and Saudi Arabia.

The Study UK Alumni Awards 2022 call for applications is open until Oct. 29, 2021.

The awards were developed by the British Council and UK universities, and are open to alumni residing in any country outside the UK who have studied in the UK, at an officially recognized provider of UK university degree level study for a minimum of a term or semester, or who have been awarded a full UK degree level qualification (or higher) by a UK university in the past 15 years.

Speaking at the awards ceremony the British envoy said: “I am delighted to host the 7th Study UK Alumni Award ceremony in person this year, and have the chance to meet many of bright Saudi women and men who are driving economic success and social impact through their work, in their professions, and in their communities to achieve the vision set out by their leadership.”

He added: “This prestigious international award celebrates UK higher education and the achievements of outstanding Saudis who studied in the UK and are using their education to make a positive impact. It reflects the wider partnership between our two countries.  My congratulations to all our finalists and winners. I encourage many more Saudis who have studied in the UK to apply to the awards so that more of these amazing stories can be shared, not only to celebrate their success but also to inspire others.”

Eilidh Kennedy McLean, British Council country director, said: “The remarkable individuals we celebrated today at the awards have all taken their UK education as a starting point to excel in their chosen careers and shape the world around them. This year’s awards ceremony is testimony not only to the diversity of UK alumni and their endeavours, but also to the transformative impact of a UK education. With more than 100,000 alumni of a UK education, there is much to celebrate.”

The award received around 1,300 applications from international UK alumni in more than 100 countries, representing more than 120 UK higher education institutions across the UK. Following interviews with a judging panel, recipients were selected for the three award categories: Professional achievement, entrepreneurial, and social impact.

The professional achievement award, which recognizes alumni who have displayed exemplary leadership in their professional field, was presented to Dr. Roua Alsubki , alumna of University College London. 

Roua is vice dean of skills and development deanship at King Saud University, the first woman to hold this position.

The social impact award, which acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to creating positive social change, was presented to Dr. Bandar Alosaimi for establishing COVIDAT, a website that provides scientific information on COVID-19 in Arabic. 

He saw a need to translate developments in medical research to the everyday Arabic reader to avoid misinformation and misconceptions about the coronavirus. 

A graduate of University of Manchester and University of Salford, where he earned his master’s and Ph.D degrees, Alosaimi is assistant professor of virology at the faculty of medicine, the head of the virology research team and chairperson of Research Laboratories at King Fahad Medical City.

The entrepreneurial award was presented to Dr. Wail Mousa, graduate of the University of Leeds. 

Mousa is the founding dean of the Entrepreneurship Institute and professor of electrical engineering at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. He was the first Saudi to be sponsored by Dhahran Techno Valley for a Ph.D in electronics and electrical engineering from the University of Leeds.  

Sir Steve Smith, the UK prime minister’s special representative for education, attended the awards ceremony and told Arab News: “I am here for strategic partnership between the UK and Saudi Arabia in the education sector. The role was set up following a meeting between the two governments in 2018 and the aim is to build on over 60 years of collaboration between our two countries.”

He added: “Since I was appointed a year ago, we have started lots of initiatives, some really exciting announcements in areas of special educational needs and skills in colleges and universities.”

On progress of the Saudi-UK education partnership, Smith said that the partnership is developing well. 

“The key is to have deep relationship. We are trying to make sure we have momentum for the activities, and get the partners in the UK and Saudi Arabia to see it can benefit each other.”

Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh and Smith discussed ways to enhance educational, academic and research cooperation, and share best practices and expertise between the two countries.

The meeting addressed efforts by Saudi Arabia and the UK in education, fields of cooperation in public education, developing curricula, the program of the courses system for the secondary education, in addition to the education of talented students and students with disabilities.

The talks also covered cooperation in the university education, scientific research, accrediting academic qualifications, as well as academic and research partnerships among both countries’ universities, and enhancing cooperation in integrated education and remote education.

He said that universities from the two countries are coming closer to work together. The University of Birmingham on Tuesday signed an agreement with King Saud University, he added.


$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched

$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched
Updated 21 October 2021

$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched

$250k Saudi-backed UN science award launched

PARIS: A Saudi-backed global award to encourage young talents in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics has been launched at the UN.
Al-Fozan Foundation, in cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and with the support of the Saudi permanent delegation to UNESCO, made the announcement during the 212th session of the organization’s executive council.
The first international award at UNESCO to be offered by the Kingdom, it will celebrate the outstanding achievements of five young researchers from the UN agency’s five regions around the world and will offer prize money totaling $250,000.
Five jurors specializing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, will oversee the selection process and winners will be announced every two years.


Saudi women empowerment conference to focus on 7 themes

Saudi women empowerment conference to focus on 7 themes
Updated 21 October 2021

Saudi women empowerment conference to focus on 7 themes

Saudi women empowerment conference to focus on 7 themes
  • Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University will host the 2-day event, which will bring together more than 60 experts and ministers

RIYADH: Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University will hold a two-day conference to shed light on how Saudi Arabia has helped empower women through national reforms, government policies, and private initiatives.
The conference, which will be held on Nov. 22-23, will bring together more than 60 experts, ministers, and Saudi universities. It will explore seven themes and indicators of women empowerment in local and international organizations.
Prof. Nouf bint Abd Al-Aly Al-Ajmi, the vice-rector of Female Student Affairs, who is also the head of the organizing committee, told Arab News that many prominent female figures will participate in the conference.
“Saudi women have taken great strides towards empowerment, thanks to the legislation and laws issued to enhance women’s position and protect their social and personal rights and ensure their participation as decision-makers,” Al-Ajmi said.
The themes will focus on legislative reforms in the era of King Salman and how they have helped meet the demands and needs of women towards more vital social participation.
There will be an emphasis on national identity and citizenship through women’s empowerment in education and training.
The rector of the Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University, Prof. Ahmed Salim Al-Amiri, said the royal approval to organize this conference reflected the interest and support of the Kingdom’s leadership for Saudi women.
“Saudi women have enjoyed many rights while many historic and key decisions were issued to enhance women’s role in society and empower them to be an active partner in national development,” Al-Amiri said.
The rector said various governmental and non-governmental sectors will participate in the event, including Saudi universities, to explore women’s empowerment on different levels.
The conference will also focus on government projects and initiatives that support the empowerment of Saudi women, key indicators of women’s empowerment, and new functional areas.
The successes and achievements of women in the era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques will also be highlighted.