Saudi Arabia, Iraq agree to boost cooperation on security, trade and investment

Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan met with his Iraqi counterpart Ali Allawi. (SPA)
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Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan met with his Iraqi counterpart Ali Allawi. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing Majid Al-Hogail met his Iraqi counterpart Nazin Mohammed Woso. (SPA)
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Saudi Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing Majid Al-Hogail met his Iraqi counterpart Nazin Mohammed Woso. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing Majid Al-Hogail met his Iraqi counterpart Nazin Mohammed Woso. (SPA)
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Saudi Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing Majid Al-Hogail met his Iraqi counterpart Nazin Mohammed Woso. (SPA)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein. (SPA)
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Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein. (SPA)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein. (SPA)
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Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli met Iraqi Minister of Agriculture Mohammed Al-Khafaji. (SPA)
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Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli met Iraqi Minister of Agriculture Mohammed Al-Khafaji. (SPA)
Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
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Several agreements signed during talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. (SPA)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Updated 01 April 2021

Saudi Arabia, Iraq agree to boost cooperation on security, trade and investment

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. (SPA)
  • The two leaders discussed security concerns and agreed to continue coordinating in confronting extremism and terrorism
  • Several agreements were signed during the talks, including the creation of a joint Saudi-Iraqi fund worth $3 billion

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi agreed Wednesday on the need for their countries to continue coordinating in confronting extremism and terrorism. 
Meeting at the Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, the two leaders also agreed to boost economic cooperation, starting with the creation of a joint Saudi-Iraqi fund worth $3 billion. 

A joint statement issued after the meeting described the fund "as a contribution from the Kingdom to promote investment in economic fields in Iraq to benefit both their economies."

The two neighbors also agreed to continue cooperation within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and with full commitment to the requirements of the OPEC+ agreement.

Al-Kadhimi arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday for the visit on the invitation of King Salman.
As he disembarked the plane, 21 rounds of artillery were fired to welcome him, while Saudi jets drew the Iraqi flag in the skies above.
Both countries’ national anthems were played, and then Al-Kadhimi reviewed the honor guard. A number of Saudi officials, ministers and leaders of military sectors were present at the welcoming reception.
The crown prince welcomed the official delegation accompanying the prime minister, including Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, as well as the ministers of finance, interior, oil, agriculture and housing.
The crown prince and the prime minister then headed to the Royal Court at Al-Yamamah Palace in a motorcade.
During the talks, they “exchanged views on regional and international issues of concern to both countries, in a way that contributes to supporting and enhancing security and stability in the region and the world,” a joint statement said.
The two sides praised the outcomes of Al-Kadhimi’s video call with King Salman last week where they stressed the importance of strengthening relations between the Kingdom and Iraq and enhancing the work of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council.
The crown prince and the prime minister said they would continue to develop cooperation in various fields, especially political, security, military, commercial, investment, cultural and tourism.
Saudi Arabia said it would continue to support Iraq and the Global Coalition to remove the remnants of Daesh from the country. They also agreed on the importance of joint cooperation in securing the safety of their borders.
They agreed to complete the electrical interconnection project and to accelerate cooperation in the petroleum field, within the scope of the OPEC+ agreement to ensure the stability of global oil markets.
Iraq thanked the Kingdom for its efforts toward rebuilding the country and for its support in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. Baghdad also commended the newly announced Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative that will be launched soon and said it was ready to support the Kingdom.
Bilateral agreements were signed including agreements to avoid double taxation, for cooperation in the field of development planning for economic diversification and private sector development, and on financing Saudi exports.
An agreement was signed between the Iraqi Media Network and the Saudi Radio and Television Authority, and a cooperation agreement was signed in the field of culture.
Later, Al-Kadhimi was accompanied by Prince Mohammed on a tour of Diriyah’s Al-Turaif district. 
Ahead of his arrival, Al-Kadhimi said the visit was “aimed at consolidating the distinguished relations between our two brotherly countries, and establishing prospects for fraternal cooperation between the countries of the region, in a way that serves our peoples, achieves stability, and dedicates values ​​of building and integration, based on the common things that unite us.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan held a meeting with Hussein separately to discuss bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields.
Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan met with his Iraqi counterpart Ali Allawi in Riyadh, to review relations and discuss issues of common interest.
Bilateral meetings were also held between the ministers of housing of both countries and the ministers of agriculture, within the framework of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council.




PM Al-Kadhimi, left), is seen off at Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport by Saudi officials led by Riyadh region Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz. (SPA)

Al-Kadhimi also met with Saudi minister of investment Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, the chairman of Saudi Chambers Ajlan Al-Ajlan and several Saudi businessmen and discussed strengthening Saudi private sector investments in Iraq.
Al-Khadimi promised to facilitate investment opportunities by eliminating the obstacles facing businessmen.
Al-Falih assured Al-Khadimi that King Salman’s government "continues, without any hesitation, to support the Saudi private sector’s investment in Iraq.

After the flurry of meetings, Al-Kadhimi left the Saudi capital and was seen off at the King Khalid International Airport by a number of officials led by the governor of Riyadh region, Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz.


What Saudi citizens need to know to travel safely

What Saudi citizens need to know to travel safely
Travelers will not be allowed into airports or planes without showing their health statuses through the government-approved health app, Tawakkalna. (Supplied)
Updated 10 May 2021

What Saudi citizens need to know to travel safely

What Saudi citizens need to know to travel safely
  • COVID-19 insurance mandatory for those under the age of 18 wishing to travel

JEDDAH: With one week to go before international travel resumes, Saudis are being encouraged to cover all the necessary basics before leaving the country.

During a joint press conference on Sunday, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) and the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI) shared new instructions and updated travel insurance policies for all Saudis wishing to travel abroad following a previous announcement stating the four categories allowed.
Ibrahim Alrwosa, GACA official spokesman, outlined the new travel procedures for citizens, health protocols followed at airports, and the shipment, transport and reception of vaccines at the Kingdom’s airports.
“After a week, our airports will witness the resuming of flights for citizens starting 1 a.m. We call on everyone to thoroughly follow the set health precautions to achieve a completely safe trip,” said Alrwosa, adding that the authority will update its safety instructions to add COVID-19 health measures in a new leaflet.
Travelers will not be allowed into airports or planes without showing their health statuses through the government-approved health app, Tawakkalna. Travelers who have received two vaccine doses, those who have completed two weeks since receiving the first jab, those who are immune by recovery no more than six months since infection and children under the age of 18 who have travel insurance obtained in cooperation with the Saudi Central Bank will be the only groups allowed to cross international borders.
Alrwosa stressed that travelers follow their country of destination’s health precautions to avoid any problems.

HIGHLIGHT

Travelers will not be allowed into airports or planes without showing their health statuses through the government-approved health app, Tawakkalna. Travelers who have received two vaccine doses, those who have completed two weeks since receiving the first jab, those who are immune by recovery no more than six months since infection and children under the age of 18 who have travel insurance obtained in cooperation with the Saudi Central Bank will be the only groups allowed to cross international borders. 

Meanwhile, CCHI spokesman, Othman Al-Qasabi, revealed that the new insurance policy will include benefits that cover the risks of COVID-19 infection, and that it is mandatory for those under the age of 18 wishing to travel.
“This is in cooperation with the Saudi Central Bank. Persons vaccinated with two doses, first dose, and immune by recovery with the required timeline, will have the travel insurance available for them, but it has been made mandatory for those under the age of 18 to reduce the risks accompanied by the virus.”
The travel insurance, which is only valid for 30 days, will cover emergency medical expenses related to COVID-19 such as emergency rooms, urgent care and transportation. It also covers quarantine-related accommodation costs, medical evacuation and issues related to canceling flights due to COVID-19 conditions.
“These new benefits have been added to the already existing travel insurance benefits.”
The council revealed that a consortium of 12 companies has been approved for people to receive travel insurance from, with Tawuniya Insurance Company chosen to lead the alliance.


King Salman appoints Abanmi as governor of Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority

King Salman appoints Abanmi as governor of Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority
Updated 10 May 2021

King Salman appoints Abanmi as governor of Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority

King Salman appoints Abanmi as governor of Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority

RIYADH: King Salman has issued a royal order appointing Suhail bin Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Abanmi as governor of the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority, with the rank of minister, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) announced on Saturday.

The new body is a merger of the former General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT), which Abanmi headed since 2017, and the Saudi Customs, of which he was named acting governor since March.

Abanmi has worked as an executive in various private companies and government agencies, including as head of business development and manager of the Tadawulaty program, general supervisor of the Ministry of Commerce’s agency for internal trade, and member of the advisory committee for the Capital Market Authority.


Saudi crown prince allocates 20 million square meters for housing units north of Riyadh

Saudi crown prince allocates 20 million square meters for housing units north of Riyadh
Updated 10 May 2021

Saudi crown prince allocates 20 million square meters for housing units north of Riyadh

Saudi crown prince allocates 20 million square meters for housing units north of Riyadh
  • The additional lands will provide more than 53,000 various housing units
  • Riyadh aims to become one of the 10 largest economic cities in the world

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has directed the allocation of 20 million square meters for new residential land north of Riyadh.
The ownership will be transferred to the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing, and is part of a drive to improve the housing sector and hep families, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The allocation aims to increase the residential area of ​​Al-Jawan suburb from 10 million square meters to 30 million square meters, and build up to 53,000 housing units through integrated projects, facilities and services in partnership with the private sector. This is on top of the 20,000 housing units that have already been announced.
Support for the housing sector has led to Saudi home ownership increasing from 47 percent to 60 percent in the last four years.
The Kingdom hope that figure will reach 70 percent under the Vision 2030 reform programs.
“The additional lands allocated to the housing sector north of Riyadh will provide more than 53,000 various housing units that real estate developers will work on, taking into account the quality of services that meet the aspirations of citizens,” the statement said.
The move is also in line with the city’s growth with the aim of becoming one of the 10 largest economic cities in the world and an increase in population from 15 to 20 million by 2030.
Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing Majed Al-Hogail said the housing sector contributes more than SR115 billion ($30.6 million) to GDP and provides about 40,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Riyadh’s housing sector has witnessed rapid growth over the past two years.


UAE condemns Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia’s Khamis Mushait    

UAE condemns Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia’s Khamis Mushait    
Updated 10 May 2021

UAE condemns Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia’s Khamis Mushait    

UAE condemns Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia’s Khamis Mushait    

RIYADH: The UAE repeated its “strong condemnation and denunciation” of the Iran-backed Houthi militia launching drone attacks at innocent civilians in Saudi Arabia.

The comments come after the latest attempted attack on the Kingdom’s southern regions. The Arab coalition said on Sunday that an explosives-laden drones was intercepted after it was launched towards Khamis Mushait. 

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the latest drone attack showed Houthi's “blatant defiance of the safety of the international community and its disregard for all international laws.”

The UAE said it stands against any threat to Saudi Arabia’s security and stability.


Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Friday

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Friday
Updated 10 May 2021

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Friday

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Friday
  • Civil defense warns of thunderstorms and risk of flooding in some areas

RIYADH: Weather warnings have been issued for several regions across Saudi Arabia from Monday until Friday, the Kingdom’s civil defense said on Sunday.
The authority warned of thunderstorms with moderate to heavy rain and brisk winds that may lead to torrential flows in Asir, Al-Baha, Jazan, Najran, and Makkah.
The regions of Madinah, Qassim, Hail, the Northern Borders Province, Al-Jawf, and Tabuk will be affected by moderate rain, while the Eastern Province will be affected by light to moderate rain.
The warnings were based on data from the National Center of Meteorology.
Lt. Col. Mohammed Al-Hammadi, civil defense spokesman, called on everyone to be wary of the potential dangers of severe weather conditions, to stay away from places that could flood, and to abide by the civil defense’s instructions and updates announced through media and social media outlets.