Saudi Arabia blasts push by Iran for nuclear bomb

The Kingdom’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, also called for the nuclear threat from Israel be dealt with. (AFP/File Photo)
The Kingdom’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, also called for the nuclear threat from Israel be dealt with. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 20 September 2021

Saudi Arabia blasts push by Iran for nuclear bomb

The Kingdom’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, also called for the nuclear threat from Israel be dealt with. (AFP/File Photo)
  • Prince Abdulaziz was speaking at annual general conference of International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna
  • Minister said the region needs to be free of weapons of mass destruction

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia on Monday condemned Iran’s drive to obtain a nuclear bomb and Tehran’s failure to cooperate with the UN watchdog inspecting its nuclear program.

The Kingdom’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, also called for the nuclear threat from Israel be dealt with, and for the Middle East to be free of nuclear weapons.

Prince Abdulaziz told the annual general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna: “The Kingdom expresses its concern with regards to Iran’s noncompliance with its commitments to the safeguards agreement, and its non-transparency with the agency, which poses a threat to the non-proliferation ecosystem.

“The Kingdom also supports all international efforts aimed at preventing Iran from possessing nuclear weapons, and developing the non-proliferation system in the region and the world.”

Last week Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to install memory cards into cameras the watchdog uses to monitor its nuclear facilities, after a visit to Tehran by IAEA secretary general Rafael Grossi.

The deal allowed the continuation of the inspection process, which is vital for any potential deal between Iran and world powers, and avoided an embarrassing rebuke for Tehran at this week’s IAEA meeting. But critics say this is just another stage in the “cat and mouse” game Tehran is playing with the international community as it pursues a nuclear bomb.

Prince Abdulaziz also addressed the issue of Israel, the only country in the Middle East known to have a military nuclear capability, though it has never officially admitted it.

“The Kingdom also reaffirms the importance of confronting nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, which requires dealing with Israel’s nuclear threat, which not only threatens the security and stability of the Middle East, but also the entire world,” he said.

“In this regard, we reaffirm the importance of implementing the decision of 1995 completely in creating a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East.

“The Kingdom is committed to its national policy, which ensures the highest standards of transparency andreliability, and the highest levels of safety. The Kingdom works, in this regard, to develop peaceful uses of nuclear technology in various fields, including its national nuclear energy project.”

The Saudi delegation is due to hold talks with several other countries at the Vienna meeting, including the US delegation under Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Prince Abdulaziz also revealed that Saudi Arabia had made a contribution of $10 million toward the construction of a nuclear security center in the Austrian town of Seibersdorf.


Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program

Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program
Updated 18 October 2021

Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program

Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program
  • 160 students will participate in the first edition of the program, hosted by the Royal Commission in Yanbu

RIYADH: The Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (MiSK) is launching an educational program to guide future leaders and enhance their capabilities to overcome challenges.
The “Leaders of Tomorrow” program includes a training camp that takes participants on a field trip to the center of Yanbu.
The program, which will be launched at the end of November, will be the first physical training since programs became distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secondary school and university students will take part in a self-challenging journey that represents a unique opportunity to discover their potential in facing difficulties and solving problems, and work with a team of mentors to hone their skills and prepare them to succeed as leaders in taking on challenges on their own.
In its first edition, hosted by the Royal Commission in Yanbu, 160 students aged between 17 and 24 will participate in the program. They were accepted after a nomination process that began last March.
The “Leaders of Tomorrow” program is one of a series of programs launched by the foundation to prepare young people to chart a promising path for themselves through its work.


Saudi, US navies begin mixed maritime exercise to protect Red Sea

The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)
The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)
Updated 17 October 2021

Saudi, US navies begin mixed maritime exercise to protect Red Sea

The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)

RIYADH: The Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) and the US Navy on Sunday launched a mixed joint naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet, the ministry of defense announced.
The “Indigo Defender — 21” exercise was launched in the presence of Rear Admiral Mansour bin Saud Al-Juaid, the Assistant commander of the Western Fleet and commander of the exercise, Rear Admiral Mansour bin Saud Al-Juaid, and Col. Daniel Bailey of the US Navy.
The exercise’s commander said the 10-day maneuvers aim to strengthen relations and military cooperation, raise the level of combat readiness and preparedness between the RSNF and the US Navy.
It also aims to exchange expertise in the field of port protection, clearing land and underwater mines, and contribute to developing security capabilities by protecting and securing the regional and international waterways to ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.


Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon

Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon
Updated 18 October 2021

Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon

Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned its citizens not to travel to Lebanon after seven people were killed in clashes in Beirut last week.
“In view of the current security events in Lebanon, and based on a decision by the Ministry of Interior to prevent direct and indirect travel of citizens to a number of countries without obtaining prior permission from the concerned authorities, including Lebanon,” the foreign ministry said.
The ministry called on citizens to follow instructions issued by relevant authorities, and on those in Lebanon to take precaution and stay away from gatherings, “due to their potential threat to citizens’ security and safety.”
On Thursday, seven people were killed in violence in Beirut as crowds headed for a protest called by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group and its Shiite ally Amal.


Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation

Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation
Updated 17 October 2021

Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation

Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Sunday made a phone call to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
During the call, aspects of Saudi-Chinese relations and areas of cooperation between the two countries were reviewed, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
The two sides also discussed regional and international developments and efforts made to enhance security and stability, in addition to discussing the most prominent issues of common interest.


Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan

Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan
Updated 17 October 2021

Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan

Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan
  • The offices will aim to capitalize on the advantages that each of the three regions have to offer
  • They are part of the crown prince’s vision to bring about comprehensive and sustainable development in all regions

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's crown prince announced on Sunday the launch of strategic offices to develop the areas of Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan.
The offices will form the basis for the establishment of development authorities in the regions. They will aim to capitalize on the advantages that each of the three areas have to offer, Saudi Press Agency reported.
They will also ensure the development of a strong investment environment attracting private sector engagement.
The announcement of the strategic offices comes as part of the government’s strategy to extend development to all regions and cities of the Kingdom.
Prince Mohammed said that other strategic offices would be established in areas where there are not yet any development agencies.
These strategic offices will focus on investing in the distinct features and advantages of each region to transform them into sustainable and permanent economic drivers.
The offices will include the private sector in the development plans.
They are part of the crown prince’s vision to bring about comprehensive and sustainable development in all regions of the Kingdom, expanding job opportunities, and improving living standards by upgrading basic services and infrastructure. 
Al-Baha is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Kingdom. The region includes a large number of forests and is home to many ancient villages and forts.
Al-Jouf is known as the “food basket of the Kingdom” as it contains fertile land with abundant water resources. It is responsible for about 67 percent of the Kingdom’s olive oil production.
Jazan is home to the Farasan Islands and Jazan Port which is considered to be the third largest port on the Red Sea Coast.