Lebanese president congratulates King Salman on Saudi National Day, calls for Arab solidarity

Michel Aoun (R) stressed “the brotherly ties between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon” in congratulating King Salman on National Day. (SPA/AFP/File Photo)
Michel Aoun (R) stressed “the brotherly ties between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon” in congratulating King Salman on National Day. (SPA/AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 23 September 2021

Lebanese president congratulates King Salman on Saudi National Day, calls for Arab solidarity

Michel Aoun (R) stressed “the brotherly ties between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon” in congratulating King Salman on National Day. (SPA/AFP/File Photo)
  • Aoun’s warm comments come as Mikati’s government wins vote of confidence amid calls for greater links with Arab countries
  • State electricity supplier warns of ‘total darkness’ across the country as fuel supplies dwindle

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun congratulated King Salman on the occasion of Saudi National Day, praising his efforts to “strengthen Arab solidarity, which is what we need the most today to address the challenges facing our region and the world.”

Aoun stressed “the brotherly ties between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, since the era of King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who laid the foundation for unity and convergence, the values that your Kingdom has remained committed to toward our nation and people.”

His warm comments follow recent statements where Aoun expressed his rejection “for Lebanon to be the source of anything that might offend or harm Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries,” after the Saudi government’s decision in April to ban the entry of Lebanese fruits and vegetables into or via its territories over drug smuggling.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government obtained the parliament’s vote of confidence this week, based on the ministerial statement that stressed the need to “promote the Lebanese relations with Arab countries, activate the historic cooperation among Arab countries and urge Arab brothers to support the Lebanese during these difficult times.”

Aoun is expected to deliver via video a speech on Friday at the UN General Assembly in New York from his office, to express “Lebanon’s position regarding local and regional developments as well as the topics on the session’s agenda.”

Mikati headed to Paris on Thursday, his first official visit after the formation of the government, and is expected to meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday.

France exerted intense pressure on Lebanese politicians to form a government in line with the initiative launched by Macron in the aftermath of the Beirut blast, which rocked the country last August.

On the eve of Mikati’s visit to the French capital, the International Support Group for Lebanon welcomed the formation of the new government and the parliament’s vote of confidence in the administration and its program.

The ISG urged “Lebanon’s leaders to move quickly to alleviate the burden of socio-economic hardship on the people of Lebanon and restore basic services, to prepare for fair and transparent elections to take place on time in 2022, and to initiate the critical reforms needed to restore trust and deliver justice, stability and prosperity for the Lebanese people and to pave the way for enhanced international support.”

Recalling its statement of Aug. 3, the ISG reiterated “the importance of swiftly completing the investigation into the Beirut port explosion.”

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s state electricity company warned on Thursday that the entire country was facing a total blackout by the end of the month as fuel oil reserves dwindled.

The company can generate less than 500 megawatts from fuel oil it secured through a deal with Iraq, it said.

Worsening fuel shortages have left the Lebanese with little if any state-supplied power for the past few months. Much of the country now relies on private generators.

The EDL said its reserves of both Grade A and Grade B fuel had reached a critical point and had run out already in the Jiyeh plant and the electricity-generating ships of Fatmagül and Orhan Bey, which have now stopped production.

“Reserves are also about to run out in the Zouk thermal plant and in the power-generation facilities in Zouk and Jiyeh, which will also be forced to stop production soon,” it said.

EDL said that “the Iraqi fuel to be imported following an agreement signed between Lebanon and Iraq can only generate 500 megawatts, which is not enough to secure the network’s stability and thus, the network will be at risk of total collapse at any moment.”

It added: “If things persist, there is a high risk of reaching total and complete darkness by the end of September.”

EDL held Lebanon’s central bank responsible for not securing dollars in exchange for “the surplus of local currency accumulated in the company’s account to generate power.”

Elsewhere, Hezbollah has continued to provide fuel for municipalities and hospitals hoping to procure Iranian diesel through the Al-Amana company, which is under US sanctions.

The administration of a hospital in northern Lebanon denied having received fuel through Al-Amana.

Diriyah, past, present and future
On Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day, the birthplace of the Kingdom continues to make history

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Saudi Arabia, Oman agree to strengthen media and business competitiveness

Saudi Arabia, Oman agree to strengthen media and business competitiveness
Updated 07 December 2021

Saudi Arabia, Oman agree to strengthen media and business competitiveness

Saudi Arabia, Oman agree to strengthen media and business competitiveness
  • On the eve of Saudi Crown Prince Salman’s arrival in Muscat, Saudi Arabia and Oman signed 13 memoranda of understanding, reportedly worth more than $10 billion and covering several sectors

DUBAI: Oman and Saudi Arabia signed on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding in the field of media related to strengthening cooperation between the two countries in news, audio-visual and print media, Oman’s state news agency reported.
Another memorandum aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of national industries and marketing research, encouraging joint activities and developing countries’ ease of business and e-commerce index was also signed. 
The latest round of cooperation comes a day after Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman arrived in Muscat to meet with Sultan Haitham bin Tarik as part of his official tour of GCC states.
On the eve of Saudi Crown Prince Salman’s arrival in Muscat, Saudi Arabia and Oman signed 13 memoranda of understanding, reportedly worth more than $10 billion and covering several sectors.


154 KSrelief food aid trucks sent to Yemen

The convoy included 30,399 food baskets (3.252 tons) for distribution in 15 Yemeni governorates. (KSrelief)
The convoy included 30,399 food baskets (3.252 tons) for distribution in 15 Yemeni governorates. (KSrelief)
Updated 07 December 2021

154 KSrelief food aid trucks sent to Yemen

The convoy included 30,399 food baskets (3.252 tons) for distribution in 15 Yemeni governorates. (KSrelief)
  • KSrelief has implemented, in cooperation with its many humanitarian partners, a total of 644 projects in Yemen

RIYADH: Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), inaugurated the launch of 154 relief trucks from Saudi Arabia on Monday. 

The convoy included 30,399 food baskets (3.252 tons) for distribution in 15 Yemeni governorates.

The food aid is the first to be sent by KSrelief to Yemen as part of the comprehensive “Yemen Food Security Support Project”, which will continue into 2022.

In comments to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Al-Rabeeah stated that this convoy comes as an extension of the commitment of the government of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide ongoing assistance to the Yemeni people and to support them during their current humanitarian crisis.

Al-Rabeeah added that Monday’s convoy from KSrelief is part of the center’s impartial, comprehensive assistance to people in need in all parts of Yemen, and that all aid is provided according solely to need and without any other motive.

He added that the 154-vehicle convoy is the first in what will amount to a total of 973 trucks carrying more than 192,000 food baskets (20.540 tons) for a total cost of $29,978,000. The goal of the massive food aid delivery project is to alleviate the suffering of crisis-affected families across Yemen.

Al-Rabeeah said the aid will help to increase food security and improve the quality of life of Yemenis, adding that this aid is particularly important in light of the additional challenges being posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He stressed that KSrelief was keen to ensure that all aid reaches its targeted beneficiaries, and that the food baskets would be distributed through United Nations organizations and local partners in coordination with Yemen’s High Relief Committee.

KSrelief has implemented, in cooperation with its many humanitarian partners, a total of 644 projects in Yemen covering all key humanitarian sectors.


Who’s Who: Fahad Almutlaq, CEO of Sharqia Development Authority

Fahad Almutlaq. (Supplied)
Fahad Almutlaq. (Supplied)
Updated 07 December 2021

Who’s Who: Fahad Almutlaq, CEO of Sharqia Development Authority

Fahad Almutlaq. (Supplied)

Fahad Almutlaq has served as CEO of Sharqia Development Authority since September 2019.
He has more than 20 years of experience in managing comprehensive development strategies, urban planning, building integrated development, legislation and empowerment initiatives. Almutlaq served as chief strategy officer at the Council for Economic Affairs and Development, which took part in the national strategy of Saudi Arabia, Vision 2030, between 2017 and 2019.
Before that, he served as CEO of the Arabian Industry and Services Group from June 2014 to August 2018. Almutlaq led significant mergers and acquisitions, and directed strategies and plans to accommodate social changes in the region.
He has held several positions in the Saudi Ministry of Defense, building international experience through working with one of the world’s largest aerospace and defense contractors, BAE Systems.
Almutlaq also worked with major science and technology companies and oversaw the construction and operations of the largest aerospace and industrial facility in the Middle East between 2011 and 2014. Within the ministry, he served as head of business development and future support and planning in 2010, and as program manager, based in the UK, between 2007 until 2010.
He held several positions in the Saudi Electricity Company, including head of the project management and planning division. Almutlaq also worked on civil, urban and electromechanical projects between 2004 and 2008, served as senior project engineer between 2003 and 2004, and before that worked as a planning engineer in the department of facilities planning and land use from 2001 to 2003.
He now serves on the board of several organizations.
Almutlaq holds two master’s degrees and an MBA in project and construction management. He has completed several practical and executive programs, covering strategic planning and leadership training.


Saudi environmental security officers protect sea and land ecosystems

Saudi Arabia is committed to protecting the environment and its natural resources. (Twitter: @SFES_KSA)
Saudi Arabia is committed to protecting the environment and its natural resources. (Twitter: @SFES_KSA)
Updated 07 December 2021

Saudi environmental security officers protect sea and land ecosystems

Saudi Arabia is committed to protecting the environment and its natural resources. (Twitter: @SFES_KSA)
  • Among the arrested are illegal firewood traders

RIYADH: The Saudi Special Forces for Environmental Security have apprehended dozens of offenders for environmental violations as part of a recent crackdown.

The forces, under the command of the Ministry of Interior, arrested individuals who illegally moved sand and soil in Jeddah and Tabuk. People who illegally entered the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Reserve in northeast Riyadh and hunted wildlife in restricted areas were also detained.

Others were arrested while transporting local firewood and trafficking endangered fungi in Al-Muzahmiyya Governorate. Several other citizens were also caught selling local firewood in other regions of the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia is committed to protecting the environment and its natural resources across its vast territory. The Saudi environment law focuses on conservation, protection, development, pollution prevention, public health protection and the rational use of natural resources.

It also aims to make environmental planning an integral part of comprehensive development in industrial, agricultural and urban areas.

One practice that harms the Saudi environment is illegal dredging. Talal S. Al-Rasheed, a consultant at Gulf Energy for Environmental Consultations, warned that dredging and similar practices can negatively impact the environment and economy if studies are not conducted beforehand. Reduced fish stocks and damage to coral reefs are major consequences of poorly planned and illegal dredging.

Al-Rasheed added that taking sand and soil without a license is a “major disaster” because it changes the nature of the land by creating deep pits that cause accidents and endanger the lives of road users.

“Because the marine environment is sensitive to its habitat, when anything changes in nature, creatures begin to shift to other locations. Some of these habitats might not suitable for living. Because of the availability of suitable places for marine organisms, every species in the marine environment has a designated place to adapt to,” Al-Rasheed said.

Nasser M. Al-Hamidi, an environmental activist, said that burning or cutting trees in natural forests for wood is harmful to the environment and local communities due to smoke pollution.

He added that any attack on the environment, including dredging and stealing natural materials such as mountain rock deposits, poses a severe threat to the Kingdom’s natural beauty, which should be preserved for future generations.


Gulf Health Council offers elder care advice

Gulf Health Council offers elder care advice. (Shutterstock)
Gulf Health Council offers elder care advice. (Shutterstock)
Updated 07 December 2021

Gulf Health Council offers elder care advice

Gulf Health Council offers elder care advice. (Shutterstock)
  • The tips highlight ways in which caregivers can better prepare accommodation to suit the needs of elderly residents

RIYADH: The Gulf Health Council on Monday shared advice for care of older people.
The “seven important tips for caregivers of the elderly to adopt” stress, for example, the importance of maintaining a daily hygiene routine for seniors, to help ensure overall health and well-being. The council said that comprehensive, periodic examinations of oral health, sight and hearing are crucial for safeguarding against infections that can cause discomfort and irritability.
The tips also highlight ways in which caregivers can better prepare accommodation to suit the needs of elderly residents, for example by installing nonslip carpets and grab bars to prevent injuries and accidents.

In addition, proper heating or cooling facilities in and out of the house are important to ensure older people remain comfortable.
In addition, caregivers are urged to encourage seniors to exercise regularly to help improve quality of sleep and reduce the risk of certain ailments, such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure and diabetes.
The council has also uploaded a video to YouTube focusing on care for the elderly.