Saudi-Iran talks still ‘exploratory,’ says FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell (left) and Saudi Arabia's FM Faisal bin Farhan  hold a joint news conference in Riyadh on Oct. 3, 2021. (REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri)
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell (left) and Saudi Arabia's FM Faisal bin Farhan hold a joint news conference in Riyadh on Oct. 3, 2021. (REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri)
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Updated 04 October 2021

Saudi-Iran talks still ‘exploratory,’ says FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan

Saudi-Iran talks still ‘exploratory,’ says FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan
  • Prince Faisal was speaking at a press conference in Riyadh with EU envoy Josep Borrell
  • Borrell voiced support for a peaceful settlement to the war in Yemen

RIYADH: Talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran are at an early stage but are a basis for addressing major issues between the two countries, the Kingdom’s foreign minister said on Sunday.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the latest round of discussions had taken place on Sept. 21. “We spoke about our deep concern about Iran’s transgressions on the nuclear issue,” he said.

“These discussions are still in the exploratory phase. We hope they will provide a basis to address unresolved issues between the two sides and we will strive and work to realize that,” he said.

Prince Faisal was speaking at a press conference in Riyadh with Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs. Among other issues, the two men discussed the conflict in Yemen, where Iran supports Houthi militia fighters who have launched a barrage of missile and drone attacks on civilian targets and energy infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

Borrell described the situation in Yemen as a “terrible tragedy,” and voiced support for a peaceful settlement to the war.

He said the EU condemned Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, and was working diplomatically to prevent them.

“We appreciate Saudi Arabia’s efforts to end the conflict in Yemen as well as protect its territory,” Borrell said.

Borrell also said he hoped nuclear talks between global powers and Iran would restart in Vienna “soon.” Tehran is under pressure to rejoin the 2015 deal to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. The deal collapsed in 2018 when the US pulled out, and talks are stalled in a deadlock over whether Iran or the US should be the first to resume compliance.

Borrell’s visit to Riyadh is part of a regional trip to GCC countries that includes the UAE and Qatar. The EU aims to advance strategic cooperation with the Gulf states on climate change, global access to vaccines and supporting the “green economy,” the bloc’s foreign policy chief told Arab News earlier.

Borrell also said that he would convene a joint cooperation council at ministerial level early next year during the Saudi presidency of the GCC.

 

 


KSrelief and WHO sign $15m agreements to support Yemeni health sector

KSrelief and WHO sign $15m agreements to support Yemeni health sector
Updated 6 sec ago

KSrelief and WHO sign $15m agreements to support Yemeni health sector

KSrelief and WHO sign $15m agreements to support Yemeni health sector

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has inked deals worth $15 million with the World Health Organization to support Yemen’s health sector.
The agreements were signed Sunday by KSrelief General Supervisor Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and the WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari.
The deals are being implemented as part of the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan.
Under the first agreement, the Yemeni health sector will be strengthened with basic and life-saving health equipment. This includes new laboratory tools, and medicines to treat infectious diseases, KSrelief said.
That agreement will benefit 1.27 million individuals in several Yemeni governorates, with a total value of $11.2 million.

The second agreement includes the provision of five oxygen stations and logistical means of transporting gas, training hospital workers, and station maintenance, with the aim of “increasing the readiness of health facilities (and) sustaining health services” in the governorates of Shabwa, Marib, Abyan and Hadramout.
It will benefit 41,738 people at a cost of $1 million.

The third agreement will support the logistics services linked to the COVID-19 vaccine for 10 percent of the Yemeni population, with the aim of increasing awareness about the vaccine and boosting uptake.
With a total value of $2.8 million, the final agreement is expected to support 886,341 people in all of Yemen’s governorates, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Al-Rabeeah praised the partnership between Saudi Arabia and the WHO, which he said aims to alleviate human suffering wherever it is.
He said KSrelief has carried out several initiatives with the UN body in the past few years for the benefit of Yemenis. These programs have had a great impact in addressing many diseases and pandemics, he said, the latest of which is COVID-19. He also praised the joint work on addressing the cholera epidemic in the country.
Al-Mandhari said the Kingdom, represented by KSrelief, has supported various UN programs around the world.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari added: “Through these agreements signed today, we have opened a new chapter for the partnership between us, and we hope for this partnership to continue and extend in Yemen, and the region and beyond.”


Saudi and US forces train in weapons of mass destruction crisis management

The Saudi Armed Forces and the US forces continue the Prevention Shield-3 exercise. (Saudi Ministry of Defense)
The Saudi Armed Forces and the US forces continue the Prevention Shield-3 exercise. (Saudi Ministry of Defense)
Updated 24 January 2022

Saudi and US forces train in weapons of mass destruction crisis management

The Saudi Armed Forces and the US forces continue the Prevention Shield-3 exercise. (Saudi Ministry of Defense)
  • Royal Saudi Naval Forces launched a mixed bilateral naval exercise with their Egyptian counterparts

RIYADH: The Saudi Armed Forces continued a joint exercise with US forces to train and plan for the management of crises resulting from weapons of mass destruction, the Kingdom’s defense ministry said on Sunday.
Several government agencies also participated in the “Prevention Shield-3” exercise, which began several days ago.
Col. Bader bin Saad Al-Theban, the spokesman for the exercise, said that the first phase of the drill was successfully carried out under the supervision of the general supervisor of the exercise, Maj. Gen. Khalid bin Saeed Abu Qais. 
He said several seminars, workshops and lectures were held on protection from weapons of mass destruction, and commanders and staff were trained in planning to manage crises.
Al-Theban added that the second phase of the exercise started on Sunday and a number of tasks and practical hypotheses have been implemented, such as warning, disinfection, reconnaissance, exposure to a ballistic missile attack loaded with a chemical agent, pollution of surrounding areas and casualties, which requires rapid intervention.
He thanked all the participants in the exercise from the US forces, branches of the Saudi armed forces, the Ministry of Health, Civil Defense and the Saudi Red Crescent for their efforts to make the exercise a success.
Meanwhile, the Royal Saudi Naval Forces launched a mixed bilateral naval exercise with their Egyptian counterparts at King Faisal Naval Base in the Western Fleet.
Rear Admiral Yahya bin Mohammed Al-Asiri, the commander of the Western Fleet, said that the “Morjan 17” exercise aims to strengthen relations and joint cooperation, and raise the level of combat readiness and preparedness between both countries’ naval forces.
It also aims to unify operational concepts between the two sides to confront regional threats, and exchange expertise in methods and ways of implementing naval missions. It also contributes to developing unit crews in naval wars and special forces missions to protect the maritime safety, regional and international waterways and freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, he added.
The exercise is an extension of a series of previous joint exercises between the two countries, and includes many maneuvers that enhance maritime security measures in the region.


International e-learning conference starts in Riyadh

International e-learning Center in Riyadh. (SPA)
International e-learning Center in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 24 January 2022

International e-learning conference starts in Riyadh

International e-learning Center in Riyadh. (SPA)
  • The minister said the conference contributed to achieving national objectives in human capability development in view of the support provided by the Saudi leadership to the e-learning and training sector

RIYADH: International experts are taking part in a four-day conference in Riyadh to discuss the future of e-learning and e-training in Saudi Arabia.

The event, which started on Monday and is called eLearning for Human Capability Development, has been organized by the National eLearning Center under the patronage of its CEO and Education Minister Hamad Al-Asheikh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

It will review the latest developments and opportunities in the field, and discuss ways to develop Saudis’ skills to enable them to compete in the global labor market.

Al-Asheikh said the conference represented a valuable opportunity to share knowledge and ideas and learn about best experiences and practices, and it was also in line with the rapid developments and evolving needs of the labor market.

The minister said the conference contributed to achieving national objectives in human capability development in view of the support provided by the Saudi leadership to the e-learning and training sector, contributing to empower national capabilities to compete locally and globally.

Delegates will review the experiences of bodies and blocs like the EU, UNESCO and the International Labour Organization, as well as those of individual countries such as India.

The event will look at how platforms like edX, Coursera, and FutureLearn can help to boost people’s skills, and discuss ways to use e-learning to harmonize educational output with the needs of the labor market.

It will have workshops presented by experts and practitioners in various disciplines from around the world.

The National eLearning Center said the conference aimed to review global experiences and expertise related to innovation in employing e-learning and training to develop human capability worldwide.

The conference will discuss the most important challenges to human capability development and e-learning and training opportunities, and ways to overcome them.

The center said the conference had four key themes: E-learning as an enabler and accelerator for human capability development, skill enhancement, learning platforms, and micro-credentials, all of which will be addressed in discussion sessions with the participation of over 20 speakers.

 


Residents injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area

Residents injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area
Updated 24 January 2022

Residents injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area

Residents injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area
  • Coalition said this was third Houthi attempt to target civilians of different nationalities in the industrial area
  • The “vicious and brutal attack” would be dealt with firmly, the coalition added

RIYADH: Two residents sustained minor injuries after the Houthis fired a ballistic missile that fell in the industrial area of Ahad Al-Masarihah, Jazan, the coalition said on Sunday.

The residents, of Sudanese and Bangladeshi origin, were wounded and workshops and civilian vehicles were damaged in the “vicious and brutal attack” that would be dealt with firmly, the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen said.

This was the third Houthi attempt to target civilians of different nationalities in the industrial area situated in the Kingdom’s south western region, the coalition said.

The coalition also said it had intercepted and destroyed two drones that were launched from Yemen’s Al-Jouf governorate.

Meanwhile, Yemen's defense ministry said it had received “shocking” information about the Houthi militia executing its fighters who had withdrawn from combat and refused to fight.

“We have given directions to our units to receive the retreating Houthi fighters,” the ministry said.

It promised safety and good treatment to withdrawing Houthi fighters “in accordance with international legitimacy, norms, and laws.”

“Those who have withdrawn are guests whom we will receive, and we will provide them with all help, support, and assistance to return to their areas when they wish,” the ministry said.


Niger hands over OIC presidency to Pakistan

Held at the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah, the inaugural session saw the handover of the chair from Niger to Pakistan. (Supplied)
Held at the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah, the inaugural session saw the handover of the chair from Niger to Pakistan. (Supplied)
Updated 24 January 2022

Niger hands over OIC presidency to Pakistan

Held at the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah, the inaugural session saw the handover of the chair from Niger to Pakistan. (Supplied)
  • Taha underlined the need to overcome the challenges faced by member states to ensure peace, stability, and development and to achieve the aspirations of their people

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Sunday held a preparatory meeting for the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, which is due to take place in Islamabad in March.
Held at the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah, the inaugural session saw the handover of the chair from Niger to Pakistan.
OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha reviewed major developments that had taken place in some member states and also the meeting’s main agenda items.
He addressed the situation in Palestine, Afghanistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Mali, the Sahel Region and Lake Chad Basin, and other African countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Muslim communities and minorities in nonmember states.
Taha underlined the need to overcome the challenges faced by member states to ensure peace, stability, and development and to achieve the aspirations of their people.
He also stressed the need to strengthen OIC capacities in the areas of peace, preventive diplomacy and mediation, counterterrorism and combating Islamophobia, along with response efforts to COVID-19 challenges.