Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Kuwait visit reaffirms a historic friendship

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Kuwait visit reaffirms a historic friendship
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah welcomes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his GCC tour. (Supplied)
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Updated 12 December 2021

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Kuwait visit reaffirms a historic friendship

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Kuwait visit reaffirms a historic friendship
  • Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have enjoyed close and cordial relations reaching back decades, assisting one another in times of crisis
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Kuwait confirms “solid and historical depth” of relations, says ambassador

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Kuwait on Friday marked the final leg of his tour of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in the lead-up to the annual GCC Summit, to be held in Riyadh on Dec. 14.

He previously visited Kuwait in his official capacity as deputy crown prince in May 2015, and again in Sept. 2018 after becoming the crown prince in June 2017.

The visit came six months after a meeting between him and Kuwait's Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Jaber Al-Sabah when the latter traveled to Riyadh for talks.




Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received by his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. (Supplied)

On arrival in Kuwait City on Friday, Crown Prince Mohammed was received by Sheikh Mishal. He was later received by the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

The emir bestowed the Order of Wisam Mubarak Al-Kabir on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his efforts “to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and understanding between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council,” SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have enjoyed close and cordial relations reaching back decades, assisting one another in times of crisis, engaging in reciprocal trade and tourism, and collaborating on defense and diplomatic matters. 

They routinely coordinate their actions under the umbrella of the GCC in accordance with the bloc’s common visions and strategic goals, with a view to achieving integration between member states in different fields.




Kuwait Emir Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah bestows upon Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the Order of Wisam Mubarak Al-Kabir for his efforts in strengthening the bonds between GCC countries. (Supplied)

A similar cooperative spirit informs their roles at the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the UN and various international bodies.

“Today, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, deputy prime minister and minister of defense — may God protect him — arrives in his second homeland, the sisterly State of Kuwait,” Prince Sultan bin Saad bin Khalid Al-Saud, the Saudi ambassador to Kuwait, said in a statement ahead of Prince Mohammed’s arrival.

“It is the second official visit of his royal highness since assuming the position of crown prince. (The visit) is an extension of the successive visits of the leaders of Saudi Arabia to their brothers the rulers of the State of Kuwait, which confirms the strength and distinction of relations between the two countries, and that it has a solid and historical depth since the era of the founder King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud — may his soul rest in peace.

“The importance of this visit comes as a continuation of his highness’s current tour of the GCC states and ahead of the 42nd Gulf Summit to be held in Riyadh on Dec. 14. This confirms the keenness of his highness — may God protect him — on the unity of Gulf cohesion, unifying stances towards regional, Arab and international issues, and raising the level of joint cooperation between the GCC states in various fields.




Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received by Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. (Supplied)

“It is expected that many regional and international issues and developments that are in the interest of the region and its peoples will be discussed.”

The Saudi royal family has a fondness for Kuwait that can be traced to an act of generosity reaching back over a century. 

In 1891, when Riyadh was seized by King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud’s rival, Ibn Rasheed, the family and their supporters were given refuge in Kuwait.

In 1902, when King Abdulaziz recaptured Riyadh, the Al-Saud ruling family returned to Najd from Kuwait and reinstalled the Saudi State, later to unify the country.

The Uqair Protocol of December 1922 delineated neutral zones between Mandatory Iraq, the Sheikhdom of Kuwait, and the Sultanate of Najd — the fledgling Kingdom that would later become Saudi Arabia.




Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received by his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. (Supplied)

It was the discovery of oil in 1938 in the Burgan Field, just north of the neutral zone on the Saudi-Kuwait border, that would change relations between the two kingdoms forever, with their leaders both agreeing to share the find. In 1965, the neutral zone between the two states was again renegotiated, while the maritime border was redrawn in 2000. 

These shared interests have made Saudi Arabia and Kuwait natural partners, and contributed to the creation of the six-member GCC in 1981, thereby transforming a historic friendship into an institution able to promote economic and security cooperation. 

This solidarity proved critical on Aug. 2, 1990, when Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein sent his armed forces to invade Kuwait. Now it was Saudi Arabia’s turn to offer Kuwait’s royal family and its fleeing officials sanctuary, as Iraqi troops annexed the country, seizing control over some 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves. 

US President George H. W. Bush condemned the Iraqi invasion and began assembling a coalition of 35 nations, including Saudi Arabia, to help liberate Kuwait. Soon US forces established bases in the Gulf in preparation for the planned counterattack. In Jan. 1991, the coalition launched Operation Desert Storm.

Saudi jets and ground forces took part in several battles to repel Iraqi cross-border incursions and Scud missile attacks. By the end of February, Kuwait had been liberated. 

Since then, common defense and security have been a high priority among GCC members. As recently as 2017, Kuwait hosted military drills involving US, Saudi and other Gulf armed forces.

In Dec. 2020, a month before the Gulf dispute was formally resolved with the help of Kuwaiti mediation and the signing of the AlUla Declaration, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah thanked Saudi King Salman for the Kingdom’s role in promoting security and stability in the region. 

However, the Saudi-Kuwaiti relationship goes far beyond oil, security and diplomacy. The two countries share many of the same core values, culture and even familial ties. These similarities in outlook have allowed them to entwine their development agendas.

One thing Kuwait is very well known for is its dynamic retail sector, making it a top shopping destination for everything from fashion to supercars. Kuwait’s largest shopping mall, The Avenues, is planning to expand into Saudi Arabia over the next four years with two new outlets in Riyadh and Alkhobar. 

The move reflects the shared vision of both nations to diversify their economies away from dependence on fluctuating prices and finite days of oil and to instead embrace high-tech and creative industries, luxury tourism, small entrepreneurs, and the green energy transition. 

A lot has changed in both countries over the past century, transformed from nomadic societies to steel and glass cityscapes. But throughout that transformation — and through thick and thin — they have remained good neighbors and firm allies. 


Saudi women at front and center in Kingdom’s transformation

Saudi women at front and center in Kingdom’s transformation
Updated 18 sec ago

Saudi women at front and center in Kingdom’s transformation

Saudi women at front and center in Kingdom’s transformation
  • Glass ceilings being broken as women become an integral part of the changes underway
  • Gender stereotypes and gender bias are fast disappearing as more women enter the labor force

DUBAI: As Saudi Arabia continues to undergo significant economic and social reforms, its women and youth find themselves at the heart of this profound change.

With several initiatives transforming the Saudi economy, workplace and society among other things, the role of Saudi women has become an integral part of this.

The above observations were made by Sarah Al-Tamimi, vice chair of Saudi Arabia’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, and Noor Nugali, assistant editor-in-chief at Arab News, ahead of their participation in a panel discussion entitled “Saudi Women Pioneers: Change from Within” at the Arab Women’s Forum in Dubai on May 17.

In Nugali’s opinion, Saudi women have always been strong, resilient and extremely hardworking, regardless of their occupations. The difference today, in her view, is that they have the opportunities that were not available before the launch of Vision 2030.

“We had trailblazers, we had women who fought to make their way in this world and pave that road for their successors,” she said.

Arab News’ assistant editor-in-chief Noor Nugali, left, moderates the Storytellers From The War Front session at the Arab Women Forum in Dubai.

“Now we see more Saudi women reaching high positions, more Saudi women shining in different fields. It was not because of a lack of talent in the past but a lack of opportunity, which now has come to light. So now we can see many more women joining the workforce in senior positions.”

The foundation for future female leaders in Saudi Arabia rests on a number of pillars. In addition to ambition and hope, having a very strong support system – from family, friends and role models they can learn from — is crucial. “Saudi society is very tight-knit,” Nugali said.

“It’s a large community and both women and men need that support system — we’re also talking about equality, which means giving the opportunity to the best person, regardless of gender.

“The Saudi leadership’s brilliant Vision 2030 has created a strategy to level the playing field for the work force and have the most qualified candidates chosen.”

Nugali underscored the importance of equality and opportunity for all, saying: “Don’t hire women to fill a quota. Hire the most qualified, whether male or female, and give them all equal chances. That is what our vision is about.”

She believes gender stereotypes and gender bias, both conscious and unconscious, are fast disappearing, a process that was many years in the making. “I’m seeing this happen. It is momentous and marvelous that this is where we are because we had a very sheltered life,” Nugali said.

“Now we’ve shattered the glass ceiling, and this was something we’ve been waiting for a very long time. The only challenge is believing in yourself and working hard in order to attain what you aspire to be. You have to be focused, you have to have a huge support system, you have to believe in yourself and know that it’s okay to make mistakes because that’s part of growing, learning and excelling.”

Sarah Al-Tamimi, vice chair of Saudi Arabia’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking. (Supplied)

Al-Tamimi, who is also the deputy president of Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission, said women in the Kingdom are currently experiencing a golden age, with opportunities expanding at a more dramatic pace than at any other point in the country’s history. She added that the Saudi government is playing an active role in ensuring that women realize these opportunities.

“Several reforms have been implemented to incentivize women to enter the labor market and also to protect their rights, from freedom of mobility and travel to anti-harassment laws and regulations,” she told Arab News.

“A lot has happened from a regulatory and legislative perspective.”

Many traditionally male-led sectors previously closed to women, such as construction, car repair shops and the police force, have also opened up to them in the past few years, providing them with massive opportunities.

“The work continues to ensure women’s participation across the board,” Al-Tamimi said. “And (the) creation of new opportunities for women in the workplace is definitely a significant component of Vision 2030.”

Saudi women jog in the streets of Jeddah’s historic Al-Balad district on March 8, 2018. (AFP)

Labor equality and education will prove crucial to the advancement of women going forward, and with the Saudi government investing tremendous resources in young girls’ and women’s education, they now outnumber their male counterparts in university degrees.

In the workforce, women’s share of entrepreneurship is also rapidly growing, placing them at the heart of the Kingdom’s transformation, with the latest data from the General Authority for Statistics revealing that Saudi women make up 35 percent of the Saudi workforce.

“Women are reaching more and more leadership positions each day and this serves to spearhead further development,” Al-Tamimi said. “We need women in the labor market, they should be contributing, thriving and leading — we need to tap into the full potential of Saudi women and we’re seeing this every day in Saudi Arabia, women have so much to offer the country in terms of their capabilities and their talents.”


One of separated conjoined Yemeni twins dies

One of separated conjoined Yemeni twins dies
Yousef and Yassin had undergone a “complicated” 15-hour long surgery to separate several of their organs. (SPA)
Updated 17 May 2022

One of separated conjoined Yemeni twins dies

One of separated conjoined Yemeni twins dies
  • One of the conjoined Yemeni twins died after a severe drop in blood circulation and heart failure
  • The other twin is currently stable but is under observation

DUBAI: One of the conjoined Yemeni twins who underwent a separation surgery has died after a severe drop in blood circulation and heart failure, state news agency Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday. 

The other twin is currently stable but is under observation in the Intensive Care Department of King Abdullah Specialist Paediatric Hospital in Riyadh, according to the Saudi team of specialized surgeons who performed the operation.

“The surgical team had faced great difficulties and challenges during the separation process, which made the deceased’s condition critical after the operation,” SPA reported.

Yousef and Yassin had undergone a “complicated” 15-hour long surgery to separate several of their organs under the directives of King Salman, the state media added. 

A team of 24 doctors, led by Dr. Mutasem Al-Zughaibi, took part in the operation as part of an initiative by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief). 

“This was a complex operation due to the twin sharing in the sinuses, cerebral venous and parts of the brain,” Dr Nazar Al-Zughaibi, head of pediatric anesthesia at the King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital at the National Guard Health Affairs in Riyadh, had told Arab News earlier.

The team specializes in pediatric neurosurgery, plastic surgery, anesthesia, and nursing were involved in the procedure that had to be carried out in several stages: anesthesia, navigation planning, preparing for surgery, skincare, and preparation for brain tissues, bone and reconstruction.


Saudi students who won ISEF 2022 awards celebrated upon return to Riyadh

Abdullah Al-Ghamdi won two prizes in energy for his project on the production and storage of hydrogen. (AN photo/Basheer Saleh)
Abdullah Al-Ghamdi won two prizes in energy for his project on the production and storage of hydrogen. (AN photo/Basheer Saleh)
Updated 16 May 2022

Saudi students who won ISEF 2022 awards celebrated upon return to Riyadh

Abdullah Al-Ghamdi won two prizes in energy for his project on the production and storage of hydrogen. (AN photo/Basheer Saleh)
  • ‘Our talented students are the true wealth of Saudi Arabia and the solid building blocks of our society’

RIYADH: Over 35 Saudi students who picked up 22 awards at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia, landed in Riyadh on Sunday and were greeted with a celebratory reception at King Khalid International Airport.

The ISEF 2022, held from May 7-13, saw the participation of pre-college students from over 80 countries in the biggest competition showcasing innovation in scientific research and advancement.

Student Abdullah Al-Ghamdi won two prizes in energy for his project on the production and storage of hydrogen, earning him the award for “Best Research Scientist,” in which he competed against over 1,700 submissions from students across 65 countries.

Girls received prizes in chemistry, material sciences, and embedded systems.

“The happiness I’m feeling for my son Abdullah can’t be described,” said Abdul Aziz Al-Ghamdi, the student’s father. “To see the vision of my Kingdom come true before my eyes and for my son to be a driving force behind realizing this vision is a feeling that truly can’t be described.”

Al-Ghamdi’s father told Arab News that his son would spend his time at a research center after school, where he became fascinated with the idea of how to store hydrogen efficiently. “The fruits of his hard work are seen today,” he said.

When the crown prince said that the Saudis’ strength was like that of the Tuwaiq Mountain, unbreakable, Mawhiba saw in his words a road map for its initiatives.

Dr. Saud bin Saeed Al-Mathami, Mawhiba Secretary-General

Five other first-place prizes were awarded to Dana Al-Eithan and Maria Al-Ghamdi, who won in chemistry; Tahani Adel, who won in material sciences; and Yousef Khoja, who won in embedded systems.

Al-Eithan’s uncle, Abdulmunim Al-Eithan, told Arab News that the family was sitting on the couch when they heard the news and sprung into the air in excitement, cheering. “This is a result of her dedication to this field,” he said, adding that the 14-year-old had also previously won an award with SABIC for chemistry.

Six students — three Saudis and three Americans — were also granted scholarships to participate in an international enrichment program organized by King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, known as Mawhiba.

Thirteen students from the US, India and China were also awarded scholarships to study bachelor’s programs at King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals in chemistry, embedded systems, energy, physics and astronomy, robotics and material sciences.

The Kingdom was represented by the Ministry of Education and by Mawhiba.

Saudi Minister of Education Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh tweeted on Saturday: “I proudly congratulate my sons and daughters who won the International Science and Engineering Fair 2022. The Kingdom has won an unprecedented 22 awards with the support of our wise leadership — may God support it — and the unremitting efforts of their teachers and families. I am pleased to announce the provision of scholarships to the winning students in appreciation of this national achievement.”

Mawhiba Secretary-General Dr. Saud bin Saeed Al-Mathami said that he is encouraging innovative students worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the world’s problems and preserve these resources for future generations.

He stressed that the Kingdom takes pride in its students, saying the country had harnessed its great potential to qualify them to compete effectively in international forums.

“When the crown prince said that the Saudis’ strength was like that of the Tuwaiq Mountain, unbreakable, Mawhiba saw in his words a road map for its initiatives,” he said.

“Our talented students are the true wealth of Saudi Arabia and the solid building blocks of our society. They are the real future that we are looking forward to, and their familiarity in all disciplines and specializations will push forward Saudi Vision 2030,” Al-Mathami added.

“The talented students excelled in all disciplines related to energy, climate change, medicine, biosciences, space, medical and environmental engineering, organic materials, technology, innovation, information engineering and artificial intelligence.

“They underwent extensive training for long hours and rigorous testing under the supervision of competent committees to honor Saudi Arabia in international forums.”


British experts to qualify Saudis in railway sector

The agreement was signed in presence of Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, Saleh Al-Jasser, Wendy Morton, and other officials. (SPA)
The agreement was signed in presence of Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, Saleh Al-Jasser, Wendy Morton, and other officials. (SPA)
Updated 17 May 2022

British experts to qualify Saudis in railway sector

The agreement was signed in presence of Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, Saleh Al-Jasser, Wendy Morton, and other officials. (SPA)
  • More than 400 graduates will be able to work in various disciplines in the rail transport business

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia aspires to strengthen its position as a global logistics hub connecting three continents, improve services and increase integration between logistics systems and modern modes of transportation.

Eng. Abdulaziz Al-Sugair, the director general of the Saudi Railway Polytechnic Institute, and Munir Jolamyehiya, the director general of the British X-Rail Group, signed a training agreement to train Saudis in the railway industry in the Kingdom.

The agreement was signed in presence of the chairman of the Saudi-British Joint Economic Committee, Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, the Saudi Minister of Transport Saleh Al-Jasser, the UK Minister of Railways Wendy Morton, Dr. Rumaih Al-Rumaih, the chairman of the Public Transport Authority and the Saudi Railway Polytechnic Institute, and Saudi Deputy Minister of Transport and Logistics Services Eng. Badr Abdullah Al-Dalami.

FASTFACT

The agreement was signed in presence of the chairman of the Saudi-British Joint Economic Committee, Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, Saudi Minister of Transport Saleh Al-Jasser, UK Minister of Railways Wendy Morton, Dr. Rumaih Al-Rumaih, the chairman of the Public Transport Authority and the Saudi Railway Polytechnic Institute, and Saudi Deputy Minister of Transport and Logistics Services Eng. Badr Abdullah Al-Dalami.

Al-Sugair said the collaboration with X-Rail Group is a new step towards the development of national skills in transportation, particularly rail transport services. He stated that the agreement intends to train and qualify high school graduates and equip them to work in a variety of industries. These include signaling, communication, and railway control systems, in order to assist the transportation labor market and meet the growing demand for specialist cadres in this industry.

Chairman of the Saudi-British Joint Economic Committee, Dr. Majed Abdullah Al-Qasabi pose for a group photo with Saudi and UK officials in Riyadh. (SPA)

The training term lasts 18 months, with 12 months spent at the institute and 6 months spent on the job at the company’s facilities, or on projects that it executes, operates, and maintains.

More than 400 graduates were able to work in various disciplines in the rail transport business since 2021, according to the institute.

Among the goals of the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics Services is to increase the total lengths of future railways to 8,080 km, including the “land bridge” project with a length of more than 1,300 km, which will have a capacity of more than 3 million passengers and more than 50 million tons of freight annually.

Other goals include connecting the Kingdom’s ports on the Arabian Gulf coast with the ports on the Red Sea coast. New and exciting opportunities for this line will be created by it passing through modern logistic centers, economic activity centers, industrial cities and mining operations, enhancing the Kingdom’s logistic performance index to be among the top ten in the world.

“Training plays a big role in employing job-seekers,” believes Awwad Al-Dhafeeri, CEO of Shabakat ABAD training Institute.

Awwad Al-Dhafeeri, CEO of Shabakat ABAD training Institute.

Al-Dhafeeri told Arab News that jobs that demand specific abilities necessitate greater training to master the work, pointing to the profound changes that have occurred in professions as a result of expanding technology.

In previous decades, job acceptance was based on simple skills, and employees would acquire further necessary skills with experience, but at the moment, most jobs are concentrated in the private sector, which prefers employees to already have the required skill, with the rate of job acceptance much higher for those who have training in modern-age areas than those who do not.

Al-Dhafeeri, who has spent about 15 years in the management of training centers, advises young people not to rely entirely on educational attainment during their years of study in order to get jobs, but rather to get the appropriate training during their studies, including universities so that they can compete after graduation.

Since “we live in an era of digital transformation and the use of technology in various areas of life where the machine has replaced the human,” and many employment opportunities have been lost, he said, young people must hone their skills through training related to technological skills, according to their competence.


Saudi academic research ranking 17th globally

Saudi academic research ranking 17th globally. (SPA)
Saudi academic research ranking 17th globally. (SPA)
Updated 17 May 2022

Saudi academic research ranking 17th globally

Saudi academic research ranking 17th globally. (SPA)
  • SCImago Rankings have been a leading international annual classification system for research outcomes since 1996

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s universities and research-related institutions have been ranked 17th in the world for their pioneering project work.
The country’s position in the SCImago Rankings 2021 league table has now jumped up on two occasions, from 21st last year, and 26th in 2018.
Ongoing support from the Saudi leadership and Ministry of Education has been credited for helping the Kingdom’s academics enhance the quality of scientific research, and initiatives and projects being conducted with universities under the ministry’s supervision.
SCImago Rankings have been a leading international annual classification system for research outcomes since 1996.
It is a publicly available portal that includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus database. These indicators can be used to assess and analyze scientific domains.
Journals can be compared or analysed separately, and country rankings may also be compared or analysed separately.