Saudi Arabia, Singapore elevate ties to strategic partnership

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Updated 21 October 2023
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Saudi Arabia, Singapore elevate ties to strategic partnership

Saudi Arabia, Singapore elevate ties to strategic partnership
  • Agreement including energy, climate initiatives, security comes during Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Singapore agreed to strengthen bilateral relations in a number of fields following an official visit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Lee at the Al-Yamamah Palace, where they reviewed the relations between the Kingdom and Singapore, and means to deepen them in all areas, a joint statement said.

“Driven by the desire of the leadership of the two countries to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation, the two sides agreed to upgrade relations to a strategic partnership that will allow the deepening and expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation across all fields,” it added.

Lee conveyed his appreciation to the crown prince for the support provided to Singaporean pilgrims performing the Hajj.

He also reiterated his country’s support for the Kingdom’s bid to host the 2034 World Cup.

“The two sides welcomed the good progress made by the Saudi-Singapore Joint Committee,” which held its third session in Riyadh on Tuesday, during which both sides discussed ways to enhance partnerships and cooperation in various fields such as connectivity, digital economy and innovation, energy, and industry.

In the economic, trade and investment fields, the two sides reviewed challenges in the global economy and discussed common economic interests.

The two sides welcomed the growth in the value of bilateral trade in 2022 by 51 percent as compared with 2021 and stressed the importance of cooperating to enhance and diversify bilateral trade by tapping into and improving the Gulf Cooperation Council–Singapore Free Trade Agreement, as well as intensifying collaborations between their private sectors, in various fields, including energy, digital economy, financial services, agricultural and food industries, and transport and logistics.

The two sides affirmed the opportunities in investment partnerships provided by the programs and projects of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 in various sectors, benefiting from the expertise and capabilities of Singaporean companies, and holding joint commercial and investment events.

In the energy field, the two sides highlighted the need to ensure the security of supply in global markets by encouraging dialogue and cooperation between countries.

They emphasized cooperation in the fields of low-carbon solutions and technologies, including clean and green hydrogen, as well as carbon capture, utilization and storage, electricity, renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation, and innovation.

“This will be pursued under the Energy Cooperation Roadmap which is an implementation plan of the memorandum of understanding in the energy field, signed between the Ministry of Energy of the Kingdom and the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore,” the statement said.

Both sides agreed on the importance of enhancing cooperation in the fields of oil and refined products, and petrochemicals, as well as developing innovative technologies for the uses of hydrocarbon resources and energy efficiency.

On climate change, Singapore welcomed the Kingdom’s launch of the “Saudi Green” and “Middle East Green” initiatives, and expressed its support for the Kingdom’s efforts in the field, through the implementation of the Circular Carbon Economy approach, which was launched by the Kingdom and endorsed by the leaders of the G20 countries in 2020.

The two sides stressed the importance of the principles of the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, and the need to develop and implement climate agreements by focusing on emissions rather than sources.

They agreed to enhance cooperation in the defense and security fields and coordinate on issues of common interest, including combating crime.

Both sides emphasized strengthening cooperation in international forums and international financial organizations to enhance efforts addressing the challenges facing the global economy, and expressed their aspiration to enhance cooperation and information sharing in the areas of fintech and innovation between the Saudi Central Bank and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

They also agreed to enhance cooperation in environment, water, agriculture and food security; air, land, rail, port and logistics connectivity; tourism, culture, and youth; education; and health, including the support of global initiatives to confront pandemics as well as current and future health challenges and risks.

In international affairs, the two sides renewed their determination to support and intensify efforts to maintain international peace and security and exchanged views on issues of mutual concern in the regional and international arenas.

They reaffirmed their determination to enhance cooperation in combating extremism, fanaticism, hate speech and terrorism, along with promoting moderation, tolerance, and inter-faith harmony.

At the conclusion of the visit, Lee expressed his thanks and appreciation to the crown prince for the generous hospitality he and his delegation received.

Lee looked forward to welcoming the crown prince on an official visit to Singapore.

The crown prince expressed his best wishes for health and happiness to the prime minister and further progress and prosperity to the Singaporean people.


Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project

Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project
Updated 26 min 55 sec ago
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Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project

Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project
  • Ithra in Dhahran hosts event which includes Alexandria and Rabat
  • Goal is to read 500,000 pages and plant 5,000 trees in 3 Arab cities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture launches Thursday a three-day reading marathon and anti-desertification project, that will take place in three Arab cities.

Also known as Ithra, the center will host the event in cooperation with the Library of Alexandria and the Moroccan National Library. It will be held simultaneously in the Kingdom’s city of Dhahran, Alexandria in Egypt and Rabat in Morocco, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The center is promoting reading, especially in public libraries, and all three cities will ensure a tree is planted for every 100 pages read.

The aim is to have participants read 500,000 pages and plant 5,000 trees.

To plant the trees, the Ithra center is working with the National Center for Vegetation Development to Combat Desertification in Saudi Arabia, and authorities in Egypt and Morocco.

Each reader will receive a commemorative medal for participating.

Bronze medals will be awarded to those who read 100 pages, silver for 200 pages, and gold for 1,000 pages.

The first edition of the marathon was held inside the Ithra library, achieving 162,000 pages read and 1,622 trees planted. The second edition was also held in the Ithra library and two libraries in Riyadh and Tabuk, with 422,000 pages read and 4,222 trees planted.

The planting of seedlings took place in October in the Al-Ahsa National Park with the participation of several readers.


Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh

Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh
Updated 31 min 28 sec ago
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Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh

Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh
  • Saudi-Ukrainian relations, latest developments in Ukrainian-Russian war were discussed
  • Crown prince stressed Kingdom’s support for all international efforts aimed at resolving crisis

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in Riyadh on Tuesday.

During their meeting, aspects of Saudi-Ukrainian relations were reviewed, and the latest developments in the Ukrainian-Russian war were discussed, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The crown prince stressed the Kingdom’s support for all international endeavors and efforts aimed at resolving the crisis and achieving peace, and continuing efforts to alleviate the humanitarian repercussions of the war. 

Zelensky wrote on social media platform X that he would discuss prisoners of war and deportees with the crown prince.

“The Kingdom’s leadership has already contributed to the release of our people. I am confident that this meeting will also yield results,” he wrote. 

The crown prince was involved in securing the release of 10 foreign prisoners captured in Ukraine in September 2022 which then enabled a major prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine.

The president added that he will discuss “promising areas of economic cooperation and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Ukraine’s reconstruction” during his visit. 

Zelensky left Riyadh later on Tuesday evening and was seen off by deputy govenor of Riyadh Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz.


Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy

Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy
Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy

Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy
  • The parties discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the countries in digital government

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha on Tuesday met his Qatari counterpart Mohammed Al-Mannai in Doha, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The parties discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the countries in digital government and the digital economy, and techniques to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship system.

“This is in line with the aspirations of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council to support and strengthen the partnership between the two brotherly countries,” the SPA’s statement said.

The meeting was attended by several leaders of national technology companies in the fields of business, digital transformation, and digital health solutions, along with other representatives from both parties.


Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law

Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law
Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law

Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved on Tuesday new regulations that govern the railways in the Kingdom.

The decision “supports achieving the goals of the National Transport & Logistics Strategy, and contributes to the governance of the railway sector and regulates the relationship between the infrastructure owner, the operator and the beneficiary,” Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh Al-Jasser said.

The new regulations will ensure that railway services providers continue to apply the highest standards and requirements for safety and quality, and will develop policies and legislation that ensure fair competitiveness, the minister added.

In 2023, the number of railways passengers exceeded 11.2 million, a 55% increase compared to 2022. Trains also transported 24.7 million tons of goods and minerals, an increase of 6% during the same year.

Al-Jasser stated that regulations will contribute to encouraging use and ensure the protection of railways, their infrastructure, and facilities in accordance with internationally approved standards. 

The new law also specified penalties to protect railway tracks from violations and damage to the network.

The minister thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the new law.


Saudi Cabinet calls for an end to escalation of military operations in Gaza

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet held a meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet held a meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 27 February 2024
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Saudi Cabinet calls for an end to escalation of military operations in Gaza

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet held a meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet called for an end to the escalation in military operations in Gaza and the dire humanitarian crisis that it is causing, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The Cabinet also reviewed the outcomes of the Kingdom’s participation in a two-day meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Rio de Janeiro and its vision regarding the group’s role in dealing with existing international tensions and restructuring global governance.

The Cabinet also reiterated the Kingdom’s support for regional and international efforts to ban all types of weapons of mass destruction as was expressed during its participation in the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

The Cabinet also praised the outcomes of a recent Arab Interior Ministers’ Council held in Tunisia and stressed the Kingdom’s constant keenness to support and enhance joint Arab action in all fields in a way that contributes to establishing the foundations of security, stability, and prosperity in the region.