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.