Saudi FM visits Pakistan to strengthen economic ties

Special Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan arrived in Pakistan on Monday on a two-day visit aimed at enhancing bilateral economic cooperation. (Supplied)
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan arrived in Pakistan on Monday on a two-day visit aimed at enhancing bilateral economic cooperation. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 15 April 2024
Follow

Saudi FM visits Pakistan to strengthen economic ties

Saudi FM visits Pakistan to strengthen economic ties
  • Prince Faisal leads high-level delegation to consult on next stages of investment and issues of implementation
  • Pakistani state media reported that Saudi Arabia was likely to invest $1bn in a mine project in Balochistan province

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan arrived in Pakistan on Monday on a two-day visit aimed at enhancing bilateral economic cooperation, with local media widely showing footage of him being received by Pakistani Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar.

The Saudi foreign minister’s visit comes a little over a week after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Makkah and reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to expedite an investment package worth $5 billion that was previously discussed. 

On his arrival at the Nur Khan air base in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, the Saudi foreign minister, who is leading a high-level delegation comprising several top ministers, was given a red-carpet welcome by Pakistani officials.

“A week after Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s visit to Saudi Arabia (April 6-8), a high-level delegation of Saudi Arabia is coming to Pakistan,” the Pakistani Information Ministry said in a statement.

“The Saudi delegation will consult on the next stages of investment and implementation issues,” the statement added, saying Saudi Arabia’s planned investment in the Reko Diq gold and copper mining project would also be discussed during the visit.

On Sunday, Pakistani state media reported that Saudi Arabia was likely to invest $1 billion in the mine project in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, one of the world’s largest underdeveloped copper-gold areas.

Riyadh was also interested in investing in agriculture, trade, energy, minerals, IT, transport and other sectors in Pakistan, the statement said.

“As a result of this visit, Pakistan’s export capacity will increase, joint ventures will be launched and new opportunities will be paved.”

The Pakistani foreign office said last week that the Saudi delegation would comprise the foreign minister, minister of water and agriculture, minister of industry and mineral resources and deputy minister of investment, as well as senior officials from the Saudi energy ministry.

The Saudi delegation is expected to hold meetings with the Pakistani president, the prime minister, the foreign minister and other ministers, as well as the army chief and members of the apex committee of Pakistan’s Special Investment Facilitation Council, set up last year to oversee all foreign funding.


First ship transporting Hajj pilgrims arrives at Jeddah port

Pilgrims from Sudan arrive at Jeddah Islamic Port on Monday. (SPA)
Pilgrims from Sudan arrive at Jeddah Islamic Port on Monday. (SPA)
Updated 12 sec ago
Follow

First ship transporting Hajj pilgrims arrives at Jeddah port

Pilgrims from Sudan arrive at Jeddah Islamic Port on Monday. (SPA)
  • Saudi Ports Authority said the port provides a wide range of specialized logistical services to serve pilgrims
  • Port also facilitates the passage of goods and their arrival at local markets during the Hajj season

JEDDAH: The first group of pilgrims traveling by ship to perform this year’s Hajj arrived at Jeddah Islamic Port from Sudan on Monday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Saudi Ports Authority said the port provides a wide range of specialized logistical services to serve pilgrims, which contributes to facilitating arrival and departure procedures for pilgrims.It also facilitates the passage of goods and their arrival at local markets during the Hajj season, the authority said.

The authority added that specific services and equipment at the port play a vital role in ensuring the safe and easy passage of pilgrims.

These include a maritime control tower, tugboats, a passenger hall for arrival and departure, and a special dock for livestock.


Saudi Arabia launches 25 regulations for road safety, maintenance

Saudi Arabia launches 25 regulations for road safety, maintenance
Updated 3 min 7 sec ago
Follow

Saudi Arabia launches 25 regulations for road safety, maintenance

Saudi Arabia launches 25 regulations for road safety, maintenance
  • Kingdom also working to reduce deaths on nation’s roads
  • New rules revealed for self-driving, autonomous vehicles

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Roads launched a “Road Code” on Monday in Riyadh to assist with planning, maintenance and safety of infrastructure in the country.

Transport Minister Saleh Al-Jasser was present at the launch of the document, which includes 25 regulations.

“The Road Code is a technical reference for road authorities in the Kingdom,” said Badr Al-Dulami, deputy minister, and CEO of the authority.

“It aims to enable authorities to access the necessary information for planning, designing, implementing, operating, and maintaining roads of all classifications in the Kingdom.”

The initiative comprises regulations covering the design, construction and maintenance of roads, bridges and tunnels.

It also encompasses environmental considerations, and new rules for the requirements of self-driving or autonomous vehicles.

In addition, the authority is working to reduce deaths on the roads to less than five per 100,000 people by 2030.

“The launch of this national code stems from the role of the General Authority for Roads as a government agency that supervises and regulates the entire road network in Saudi Arabia by preparing the necessary policies, regulations, and systems for the construction and maintenance of roads,” Al-Dulami said.

“The General Authority for Roads, in partnership with all relevant parties, has prepared the Saudi Road Code in accordance with the best international practices, ensuring that it contributes to achieving the strategic objectives of the roads sector, which focus on safety, quality, and traffic congestion,” he said.

“The authority’s vision is to enhance the safety and sustainability of the roads sector, led by national competencies, and to improve the quality of the road network and the user experience while encouraging innovation,” Al-Dulami added.

The regulations took 18 months to prepare, with the assistance of several local and international experts.


Sheikh Maher Al-Muaiqly to deliver Arafat sermon during Hajj 2024

Sheikh Maher bin Hamad Al-Muaiqly (R) will deliver the Arafat sermon during this year’s Hajj at the Namirah Mosque. (File/SPA)
Sheikh Maher bin Hamad Al-Muaiqly (R) will deliver the Arafat sermon during this year’s Hajj at the Namirah Mosque. (File/SPA)
Updated 27 May 2024
Follow

Sheikh Maher Al-Muaiqly to deliver Arafat sermon during Hajj 2024

Sheikh Maher bin Hamad Al-Muaiqly (R) will deliver the Arafat sermon during this year’s Hajj at the Namirah Mosque. (File/SPA)
  • The Arafat sermon is delivered at the Namira Mosque, the second largest in the Makkah region after the Grand Mosque

RIYADH: Sheikh Maher bin Hamad Al-Muaiqly, an imam at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, will deliver the Arafat sermon during this year’s Hajj.

The Presidency of Religious Affairs announced the appointment on Monday after royal approval.

Worshiping in Arafat on the 9th of Dhu Al-Hijjah is described as the pinnacle of Hajj and Muslims around the world reflect the actions of pilgrims by asking for forgiveness and praying for their deepest desires.

The Arafat sermon is delivered at the Namira Mosque, the second largest in the Makkah region after the Grand Mosque.

The mosque was built on the same spot where Prophet Muhammad delivered the Arafat sermon during his farewell pilgrimage.


Ministerial committee assigned by Arab-Islamic Summit meets with EU Foreign Affairs Council

Saudi FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan takes part in a meeting in Brussels. (SPA)
Saudi FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan takes part in a meeting in Brussels. (SPA)
Updated 27 May 2024
Follow

Ministerial committee assigned by Arab-Islamic Summit meets with EU Foreign Affairs Council

Saudi FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan takes part in a meeting in Brussels. (SPA)
  • Attendees discussed the dangerous developments in the Gaza Strip and Israel’s continued military aggression targeting defenseless civilians

RIYADH: Members of the ministerial committee assigned by the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit held a meeting with the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday.

The Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit took place in Riyadh in November 2023 in response to the war in Gaza and demanded an immediate end to Israeli military operations in the territory.

The ministerial committee was headed by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his counterparts from Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt also participated in the meeting, Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the meeting, attendees discussed the dangerous developments in the Gaza Strip, Israel’s continued military aggression targeting defenseless civilians, and an Israeli airstrike that triggered a massive blaze killing 45 people in a tent camp in Rafah on Sunday night.

The members of the committee stressed the need for the international community to fulfil its responsibility and intervene immediately to stop the massacres committed by Israeli forces and limit the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The committee also reiterated the importance of creating serious political conditions for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the relevant international resolutions.

Members of the committee rejected discussing the future of the Gaza Strip without discussing the Palestinian issue.

The committee also called for the confrontation of all flagrant violations committed by Israeli forces against the Palestinian people which increase the human tragedy and impede the entry of urgent humanitarian aid into the besieged Gaza Strip.

It stressed the importance of holding Israel accountable for ongoing violations in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, including east Jerusalem.


Food market at Hayy Jameel highlights sustainable farming, production

Food market at Hayy Jameel highlights sustainable farming, production
Updated 27 May 2024
Follow

Food market at Hayy Jameel highlights sustainable farming, production

Food market at Hayy Jameel highlights sustainable farming, production
  • Azka Foods, Art Jameel collaboration covers all 13 regions
  • Focus on self-sufficient, ethical food system, says organizer  

JEDDAH: The Azka Farmers Market, held recently at Hayy Jameel in collaboration between Azka Foods and Art Jameel, connected the wider Jeddah community with local vendors and farmers dedicated to sustainability and ethical food practices.

The event held May 24 and 25 provided visitors with the opportunity to enjoy farm-fresh produce, eco-friendly products, and specialized programs showcasing the region’s agricultural diversity.

The market featured a diverse array of farmers and producers from around the Kingdom including Aysh Academy, Abazeer, Naqwat Al-Nanaa Farm, Ghiras Alsahra, Manahil Al-Magrabi, Alnahal Aljwal, Zaki Salem Farms, Al-Sadan Farm, Bee Ways, Honest, Wild Figra Honey, Nada Soap, Ebrahim Store for Dates, Baha Honey, Ali Aref Farm, and Shamsa.

Ahmad Zaki Kamel, the founder of Azka Foods and azkabasket.com, said they started the market with just six vendors, which grew to 12, and then 18 by the third time they held the event. Now, for their sixth market and fourth collaboration with Hayy Jameel, they have 55 farm vendors, producers and chefs.

While their first four markets focused on producers mainly around Jeddah Madinah, Makkah and Taif, they have now included all 13 regions of Saudi Arabia, offering a much larger selection of produce and products.

Speaking about their vision, Kamel told Arab News: “The reason we founded Azka was to achieve an ethical food system and self-sufficiency, and we are getting closer to that goal. The market provides an opportunity to connect the community with these incredible producers from across Saudi Arabia.”

He added: “Bringing them together on one platform is crucial because many of these producers face significant challenges in marketing their high-quality produce.

“While some have their own sales channels, having a unified platform allows them to support each other. This is one of the main benefits of the Azka Basket platform — it acts as a continuous farmers’ market.”

For those looking to support local farmers and seeking fresh produce, the Azka Basket website is one way to stay connected with the producers and receive deliveries twice a week.

Participant Sami Magrabi, co-founder of Manahil Al-Magrabi, said: “Our business, started by my father 40 years ago, specializes in producing organic honey to the highest production standards. We use mobile apiaries during the season to produce most of our honey.”

He added: “Since each type of flower or tree blooms at a specific time of the year, we move our bees to these locations when they are in bloom, as it’s not fair to keep the bees stationary. Although we are based in Riyadh and operate on a smaller scale there, this event allows us to operate on a larger scale.”

Magrabi said the market is “a great opportunity to connect with others and showcase our products to a wider audience.”

Sumaia Showail, founder of Aysh Academy, who has been involved with the market since its inception, sources fresh vegetables, fruits and beans directly from local farms to create menus.

“We love being part of the market and are thrilled to see so many people interested in and supportive of the organic food industry and food culture. It’s also a great opportunity for vendors to gain exposure and connect with the community,” she added.

Another vendor, Fatima Nawawi, founder of Shamsa products, said: “Our specialty lies in creating natural skin products with the vision of raising community awareness about the benefits of using natural ingredients. The main ingredient in our products is (camel hump tallow) … it is the purest form of fat.”

Nawawi said the market has allowed them to showcase their brand. “Azka Farm has a wonderful team that work alongside with each brand and they are doing amazing job by raising awareness in keeping all the farms and business owners aligned together and build a healthy community.”

Nawawi also delivered a talk during which she elaborated on her journey to establish Shamsa.

Eiman Elnaiem, the public programs manager at Hayy Jameel, said: “This iteration brings a variety of outstanding seasonal, organic produce, from coffee grounds made from date pits and herb-infused waters to different grains, legumes and honey of all kinds and flavors. I’m always impressed and delighted to see the market grow, reflecting the rich agricultural heritage and biodiversity of Saudi Arabia.”

She said Art Jameel “not only supports passionate entrepreneurs, chefs, farms and producers but gives them a platform to actively promote sustainability, well-being and ethics in the way we look at, produce and consume food and products around us.”

The market included talks, workshops and film screenings aimed at connecting members of the community. There were also discussions on organic composting, recycling, date processing, and beekeeping.

In a discussion led by Fahad Alysi from Wadi Nawal Farm in Taif, there was a focus on organic farming methods and the benefits of organic waste utilization.

In addition to a “Get to Know Your Farmer” question-and-answer session, visitors were able to explore the agricultural heritage and significance of dates through insights shared by representatives from Ebrahim Store for Dates in Najran.