Jeddah municipality, Aramco spar over flood projects

Updated 16 December 2014

Jeddah municipality, Aramco spar over flood projects

The mayor of Jeddah has sent a letter to Saudi Aramco accusing it of failing to deliver on delayed floodwater drainage projects, which he claimed is not the responsibility of the municipality.
According to media reports, in his letter Hani Abu Ras had responded to alleged claims from Ahmad Saleem, Aramco’s general director of rainwater and floods, that Aramco is only responsible for protecting the city from floods, and not the drainage of rainwater.
The letter comes in the wake of flooded city streets after torrential rainfall two weeks ago, which brought some parts of the city to a standstill. In the aftermath of the rain, there were huge pools of water created in many neighborhoods, raising fears of a dengue fever outbreak.
In the letter, Abu Ras said that Aramco was failing to fulfill its mandate as set out in royal orders. He claimed that Saleem had earlier released a press statement that had implied the municipality was responsible for the rainwater drainage system, even though Saleem did not mention any names.
“The implementation of the projects was delayed, which led to large pools of water, traffic congestion and complaints from people,” said the mayor in his letter. He claimed that he had asked Aramco several times to complete these projects, and even transferred funds into its bank account for this purpose.
“The delays in implementing the projects mean that people will continue to suffer,” said the mayor. He called on Aramco to complete the projects within the stipulated time frame.
Two weeks ago, the municipality had also said that it was not responsible for the flood and rainwater drainage systems, and that Aramco was in charge of doing so.
There had earlier been a video clip posted on social networking sites featuring Abu Ras saying that contracts were signed to implement the projects. In response, the municipality claimed it was recorded four years ago at the opening of the Prince Majid and Rawdah streets intersection.
The municipality said the mayor was responding to several questions at the time, including one on the municipality’s action plan to ward off the flooding of Jeddah’s streets after rain and floods.
It claimed that the mayor had then outlined the conditions and specifications for the projects. “After eight months the royal decree no. 2212/mb dated March 6, 2011 was issued to form a ministerial committee to supervise the projects, while the technical and executive tasks were entrusted to Aramco,” said the municipality’s statement.


US State Department calls Saudi Arabia ‘important strategic partner’

Updated 25 February 2020

US State Department calls Saudi Arabia ‘important strategic partner’

  • The comments come following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to the Kingdom
  • Pompeo discussed regional issues with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

WASHINGTON: The US State Department on Monday said Saudi Arabia was an "important strategic partner" and paid tribute to the "historical relations" between the two countries.

The comments come following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to the Kingdom during a tour of Middle East and African countries last week.

The State Department added that Pompeo discussed regional issues with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and said the US-Saudi Arabia relationship was a "distinct" one that went beyond confronting Iran.

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It also said that the situation in Syria was "catastrophic," while calling on Russia and Iran to do more to protect civilians and saying there was no military solution to the conflict in the country.

The department also spoke about the situation in Iraq, saying the Iraqi Prime Minister-designate, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, must include the Kurds and Sunnis in the formation of a government.

The US said that Iran was responsible for aggression against its interests in Iraq and said it would prevent Iraqi militias from attacking the Green Zone.