Pompeo: No evidence Saudi Crown Prince linked to Khashoggi case

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Mike Pompeo

Saudi Gazette report

Washington — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday there was no direct evidence connecting Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month in Istanbul.

Pompeo spoke to reporters after he and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the Senate behind closed doors that weakening US-Saudi ties over the killing would hurt national security.

“There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi,” Pompeo said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reiterated the important role of Saudi Arabia in the stability of the Middle East.

In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Pompeo said the Crown Prince has moved the country in a reformist direction.

“Abandoning or downgrading the US-Saudi alliance would also do nothing to push Riyadh in a better direction at home,” he wrote.

Pompeo said Saudi Arabia is working to “secure Iraq’s fragile democracy and keep Baghdad tethered to the West’s interests, not Tehran’s.”

The US Secretary of State said Riyadh is helping manage the flood of refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war by working with host countries and cooperating closely with Egypt.

He wrote that the Kingdom also contributed millions of dollars to the US-led effort to fight Daesh and other terrorist organizations.

Pompeo criticized those who are using “the Khashoggi murder” for ulterior motives, saying: “Is it any coincidence that the people using the Khashoggi murder as a cudgel against President Trump’s Saudi Arabia policy are the same people who supported Barack Obama’s rapprochement with Iran — a regime that has killed thousands world-wide, including hundreds of Americans, and brutalizes its own people? Where was this echo chamber, where were these avatars of human rights, when Mr. Obama gave the mullahs pallets of cash to carry out their work as the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism?”

He wrote: “Modern-day Iran is, in Henry Kissinger’s term, a cause, not a nation. Its objectives are to spread the revolution from Tehran to Damascus, to destroy Israel, and to subjugate anyone who refuses to submit, starting with the Iranian people. An emboldened Iran would spread even more death and destruction in the Middle East, spark a regional nuclear-arms race, threaten trade routes, and foment terrorism around the world.”


Source : Saudi Gazette

Haj Ministry announces individual E-Umrah visas

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Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH – The Ministry of Haj and Umrah unveiled plans to issue electronic individual Umrah visas for certain categories of people, according to a senior official of the ministry.

Abdul Aziz Wazan, undersecretary of the ministry for Umrah affairs, said that individuals can apply for Umrah visas directly without approaching the respective Saudi diplomatic missions.

Wazan, who is also leader of the ministry office for realization of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, made the remarks while addressing a workshop on “First phase of electronic visa” in Jeddah on Wednesday.

Officials of the ministry, represented by its Agency for Umrah Affairs and the office for realization of the Vision 2030, discussed with representatives of the Umrah service providers about the preparations and arrangements for issuance of e-visas for individuals, the Saudi Press Agency reported.


Source :  Saudi Gazette

SEC inks SR8 billion credit facility deal with 8 international banks

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RIYADH — Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) on Thursday signed a revolving credit facility agreement with eight international banks with a maximum amount of SR8.06 billion ($2.15 billion).

The credit facility has been divided into two tranches: the first with a maximum of SR5,918 million ($1,578 million), mature after three years, and the second with maximum of SR2,149 million ($573 million), mature after five years.

The SEC Acting CEO Fahd Al-Sudairy said that the company is the largest electricity service facility in the Middle East and North Africa region and one of the world’s largest public utilities. It has managed to obtain funding without any guarantees from the company, he said while stressing that the funding aims to spend on the company’s public works.

The major international banks include Abu Dhabi First Bank, Mizuho Bank, MUFG Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Mitsui Sumitomo foundation, HSBC Bank — Middle East, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Natixis Bank of France. — SG/SPA


Source : Saudi Gazette

Efforts of the King, Crown Prince in bolstering world economy through G20 summits

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King Salman

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s role in the Group of Twenty (G20) has strengthened its position in the global economy, thanks to its solid economic and industrial base. This role emphasizes the Kingdom’s weight and position on the global economy and its moderate and economic decisions adopted over the years in addition to the balanced growth of the Saudi banking system, according to an analysis carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi Arabia is always committed to perform positive and effective roles in order to achieve the global economic stability. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman led the Kingdom’s delegation to 2014 Summit of G20, which is the bloc comprising of the world’s 20 strongest economies, held in Australia’s Brisbane when he was the Crown Prince.

During the Brisbane Summit, King Salman delivered a speech in which he pointed out that the slow pace of the global economic recovery, in addition to serious rise in risks, do require the maintenance and implementation of economic policies along with the supporting structural reforms that serve growth. The Monarch welcomed the consensus to establish confidence in the global economy, stressing the need for full implementation of the G20 comprehensive strategies.

Concerning the world energy markets, he said that the Kingdom continues its balanced policy and positive and influential role to enhance the stability of these markets through its active role in the global oil market and taking into consideration the interests of the energy producing and consuming countries. For this reason, the Kingdom has invested in maintaining additional production capacity to enhance the stability of global energy markets.

On the sidelines of the Brisbane Summit, King Salman, then the Crown Prince, had discussions with British Prime Minister David Cameron; French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel; South Korean President Park Geun-hye; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi; Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. During the meetings, bilateral relations and topics on the agenda of the summit were discussed.

During the G20 Summit held in Antalya, Turkey, King Salman, who led the Kingdom’s delegation to the summit, affirmed that the Kingdom has suffered greatly from terrorism and addressed its intellectual premises, especially those who take the teachings of Islam as a justification for them, while Islam is nothing to do with it.

The King affirmed that political instability and insecurity were hampering our efforts to promote global economic growth and that the region was suffering from many crises. He concluded that there is a good opportunity to cooperate and mobilize initiatives to find truly global solutions to the urgent challenges, including combating terrorism, the refugee problem or diminishing confidence in the world economy.

On the sidelines of the Antalya Summit, King Salman held meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel; British Prime Minister David Cameron; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Turkey Dr. Ahmet Davutoglu. During the meetings, bilateral relations and topics on the agenda of the summit were discussed.

Upon directives of the King, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, who was then Deputy Crown Prince, led the Kingdom’s delegation to the 2016 Hangzhou Summit of G20 in China.

Following the summit, the Crown Prince sent a cable of thanks to Chinese President Xi Jinping, lauding the positive outcomes of the summit.

On the sidelines of Hangzhou summit, the Crown Prince held bilateral meetings with Turkish President Erdogan; Indonesian President Joko Widodo; Russian President Vladimir Putin; South Korean President Park Geun-hye; Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev; French President Francois Hollande; British Prime Minister Theresa May; Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi; US Secretary of State John Kerry; UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Brazilian President Michel Temer. During the meetings, bilateral relations and topics on the agenda of the summit were discussed.


Source : Saudi Gazette

King receives credentials of ambassadors of several countries

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King receives credentials of ambassadors of several countries
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman received at his office in Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Sunday the credentials of several ambassadors accredited to the Kingdom. The Monarch received the credentials of the nonresident ambassadors of Namibia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Ambassadors of Uzbekistan, South Korea, Morocco, Australia, Greece, Ireland, Finland, Belgium, Ethiopia, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, Iraq and Czech Republic also presented their credentials to the King. — SPA


Source : Saudi Gazette

King inaugurates SR55 billion Waad Al-Shamal Industrial City

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Saudi Gazette report

TURAIF — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman inaugurated on Thursday the first phase of the projects of Waad Al-Shamal industrial City worth SR55 billion and laid the foundation stone for the second phase of its projects and facilities costing SR30 billion in Turaif, in the Northern Border Region. The ceremony was held in the presence of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Upon arrival at the venue of the ceremony, the King was received by Prince Faisal Bin Khalid Bin Sultan, emir of the Northern Border Region, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Transport Dr. Nabil Al-Amoudi, and Deputy Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources for Mining Affairs Khalid Al-Mudaifer.

During the ceremony, King Salman watched a video presentation highlighting the noble feelings of young Saudi men and women on this auspicious occasion. Speaking at the ceremony, Al-Falih lauded the great efforts exerted by the King and the Crown Prince, in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, in realizing this massive industrial development projects.

The minister noted that the Northern Border Region holds around seven percent of the world’s phosphate reserves. He said the Kingdom’s investments during the first phase of the Waad Al-Shamal project amounted to SR55 billion, adding that SR31 billion represents the Saudi investments which include phosphate fertilizer plant with a capacity of three million tons annually.

Al-Falih affirmed that when the second phase is completed, the Kingdom’s production would rise to nine million tons annually, making it the world’s second-largest producer of phosphate fertilizers. After watching a video featuring the industrial projects in Waad Al-Shamal, the King launched and laid the foundation stone for the industrial projects in the second phase of the city.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Transport Al-Amoudi said that this project is implemented in light of integration among the system of energy, industry and mining as well as the system of transport and logistics services. He affirmed that the Saudi Railways Company (SAR) is one of the most prominent strategic partners in implementing and operating the developmental project of Waad Al-Shamal.

“SAR has contributed significantly in the development of this city with linking it with the North-South Railway, which is the longest in the Middle East with a length of 1,550 km. The Mining Railway will help withdraw more than 70,000 trucks from the road in a month,” he said, adding that since 2011, SAR trains have transported more than 37 million tons of phosphate and other minerals.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) have linked Waad Al-Shamal City for Mining Industries with the North-South Railway.

The King decorated Prince Faisal Bin Turki, advisor at the Royal Court, with the King Abdulaziz Sash in recognition of his outstanding contributions in materializing Waad Al-Shamal projects. The Monarch also attended a luncheon banquet at the conclusion of the ceremony.

King Salman, who arrived in the Northern Border Region on Wednesday night, launched 65 development projects worth a total of SR10.53 billion during a public reception in Arar. These include 17 education projects costing SR2.08 billion and municipal projects amounting to SR968 million.

Waad Al-Shamal is an integrated mining city, located northeast of Turaif city in the Northern Border Region. The Council of Ministers has allotted an area of 290 sq. meters for the City and 150 sq. meters for Maaden Company Project for Phosphates Industries.

The city will focus on a number of basic industries including phosphoric acid, aluminum fluoride, potassium and soda ash. The manufacturing industries will include a glass complex, soap and other detergents, animal feed and paints.

Source : Saudi Gazette

Trump: Thanks Saudi Arabia

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US President Donald Trump

Washington — US President Donald Trump thanked Saudi Arabia Wednesday for lower oil prices — a day after pledging the US would remain a “steadfast partner” of the Kingdom.

“Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82,” he tweeted.

“Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!”

“If we broke with them (Saudis), I think your oil prices would go through the roof. I’ve kept them down,” he told reporters at the White House.

“They’ve helped me keep them down. Right now we have low oil prices, or relatively.”

Oil recovered slightly on Wednesday after slumping more than six percent.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the United States’ commitment to Saudi Arabia is vital to US national security.

Pompeo stated during a press conference: “It is the President’s obligations indeed and the US State Department’s duty as well to ensure we adopt policies that further America’s national security. So as the President said today, the United States will continue to have a relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, they are an important partner of ours.” — Agencies


Source : Saudi Gazette

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