Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince congratulate interior minister on Eid Al-Adha

Time: August 17, 2019  

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent cables to the Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif congratulating him on Eid Al-Adha. (SPA)
  • Around 2.5 million pilgrims performed the Hajj this year
  • Eid Al-Adha, which is celebrated by Muslims across the world who are not performing Hajj, began on Sunday Aug. 11, 2019

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent cables to the Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif congratulating him on Eid Al-Adha and the success of Hajj 2019.
They also thanked Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif for his cables congratulating them on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha.
Previously, the interior minister had thanked the king for taking care of Hajj pilgrims and for providing them with all the facilities and services that they needed.
Around 2.5 million pilgrims performed the Hajj this year and all the measures put in place by authorities and agencies were successful, he added.
Eid Al-Adha, which is celebrated by Muslims across the world who are not performing Hajj, began on Sunday Aug. 11, 2019.

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Saudi crown prince, Pompeo discuss maritime security, Iran

Time: August 08, 2019  

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (File/SPA)
  • Tensions have heightened after attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed maritime security, Iran and Yemen with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a phone call on Wednesday.
“The secretary discussed heightened tensions in the region and the need for stronger maritime security in order to promote freedom of navigation,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
Iran has seized three tanker ships in strategic Gulf waters in less than a month, and the United States has accused it of carrying out multiple attacks on ships in the region.
The US has been struggling to piece together an international coalition to protect cargo ships traveling through the Gulf, with allies concerned about being dragged into conflict with Iran.
Ortagus also said that the top US diplomat and the crown prince “discussed other bilateral and regional developments, including countering the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities.”

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It was me! The Saudi woman in the frame for a photo that went viral

Time: August 04, 2019  

The viral picture showing Munira Abdullah hugging a giant portrait of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Supplied photo)
  • Munira Abdullah fields comments on social media from other Saudi women who say she has summed up exactly how they feel

When Munira Abdullah went to bed on Thursday night she was just another one of many Saudi women newly empowered and independent because of a raft of amendments to the Kingdom’s laws.

By the time she woke up on Friday morning she was an internet sensation — thanks to a photo snapped on the spur of the moment in a Riyadh cinema foyer.

The picture shows Munira hugging a giant portrait of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and perfectly captured the emotions of many Saudi women in the wake of the new legal amendments.

“What drove me to have this picture taken is my admiration and deep gratitude toward the crown prince,” Munira, 30, an education technology resources specialist from Taif, told Arab News.

“There was no planning,” she said. “I went to watch a movie at the cinema in Al-Qasr Mall for the first time in my life, and I was very happy and grateful.

“On my way out, I saw the portrait and rushed to hug it, and my sister took the picture and documented these beautiful emotions.”

The photo not only took Twitter by storm, it also made the front page of Arab News on Saturday. Now Munira is fielding a barrage of comments on social media from other women who say she has summed up exactly how they feel.

“They all say, ‘Thank you for conveying our emotions about the crown prince’,” she said.

“I feel gratitude and joy for their joy too and I continue to reply to them to this day.”

The legal changes, announced by royal decree, strengthen women’s rights in the areas of labor, travel, social insurance and civil status, and reduce the role of male guardians.

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Trump says Saudi crown prince doing ‘spectacular job,’ as they hold talks in Osaka

Time: June 29, 2019  

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with US President Donald Trump on Saturday. (SPA)
  • Trump praised the Saudi crown prince for his reforms, especially efforts to empower women in the Kingdom

JEDDAH: The US president on Saturday lavished praise on Saudi Arabia’s crown prince for his transformative reforms in the Kingdom.

“I want to congratulate you,” President Donald Trump told Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as they met for talks in Osaka, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, “you have done a really spectacular job.”

Trump, referring to the crown prince as a friend, talked of the opening up of Saudi Arabia, “especially what you have done for women,” he told Prince Mohammed, “I think what’s happening is like a revolution in a very positive way.”

Trump praised the crown prince’s reform efforts. (Reuters)

The crown prince said the Saudi people have achieved a lot in the past few years. “We are trying to do the best for our country,” and we need to do more.

The crown prince said that with the president’s support Saudi Arabia has been able to realize a number of political, security, economic and military achievements, which he said also contributed to US economic growth and safety.

Trump also highlighted the significant business dealings between the two countries and the impact on US jobs, “at least a million jobs are created by purchases made by Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“We have had meetings on trade and economic development and on the military, of course, and the meetings have been really terrific.”

“One thing that you are doing, which is almost at the top of the list and probably is at the top of the list is your fight on terror,” Trump said, addressing the Kingdom’s efforts to combat the evils of terrorism and extremism.

The remarks were made ahead of a closed-door meeting between Trump, the crown prince and prominent ministers and advisers from both countries.

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announces Hajj gift for India with 30,000 increase in quota

Time: June 29, 2019

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 Summit in Osaka on Friday. (AFP/Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • The total figure rises to 200,000 per year
  • The meeting took place in Osaka where the yearly G20 summit is taking place

NEW DELHI: Saudi Arabia has increased India’s Hajj quota by 30,000, lifting the figure to 200,000 per year. The enhanced quota means India will send the second-highest number of pilgrims for Hajj after Indonesia.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided to raise the quota after a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Japanese city of Osaka.

Vijay Gokhale, India’s foreign secretary, said that the “crown prince has promised PM Modi the quota will be increased.”

“This is important and this has been done,” he said

India’s Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the increase was a result of Modi’s “cordial and friendly” relations with the Saudi leadership.

“This is the third hike in three years. When the Modi government came to power in 2014, India’s Hajj quota was 136,000. That has now been increased to 200,000,” he said.

Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, India’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, welcomed the crown prince’s decision.

“We are grateful to the Kingdom for increasing the Hajj quota. This will be the highest number of pilgrims to be handled by the Indian Hajj mission in its history,” he told Arab News. “The decision reflects the increasingly close and developing strategic relationship between the two countries, which has taken an upward trajectory in the recent years,” he said.

“We are geared up to receive the Indian Hajj pilgrims starting from July 4, 2019. The Saudi leadership involved in Hajj management, including Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Hajj Minister Mohammed Salih Bentin, have promised to make Indian pilgrims’ stay in the Kingdom as comfortable as possible.”

Anwar Sadat, a New Delhi resident, also welcomed the increase in the quota. “I waited for three years before my turn came to perform Hajj. The increase of 30,000 is significant … I feel that the quota should go up further.”

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Saudi crown prince joins world leaders in Japan for G20 summit

Time: June 28, 2019  

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is attending the G20 Summit in Osaka. (Reuters)
  • June 28-29 conference to focus on trade, demographics, environment, digital economy

OSAKA: Leaders of the most powerful nations on earth arrived in the Japanese city of Osaka amid storms and downpours — with the possibility of further disturbances ahead when they meet formally for the first time today to begin the two-day G20 summit.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was among those who arrived on Thursday ahead of a gathering that will focus on trade, demographics, the environment and the digital economy.

US President Donald Trump arrival was accompanied by a flurry of Twitter comments by him about some of the other heads of state attending this 14th meeting of world leaders. It comes at a time when tensions between the United States and its international rivals are running higher than they have for years.

Trump is expected to confront the biggest issue looming over Osaka — the escalating trade war with China — during a one-to-one meeting with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping. The US leader is also at odds with the EU and India over trade and other geopolitical issues. He has also criticized his host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, over his posture on defense.

The large Saudi delegation led by the crown prince touched down in the city ahead of today’s “family portrait” the leaders that traditionally marks the start of the summit. The leaders will then meet to discuss the digital economy and global trade and investment, before heading off for a cultural program and dinner at Osaka’s Geihinkan castle.

The culmination of the gathering is the publication of a joint communique at the end of the summit, in which the world leaders traditionally attempt to display a united front in tackling pressing global issues such as climate change, trade and the economy.

The event is taking place amid tight security in the city, which is 500 km from the capital Tokyo, as Japanese authorities fear protests by environmental activists and others. Travel and transport are severely restricted on the route from the airport in Osaka Bay to the International Exhibition Center, or Intex, where the summit is taking place.

Next year, Saudi Arabia will become the first Middle Eastern country to host the event, in Riyadh.

Saudi Ambassador to Japan Naif bin Marzouq Al-Fahadi said: “The recent reforms in the Kingdom, especially economic ones, have contributed to strengthening the image of the Kingdom globally and raising its level of influence in international forums.”

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How the Crown Prince’s visit to South Korea is advancing Vision 2030

Time: June 27, 2019  

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and South Korean President Moon Jae-in view an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Wednesday. (AP)
  • Mohammed bin Salman and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agree to a Vision Realization Office in Riyadh and Seoul
  • Business deals that redefine their traditional oil partnership include eco-friendly automobile technology and hydrogen energy

SEOUL: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s history-making visit to South Korea has taken Saudi Arabia a step closer to achieving its Vision 2030 economic transformation following the establishment of a joint “Vision Realization Office” that will expand business cooperation between the two countries beyond their traditional oil partnership.

The crown prince met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the presidential Blue House after being welcomed by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon at a VIP airfield in Seongnam, south of Seoul, earlier on Wednesday. It is the first visit to South Korea by an heir to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter in more than two decades.

The crown prince, who also serves as deputy prime minister and minister of defense, stressed that he would invest more in South Korea, focusing on expanding bilateral collaboration in the fields of energy, automotive, tourism and health.

“South Korea has made tremendous success in Saudi Arabia. I hope South Korea will do the same to further improve the bilateral relationship,” the crown prince was quoted by a Blue House spokesman as saying.

“People of both countries will thrive through cooperation in the sectors of defense and economy.”

Moon pledged to provide full support for Saudi Arabia’s efforts to diversify its economic portfolio, breaking away from its dependence on the energy segment.

The two leaders discussed ways of boosting their relationship, with a focus on the new industrial sectors of information and communications technology, hydrogen energy, robots, health, medical service and culture.

Both sides “reaffirmed their strategic partnership regarding Saudi Vision 2030,” a joint press release said. “In this regard, the two leaders agreed to set up the ‘Vision Realization Office’ in both Riyadh and Seoul, respectively, as part of efforts to expedite bilateral efforts for the successful Vision 2030 partnership.”

At a luncheon hosted by Moon, South Korea’s business tycoons greeted the crown prince and other Saudi delegates.

Among the business leaders were Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics; Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group; Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group; LG chairman Koo Kwang-mo; and Chung Ki-sun, senior executive vice president of Hyundai Heavy Industries.

“I hope companies from both nations can set up a strategic and cooperative relationship through vibrant business activity,” the crown prince said.

Later in the day, he was invited to Samsung’s VIP guesthouse in Itaewon, Seoul, for more discussions on business partnerships with young South Korean representatives, a Samsung spokesman told Arab News.

IN NUMBERS

• $8.3bn – Estimated worth of economic deals signed on Wednesday

• 16 – Number of MoUs between the two governments, including agreements related to eco-friendly automobile technology and hydrogen energy

• 15 – Number of MoUs signed by the Saudi business delegation

• $6bn – Value of the deal signed by Saudi Aramco and S-Oil, South Korea’s third-biggest oil refiner, to build refinery and downstream facilities in South Korea

• $1.8bn – Cost of developing a propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene complex in Jubail, a joint project between SK Gas and Saudi’s Advanced Petrochemical (APC)

According to the Blue House spokesman, Seoul and Riyadh signed a total of 16 memorandums of understanding (MoUs), including agreements related to eco-friendly automobile technology and hydrogen energy.

“Based on the latest MoUs with Saudi Arabia, South Korean companies will lay the groundwork for advancing into the Middle East region in the fields of green cars, hydrogen energy supply, hydrogen fuel cell and others,” Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, Sung Yun-mo, told reporters.

On top of the government agreements, eight MoUs between companies have been signed. The value of the agreements is estimated at $8.3 billion, the minister added.

Among the lucrative business deals are Saudi Aramco’s petrochemical project with S-Oil,  South Korea’s third-biggest oil refiner. Under the $6 billion deal the refinery will build a facility to produce ethylene and other basic chemicals out of naphtha and refinery off-gas, as well as olefin downstream facilities in Ulsan, about 400 km southeast of Seoul, by 2024.

Another high-profile agreement is on hydrogen cars. “The collaboration of Hyundai and Saudi Aramco will cover not only existing projects but also future-oriented business plans,” Chung Eui-sun, Hyundai’s vice chairman, said in a statement.

“This MoU will be an opportunity to help further solidify our strategic cooperative partnership,” he added.

Under the partnership, the two companies will cooperate in establishing hydrogen-charging infrastructure in South Korea and supply hydrogen fuel-cell electric cars in Saudi Arabia.

Other MoUs include Aramco’s joint investment with Hyundai Heavy Industries to build a ship engine plant in the King Salman Global Maritime Industries Complex, and a joint project between SK Gas and Saudi’s Advanced Petrochemical (APC) to develop a $1.8 billion propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene complex in Jubail.

On a political note, Moon and the crown prince condemned terror activities harming energy security and regional stability in the Middle East, including this week’s deadly attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Abha’s civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia.

The crown prince promised to help with South Korea’s possible fuel shortages in case of supply disruption caused by tensions in the Middle East, while both leaders called for international efforts to secure energy safety at the Strait of Hormuz, where two Japanese oil tankers were struck by unidentified attacks.

South Korea imported 101.5 million barrels of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, Seoul’s biggest oil supplier, in the first four months of this year, down 2.7 percent from a year ago, according to data from state-run Korea National Oil Corp.

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Crown Prince arrives in Osaka ahead of G20 summit

Time: June 27, 2019

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is greeted by Japanese officials upon his arrival in Osaka, Japan for the G20 summit. (SPA)
  • The summit will be held at the International Exhibition Center in Osaka
  • Leaders of the world’s biggest economies are expected to focus their discussions on global economy, trade and investment as well as innovation

DUBAI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Osaka, Japan on Thursday amid a stormy weather, ahead of this year’s G20 summit that will take place in the city.

The summit will take place at the International Exhibition Center in Osaka between June 28 and June 29. Leaders of the world’s biggest economies are expected to focus their discussions on global economy, trade and investment as well as innovation.

Air Force One likewise touched down after the Crown Prince’s arrival, with US President Donald Trump and his entourage aboard for the G20 meeting.

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There have been reports that the US and China have agreed to a tentative truce in their trade dispute, ahead of a supposd meeting between leaders of the two nations at the G20 summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping has already arrived in Osaka.

Trump on May 10 slapped higher tariffs of up to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods and then took steps to levy duties on all remaining $300 billion Chinese imports. Beijing retaliated with tariff hikes on US goods.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who hosted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi delegation in Seoul for bilaterals talks, arrived earlier Thursday.

Other world leaders including Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,  British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have also flown in for the two-day event.

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman holds talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in

Time: June 26, 2019  

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-In shakes hands during a meeting at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul on June 26, 2019. (AFP)

 

SEOUL: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks Wednesday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to strengthen bilateral ties between the two governments.

The crown prince, who also serves as deputy prime minister and minister of defense of the Kingdom, was received by South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon and Saudi Ambassador to Seoul Riyadh Al-Mubaraki. The Saudi leader and Moon inspected an honor guard at the presidential Blue House in central Seoul before delegations from both countries conducted the summit.

During the summit talks, President Moon expressed hope the bilateral relationship would take a leap forward on the occasion of the crown prince’s visit to South Korea, the first by an heir to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter since 1998.

“Saudi Arabia is the largest oil supplier for us, and it’s the biggest customer for South Korean construction firms. It is also our No. 1 trade partner in the Middle East,” Moon said, referring to Saudi’s Vision 2030 project as a key area of mutual cooperation.

“As a partner of the Vision 2030 project, South Korea will expand cooperation with Saudi Arabia to the areas of information and communications technology, smart infrastructure, defense, health and medicine and others beyond the traditional cooperation on energy and construction,” Moon said.

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Meanwhile, the Crown Prince pledged that Saudi Arabia would invest more in South Korea was looking to expand economic cooperation in energy, automotive, tourism and health.

“South Korea has made tremendous success in Saudi Arabia. I hope South Korea will do the same to further improve bilateral relationships,” the Crown Prince was quoted by a Blue House official as saying. “People of both countries will thrive more through cooperation on defense and economy.”

After the summit, the crown prince had a luncheon with South Korea’s top business leaders, including Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, Hyundai Group’s executive vice president, Chung Eui-sun and Hyundai Heavy Industries President Sam-hyun Ka to discuss opportunities for mutual investment, especially regarding the King Salman Marine Industries complex.
The crown prince also met with the chairman of LG Group Koo Kwang-mo to discuss the growth of the Saudi market and partnership opportunities in various electrical appliances.
Mohammed bin Salman then met with Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, where they exchanged views on prospects for cooperation and investment in the field of petrochemicals, clean energy, the environment and battery technology.
The Kingdom’s investment authority also held a convention to sign 15 cooperation agreements, with an estimated value of $8.3 billion, with their South Korean counterparts in different fields covering finance, petrochemicals and renewable energy, according to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

The National Intellectual Property Strategy Program was also signed between Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property and the Korea Intellectual Property Office, in the presence of the crown prince and the South Korean president.
The Executive Chairman of Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property Abdulaziz Al-Swailem said that the program aims to prepare a national intellectual property strategy that includes a master plan and a five-year implementation plan.
The master plan includes a comprehensive analysis of the IP environment in the Kingdom and its vision and objectives for the next five years and the implementation plan includes detailed work schemes, targets and key performance indicators.

Hyundai Motor and Aramco signed an MoU to cooperate on hydrogen energy.

Seoul’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, meanwhile, said it has agreed with its Saudi Arabian counterpart to join hands in the automobile segment for the development of environment-friendly cars.

“Both governments will cooperate in developing technologies to utilize hydrogen as an alternative to traditional fossil fuels as well, the ministry said in a statement.

After South Korea, the crown prince is scheduled to travel to Japan to head the Saudi Arabian delegation at the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 28-29.

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks with Donald Trump on Iran

Time: June 21, 2019  

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with US President Donald Trump on Friday to about Middle East stability and the oil market.
  • Two leaders spoke a day after Trump confirmed that he canceled a military strike against Iran
  • Trump has been stepping up a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran

WASHINGTON: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with US President Donald Trump on Friday to about Middle East stability and the oil market, the White House said, after tensions with Iran prompted a rise in oil prices.
“The two leaders discussed Saudi Arabia’s critical role in ensuring stability in the Middle East and in the global oil market. They also discussed the threat posed by the Iranian regime’s escalatory behavior,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

The White House says the two leaders spoke a day after Trump confirmed that he canceled a military strike against Iran on Thursday after Iran downed a US drone that it says was operating over Iranian airspace. The US says the drone had been flying over international waters when it was attacked.
Trump has been stepping up a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran and has blamed Iran for recent attacks on oil tankers moving through the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

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