With only 11 tweets, King Salman has more retweets than Trump

Time: January 17, 2020

US President Donald Trump is by far the most followed world leader on Twitter, with the Pope trailing him by some 4.5 million followers, a study showed Tuesday.

The number of Trump’s followers has “more than doubled since taking office”, the study authors said.

However, in terms of retweets alone, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, easily dwarfs Trump.

King Salman only tweeted 11 times between May 2017 and May 2018, but each of those tweets generated an average of 154,294 retweets, compared to just 20,319 retweets per Trump tweet, the study showed.

With more than 52 million followers, the @realDonaldTrump account also counts nearly 10 million more followers than third-place holder, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to the latest “Twiplomacy” study by communications firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW).

In terms of interactions with followers – in the form of likes and retweets – Trump’s lead is even more impressive, the study showed.

Over the past 12 months, the US president has had nearly 264.5 million interactions with his followers – more than five times more than runner-up Modi, and 12 times as many as Pope Francis, in third place.

It also pointed out that the US State Department is the only US governmental department which does not follow the personal account of @realDonaldTrump.

At the same time, however, the State Department does follow the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

Tuesday’s report found that leaders around the world have jumped on the Twitter train, with the governments of only six countries – Laos, Mauritania, Nicaragua, North Korea, Swaziland and Turkmenistan – still lacking an official presence on the platform.

In Europe, British Prime Minister Theresa May was the most followed leader on Twitter over the past year, with the @10DowningStreet account counting nearly 5.6 million followers.

The British royal family came next with 3.6 million, followed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has nearly tripled his numbers since his election last year to over three million Twitter followers.

Queen Rania of Jordan ranks at the top of the twittersphere among Arab leaders with nearly 10.7 million followers, ahead of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed with over nine million followers, and King Salman on nearly seven million.

And Latin American governments are among the most prolific on twitter. Venezuela’s foreign ministry sends out an average of 55 tweets each day over the past 12 months, according to the study.

While most world leaders and governments are growing their Twitter followings, there are exceptions.

According to the study, Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian foreign ministry, and the Ukrainian foreign ministry have seen their number of followers decline significantly “after Twitter decided to cut down on fake followers and bot farms”.

BCW’s own review of 951 Twitter accounts showed that 125 of them, or 13 per cent, were currently dormant, 33 inactive and nine protected.

This article was first published in Khaleej Times

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Japan PM Shinzo Abe meets King Salman in Riyadh and crown prince in AlUla

12/01/20

King Salman shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his visit in Riyadh. (SPA)
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at AlUla. (SPA)
Masato Ohtaka said the meeting between the Japanese prime minister and Saudi crown prince was the meeting was full of substance, and included discussion on the regional situation. (Arab News photo by Sa’ad Al-Dossary)
  • The king expressed expectations that his country and Japan will deepen their strategic partnership
  • Abe also met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the ancient site of AlUla

RIYADH: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Saudi Arabia’s king and crown prince on Sunday, to discuss the situation in the region, during the first leg of his Middle East tour.

The prime minister was received by King Salman in Riyadh as Abe visited the region in the hope of easing tensions between the US and Iran.

He later met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in AlUla, where they discussed regional developments, with prime minister Abe praising Saudi Arabia’s conduct during the recent heightening of tensions in the region.

“The meeting was full of substance,” said Masato Ohtaka, Japan’s foreign ministry director-general for press and public diplomacy, in a press briefing on Sunday. They exchanged views on the current situation and what needs to be done to defuse the tension, said Ohtaka.

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‘s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Japanese PM met at the ancient site of and discussed bilateral ties in the fields of economy, trade, investment and culture https://arab.news/wu3nz 

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During the meeting the prime minister told the crown prince that further escalation of the situation needs to be avoided and “he appreciates the fact that relevant countries such as Saudi Arabia are showing restraint”,  Ohtaka said.

“Abe mentioned that any military confrontation that might take place in the Middle east including Iran will have profound impact on the peace and stability of not only the region but also the world,” he added.

As for Japan’s mediation role with Iran, Ohtaka said, “This subject on Iran is extremely delicate. I hesitate to go into too much detail on this. We don’t necessarily characterize our efforts as mediation.” He underscored, however, that Japan is the only country in Asia that has been engaging on this issue.

The spokesman also highlighted how Japan can play a role, given the country’s close relationship with the US, and established ties with Iran.

“Japan is an ally of the USA, and also has a long-standing relationship with Iran, and based on those relationships has been engaged in playing a role in those contexts,” Ohtaka said.

Prime Minister Abe and Crown Prince Mohammed also discussed other bilateral issues, as the Japanese leader was received with traditional Saudi hospitality inside a Bedouin tent.

Their meeting, which lasted about an hour, included a 20 minute private discussion, said Ohtaka.

Prime Minister Abe said that he highly appreciated the reform efforts taking place within the Kingdom, and said the reforms were not only important for Saudi Arabia, but the region and ultimately the world as well.

Abe promised that Japan will fully support Prince Mohammed’s reform efforts through the Saudi-Japan vision 2030, a cooperation framework that has been around since 2016. The two nations are working on a broad range of areas and have already concluded four ministerial level meetings and identified 69 areas of cooperation.

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PM ⁦@AbeShinzo⁩ enjoying with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in traditional Bedouin tent in true Saudi hospitality

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In their meeting in Riyadh, Abe and King Salman confirmed their cooperation toward the successes of the Group of 20 meetings to be hosted by Saudi Arabia this year and the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. In their 40-minute talk, the king expressed expectations that his country and Japan will deepen their strategic partnership in various fields, not only in the area of energy.

The day’s session was the fifth meeting between the two leaders since the start of Abe’s current administration in December 2012. At that time, King Salman was crown prince.

In his discussion with Crown Prince Mohammed, Abe said that Japan would support Saudi Arabia towards the success of the next G20 summit, which will be in Riyadh. The crown prince in turn pledged Saudi Arabia will follow up on the outcomes of the last G20 meeting in Osaka.

As the Japanese leader arrived in AlUla, his delegation were received by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Minister of Culture and the Governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla.

AlUla, the last stop in Abe’s visit to the Kingdom before he continues his journey to the UAE and Oman, is full of archaeological treasures nestling amid beautiful desert landscapes.

Saudi Arabia’s move to open up Hegra city and the AlUla Valley is restoring a missing chapter in the history of the Arabian Peninsula and the entire world.

Bearing the name Mada’in Salih in the post- Islamic era, the lost city of Hegra was built by the Nabataeans, like its famous twin Petra in Jordan. They controlled the profitable trade routes that crossed the Arabian Peninsula from east to west and north to south from about the fourth century BC to 106 AD.

The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s tour of AlUla during his visit to Saudi Arabia casts a spotlight on the ancient Nabataean site as it prepares to open its doors to the public later this year.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman affirms Saudi Arabia’s solidarity with Australia over the bushfire crisis

10/01/20

RIYADH: King Salman called Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday to express his solidarity with the country during its bushfire crisis.

He confirmed the Kingdom’s readiness to provide assistance so Australia could overcome the disaster.

The king also expressed his condolences to the prime minister and families of the deceased, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

He said Saudi Arabia and its people shared the pain of Australians.

Morrison expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman and to the Saudi people for their empathy.

The catastrophic bushfires have killed at least 26 people and  destroyed more than 2,000 homes.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman receives foreign ambassadors to the Kingdom

Time: 09 January, 2020

King Salman receives a group of foreign ambassadors to the Kingdom at a ceremony in Riyadh on Wednesday. (SPA)

King Salman on Wednesday received a group of foreign ambassadors to the Kingdom at a ceremony in Riyadh.

The monarch welcomed envoys Francisco Chacon Hernandez (Costa Rica), Jorge Daccarett (Chile), Lulzim Mjeku (Kosovo), Balazs Selmeci (Hungary), Dusanka Jeknic (Montenegro), Ali Jabir Mwadini (Tanzania), Sidi Aly (Mauritania), and Showkutally Soodhun (Mauritius).

During the reception, the king conveyed his regards to the leaders of their respective countries and wished the diplomats success in their missions to enhance and develop relations between Saudi Arabia and their nations.

The ambassadors also passed on the greetings of the leaders of their countries to King Salman and stressed their wishes to enhance links with the Kingdom in all fields.

Saudi Minister of State and Cabinet member Dr. Musaed Al-Aiban, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, and a number of officials also attended the ceremony.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman receives top honor for humanitarian efforts

Time: 02 January, 2020

King Salman has been honored by the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization (ARCO) for his humanitarian efforts. (SPA)
  • He was awarded the Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Medal, which is the highest honor from ARCO
  • The king expressed his thanks to everyone from the ARCO delegation, welcoming the organization’s humanitarian work, and wished it success

RIYADH: King Salman has been honored by the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization (ARCO) for his humanitarian efforts, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
He was awarded the Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Medal, which is the highest honor from ARCO and is granted to kings and heads of states in recognition of their work, especially in the Arab world.
The award came during the king’s reception on Wednesday of the secretary-general of ARCO, Dr. Saleh bin Hamad Al-Tuwaijri, and was in recognition of the monarch’s efforts to reduce human suffering and an acknowledgment of Saudi Arabia’s pioneering role in the humanitarian field.

The king expressed his thanks to everyone from the ARCO delegation, welcoming the organization’s humanitarian work, and wished it success.
Al-Tuwaijri thanked the Kingdom for providing humanitarian, relief and development assistance to those affected by disasters and crises, and for the king’s diplomatic efforts at regional and international levels.
He added that the Kingdom topped the list of donor countries and that it allocated a greater percentage of aid from its national income than other donor countries. Saudi aid exceeded $40 billion during the last 15 years and it had been distributed among 124 countries across all continents, he said in his speech.
The reception was attended by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, State Minister Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, and Minister of Health and chairman of the board of directors at the Saudi Red Crescent Authority Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman issues royal decree to fight corruption

Time: December 13, 2019

King Salman has approved organizing preparations for combating financial and administrative corruption. (SPA)
  • The royal decree approved organizing preparations for combating financial and administrative corruption

JEDDAH: Three royal orders were issued on Thursday to fight financial and administrative corruption.

The organizational and structural arrangements related to combating financial and administrative corruption include the following:

Approving the organizational and structural arrangements related to combating financial and administrative corruption, in the correct form.

The organizational and structural arrangements related to fighting financial and administrative corruption include the following:

• Incorporating the Control and Investigation Authority and the Mabahith to the National Anti-Corruption Authority and altering its name to Control and Anti-Corruption Authority.

• The president of the National Anti-Corruption Commission shall assume the power given to the head of the Supervision and Investigation Commission, as well as exercising the powers of the head of the Mabahith. He may also delegate whomever he deems to exercise some of these powers, until all the necessary legal procedures are completed and acted upon.

• A criminal investigation and prosecution unit shall be established in the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority which will be responsible for criminal investigations and the prosecution of criminal cases related to financial and administrative corruption.

• The head of the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority shall coordinate with the attorney general for the Public Prosecution to continue investigating cases of financial and administrative corruption in some regions of the Kingdom that do not have branches of the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority, provided that a specific mechanism is established between the Public Prosecution and the Authority to ensure that these cases are identified and followed up by the Authority, in addition to monitoring their outcome.

• Spatial jurisdiction shall be held in all cases related to financial and administrative corruption at the special court for Riyadh.

• The Control and Anti-Corruption Authority shall take the necessary measures regarding the crimes of financial and administrative corruption, its perpetrators and its parties, whether they are regular people or civil or military employees, or those in their position or others, or people with a moral character related to these crimes.

• The judgment issued by the competent court to convict any employee or those in his position of a criminal offense related to financial and administrative corruption results in their dismissal from their post.

• If the investigation with the public employee or those in his position results in strong suspicions affecting the dignity or the integrity of the job, the Authority’s president may, after discussing the matter with the head of the agency to which the employee is affiliated, suggest his dismissal by royal order, without affecting the completion of criminal proceedings against him.

• If an irrelevant increase occurs in the wealth of the public employee and those in his position after assuming the job that does not commensurate with his income or resources based on evidence from financial investigations proving that he had committed financial or administrative corruption crimes, then he shall prove that his wealth has been acquired legitimately. If he is unable to prove so, the results of the financial investigations shall be referred to the Authority’s Criminal Investigation and Prosecution Unit, to investigate the employee in question and take the necessary measures.

The royal decree also included that the necessary procedures be completed in accordance with the provisions.

An order was issued for Dr. Abdul Rahman bin Ibrahim Al-Hussein, head of the Control and Investigation Authority to resign from his position, and to be appointed a member of the Shoura Council.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman receives speaker of Libyan House of Representatives

03/12/19

Aquila Saleh Issa, speaker of Libyan House of Representatives, on Monday called on King Salman in Riyadh.

During the meeting, they reviewed relations between the two countries and prospects of bilateral cooperation, especially between the Saudi Shoura Council and its Libyan counterpart. Issa also held a separate meeting with Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Dr. Abdullah Al-Asheikh, who commended deep-rooted ties between Saudi Arabia and Libya. Al-Asheikh expressed hope that this visit will contribute to the development of relations between the two countries and particularly between the Saudi Shoura Council and the Libyan House of Representatives.

They also discussed activating the role of parliamentary friendship committees in the two councils.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman: Five years of remarkable achievements

01/12/19

  • Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of King Salman’s ascension to the throne.

The Kingdom has made remarkable and unprecedented political, social, economic and developmental achievements since King Salman started his rule on Jan. 23, 2015.

These achievements, which are mainly the pillars of the Vision 2030 reform program, have demonstrated that the Saudi leadership is committed to its pledge to build a state for the future and to cement its position in the G20.

Under his leadership, King Salman — supported by his crown prince and a young management team — has overseen noticeable and speedy evolution in key sectors including finance, tourism, entertainment, housing and energy, among others.

The restructuring of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) was one of the most notable achievements in the country’s finances.

By changing its mandate from a local investment vehicle focusing on conservative instruments within the money market asset class, the PIF has gone through major transformation to become a significant sovereign wealth fund powerhouse targeting quality, long-term, trophy and strategic investments worldwide.

As for tourism, Saudi Arabia inaugurated several major projects, such as the King Salman Park, Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh, Riyadh Art and Diriyah Gate Project (DGP).

With the e-visa initiative, tourism will witness a speedy growth coupled with cross-country festivals throughout the year in cooperation with newly created government agencies for activities in sports, entertainment and culture.

The unique DGP was unearthed to be a cultural and lifestyle tourism destination, especially after it gained UNESCO’s certification as World Heritage Site. Starting from next year, the Kingdom is expected to witness the highest growth rate in tourism until 2030.

Obviously, the most remarkable and impactful achievement during King Salman’s rule was the gradual preparation for Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering. It started in 2016 when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that the Kingdom will sell less than 5 percent of Aramco’s shares by offering it to the public. As of last Thursday, the retail tranche has been oversubscribed by 1.7 times with received bids for its shares totaling $44.3 billion. The institutional tranche will be concluded on Dec. 4.

Since the start of his rule, King Salman has applied a leadership style known in our corporate textbooks as “management by objectives.” His era was guided by a roadmap called Vision 2030, which specified these objectives with target dates for their achievements. Not only has his era paved the way for economic prosperity benefiting national and international investors, but it will also give the future generations national and international entrepreneurs.

• Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman receives greeting from Malaysia PM

Time: November 04, 2019 

King Salman meets Dr. Maszlee Malik, Malaysia’s education minister and the prime minister’s special envoy, in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)
  • The message was conveyed to the king during his meeting with Dr. Maszlee Malik

RIYADH: King Salman received greetings from Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
The message was conveyed to the king during his meeting with Dr. Maszlee Malik, Malaysia’s education minister and the prime minister’s special envoy, in Riyadh on Sunday. The king sent greetings back.
On the Saudi side, the meeting was attended by State Minister Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, Minister of State Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban and Saudi Ambassador to Malaysia Mahmoud bin Hussein Qattan, among other officials from both countries.

This article was first published in Arab News

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