Setting Saudi Arabia’s image straight, one podcast at a time


I see Western media put a negative spin on our country, so I wanted to show it in a different light, said Mohammad Islam, Saudi podcaster of Mo Show. Right: Lana Nazer, yoga and wellness teacher, a guest on the show. (Supplied)

Mohammad Islam who began Mo Show in UK during lockdown wanted to remove misconceptions about Kingdom
JEDDAH: With the spike in the number of podcast listeners this year, there has been an increase in podcasters as well. “Mo Show” is one such podcast, with just one goal: “To set the narrative about Saudi Arabia straight.”

The “Mo Show” is a way to show Saudis and the outside world what the real Saudi Arabia is like, said Mohammad Islam, 37, who started the show in lockdown in the UK.
“I see Western media put a negative spin on our country and not really talking about the positives, so I wanted to show it in a different light,” he told Arab News.
The podcast focuses on what is changing in the country, including women’s empowerment and their rapidly growing role in the Kingdom, and its progress in general.
The show’s four pillars are female empowerment, personal stories, business, and tech.
“I like the element of personal stories heard from entrepreneurs, startups, people who got out of the corporate life and started businesses of their own, which is commonly seen in the restaurant industry and the health and fitness sector. So, I wanted to highlight that,” said Islam.
“In a nutshell, I want to highlight the progress of Saudi Arabia,” he added.
The idea of the podcast was inspired when he was looking at American podcasters and wanted to have a say on the misconceptions about his own country.
He called some of his close friends and recorded a few episodes. “That was when it started looking doable. I looked at the areas that are changing and decided to focus on that,” he said.
Islam has lived in the UK for a long time and defines English as one of his strengths. The idea of starting a podcast came to him during the lockdown introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.

• The ‘Mo Show’ is a way to show Saudis and the outside world what the real Saudi Arabia is like.

• The podcast focuses on what is changing in the country, including women’s rapidly growing role in the Kingdom.

• The show’s four pillars are female empowerment, personal stories, business, and tech.

“The lockdown made me take life at my own pace, and when I wasn’t rushing I was more in touch with my mind and my ideas. I also had a lot of time to observe the world and see what it is that I am doing and what I want to do,” he said.
The target audience at first was the English speaking majority of the globe, but later it became anyone who lives in or visited Saudi Arabia, “or anyone who has an open mind and curiosity about this country.

“The reason why I changed the target audience was that I realized that there are a lot of Saudis that don’t know what’s happening in their country,” he said. “That’s when I realized that it is for Saudis as well as pan-Arabs.”
It came as a surprise to the podcaster that pan-Arabs were interested, but he later realized they were the most curious about what was happening in Saudi Arabia and had very little information about it.
Islam was able to provide them a seat at his table as he discussed the progress of the country with his guests.
The guests are not strictly Saudi — one of his episodes featured an expat from South Africa who shared his experience of seeing the country progress over the past five years. He also talked about the negative image of the Kingdom as being an unsafe country, whereas, for him, it is the “safest country” he has ever been to.
Islam would like to see more Saudis joining podcasting. “We still have a lot of space for them, we can have many more podcasters which will allow us to amplify the positivity,” he said.
“It doesn’t have to be in English … (if you speak other languages) we can let our voices reach those countries and show them what the real Saudi Arabia is like.”
The podcast adopts an interpretation mechanism for all episodes to ensure that the information reaches the widest range of audience, and is also advertised on social media on a weekly basis.
“The importance of this initiative increases as it is a basic source for the transmission of information in various fields, specifically for the average citizen in America and Europe who follows up and interacts with what matters to him in terms of events, whether they are economic, political, religious or social events,” said Islam.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

India and Saudi Arabia ‘partners in post-pandemic world,’ says envoy to Riyadh

Time: 11 November 2020

Royal cenotaphs in Jaipur, India. (Shutterstock)
  • Kingdom’s ‘shining example’ shows people’s welfare is top priority, Indian envoy says

RIYADH: With the G20 2020 presidency Saudi Arabia has demonstrated that the health and welfare of the people is a top priority, and has undertaken all necessary steps to control the spread of the coronavirus, according to Indian Ambassador to the Kingdom Ausaf Sayeed.

In an interview with Arab News the envoy said: “The conduct of a very successful Hajj under extraordinary circumstances, bearing in mind all the health protocols, was a shining example of this.”

On managing the G20 amid the pandemic, he said: “The swift decision to organise a virtual summit in March 2020, when the dangers of the pandemic were just beginning to emerge globally, is evidence of the fact that the Kingdom handled the situation admirably.

“While the world would have hoped for a summit which would have brought all the leaders together in one place and experience the generous hospitality of the Kingdom, the decision to hold the summit virtually, bearing in mind the dangers of the pandemic that continue to linger, is well appreciated,” Sayeed added.

On shouldering the responsibility to help the world move forward and the importance of the summit in Riyadh, the Indian envoy said: “Given the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the role of the G20 has increased manifold.

The health, economic and social impact globally of COVID-19 needs coordinated efforts towards solutions that a platform like the G20, which includes two-thirds of the world’s population and 85 percent of the global economy, is well suited to deliver.”

The economic impact of the pandemic on all affected countries has exposed the challenges that we continue to face in terms of poverty and inequality, he said. As we have seen, the pandemic knows no national boundaries, and has affected the poorest the most. Apart from the tragic loss of lives, there has been an economic slowdown that has severely affected the livelihoods of the most vulnerable.

The expectation from the Riyadh G20 presidency, held under the theme “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All,” is that a consensus will be built around the steps that the world, led by the G20 countries, will take to transition towards economic recovery that will help people regain lost livelihoods and provide the healing touch to those most severely affected by the pandemic, he explained.

It can also build systems and strategies that will better prepare the world for the challenges of the future.

On the hosting of the G20 Summit in Riyadh — the first time by an Arab country — the envoy said: “Saudi Arabia being the largest economy in one of the most important geopolitical regions of the world, it is only fitting
that the G20 Summit is being hosted by the Kingdom at this critical moment.”

Apart from being one of the world’s foremost producers and exporters of energy, Saudi Arabia is transforming rapidly under the Vision 2030 through diversification of its economy and development of a vibrant society under the wise and able leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ausaf Sayeed.

“The G20 presidency during these challenging times is yet another testimony to the significant leadership role that the Kingdom has played and will continue to play in dealing with the most pressing issues that matter to the entire world,” the envoy said.

He went on to say that India shares an excellent history of relations with Saudi Arabia, and the two countries have seen many high-level visits in recent years that have progressively transformed the bilateral relationship into a strategic partnership.

On the economic front, Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth-largest trading partner and supplies around 18 percent of India’s crude oil requirement and 30 percent of its LPG needs, he said.

There is even greater scope to increase trade and investments between the two countries, he added. There are several sectors in which India and Saudi Arabia can work closely in the post-pandemic world.

In the virtual summit in March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi elaborated on India’s role in forging a collaborated response against COVID-19, he added.

Thanks to its leadership in medical research and pharmaceuticals, India is playing its part in the global fight against the pandemic, as a “pharmacy to the world,” delivering medicines and equipment to countries that need them the most. It is also at the forefront of vaccine development, he added.

As an important member of the G20 and as a developing country with one-sixth of the global population, India’s focus is on ensuring growth through the development of fair and equitable systems and frameworks.

Sayeed said: “The G20 provides an important platform for both India and Saudi Arabia to work even more closely on various issues, with particular focus on those that concern developing countries the most.”

“This is particularly significant as India is set to assume the G20 presidency in 2022, the 75th year of its independence, and continue to take forward the agenda of global cooperation,” he added.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Germany’s Merkel discuss G20, tackling extremism

Time: 10 November 2020

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 30, 2017, shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) standing next to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud during a welcoming ceremony in Jeddah. – ?Merkel met Saudi King Salman as she began a visit focused on bilateral relations and preparations for the next G20 meeting. (Photo by BANDAR AL-JALOUD / Saudi Royal Palace / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / SAUDI ROYAL PALACE / BANDAR AL-JALOUD” – NO MARKETING – NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / ìThe erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by BANDAR AL-JALOUD has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [in Jeddah] instead of [in Riyadh]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require.î
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold call to discuss terrorism and G20 summit. (File/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)
  • King affirms Kingdom’s condemnation of offensive cartoons of the prophet
  • King Salman stresses importance of freedom of expression

RYADH: Saudi Arabia and Germany on Monday agreed on the need to confront all forms of extremism and terrorism, Saudi Press Agency reported.
During a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, King Salman affirmed the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of the terrorist attacks that have been committed recently in France and Austria.
Three people were killed in a knife attack at a church in the southern French city of Nice on Oct 29. and, while in the Austrian capital Vienna, gunmen launched attacks fire in multiple locations across the city, including near a synagogue, killing at least four people.
King Salman also stressed the Kingdom’s position, which strongly condemns offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad , saying that “freedom of expression is an important moral value that promotes respect and coexistence among peoples, not a tool for spreading hatred and leading to a cultural and civilizational clash.”
The king also said it was important to promote rapprochement between followers of religions and civilizations, spread the values ​​of tolerance and moderation, and reject all forms of practices that generate hatred, violence and extremism.
During the call, the two sides also discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields, in addition to the efforts made to toward preparing for the upcoming annual G20 summit.
Saudi Arabia assumed the G20 presidency on Dec. 1, 2019 and is set to host the 15th G20 in the capital Riyadh on Nov. 21 and 22.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi Arabia’s economic clout makes it key global player


The US presidential election always creates a buzz around the world, dominating global and social media platforms. The strong ties between Saudi Arabia and the US form the basis for peace in the Middle East — and global security.

Saudi Arabia enjoys a robust position in global affairs due to its political, religious, and economic weight. As a reliable partner to most countries of the world, the Kingdom has always played a crucial role in times of crisis.

The relationship between Riyadh and Washington is based on mutual trust. It is not affected by whoever sits in the Oval Office. Election campaigns are often designed for voters at home and do not necessarily reflect the true aspirations of the president-elect, especially where foreign affairs are concerned.

Saudi-US relations are among the most important pillars of the global system. Saudi Arabia will continue to be the US’ biggest ally in the Middle East; stronger cooperation between the two countries is imperative to achieve regional and global stability.

Due to Saudi Arabia’s religious and economic clout, it enjoys a unique global and regional position. The oil-rich Kingdom also plays a key role in stabilizing global energy markets.

In times of global political and economic crises, Saudi Arabia has always adopted wise and responsible policies to help its allies — and the world — emerge from these difficulties with ease.

The US energy industry is currently booming, and any change in this strategy is unlikely, whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat.

The US is working seriously to reduce its dependence on foreign oil imports, which also explains the boom in the shale oil industry.

The shale industry’s growth also gives the US more leverage in dealing with several foreign issues, so it cannot be removed from the energy mix. Besides, a ban on fracking will result in a huge oil supply shortage, which will adversely affect oil prices that the current fragile global economy cannot handle.

• Faisal Faeq is an energy and oil marketing adviser. He was formerly with OPEC and Saudi Aramco. Twitter:@faisalfaeq

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

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Australian envoy to Saudi Arabia hails successful presidency of G20 amid pandemic


Australia’s battle with the coronavirus pandemic took a step closer to ending after the New South Wales state relaxed health restrictions. (AFP)

Balancing health measures and economic growth will be focus of November’s Riyadh Summit
LONDON: Australian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ridwaan Jadwat congratulated Saudi Arabia on its presidency of the G20 during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s been a very difficult year for everybody. We congratulate not only the authorities but all the frontline health care workers who have been doing their very best to keep people safe,” Jadwat told Arab News.

Jadwat remarked on how the meetings scheduled between working groups, engagement groups and ministers hardly skipped a beat this year and praised the decision of the Saudi presidency to continue the G20 meetings virtually.

“The decision for leaders to meet virtually in November was appropriate, given the logistical and health challenges in the current context,” he said. “We hope that the leaders will have another opportunity in the future to visit the Kingdom.

“The G20 is an institution that comes into its own when most needed; it is more a rough-weather friend than a fair-weather one.”

Under the Saudi Arabian presidency, the G20 is bringing members together to address response and recovery measures to COVID-19. “Leaders met earlier this year in March to discuss the crisis at the extraordinary G20 leaders’ summit … and COVID-19 continues to be the key focus leading into the summit in November.”

Jadwat stressed the importance of strong multilateral institutions, such as the G20, in a time of unprecedented global challenges.

“They’re vital to international stability. It is more important now than ever for leaders to have open lines of communication. And this is doubly true for the G20, which brings together the world’s biggest economies, given the significant economic impact of the pandemic.”

Jadwat said that the G20 has a key role in creating the conditions for future prosperity.

“Australia is focused on job creation through supply-side reforms and on restoring demand and enabling a private sector-led recovery, which is very important. The G20 has a key role in promoting the importance of the multilateral trading system and in providing political guidance and support for World Trade Organization reform.”

In commenting on the summit’s theme for this year, “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century For All,” the ambassador said that it has taken on a new meaning during the pandemic.

“Saving lives has to be our top priority. Australia is committed to equitable access to a vaccine once it’s developed and is actively engaged in international efforts to this end, through the Gavi-led COVAX facility. We need to support the health capacity of all vulnerable and low-income countries across regions, including the small states in our region closer to Australia,” he said.

Australian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ridwaan Jadwat. (Supplied)

Jadwat emphasized prioritizing economic growth as part of the G20 agenda while also ensuring that the global financial safety net is adequate, well-resourced, and responsive, adding that women’s participation will be vital to an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.

“This is a key priority for Australia across the G20. We want to hold the pandemic-induced backsliding and resume progress toward the Brisbane 25 by 25 goal,” he said, referring to the 2014 G20 initiative to reduce the gender gap in labor force participation by 25 percent by 2025.

Jadwat applauded the Women 20 (W20) engagement group for hosting a successful summit, which he said will feed strong outcomes into the leaders’ meeting.

“I had the great pleasure of meeting with W20 Sherpa Salma Al-Rashid and Chair Dr. Thoraya Obaid. We are very happy with the work they have been doing over the course of this year, including working with W20 representatives from Australia.”

Since Jadwat first assumed his position as ambassador to Saudi Arabia, strengthening relations between Australia and the Kingdom has been a priority.


Australia’s consumer price index for 2020 rose 1.6% this quarter.

“It’s been an important mission for me to help build bridges between our two peoples. Australia’s relations with Saudi Arabia have been consistently friendly and constructive, but we can do even more together.”

Jadwat said that although the two countries are relatively far away from each other geographically, both economies have strong complementarities. With similarly sized populations, large desert areas, and abundant natural resources, Jadwat pointed out that the cornerstone of Australia’s relations with Saudi Arabia is strong trade-economic ties.

“We have natural strengths in the energy sector, but we are not competitors. We both value technology and finding innovative ways to solve problems. We have much to offer Saudi Arabia in education mining, agriculture and tourism, especially as it diversifies its economy.”

Jadwat highlighted that a goal of Vision 2030 is to develop the tourism sector and that Australia has much experience in managing sustainable, environmentally friendly tourism projects, like in the Great Barrier Reef and other places throughout the country.

“I think we have a lot to offer in terms of our expertise in tourism and environmental management. Australia is a mining superpower that has helped make us the 13th largest economy in the world. I know there are a lot of unexplored natural resources in Saudi Arabia. So in terms of engineering and mineral exploration, Australia has a lot to offer.

“One of the things that I’m most proud of is the education relationship and the number of alumni from Australian universities who are here in Saudi Arabia. We also have thousands of Saudi students who continue to study every year in Australia. I think that’s a testament to the relationship between the two societies. I feel that those Saudi students who come back to the Kingdom become ambassadors for Australia as well,” he said.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

German ambassador hails ‘exemplary’ Saudi G20 role

Time: 02 November 2020

Riyadh and Berlin enjoy longstanding connections in the economic, political and cultural fields. (Shutterstock)
  • Kingdom’s presidency stands symbolically for the country’s opening towards the world, says envoy

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia dealt with the coronavirus pandemic in an exemplary way, leading from the front in its role as president of the G20, German Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Jörg Ranau has told Arab News.

In an exclusive interview, Ranau said: “The Saudi G20 presidency has dealt with the effects of the pandemic in an exemplary way. The decisions to hold the numerous meetings virtually were based on a thorough and realistic assessment of the global situation and bear witness to the presidency’s responsibility in this respect.

“It was clear since the beginning of the pandemic that the agenda had to be refocused. Saudi Arabia certainly can take the credit for not losing the other main issues of global economic interest and working towards sustainable solutions with all G20 members under difficult circumstances,” the envoy added.

On the G20 presidency shouldering the responsibility to help the world move forward in the right direction, the envoy said that multilateralism and the belief in finding solutions to global challenges together lay at the heart of the G20.

“Germany has been a staunch supporter of the G20 since its inception. Founded in reaction to the financial crisis in Asia in the 90s, the G20 developed into the principal forum for international cooperation. The themes of the Saudi presidency are highly topical and require attention by the international community as a whole. The results of the discussions and coordination of efforts made by the G20 regarding the fight against climate change, as well as youth and women’s empowerment, will be important guidelines for future international efforts,” said Ranau.

On expectations from the Riyadh summit, he said: “As globalization continues, we increasingly witness how differently people are impacted by its consequences. For instance, while CO2 emissions are created especially in industrially strong regions, the consequences of global warming are felt most by nations in the Global South. Similarly, while some regions have been able to prosper in conditions of peace with their neighbors, others continue to struggle with violent conflict. In times like these, multilateral fora like the G20 are among the most important instruments in our toolbox to address global inequalities, by streamlining our efforts and exchanging our best practices. Only then can the opportunities created by our globalized world be enjoyed equally by all.”

He said that the G20 agenda was broad. “Climate change is probably the most pressing challenge of our time. Fundamentally global in its nature, it is a prime example for an issue that can only be addressed effectively by the international community as a whole.

“Climate change is linked intrinsically to industrial and consumer activities, and the G20, as the world’s leading industrial nations, should therefore assume the associated responsibilities,” he explained. “We should aim for a broad and unequivocal commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and its irreversibility.” He said that Germany had long advocated for a prominent place of sustainable development on the G20 agenda. Under the Japanese presidency, the G20 committed to a timely implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“It is thus fitting that the Saudi presidency seeks to implement concrete actions to finance the 2030 sustainable development agenda. It is also important that the Saudi presidency continues to advance the compact with Africa, initiated under the German G20 presidency in order to promote private investment in Africa,” he added.

On the need for resolutions for more employment and growth, the ambassador stated: “As we work towards the goal of an attractive economic future for our youth, employment and growth opportunities will clearly represent a major focus.

“Our dynamic markets are connected by trade, and I am convinced that a fair and free, rule-based global trade regime is needed to foster such an environment,” he said.

“Let me also mention finance, which plays a crucial role for the G20. Here we need to work on fair taxation for the digital economy. And we need to work towards a more level playing field for corporate taxes. This is an area where a solution is due in 2020,” he added.

Saudi Arabia hosting the 2020 G20 summit as the first country of the Arab world offers it the opportunity to share the perspective of the Middle East and North Africa region, the envoy said. “Saudi Arabia lies at the crossroads of two continents and at the intersection of emerging and developed markets. To make the G20 a truly global forum, issues such as youth and women’s empowerment, cleaner and more sustainable energy systems or water management need to be addressed from all conceivable angles and the regional perspective is of great importance in the G20 discussions,” said Ranau.

German Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Jörg Ranau

He said the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Germany was longstanding, with important connections in the economic, political and cultural fields.

“As the different delegations from Germany will attend the ministerial meetings and ultimately the Riyadh summit, existing Saudi-German ties will be strengthened and new connections will be created,” he added. “Over the past years, we have witnessed the tremendous reform progress Saudi Arabia is undergoing, illustrated most recently by the manifold activities that were offered during the Riyadh season,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer both for old and new visitors, and I will remain an interested witness during my posting as ambassador to this country,” said Ranau.

On the opportunity for Saudi society and its economy, on the path to diversification through Saudi Vision 2030, he said: “Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency also stands symbolically for the country’s overall opening towards the world. Saudi Arabia has embarked on a major social and economic transformation: Vision 2030. Many aspects of it, such as empowering youth and women, or fostering small and medium sized enterprises, are mirrored by the G20 Agenda.

“I hope that the discussions at the G20 summit will be driven by the same ambition and innovative spirit that characterizes the Saudi Arabian reform process. Surely this year, more than ever, there is the need and the opportunity for a meaningful output by the G20 summit,” he added.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

New truce in Abyan brings peace to southern Yemen


Forces from the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council (STC) said that they received similar orders from their commanders to end hostilities in Abyan. (Reuters/File Photo)

  • ilitary units loyal to the internationally recognized government received on Friday orders from the government to immediately put into place a truce
  • The Yemeni government and separatists have been at war during the past couple of years

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s soldiers and separatists agreed on Friday to put into place a “comprehensive and permanent” truce in the southern province of Abyan and other contested areas, local army commanders said on Saturday.

The fresh announcement about halting hostilities comes as Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed, prime minister-designate, is closing in on announcing the formation of a new shared government agreed under the Saudi-brokered Riyadh Agreement.

Military units loyal to the internationally recognized government received on Friday orders from the government to immediately put into place a truce, ending military alerts that have been in place in the province of Abyan for months.

“We have received orders to end combat standby state and put into place a comprehensive and permanent truce in the province,” a local government military officer in Abyan, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Arab News on Saturday. “It seems that the politicians in Riyadh reached an agreement,” the officer said, referring to the continuing new government consultation between Yemeni rivals.

Forces from the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council (STC) said that they received similar orders from their commanders to end hostilities in Abyan.

The Yemeni government and separatists have been at war during the past couple of years.

Aimed at ending the STC’s unilateral self rule in southern provinces, the government launched a military offensive in May in Abyan that has claimed the lives of dozens on both sides.

In July, Saudi Arabia, which brokered the Riyadh Agreement in late 2019, proposed a new mechanism for accelerating the implementation of the agreement which led to Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi mandating Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed to form a new government and the naming of a new governor and chief of security for Aden.

On the ground, the Kingdom has deployed military officers to monitor a truce between the rivals and the implementation of military and security arrangements under the deal.

The premier-designate is putting the final touches on his consultations with Yemeni parties on a new government as major ministries were distributed between Yemen’s big and small parties, two sources told Arab News on Saturday.

“A new government might see light this week as combat forces will simultaneously pull out of contested areas and join fighting against the Houthis,” a senior STC source in Riyadh, said preferring anonymity.

Military and security arrangements under the deal, such as the STC withdrawal of military units from Aden, the country’s interim capital, and Abyan, have long blocked the formation of a new government as the legitimate government insists on the implementation of the security and military side of the agreement before announcing the agreement.

To end the impasse, the rivals agreed to announce the government this week, coinciding with the withdrawal of forces from Aden and Abyan, sources told Arab News.

Government and STC sources in Riyadh said that under the current consultations, Yemen’s president would pick names for four “sovereign” ministries — defense, interior, finance and foreign affairs.

The STC was given the ministries of transport, social affairs and labor, civil service and insurance, agricultural and fisheries, as well as the ministry of public works and highways.

The remaining ministries were distributed between the General People’s Congress that has ruled Yemen for three decades, the Islamist Islah Party, the Socialist Party, the Islamist Rashad Party and Hadramout Inclusive Conference.

Reacting to the news of a new government announcement and the halt of hostilities in their province, people in the contested areas in Abyan voiced hope that the factions would this time become serious and end fighting in their areas. “We are tired of fighting. We want to return to our normal life,” a man from Abyan’s Shouqra, who asked to remain anonymous, told Arab News.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Russia’s Putin discuss global oil markets

Time: 14 October 2020  

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (File/SPA)

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
During the call, they reviewed world oil markets, and the efforts made to achieve and maintain stability, support the growth of the global economy, Saudi Press Agency reported.

They also agreed on the importance of all oil-producing countries continuing to cooperate on and abide by the OPEC+ agreement to cut oil production.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Arabs and normalization with Israel: What role does the UAE play?


The United Arab Emirates is not only a pioneer in the cultural renaissance with the facilities it has established and initiatives it has launched, but has also managed to achieve a true diplomatic renaissance with the peace treaty it signed with Israel recently — an agreement that protects its borders and stability, but also exceeds the geographical frontiers of the nation to reach the whole Arab region.

The initiative has reflected on the geopolitical relationships in the Arab region and its relations with the Western countries, especially the US, Russia and China, placing Arabs in the heart of international events and achieving development in the Arab region.

However, the “normalization” agreement with Israel divided opinion in the Arab world between supporters, opponents and skeptics about the normalization possibility with a Hebrew state. Whether it is betraying the Palestinian cause or defending it, what might seem like a harsh treatment in reality is the only way to bring recovery, health and security.

Wise people see that normalization with Israel is the best gift to Palestinians, as it reflects positively on the security, social and economic aspects.

The tolerance that the UAE has promoted though this agreement is not just a theory but a true effort to embody it on the practical and diplomatic levels, preceded by efforts to spread awareness about just issues, equality, co-living and accepting differences, thus contributing toward building the new awareness of Arab people, who believe in freedom, dignity and humanitarian values.

Throughout the decades, all the diplomatic efforts and numerous foreign ministerial meetings — even those held with presidents and kings of Arab nation — have not succeeded in achieving peace or stability in the Arab region, leaving border conflicts ongoing, and creating security, social and economic conflicts, especially in the past few years.

These crises have recently become a threat to neighborly relations with Arab countries that share the same religion, language and history, as well as the relations with the Western countries. Therefore, the success of the UAE in signing a permanent peace treaty with Israel represents an important event on the Arab level, to reflect positively on the whole region and pave the way for a new era.

Believing in a common destiny and the right to live and exist is a prologue to modifying many convictions, especially those stemming from the remnants of extremist and racist parties, which consider themselves sole possessors of the truth.

Now is the time to amend misconceptions and purify the Arab mind from the remnants of corruption and backwardness, by declaring tolerance and reconciliation with all entities, which is consistent with the principles of our religion, as Islam was purely founded on peace, yielding to the truth and defending peace.

Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, is one of the most prominent planners of the peace treaty with Israel. Many political figures in Arab and Islamic countries followed in his footsteps, in favor of what is right and believing in the unity of a common destiny. There will be no injustice, aggression, or violation of the rights of any party, as long as everyone resides on one land. There is either a necessity for coexistence or common mortality, there is no in-between. He who has the slightest bit of sound thinking can sense a rational decision for a healthy life free from any threat. So, can a person be innovative in an environment marked by fear and oppression?

Security and stability represent the basis of a decent life, but an authoritarian or transcendent policy — if not to say extremism — spoils a lot of friendliness. Instead of creating opportunities for survival, we see them stifling life’s chances. This is exactly how we describe the confusion that stemmed from the ideas and positions of some extremist parties, when the UAE announced the decision to normalize with Israel.

These parties hide behind TV channels, websites and all kinds of media platforms to sow disparity and conflict among the children of a single people, instead of standing together against others. But despite all attempts to downplay this decision and call it treason, they do not have the power to change reality and are unable to suggest a real alternative that ends the Arab-Israeli conflict and brings stability to the region.

People do not aspire for more than a decent life. However, some arrogant regimes want to fish in troubled waters and do not wish to see stability, unity and cooperation among Arabs. Perhaps many signs of hope are looming on the horizon with the increasing number of diplomatic voices who are supporting the UAE’s decision to normalize relations and revive the bonds of exchange and cooperation.

This will undoubtedly be a new revolution that will fix what the blind revolutions — or what is known as the Arab Spring — have ruined. The blind revolutions were incapable of achieving stability, but rather have unlawfully and without any shame destroyed and demolished homes above their innocent inhabitants’ heads. And at the end of the day, they say: “Normalizing with Israel is a betrayal and a setback.” They have forgotten that the greatest betrayal lies in the failure to keep up with civilization.

Fares Al-Ghanami is a Saudi writer and intellectual interested in political affairs. Twitter: @farescom200

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi Arabia backs UN’s coronavirus response plan with $100 million


During a virtual meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, announced the Kingdom’s donation of US$100 million to support the International Response Plan to coronavirus pandemic. (Twitter/@ksamissionun)
  • Kingdom’s donation will support UN’s International Response Plan to coronavirus pandemic
  • Guterres thanked Saudi Arabia for its generous and continuous support to UN

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said Friday it was donating $100 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) and toward a number of projects in support of a United Nations response plan to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement was made by the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, during a virtual event with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Saudi Press Agency reported.
“The International Response Plan to coronavirus pandemic, the WHO and other UN agencies will benefit from this Saudi donation,” Al-Mouallimi tweeted following the meeting.

Earlier, Al-Mouallimi said that “this support comes within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s international efforts in support of the response to combating the coronavirus, and awareness of the importance of cooperation, solidarity and collective and international action to foster a transparent, robust, coordinated and wide-ranging global response.”
He said the Kingdom was carrying out “the role it has been entrusted with toward multilateralism, collective and international action in order to confront the COVID-19 pandemic,” adding that Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries “to extend a hand of aid and coordination” with countries affected by the spread of the virus.
Al-Mouallimi said that the Kingdom is working to enable the UN to lead international action to intensify global efforts to combat coronavirus, and to enhance support for developing countries and the most vulnerable regions in fighting this pandemic.
In particular, he mentioned assisting refugees, raising the standards of living among the world’s poorest groups, developing fragile economies, mediating an end to conflicts, and building more harmonious relationships between nations.
Guterres thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the Kingdom’s generous and continuous support to the organization, saying that Saudi Arabia worked in partnership with the UN to support security, stability and prosperity in all parts of the world, especially in Yemen.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home