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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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 Arabia joins the G20 Troika as it prepares to host summit in 2020

Time: December 02, 2018  

Saudi Arabia will play host to the G20 summit meetings in 2020 after Japan next year. (Supplied)

Saudi Arabia joined on Saturday the G20 Troika, a three-member country committee chaired by current summit presidency, the 2019 presidency of Japan and Saudi Arabia, the future summit Presidency when it hosts the meetings in 2020.

The press release added that the Troika was established to ensure that previous, current and subsequent G20 presidencies work hand-in-hand to achieve consistency and continuity of the group’s agenda.

It noted “As we leave Buenos Aires today, we look back on the Argentine Presidency with much appreciation for its significant progress on the core issues spanning the future of work, infrastructure for development, and sustainable food future, with special emphasis on women empowerment and digital economy. At the same time, the Kingdom looks forward to working with Japan, G20 Presidency in 2019, to further advance the G20 goals of addressing global economic challenges and promoting sustainable, inclusive and balanced world growth.”

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is welcomed by Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri as he arrives for the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires. (Reuters)

The G20 press release said “Since the announcement of the 2020 G20 Saudi Presidency at the 2017 G20 Hamburg Summit, the Kingdom commenced a whole of government approach for its Presidency’s preparation. The G20 Saudi Secretariat was established to coordinate efforts, with the aim of pursuing a progressive agenda that advances the Group’s accomplishments and priorities across global economic and developmental fronts. Going forward, Saudi Arabia will capitalize on its regional and international roles to engage with G20 members, invited countries, civil societies, and international and regional organizations to incorporate diverse viewpoints that reach policy recommendations addressing current and emerging global challenges impacting societies and economies throughout the world.”

The press release said that the “G20 Saudi Arabia Presidency will include a multitude of meetings, throughout the year of its Presidency, for ministers, deputies, working groups and other stakeholders with the aim of building broad consensus on policy proposals that address G20 topics. These meetings will be crowned by the G20 Leaders’ Summit.”

It concluded that “Saudi Arabia is undergoing major economic and social transformation guided by its Vision 2030, which is closely aligned with core G20 objectives of achieving macroeconomic stability, sustainable development, women empowerment, enhanced human capital, and increased flow of trade and investment.

Working in close cooperation with G20 members and other relevant stakeholders, Saudi Arabia said it looks forward to a successful Presidency where it will play a leading and constructive role in contributing to a positive and sustainable impact in our region and the world at large.”

This article was first published in Al Arabiya English  

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Saudi Crown Prince meets with French President Macron at G20 Summit

Time: 30 November 2018

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday at the G20 Summit. (Supplied)

World leaders welcomed Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday at the G20 Summit convening at Costa Salguero in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires.

Earlier to the start of G20 Summit with leaders of the world’s top economies gathered, Saudi Crown Prince met French President Emmanuel Macron and was seen enjoying a chat.

According to the Elysee Palace, Macron discussed oil prices and the role Saudi Arabia can play.

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Saudi Crown Prince meets with South Korea President at G20

Time: 30 November 2018 

Saudi Crown Prince talks to South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. (Supplied)

World leaders welcomed Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday at the G20 summit convening at Costa Salguero in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires.

Prior to the start of G20 Summit with leaders of the world’s top economies gathered, Saudi Crown Prince met with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.

This article was first published in Al Arabiya English  

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Saudi Crown Prince meets with Mexico President at G20

Time: 30 November 2018  

Saudi Crown Prince talking to Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto ahead of the start of G20 Summit in Argentina. (AFP)

World leaders welcomed Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday at the G20 summit convening at Costa Salguero in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires.

Prior to the start of G20 Summit with leaders of the world’s top economies gathered, Saudi Crown Prince met with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto.

This article was first published in Al Arabiya English  

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Exclusive: Saudi state finalized ownership transfer of $10 billion financial district

TIME: May 3, 2018

RIYADH (Reuters) – The Saudi government has finalized terms to transfer ownership of the kingdom’s glitzy $10 billion financial district in Riyadh to the finance ministry and Public Investment Fund (PIF), five sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The move paves the way for reviving work on King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), which has been planned since 2006 to house banks and the financial regulator’s headquarters across an area roughly four times the size of London’s Canary Wharf.

The project, owned by the kingdom’s Public Pension Agency, has been plagued by construction delays, cost overruns and uncertainty about the future of its ownership. Cranes at the site have been still for three years.

“It is a transfer (of ownership), not a transaction. The Ministry of Finance will take the legal ownership and PIF will have the operating rights,” said one of the sources, who like others asked not to be identified.

Another source said the government was planning to commit 2.3 billion Saudi riyals ($613.3 million) to fund the completion of the project, including payment of existing claims.

Officials at the Ministry of Finance and PIF were not immediately available for comment.

The completion of KAFD would be a milestone for the kingdom’s economic and social reform drive, launched in 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Talks to transfer the project to PIF began in 2016, around the same time the government said it would rescue the district as part of its Vision 2030 efforts to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

The plan envisages transforming KAFD into a special business zone with distinct regulations and visa exemptions.

However, the PIF talks fell apart the following year and details for the special regulations were never clarified.

Two of the sources said the project’s main contractor, the Saudi Binladin Group, on Wednesday contacted hundreds of workers who have been on leave since the project stalled, and told them to return to work within 10 days.

The government wants the district, whose glassy skyscrapers and Zaha Hadid-designed metro station contrast with drab architecture in much of Riyadh, to be ready in time for Saudi Arabia to host the G20 Summit in 2020.

KAFD will also host a revived film industry in Saudi Arabia, another pillar of the reform program. After almost a 40-year ban, an AMC movie theater opened its doors in late April at a converted part of the district’s conference center.

This article was first published in the Reuters