Saudi-based interfaith group KAICIID presents work at Global Horasis Meeting in Portugal

Time: 10 June 2021

AICIID Secretary-General Faisal bin Muammar at the Global Horasis Meeting in Portugal. (SPA)

RIYADH: The King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) took part in the activities of the 2021 Horasis Extraordinary Meeting in Portugal.

The meeting, which was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, saw the participation of policymakers, business people and organizations concerned with dialogues and human values.

KAICIID was represented by its secretary-general, Faisal bin Muammar, who, in his speech, stressed the importance of committing to the promotion of the role of religious institutions and leaders to address the challenges facing the world, shedding light on the coronavirus pandemic, which was the focus of this meeting, its lengthy prevalence, long-term repercussions and the shape of the world after recovering from it.

He reviewed the efforts KAICIID had made over the past year to address the challenges of the pandemic and activate the role of religious values and dialogue in resolving the crisis, which has claimed many lives, doubled poverty rates and increased economic and social pressures, as a result of the preventive and quarantine measures that were taken to limit the spread of the pandemic.

Bin Muammar stressed the importance of “including religious institutions and improving their ability to support policymakers and face the global challenges that could be long-lasting.”

Held every year, the Global Horasis Meeting is attended by politicians, heads of state and business leaders worldwide to share insights on cooperation, impact, innovation and sustainable growth.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Jameel family committed to making world a better place

Time: 08 June 2021

Participants at last year’s Startups Investment Forum organized by MIT Enterprise Forum Saudi Arabia and Bab Rizq Jameel, an initiative of Community Jameel.

Marking 75 years of commercial operations — and three quarters of a century of associated philanthropy — the Jameel family has reinforced its commitment to driving positive change and thereby realizing the potential of people, business and communities — the guiding principles pioneered by the business’ founder, the late Abdul Latif Jameel, since its beginnings in the mid-1940s. In doing so, the Jameel family has underlined its ongoing contribution toward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

A new animated video illustrates numerous achievements of the globally diversified family business Abdul Latif Jameel, their global investment arm JIMCO, and the family’s philanthropic and community activities, including Bab Rizq Jameel, Art Jameel, Community Jameel Saudi, and Community Jameel.

In 2015, UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, creating a shared blueprint for global peace and prosperity. Acknowledging that governments alone cannot accomplish these ambitious goals, the Jameel family has built diverse and wide-ranging alliances based on respect, shared values, and a mutual vision of creating tangible impact toward achieving the SDGs.

Mohammed Jameel KBE, chairman and chief executive of Abdul Latif Jameel, founder and chairman of Bab Rizq Jameel, and founder and chairman of Community Jameel Saudi and Community Jameel, said: “I am proud of the way in which we do business, and of our commitment to continuous improvement. Through this commitment we aim to make the world a better place for all by investing in the infrastructure of life. With this in mind, I believe we can contribute to the 17 SDGs, but for some, we can have a more immediate and direct impact, and it’s here that we place our emphasis.

“We continue to invest in a range of exciting areas, such as the future of mobility, renewable energy, energy storage, water projects and health-tech. Likewise we continue with our philanthropic efforts to make a significant difference in addressing some of mankind’s greatest global challenges.”

Fady Jameel, deputy president and vice chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, chairman and founder of Art Jameel, and vice chairman of Bab Rizq Jameel, Community Jameel Saudi and Community Jameel, said: “It is clear that to create the future we want and need, private capital, both directly and in public-private partnerships, has the ability to create positive real-life impact. Whether this impact is created by achieving commercial goals or through philanthropic work, these pursuits can be followed in a manner in which the world can truly prosper.”

Hassan Jameel, deputy president and vice chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, and vice chairman of Bab Rizq Jameel, Community Jameel Saudi and Community Jameel, added: “Collaborative partnerships are the key to achieving the ambitions of the SDGs. Our aim is to partner with philanthropic organizations and invest in companies that share this commitment to driving transformational impact and reach these global goals.”

Alongside Bab Rizq Jameel, Art Jameel, Community Jameel Saudi, and Community Jameel and other philanthropic partnerships, the family continues its activities to address some of humanity’s most pressing challenges, which are aligned toward achieving the UN’s SDGs. This effort includes working with leaders, community organizations, art foundations and youth to improve the quality of life around the world.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Princess Reema highlights strong Saudi-US ties during key webinar

Time: 01 June 2021

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States Princess Reema Bint Bandar said that her goal is to unlock the Kingdom’s untapped potential, uplifting citizens and opening the country to the world socially and economically, as well as culturally.

She made these remarks carried by The Washington Diplomat, a US-based premier source of news and information for the global diplomatic community, recently during an online event, a part of the “Women in Global Leadership” webinar series.

The event, which was moderated by Susan Sloan, author of “A Seat at the Table: Women, Diplomacy and Lessons for the World,” offered a rare peek into the life and worldview of Princess Reema, who is considered to be one of the most powerful women in the Middle East.

Princess Reema, who made history by becoming Saudi Arabia’s first female ambassador, is the daughter of Prince Bandar bin Sultan. She grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia, while her father served as the Kingdom’s ambassador from 1983 to 2005.

Sharing her thoughts about her role model and the experience of her early life in the US, Princess Reema said: “My father remains, I think, the model of a Saudi diplomat. During his 23-year tenure I grew up in the United States. I was immersed in the culture of the US,” she said.

She added: “I’m lucky to have experienced life in both countries because it prepared me not only to work in the kingdom and bring dreams and aspirations of things I saw here but also allowed me to represent my nation.”

Princess Reema as an experienced diplomat emphasized her bipartisan approach with regard to American politics said: “The people I went to school with are now senators and congressman, CEOs, leaders of their countries. But the America I grew up in was not a diplomatic world, because my father did not include us in that.

“We didn’t know who was a Republican and who was a Democrat. We knew them as family,” Bandar said, admitting a shocking revelation: her family was fans of the Dallas Cowboys, not the Redskins, she added.

The Saudi ambassador to the US also talked about how unmindful she was about her Arab background while growing in the US, pointing out she still relishes memories of those times.

“I remember the onslaught of the cicadas. I remember ‘Hands Across America’ and the best of the music and the culture of the 1980s,” Princess Reema said Bandar, adding that she didn’t even know there was an Arab community in the Washington metro area until the age of 15. “My memories of America are memories of joy.”

She said things changed dramatically in the US after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which caused some misgivings but our bilateral relations were too strong to be affected.

“Our partnership has been tested at times,” said Princess Reema, adding: “When I took up my diplomatic post, my father took me aside, and he told me that today’s times are different. He advised me to keep in mind every day what’s at stake, and the responsibility I had to oversee, preserve and strengthen a relationship not bound by any single administration, or defined by any single issue.”

Vowing to further strengthen Saudi Arabia’s relations with the US, Princess Reema said: “It is my goal to explain to the American people why this alliance between our two nations is even more important now than ever before.”

Unfortunately, she said, American views of Saudi culture are often misunderstood, leading to stereotypes and negative publicity — especially when it comes to the country’s abysmal human rights record, its treatment of women, and its strict interpretation of Islam.

“We can’t wait for change to happen. We have to make it happen,” Princess Reema said. “In Saudi Arabia, we’re transforming faster than anyone had ever imagined, and that reform process is real, and it’s here to stay.”

Dismissing concerns over Saudi Arabia’s relations with the current US administration led by President Joe Bide, the Saudi ambassador said: “I very much look forward to working with the Biden administration.”

Princes Reema during the webinar also highlighted the Kingdom Vision 2030, a strategic framework to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy and improve health, education, infrastructure and tourism.

“If we’ve done our job right, after 2030 you’re going to see a country that has a diversified economy, having stepped away from fossil fuels,” she said.

She also referred to Neom, a $500 billion futuristic urban project to house more than a million people on a 10,200-square-mile piece of desert in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

“Neom is the city of the future. That doesn’t mean we’ll have robots walking around, but a clean lifestyle,” Princess Reema said.

“Our future doesn’t have to be bleak. As we’ve seen with COVID-19, all this digital revolution has done is isolate us from each other. Coexistence with people and nature is really what we need.”

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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US envoy meets Saudi crown prince in fresh Yemen peace push

30/04/21

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Tim Lenderking. (SPA)

Lenderking called the battle for the Marib region the single biggest threat to peace efforts
Lenderking is expected to also travel to Oman
AL-MUKALLA: US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking met Saudi Arabia’s crown prince as he pushes efforts to end Yemen’s civil war.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the diplomat discussed the latest Yemeni developments and reviewed the joint efforts exerted by both countries to reach a comprehensive political solution for the Yemeni crisis.
The meeting was attended by the Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi Ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, and the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber.
They were also joined by the chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Riyadh, Martina Strong, and the US Ambassador to Yemen, Christopher Henzel.
Lenderking is expected to also travel to Oman, the US State Department said in a statement.
Lenderking’s “discussions will focus on ensuring the regular and unimpeded delivery of commodities and humanitarian assistance throughout Yemen, promoting a lasting ceasefire, and transitioning the parties to a political process,” the statement said.
Lenderking “will build on the international consensus to halt the Houthi offensive on Marib, which only worsens the humanitarian crisis threatening the Yemeni people,” the State Department said.
Last week, Lenderking called the battle for the Marib region the single biggest threat to peace efforts. He said Iran’s support for the Houthi movement was “quite significant and it’s lethal.”
Separately, a team of US envoys is traveling to the Middle East this week for talks with key allies, a senior US official said, amid simmering concerns in the region about President Joe Biden’s attempt to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal.
“A senior interagency delegation will be traveling over the coming week to discuss a number of important matters related to US national security and ongoing efforts toward a de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East region,” the official said.
The delegation will be led by Brett McGurk, the White House National Security Council’s Middle East policy coordinator, and State Department counselor Derek Chollett, a source familiar with the trip said.
While the final itinerary was unclear, there were tentative plans for the team to visit Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Jordan. Bloomberg News was first to report the news of the trip.
Meanwhile, the Houthis dismissed a prosecutor who ordered the release of the abducted Yemeni model Entesar Al-Hammadi as they intimidated her lawyer to quit the case.
Khaled Mohammed Al-Kamal said the Houthi judicial authorities on Wednesday replaced Riyadh Al-Aryani, a prosecutor who questioned the model and found out she was not guilty of a crime and ordered her release, and threatened to put her on trial.
“They want to tell him that he should say she committed a crime instead of ordering her release,” Al-Kamal said, adding that an unidentified man stopped him in the street and threatened to punish him if he continued to defend the model.
“I alerted my colleagues at Yemen Lawyers Union about the death threat. My client is not a criminal and was arrested on the street,” he said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Bahraini FM: We trust Saudi Arabia’s role in promoting Gulf dialogue

28/12/20

Bahrain’s foreign minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani attends the Gulf Arab foreign ministers meeting. (BNA)

  • Gulf countries aim to stand up to interference in their internal affairs: Al-Zayani
  • Foreign ministers meeting comes ahead of summit to discuss steps to end row between Gulf states and Qatar

LONDON: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has confidence in Saudi Arabia’s role in promoting dialogue in the Gulf, Bahrain’s foreign minister said on Sunday.

Speaking during a virtual meeting of Gulf Arab foreign ministers, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani said that the Kingdom played an “important role” in beginning a new phase to strengthen Gulf dialogue and bridge the rift in the region.

Gulf countries aim to stand up to interference in their internal affairs and stressed the need to end regional conflicts by peaceful means, Al-Zayani added.

The foreign ministers meeting comes ahead of a summit that will be hosted by Saudi Arabia to discuss steps to end a diplomatic row between Gulf states and Qatar.

The meeting hosted by Bahrain prepared the ground for the 41st session of the GCC Summit which will be held on Jan. 5 in Riyadh, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

Al-Zayani added that GCC countries aim to confront hate speech and violence, and to protect their security.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman invites Gulf leaders for Riyadh summit

26/12/20

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has formally invited leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the January summit. (AFP)
  • The invitation was sent through GCC Secretary-General Dr. Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has formally invited leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the 41st group summit being held in Riyadh on January 5 next year.

The invitation was sent through GCC Secretary-General Dr. Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, a statement from the group said. Among the first to receive the invite was UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, with the invitation received by the Dubai ruler and Vice-President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

“The commitment by Gulf leaders to hold the summit on an annual basis, and especially in these exceptional times, is a testament to the strength of the GCC, to their belief in their duty to the people of the Gulf, and their devotion to increasing cooperation and integration among member countries,” Dr. Al-Hajraf said in the statement.

“Today, as the GCC enters its fifth decade with a global pandemic in the backdrop, the institution’s mission to facilitate trade and economic integration among member states is more relevant than at any time in its history.

“The GCC remains focused on meeting the ambitions of the Gulf people, increasing integration, interconnectedness, and trade among member states and the international community. I am grateful to their Majesties and Highnesses, the leaders of the GCC states, for their tireless efforts to further strengthen Gulf cooperation.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi crown prince, Brazil’s Bolsonaro discuss G20 coordination

21/11/20

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (L) shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as they attend a meeting on the digital economy at the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019. (Photo by Jacques Witt / POOL / AFP)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (L) shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as they attend a meeting on the digital economy at the G20 Summit in Osaka. (File/AFP)
  • They also discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them
  • Riyadh will host 15 G20 Summit on Nov. 21 and 22

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman telephoned Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the call, they discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to enhance them, as well as ways to coordinate efforts made within the activities of the G20 leaders’ summit that the Kingdom will host from Saturday.

Saudi Arabia assumed presidency of the G20 on Dec 1, 2019 and is set to host the 15th two-day annual summit in the capital Riyadh on Nov. 21-22.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia’s success in eliminating extremism praised

14/11/20

JEDDAH: The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, confirmed that the speech of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, in which he thanked King Salman, according to his speech before the Shoura Council, was characterized by transparency in all local affairs, including achievements made by Saudi Arabia in a short period of time.
He praised the assurance of the crown prince that the Kingdom combated terrorism and extremism by eliminating the ideological project that was made for 40 years, as Saudi citizens showed their tolerance and reject extremist ideas. “The crown prince’s digression explained that Islam criminalized terrorist operations and prohibited bloodshed.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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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

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Saudi Crown Prince holds call with Iraqi PM

Time: 19 August, 2020

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a telephone call with Iraq’s prime minister on Wednesday.

During the call, Prince Mohammed and Mustafa Al-Kadhimi discussed efforts to stabilize global oil markets and restore balance to them.

They agreed it was important that all member states were fully committed to the OPEC+ agreement.

This article was first published in Arab News

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