Saudi Airlines Welcomes ‘Saudization’ of Women Jobs

Jeddah – Saudization of women jobs is welcomed, affirmed the Saudi Arabian Airlines, as there is no problem in benefiting from females in its various facilities on land or in air.

Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines Saleh al-Jasser told Asharq Al-Awsat that opening the door before Saudi women in the aviation field is welcomed, but he didn’t specify a deadline for commencing the recruitment of females at a time when men pilots are applying for vacancies open in Saudia.

“Everything is possible. The plans aim at going along with the developments of the society and the aviation industry on diverse levels. We are open to all what serves the country and citizens,” he added.

Jasser stressed that Saudia invested in human resources through continuing to attract citizens via training programs that become jobs later on – he pointed out that during the past months procedures of the third batch of trainees were completed within King Salman Scholarship Program.

King Salman Scholarship Program aims to provide sponsorship to 5,000 Saudi youths in the fields of aviation sciences and airplanes’ engineering and maintenance in some of the most noble global universities and training academies, according to Jasser.

Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines Saleh bin Nasser al-Jasser revealed the intention to send two flights to Iraq weekly in order to recover some markets that were lost for security and political reasons in the past period, adding that the increase of Saudi-Iraqi flights is likely during the coming period.

Commenting on the operational share to be acquired by Saudia, he stated that the anticipated inauguration of the new airport in Jeddah would increase number of passengers, confirming that inaugurating the new King Abdulaziz International Airport will introduce a new level of aviation industry in the kingdom.

Saudi Entertainment Authority Vows to Introduce 200,000 Jobs

Jeddah- Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Entertainment vowed to provide some 200,000 job opportunities and to contribute 133 billion dollars to the annual national income by 2030.

In May 2016, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered the formation of the authority in a move that was welcomed by many Saudis who demand more entertainment activities in the country.

More so, the announcement was made amid verification being given by the tourism authority on its sector creating another 300,000 jobs as well.

Dr. Hatem Samman, Executive Director of Strategy at the General Authority for Entertainment, presented a roadmap for the entertainment industry during an opening session of a Jeddah-held forum.

He stressed the importance of building an integrated system of entertainment services across all Saudi cities and regions according to a regulated framework and system of governance, activating and diversifying the role of the private sector.

Samman also pointed that a study covering recreational services provided in 14 Saudi cities has been carried out—research recommendations will help outline the best experiences available in the kingdom and help expand them nationwide.

He also called on the community to be patient with the body’s procedures.

“During this brief period, the Authority has succeeded in playing a pivotal role in organizing the various events in all the cities of the Kingdom, despite the challenges it faces in light of the lack of options for entertainment,” he added.

Secretary General of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hassan Dahlan, who was the forum’s moderator, described the entertainment body as “the joy icon”.

The third session at the entertainment-oriented forum discussed the role of social media in promoting tourism and entertainment.

The fourth session dealt with the role of Jeddah Municipality in the development of the tourism and leisure industry.

National Investment Fund of $92 Billion to Invigorate Saudi Economy

Jeddah — The establishment of the National Development Fund (NFD) was meant to ensure new incentives for the Saudi economy with a capital of SAR 345 billion ($ 92 billion) pumped into the new fund.

The fund encompasses five other minor associate funds: the real estate fund standing at SAR 183 billion ($ 50 billion), the social development fund at SAR 46 billion (US $ 14 billion), the industrial development fund at SAR40 billion (US $ 1.5 billion), the Saudi development fund at SAR 31 billion (US $8.3 billion dollars), and the agricultural development fund of SAR 20 billion riyals (US $5.2 billion dollars).

The total capital of the five funds exceeds the capital of commercial banks operating in Saudi Arabia which stands at SAR 168.4 billion riyals ($ 48.8 billion) – placing the capital of the new entity close to twice as that of the combined capital of commercial banks.

Labor and Social Development Minister Dr. Nasser al-Ghafis said that “establishing the National Development Fund reflects the interest and keenness of the Kingdom’s wise leadership to continue supporting development programs and projects that serve the citizen directly and enhance national economy in line with sustainable development.”

Minister Ghafis stressed that the National Development Fund will raise the level of performance and productivity of funds and development banks in the Kingdom, working side by side with other government sectors to meet the aspirations of citizens in light of the economic development witnessed by the country.

The National Development Fund, which will supervise the functions of its affiliated bodies, will have a board of directors headed by the deputy prime minister and it will comprise a membership of not less than seven members nominated by the prime minister.

The board of directors of the National Development Fund will assume all tasks and powers, and make decisions, take progressive measures and other actions deemed necessary for establishing the fund.

The National Development Fund shall have a governor with a minister’s rank, who will be the executive officer of the fund.

Yemeni Government Solves Salary Issue in Taiz

A Houthi militant stands on a wall as he secures a gathering for women loyal to the Houthi movement in Sanaa, Yemen

Jeddah– The Yemeni government has succeeded in solving the problem of unpaid salaries of Taiz civil servants and the Ministry of Finance confirmed that the payrolls will be sent out on Wednesday.

Deputy Finance Minister Mansour al-Butani stated that the workers in the public sector in Taiz would receive their paychecks after all procedures had been executed.

Butani told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi ordered that workers be paid a month ago, but the delay was due to bureaucratic issues.

“President Hadi considered Taiz a liberated area and ordered the issuance of salaries after he signed the delivery of salaries a month ago. The problem was the lack of finances and that had been solved,” he added.

The deputy explained that a team had been assigned to issue sums of money from the National Bank estimated to be about $15.2 million. The acting manager of the National Bank signed the check and the staff was ordered to cash it out and deliver salaries to all employees in Taiz.

He added that employees at the education sector received about $12 million of all the amount and the remaining sums will be given to the executive offices including the radio station and al-Thawra newspaper.

The money was wired to al-Kuraimi Bank, and Butani said that now all employees can receive their salaries.

In other news, National Army troops announced that 12 Houthi insurgents and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdallah Saleh were killed during a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on the border of Baqem directorate, east of Saada governorate.

Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) reported SeptemberNet site saying that commander of al-Raboua area, believed to be an Iranian national, was killed during the raid.

Sources reported that commander of offensive operations, dubbed Abu al-Karrar al-Saadi, was chairing a meeting in the region when the air raid killed him as well as ten other militants.

Meanwhile, a military source in Alab axis stated that since early September, over 50 insurgents were killed while they were trying to infiltrate towards National Army posts in Sabhtal mountain and al-Khazan Hill, the Black Hills in Mandabah, al-Shaer mountain and Khashm al-Bakrah in Alab Axis north Saada.

Yemeni Insurgents Accused of Raising Prices of Liquefied Gas

Jeddah- The manipulation of liquefied natural gas prices by Houthi rebels has led to a drastic rise in the prices of gas canisters, 60 percent of which are sent to areas under insurgent control.

This has led the prices to rise more than 400 percent from 1,200 Yemeni riyals ($4.8) to 5,000 riyals ($20).

Undersecretary of Oil and Minerals Ministry Eng. Shawqi al-Mekhlafi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the legitimate government has been taking care of all the Yemenis.

Based on this responsibility, the Yemen Gas Company (YGC) provided the entire country with domestic gas, but the Houthi militias have systematically destroyed the institutions and practiced illegal bill collection and competition in the black market, leading to unreasonable prices.

Mekhlafi pointed out that the official prices are still the same and have not been modified by the Ministry of Oil, which is currently producing about 75 gas tank trucks, each loaded with 25 tons of gas. One ton is used to fill 86 canisters, distributed according to the density of the population in each governorate and city.

He said that the official price of the gas cylinder is 1,200 Yemeni riyals ($4.8), and this price goes to all Yemeni provinces, including areas that fall under the control of Houthis and Saleh’s forces.

Those areas receive more than 60 percent of the volume of production, Mekhlafi added.

In the worst case scenario, the price of each gas canister in the liberated areas amounts to 1,500 riyals ($6), Mekhlafi explained, noting that in areas under the control of the militias the prices have amounted to 5,000 Yemeni riyals ($20) in recent weeks.

He stressed that the legitimate government, in cooperation with the Saudi-led Arab coalition and the United Nations, allows vessels carrying petroleum products to dock at the port of Hodeidah, but the Houthi militias sell the shipments double the price.

Yemeni Minister Accuses Houthi Militias of Pushing Child Recruits to Drug Abuse


Jeddah – Human Rights Minister in the legitimate Yemeni government Dr. Mohammed Askar accused the Houthi insurgents of committing grave violations against children in the war-torn country.

Since they seized Sana’a in 2014, the violations have ranged from kidnapping to murder to recruitment for fighting. They have even reached the extent of forcing children into drug abuse, he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He said that in the first month alone of the coup, back in 2014, the Houthis committed 37 violations against children.

He based his allegations on a report by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor that documented a series of violations against educational institutions in Sana’a that were committed during the coup.

One of these violations included the recruitment of child soldiers, under the age of 18, and their deployment at checkpoints throughout the capital.

The recruitment of children is barred by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989.

Askar revealed that 1,529 cases of child recruitment by Houthi militias were documented in 2017. The majority of these recruitment processes took place in poor areas.

As for pushing them to into drug abuse, he explained that children are given hallucinogenic drugs to deal with the violent acts that they are forced to commit.

Saudi Arabia Says Implementation of Demands Vital for Solving Qatar Crisis

Saudi, Qatar

Jeddah- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, received in Jeddah on Sunday Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to the Saudi state-owned news agency (SPA). Bolstering bilateral ties and enhancing cooperation were discussed by the two, alongside regional and international developments.

The audience was attended by Minister of State and Cabinet Member Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, the Special Russian Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and North Africa Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian Ambassador to the Kingdom Sergey Kozlov and a number of officials.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Lavrov, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said that Qatar needed to show seriousness in finding a solution to the crisis.

“We want clarity in the Qatari position, we want seriousness in finding a solution that leads to the implementation of principles which all countries support: no supporting terrorism, no welcoming unwanted guests, no spreading hate, no intervening in others’ affairs,” Jubeir said.

“We are interested in all those mediatory efforts that are currently being made producing results and the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) being restored,” he added.

Kuwait and the United States have been mediating to reach a breakthrough in the three-month long crisis that has put the whole region on edge and prompted Turkey to send troops to Qatar in a sign of support.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia suspended any dialogue with Qatar, accusing it of “distorting facts”, just after a report of a phone call between the leaders of both countries suggested a breakthrough in the Gulf dispute.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups.

Lavrov said Russia was in favor of dialogue to settle the dispute.

“We have confirmed our position (that we are) in favor of settling the disagreements by means of negotiations, by directly expressing concerns and achieving solutions which would take into account the concerns and the interests of all parties,” Lavrov told a news conference in Jeddah.

Russia is ready for cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the energy sphere in territories of both countries, said Lavrov.

“His Majesty the king [of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz] expressed satisfaction with our cooperation in the energy,” the Russian minister said. “This is exactly the estimation of the Russian leaders of the cooperation in this sphere.”

“Our economy operators are interested and ready for participation in joint projects with Riyadh in the energy, industry, agriculture and other promising sectors both in Russia and in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Saudi-Chinese Joint Investment Fund to Boost Economic Relations

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih attends a meeting of the 4th OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee in St. Petersburg

Jeddah- Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih revealed that a Beijing-Riyadh joint investment fund will be established in the upcoming days.

In addition to the fund, he expected 11 business agreements worth about $20 billion to be signed between the two sides on Thursday. He did not give details.

Saudi Arabia and China plan to establish and operate jointly a $20 billion investment fund, sharing costs and profits on a 50:50 basis, Saudi Energy Minister Falih told Reuters on Thursday.

The energy minister also said that the joint investment fund will serve the Saudi Kingdom’s transformational vision 2030 and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi Vision 2030 is a plan to reduce the Kingdom’s oil dependence, diversify its economy, and develop service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism.

On the other hand, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a development strategy proposed by China’s leader Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries, primarily the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the ocean-going Maritime Silk Road (MSR).

The Cabinet also approved the authorization of the Minister of Justice or his deputy to discuss with the Chinese side a draft judicial cooperation agreement between Saudi Arabia and China, according to a Saudi Press Agency report.

Falih was in China last week where he met with Chinese senior vice-premier Zhang Gaoli ahead of a visit by a Chinese delegation to the kingdom this week for the second round of meetings of a Saudi-Chinese Joint Committee.

Falih also said that China views Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Islamic and Arab worlds, as well as being a major center of stability in the region.

Based on this consensus and vision, there is collaboration in many fields– noting that the forum, to be held in Jeddah on Thursday, will see a focus on multiple areas of Saudi -Chinese cooperation.

Falih said that the joint committee includes five sub-committees, encompassing all strategic axes shared by the two countries, including political, security, military and commercial and cultural exchanges.

Saudi Arabia Expects to Gain $4 Billion Annually with Red Sea Tourism Project


Jeddah – Saudi Arabia has boosted its tourist status by launching a major project entitled, the Red Sea project, a few days after it announced the revival of the tourist visa.

The Red Sea project, launched by Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz on Monday, will be implemented on one of the most beautiful and diverse natural sites in the world, in cooperation with the world’s largest hospitality companies to develop exceptional tourist resorts.

The project is expected to create as many as 35,000 jobs “once it is up and running” and contribute 15 billion riyals ($4 billion) to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product.

The project will cover 50 islands and 34,000 square kilometers — an area bigger than Belgium — between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh. It will be developed by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, with the first work expected to kick off in two years.

The Public Investment Fund, headed by Prince Mohammed, will inject initial investments into the project and start partnerships with international companies.

It said Monday it will provide the seed capital to develop the resort area, explaining that the new “semi-autonomous area will be governed by laws on par with international standards.”

The Fund said the project will attract leading names in the hotel business to “bring about the next-generation of tourism in a way that will open” Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastline to tourists from around the world.

The initial groundbreaking is expected in the third quarter of 2019. The first phase will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2022, including the development of hotels and luxury residential units, as well as all logistical infrastructure — including air, land and sea transport hubs.

The Fund added the Red Sea project will be built along 125 miles (200 kilometers) of coastline and is tailored toward global luxury travelers and those seeking wellness travel, a genre of tourism associated with personal well-being and health.

Saudi Arabia Follows Up Operational Plans to Receive 83,800 Iranian Pilgrims


Jeddah- Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammed Bantan has discussed working programs of the operational plans prepared for the Iranian pilgrims for the Hajj season this year with Head of the Haj Tawafa Establishment for the Iranian pilgrims Dr. Talal Qutb.

Minister Bantan focused on development proposals for the services provided to the Iranian pilgrims coming from abroad this season, who will be more than 83,800 pilgrims in addition to 2,400 office members, who will come from Iran to perform Hajj rituals.

This step comes as Bantan made on Wednesday an inspection tour of the headquarters of the Haj Tawafa Establishment for the Iranian pilgrims.

Their discussion covered almost all aspects of the Haj operation, including reception of pilgrims and their grouping, as well as accommodation, transportation, food, awareness programs, and other services and facilities since their arrival until departure.

The minister underlined the need for improving the services and facilities so as to enable pilgrims perform their rituals in ease and comfort.

He also toured the facilities of the United Zamzams Office in Makkah in order to identify the programs and operational plans of the institutions and offices for the Hajj season this year, which include many of the objectives and mechanisms of implementation, evaluation, follow-up and supervision.

For his part, Qutb said that electronic visas are being issued for the pilgrims. He said that the arrangements for the pilgrims from Iran started immediately after the end of the last Haj season.

“The arrangements for the Iranian pilgrims were not different from that of pilgrims from other parts of the world,” he said, adding that all the preparations are well in place to enable the Iranian pilgrims perform their rituals in peace and tranquility.