Yemeni Interior Minister: Saleh in Poor Health

Yemeni Minister of Interior General Hussein Arab (R) meets with Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Rabiah (L).

Riyadh- Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior General Hussein Arab said that ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is in a poor health condition.

Saleh was suffering from a disease that required the intervention of a medical team from Russia to treat him at the Russian Embassy in Yemen, he added.

During his meeting with Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Rabiah, Consultant at the Royal Court and General Supervisor of King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief) in Riyadh on Monday, Arab said that the coup in Yemen led to the destruction of the infrastructure since all the establishments of the Interior Ministry were destroyed by Houthi militias, who also looted all the ministry’s equipment.

Arab pointed out that Yemen’s interior ministry was able to re-establish its building and role in the country with the help of coalition countries.

He added that the KSRelief has saved many lives in Yemen and the rest countries of the world, confirming that the center supports Yemeni hospitals and health centers through providing medical supplies and medicines.

The great support, upon directives by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, led to a decline in the cholera epidemic in Yemen, Arab stressed.

The Yemeni minister added that the Kingdom provided treatment to the injured people inside and outside Yemen as well as in the hospitals of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Sudan.

“Iran has goals in Yemen,” Arab said, adding that “the Persian plan in Yemen is clear, and everyone knows that the Iranian mentality continues to try to reach its goals, and the intervention of the Arab coalition obstructed the achievement of these goals.”

He also talked about the latest report issued by the United Nations and said that the report was based on false information, explaining that the information given to the UN was from people who tried to find incorrect information and upload pictures of crimes carried out by the Houthi militias in Taiz and claiming they were carried out by Arab coalition forces.

Arab stressed that the Arab coalition is keen on following the rules of engagement and to refuse to carry out random military strikes, fearing for the lives of civilians or women.

Saudi Shura Council Approves Draft Law to Combat Terrorism, Terror Funding


Riyadh – The Saudi Shura Council approved on Monday a draft law to combat terrorism and terror funding. During its 59th session chaired by Deputy President Mohammad al-Jafri, the council took the decision after listening to a briefing from its Security Affairs Committee.

Chairman of the Committee Major General Abdullah al-Sadoun stated that the draft is one of the best in the world and takes into consideration all legal, rights and humanitarian angles.

Sadoun told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saudi Arabia still continues to counter terrorism whether through security measures or legislating laws.

Assistant president of the Council, Yahya al-Samaan said in a statement after the session that the council discussed a Security Affairs Committee report on the draft regulation of combating terrorism crimes and financing it

The Council also approved the amendments and additions to the law for combating money laundering.

In another decision, the Council urged the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture to address the issue of unbalanced distribution of water and sewage services between various Saudi regions.

The Council on Sunday approved the draft law for the rights of the elderly.

Mouallimi: We are Contacting UN Officials to Correct Errors in their Reports


Riyadh – Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative at the United Nations Abdullah al-Mouallimi stated that the international organization’s recent report on Yemen was “inaccurate” and contained misleading information.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Riyadh will continue communication with UN officials in order to clarify their report, which accused the Saudi-led coalition of being responsible for the death and injury of 683 children in Yemen.

He added that the report relied on weak sources and that the UN did not put any effort into finding strong ones.

Once the facts and information are obtained from the ground in Yemen, the UN would be able to monitor the humanitarian situation there better, explained Mouallimi.

Yemeni Ambassador to the US Ahmed bin Mubarak echoed the Saudi accusations, adding that the UN based its report on the findings of groups that are biased and politicized in their work in Yemen. These groups are close to either deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh or the Houthi militia.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the relief organizations that have been seized by coup forces in Yemen have sought to distort the facts and accuse the legitimate government and those aiding it of baseless charges.

“It is laughable to accuse the Yemeni government of recruiting children while the entire world witnesses child recruitment and has not lifted a finger to stop it,” he continued.

“The world has not condemned the recruitment of children and their use as human shields by the Houthis,” he noted.

Furthermore, the ambassador stressed that the Yemeni government set up, in cooperation with the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid, a center for the rehabilitation of children in order to allow them to once again return to normal life.

He wondered why this fact was not included in the UN report.

Saudi Arabia Studies Issuing Three Banking Licenses, Establishing a Digital Currency


Riyadh – The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) expected positive growth rates for the Saudi economy over the upcoming period, confirming that the national economy achieved a 1.7% growth so far, compared to last year’s 3.5%.
SAMA’s report highlighted the non-oil sector maintaining a positive growth process.

The Saudi central bank has received three applications for banking licenses and is processing them is at an advanced stage, central bank governor Ahmed Al-Kholifey told a news conference on Wednesday.

He stressed that the liquidity levels is in a comfortable situation, noting that the institution is working to stabilize the exchange rate.

He explained that there is a study to create a digital currency for the purpose of buying products—however, noted that with the absence of a legal framework for the digital currency there may be risks and multiple consequences entailed.

He also pointed out that Saudi Arabia is currently conducting an evaluation process to obtain permanent membership in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), saying that the institution carried out the evaluation process in cooperation with a number of other government departments, and will complete its evaluation in June 2018.

FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions.

The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

The FATF is, therefore, a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.

Another central bank official said no more bank mergers were expected.

Alawwal Bank and Saudi British Bank agreed in April to start talks on a possible merger.

Officials painted a highly positive picture of the economy, saying growth was likely to strengthen and they were not worried by deflation.

Kholifey said that in light of indicators in the first half of this year, he expected positive results for economic growth in the coming period.

Another central bank official said the bank was not worried about deflation because consumption was rising.

Officials also said they saw no reason for the riyal to fall in the forward foreign exchange market, that liquidity in the banking system was good, and that there was no concern about banks’ bad loans.

King Salman Visits Russia Thursday, $10 Billion in Joint Projects


Riyadh- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz will kick off next Thursday his official visit to Russia where he will discuss with President Vladimir Putin joint cooperation between the two countries in addition to regional and international issues, mainly the region’s crises.

Abdurrahman Al-Rasi, Saudi ambassador to Russia, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that the visit of the Saudi King that came in response to an invitation from President Putin, would boost bilateral relations.

“We will see a qualitative leap of those relations in various domains of cooperation,” the ambassador said.

Al-Rasi described the visit as important in its content and timing for being King Salman’s first trip to Russia in the historic and long-term relations between both countries.

“The visit crowns the Saudi-Russian relations following the trips made by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier, minister of Defense and chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs to Russia in the last two years,” he said.

The Saudi diplomat also said that the King’s visit would have a great impact, not only on boosting mutual relations between both countries, but on the situation in the entire region.

“This trip will surely help finding solutions to many crises in the region,” Al-Rasi said.

Meanwhile, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview broadcast by Al Arabiya TV on Monday that Saudi Arabia and Russia plan to set up a $1 billion fund to invest in energy projects.

“Our focus is not just on strengthening our cooperation within the framework of the OPEC and non-OPEC (agreement) but also the strengthening of cooperation in oil, gas, electricity renewable energy and other projects for oil and gas equipment,” he told the television channel regarding the fund’s activities.

Novak said that the Saudi-Russian sides have already set $10 billion to fund joint projects in several other fields than the oil sector.

Saudi Ministry of Energy: Localization of Products Reached 60%

Riyadh – Localization of products associated with the industry of electricity reached 60 per cent and prices of domestic energy are very close to current global levels, according to an official at the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources in Saudi Arabia.

Deputy Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) Saleh al-Awaji stated the past years witnessed the localization of heavy industries in cooperation with the entities related to the energy sector.

He pointed out that there are factories specialized in assembling gas turbines of capacity exceeding 300 megawatts.

During a press conference on the sidelines of the announcement of the meeting of Saudi Electricity Forum scheduled for October 10 to 12, Awaji confirmed that high-tension sectors will be localized in Saudi Arabia. He added that the process of localizing industries related to electricity will continue until needs of local markets have been met, noting that increasing energy efficiency will be reflected on the prices.

During the Forum, achievements of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques program which was launched a year ago, will be presented, stated Awaji. He said that the Forum will see a number of investment opportunities related to renewable energy and the settlement of services.

The Deputy said that renewable energy is a primary and important source for electricity and will help enhance electric energy. 

“Reconstructing sector of electricity is developing properly, and within a year, the general features of the structure of it will be completed,” Awaji said.

He pointed that some developments came up which required a revision of the structure with an inclination towards privatization of the electricity sector.

The Deputy explained that the forum will discuss challenges facing the sector and propose the appropriate solutions within the framework of Vision 2030. It will also review incentives and appropriate legislation aiming to introduce additional revenues to the national economy.

Awaji stressed that the ministry is concerned with encouraging and enhancing the localization of the electrical industries supporting these sectors, especially with industries related to the equipment, materials, electrical spare parts used in generating, transmitting, and distributing electric power. 

The forum and its associated Exhibition provide great opportunities for the local and international companies to directly market their innovative technologies and expertise to decision-makers, participants, and visitors. Also, they present a good chance to conduct meetings with companies, businessmen, and officials during the event.

International and local specialists will attend and give speeches in this Forum which represents an opportunity for senior officials, experts and investors to exchange experiences and enrich knowledge in the field of electricity, in addition to identifying investment opportunities in the Saudi market within the framework of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Yemeni Coupists Accused of Recruiting 20,000 Children, Planting Land Mines


Yemeni minister of human rights accused coup forces in his country of recruiting 20,000 children and planting about 200 thousand landmines.

“What is going on in the country is not a difference in political views, which resulted in an armed conflict, as some believe like the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, but what happened is that armed militias turned against the legitimate government,” said the minister.

In a speech at the 36th session of the of the Human Rights Council, Yemeni Human Rights Minister Mohammed Muhsen Askar reviewed the deteriorating humanitarian situation in his country, and the difficult circumstances the people are suffering.

Askar said human rights violations in Yemen threatened international peace and security, adding that the Government had been forced to use military power, which had led to all the destruction; it was those who were the cause of the catastrophe who shouldered the responsibility for that. The catastrophe could only stop with a clear international stand to implement international resolutions, especially Security Council Resolution 2216. The Yemeni Government would do its utmost to cooperate with the High Commissioner.

“Human rights violations in Yemen threatened international peace and security. The situation was a full coup against legitimacy with the support of some forces; it was an armed coup against legitimate institutions. Hundreds of civilians had been killed, and Sana’a, the capital, had been occupied,” said Askar.

“There was a response by the Arab coalition, and after two months of the comprehensive war, a result had been obtained. It was unfortunate that some did not see the reality in Yemen. All needed to be aware that the coup leaders believed in false ideas that led to dismantling the fabric of the Yemeni society. They thought they monopolized the divine right and could hold power by force,” he added.

“All had heard the political slogans of those militias, every day they called for death to America and to Israel, which ran counter to Islamic traditions, which prohibited contempt of religions. The militias had also recruited 20,000 children and planted landmines, a flagrant violation of the rights of the child and the convention on land mines.”

“The Council had paid special attention to the situation of human rights in Yemen and had adopted a number of resolutions. The resolutions of the Security Council in the last two years had asked Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide technical assistance. But that assistance had not been provided as needed. The Yemeni Government would do its utmost to cooperate with the High Commissioner. The suffering of the Palestinian people under occupation and the restriction of its freedoms needed a serious political stance. The ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya was also condemned in the strongest terms,” concluded Askar.

Top Scholars Say Terror Cells Target Saudi Youth

Security forces found arms, ammunition and cash from the possession of the two terrorists.

Riyadh- Chief of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia Fahad Al-Majid stressed that terrorist cells aim to target and deceive youth, adding that targeting national security is a crime of treason.

The nationwide condemnation by all sects of the Saudi society against these rings confirms the failure of these deviant groups and the rabble-rousing parties to harm national unity, said Majid.

He called on state institutions and civil society organizations to do more to raise awareness against the “gravity” of the threat these cells pose against the security of the Kingdom, the top scholar told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Saudi security forces are working around the clock to apprehend those affiliated with terror activities and extremism.

He stressed that targeting Saudi security and interests is among “the greatest evil practiced by terrorist groups, which have repeatedly tried to target the security of the country and carry out sabotage activities.”

Majid pointed out that establishing the Presidency of State Security and linking it to the King directly, as well as the Public Prosecutor’s Office had a great impact on the effective steps which see into protecting the homeland’s security, capabilities, and achievements.

The Presidency of State Security enabled the Interior Ministry to provide the best services to citizens and residents in all sectors. The new presidency will be able to focus on the fight against terrorism on the security and intelligence levels, as well as monitor its financing.

Moreover, the scholars’ Twitter account posted that a true Muslim is a part of the whole Muslim community, pointing out that harming the national faith (Islam), homeland security and national unity is a crime and cannot be accepted.

The State Security Presidency in Saudi Arabia announced in two separate statements detecting and thwarting ISIS-plotted terrorist attacks targeting two defense ministry headquarters in Riyadh.

Experts: Qatar’s Statement Indicates Unwillingness to Resolve Crisis

Riyadh- Qatar News Agency distortion of the phone call content between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani is a continuity of the Qatari policies, experts said.

Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday suspending any dialogue with Qatar until it issues a clear statement on its stance, noting that what has been published by Qatar News Agency has nothing to do with the truth.

Dr. Ibrahim al-Nahas, member of Shura Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that the Qatari distortion of the phone call content with Mohammed bin Salman that pushed Saudi Arabia to suspend dialogue or any communication with Qatari authorities represents the continuity of Qatar’s policies in practicing political offenses.

During a phonecall with Asharq Al-Awsat, Nahas declared that the Qatari emir initiative is to alleviate international pressure on Qatar as well as the internal forces impatience over those controlling the Qatari policy, which is supportive to terrorism and instability in states.

Nahas noted that these practices aim to deceive the international community through claiming willingness to resolve the crisis—yet he stressed that this is a desperate attempt that affected the Qatari policy negatively.

Saudi political analyst Dr. Ali al-Tawati said that the Qatari regime faced huge pressure from US President Donald Trump to call the Saudi crown prince, but other parties in the authority were uncontent with ending the crisis so they intended to distort facts.

Tawati said that what happened shows the absence of willingness to resolve the crisis with the boycott countries, adding that there is a real struggle among ruling parties in Qatar.

Houthi Sets Condition of Forming Committee to Resolve Disputes among Insurgents


Riyadh- Contradictory statements of Houthi and Saleh militias have reflected the deep dispute between the coup parties in Yemen.

Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh denied on Monday any tension between his party (General People’s Congress) and Houthis. Muhammad Ali al-Houthi, the head of the Revolutionary Committee, however, put a condition of forming a committee of wise men in case Saleh wishes to settle the disputes between the coup parties.

Further, humanitarian organizations monitored Houthi militias arresting of pro-Saleh supporters – some were seen removing Saleh posters following orders of Houthi leaders.

Vice Premier and Minister of Civil Service Abdulaziz al-Jabari stated that the Yemeni developments unveil deep disputes among insurgents no matter how much they endeavor to conceal them – he added that both parties adopt different programs: one dreams to return to authority and the other executes the Iranian regime approach and practices a sectarian program in the country.

“Implementing wilayat al-faqih in Yemen is against the will of Yemeni people who believe in coexistence, peace and removing discrimination, and see that reaching the authority occurs via democracy and elections,” Jabari told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He added that Houthi militias want to control Yemeni territory while the ousted president wants to maintain his condition and popularity to guarantee his position in any potential political settlement.

Journalist Waddah al-Jaleel said that, “Houthis are aware that Saleh is fully ready to sell them out in any political deal with the other parties. Therefore, they want to besiege him and eradicate his force, if not get rid him of him before he sells them out. In this way they become representatives of the Zaidiyyah geography being fought over.”