Measures Against Qatar-Backed Terrorist Cells

Riyadh, Dubai, Cairo- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain took on Thursday strong measures against terrorist organizations and individuals supported by Qatar.

In a statement, the four countries said 59 individuals and 12 entities linked to Qatar have been added to their updated respective lists of designated terrorist organizations and individuals.

They said they took those measures “in their ongoing commitment to combating terrorism, drying up the sources of its funding, countering extremist ideology and the tools of its dissemination and promotion, and to working together to defeat terrorism and protect all societies from its impact.”

The list of individuals includes several Arab and Gulf figures, mainly Egyptian Youssef Abdullah Al-Qaradawi, Libyan Abdulhakim Belhadj, Kuwaiti Hajjaj bin Fahad Hajjaj Mohammed Al-Ajmi, Qatari Abdullah bin Khalid Al Thani, in addition to entities including the Qatar Volunteer Center, the Doha Apple Company and the Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services.

The list was issued after Doha chose to escalate facing Arab states that decided last Monday to cut ties with Qatar over its rapprochement to Iran and after accusing it of supporting extremism.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told reporters in Doha that his country “was not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender” the independence of its foreign policy.

He said Qatar had not yet been presented with a list of demands by countries that cut off diplomatic ties, but instead said the matter must be solved peacefully.

The Qatari minister also hinted to the Iranian offer received by his country to confront any food shortage.

He said Tehran informed Qatar that it was ready to help with securing food supplies. However, al-Thani said that Doha did not yet accept the offer.

In Egypt, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held talks with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa.

During the meeting, the two men discussed issues of common interest in addition to the latest regional developments.

“The decision to sever diplomatic ties came after the failure of all attempts to make Doha stop aiding and abetting terrorist organizations,” King Hamad said.

For its part, Egypt called on the UN Security Council to launch an investigation into accusations that Qatar paid a ransom of up to $1 billion “to a terrorist group active in Iraq” to release kidnapped members of its royal family.

Also on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was ready to support any diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis with Qatar.

“The Secretary-General is following the situation in the Middle East with deep concern,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s efforts to convince the international community to support Doha in the current crisis received a big blow when Moscow announced that President Vladimir Putin does not wish to receive the Qatari foreign minister, who planned a trip to Moscow on Thursday.

Also, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash posted on his official Twitter page that “the demand for political protection from two non-Arab states and military protection from one of them looks like a new tragic and comic chapter.”

He said Qatar’s behavior was “strange” as it “demands to respect country’s sovereignty but looks for help abroad.”

Meanwhile, Chad said it recalled its ambassador from Qatar for consultations, joining other African states in showing support for the decision of Saudi Arabia and Gulf states to cut ties with Doha.

King Salman Congratulates Jordanian King Abdullah on Coronation Anniversary

Riyadh- Saudi Arabia’s Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz sent a cable of congratulations to King Abdullah II of Jordan on the anniversary of his coronation.

On behalf of the people and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Salman expressed his sincere congratulations and conveyed his best wishes for permanent health and happiness for King Abdullah II and further progress and prosperity for the Government and the people of Jordan, said the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

More so, King Salman praised strong relations shared between the two countries and their peoples, and which they all seek to promote and develop.

For their part, both Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz also sent a cable of congratulations to King Abdullah on the occasion.

Qatar Isn’t Castro’s Cuba

Qatar

Countries with modest geographic stretch often are tempted by large-scale roles—the small country syndrome, whereby investing in rogue policy comes to compensate for what has been denied by limited territory.

Sooner or later, these countries cave into temptation found in playing dangerous strings affecting neighboring states, believing that doing so buys them more security or larger cut in regional politics.

Normally, countries are always engaged in enhancing and polishing the roles they play in larger arenas, but it is conditioned that engagement is made with transparency and through over-the-table legitimate interactions. Taking backdoors and mobilizing unwritten policy to reform the general status quo is an approach fraught with danger and is genuinely frowned upon.

‘Small’ here is by no means used for derogatory purposes. It merely reflects facts dictated by geography. I myself happen to be a national from a country, Lebanon, which is small and fragile at the same time.

Over time, massive role-playing which once was decided based on population densities, army size, location changed.

Any country which can secure strategic influence or what is known as ‘soft power,’ a heard media platform and hefty income from rich resources can easily book itself a starring role in regional politics.

Egypt’s second President Gamal Abdel Nasser led a legacy on defying borders in the name of pan-Arab unity, in hopes of redrawing regional contours. Such history had opened up the doors for many rulers to strive for hegemony.

The Nasser experience has inspired the likes of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. It remains to be said that Libya had paid highly for Gaddafi’s obsession with biting off more than what his country can chew.

But to weigh in different political playgrounds and countries, you first need to get involved. Swaying rulers, legal parties or organizations is crucial in outlining a country’s ability to mediate for or impede change.

Some countries have been pushed to a fragile breaking point so much that foreign players are an unavoidable touchstone to push for a truce, manage a hostage situation or even establish an understanding with extremists.

In the Cold War, a small nation dotted with tobacco fields called Cuba filled in as a catalyst for US-Soviet confrontation, which would had been a devastating military standoff to say the least.

What came to be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis later ended by the US ensuring that the regime of Fidel Castro will no longer be challenged in exchange for Cuba uninstalling nuclear-armed Soviet missiles.

For years, Uncle Sam did not get over what happened in Cuba.

Supporting anti-US uprisings and revolutions in Latin America and Africa, Castro was increasingly fixated on doing anything to trouble the US.

But Castro’s long journey ended as he returned to the ‘small country complex’ after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Same could be said on Libya’s notorious dictator, Gaddafi—the mad-driven policy of the Libyan leader was so far committed that he ordered the Lockerbie bombing which killed 243 passengers and 16 crew members in Scotland.

Nestled on the Arabian Peninsula’s northeastern coast, gas-rich Qatar had fallen for the bait of political pre-eminence and gone to extremes. Having rebellious dreams, it began to feed its desire to reshape regional politics.

For years on, we heard rumors of a Syria-Qatar-Turkey axe replacing the Syria-Saudi-Egypt axe, but such a venture is far too volatile and risky for it to carry the day — excerpts of historical roles played by each country in the region can aid in clarifying that ambiguity.

Qatar’s regional role can be understood through the ‘Doha Agreement,’ which mediated for a political crisis in Lebanon after Hezbollah militants invaded and took control of western Beirut, weighing in on the Palestinian Authority to ensure Hamas’ slice of the cake, and its state-funded Al Jazeera media company broadcasting videotapes for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The messages for Osama were aired at the wrong time and place, with poverty, public frustration, unemployment, and ancient hatreds.

Then came Arab Spring uprisings during which Qatari leadership dived deeper into its attempt at changing the region. Doha’s fingerprints found all over the conflict map, whether it be in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Qatar had clearly bet on the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) rise to power in the Egyptian version of the Arab Spring uprisings. Not only that, but it refused to cut its losses when it was clear that a MB agenda and reality are to different things.

In its desire to establish communication channels with everyone, Qatar fell victim to a vicious paradox of hosting a US air base while nurturing ties with blacklisted terror groups.

The chance of moderate mindsets prevailing was slashed by Qatar’s approach in Arab Spring countries.

It is safe to say that Qatar’s approach largely targeted Saudi and Egyptian roles, especially that Doha chose to support anti-gulf opposition whether it be home-grown or foreign.

Doha’s animosity is evident in its persistent attempts to burn its neighbor’s fences down.

The method to Qatar’s madness raised many questions. Is it Doha’s right to exploit strategic influence to punish Egyptians for determining their fate? Is it right that Doha gets to choose what warring party in Libya retains the upper-hand over the other? Or for it to give an advantage to one Palestinian party?

It is also worth considering that grievances of Qatar’s destabilizing interferences come at a time when Iran –without hesitation- endeavors on ripping the region apart with unprecedented sectarian strife.

Neighbor states of Qatar have had their fill of its presumptuous policy. This peninsula state can no longer play an efficient and positive role in the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council so long that it is chasing Cuba-styled dreams.

It remains to say that all what Arab states boycotting Qatar demand is that it falls back in line with its natural role, for it to reflect Cuba which fit its geographic mold, and not Castro’s rogue Cuba.

Confusion, Chaos at Doha Airport after Cancellation of 1500 Flights

Doha

Jeddah – Confusion and chaos is prevailing over Doha International Airport after the cancellation of 1,500 flights to Doha, as flights to Qatar have been paralyzed for the first time in the history of aviation in the region.

In Saudi Arabia, Qatar Airways is expected to complete the final closure of its offices on Thursday, in line with a deadline of 48 hours set by Riyadh.

Economic Expert Nasser al-Qaraawi told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that Qatar’s aviation sector was one of the sectors that will incur the biggest losses due to the ongoing isolation of the Arab peninsula.

He noted in this regard that the number of airline companies that would stop their flights to Qatar would reach 20 by the end of the week, while 16 companies have suspended flights to Doha by Wednesday.

The expert stressed that Doha’s policies in the region have led to the cancellation of 1500 monthly flights from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt to Qatar, including 133 flights operated by the Saudi airlines.

He added that Qatar has chosen to be a hub for terrorist groups, instead of working to become an international economic center.

According to another economic expert, Qatar Airways would lose more than 40 percent of its returns due to the GCC isolation.

Lahem Al-Lahem told Asharq Al-Awsat that closing the Saudi airspace would incur heavy financial burdens on the Arab state.

King Salman, Turkey’s Erdogan Discuss Latest Developments in Phone Call

Saudi

Jeddah, Ankara – The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Tuesday received a phone call from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

During the call, the two leaders reviewed bilateral relations and means to endorse them, in all domains, in addition to discussing regional developments.

Erdogan had also spoke over the phone with the leaders of Qatar, Kuwait, Russia and Saudi Arabia on lowering tension, presidential sources said, after Arab powers cut ties with Qatar.

Erdogan “has initiated diplomatic efforts to resolve this dispute between friends and brothers in line with the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan,” spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement late Tuesday.

Turkey confirmed that it will continue its efforts to find a solution to the crisis on severing relations with Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and a number of other countries through dialogue.

More so, Ankara said that it is not possible to allow the destabilization of relations between countries, while the local opposition demanded the Turkish government remains uninvolved in the crisis.

In a speech to his ruling party’s legislators Tuesday, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called on Gulf states to resolve the crisis through negotiation, reiterating Turkey’s preparedness to do what is necessary to heal the divide.

“We will continue our active stance in order to develop a friendly dialogue that would suit the holy month of Ramadan,” Yildirim said.

On the other hand, Turkey’s main opposition CHP party leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said that both Erdogan’s ruling party and Qatar must halt their support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and demanded that his country’s government remains outside the conflict.

“We must maintain our policy path with the Arab world and we should not be a party in emerging differences,” he said in a speech to a meeting of his party’s parliamentary bloc on Tuesday.

Kilicdaroglu stressed the need for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to move away from policies supporting extremist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE view the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, and you (AKP) make it a symbol of the party. This is unacceptable.”

“Saudi Arabia, in addition to six other countries, cut off relations with Qatar because of its support of terrorism.

They called on Qatari citizens living in their lands to leave. Look at the situation that the Islamic world has reached because of the practices of some countries,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar on Monday over its involvement and support of groups that undermine the region’s security.

Qatar’s Policy of Contradictions Threatens Arab States’ Stability, Unity

Qatar

Jeddah – Qatari Emir’s inflammatory statements, which were blamed by the Qatari media on an alleged “cyber hacking”, were only a mere indication of the long crisis between the Arab peninsula and its neighbors, due to its controversial policies that have threatened the region’s stability and unity.

Qatar has sought to instigate crises all over the region, beginning with the coup perpetrated by the former emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, against his father in 1995.

Doha failed to absorb the lessons, even after the wave of anger against it, which has led Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain to withdraw their ambassadors from the country in March 2014. Qatar was acting outside a unified Arab consensus and its reactions have caused security confusion in the stable Gulf States.

While the “Muslim Brotherhood” – one of the extremist movements in the Gulf – was its main collaborator and partner, the Arab peninsula has responded to all accusations by adopting controversial policies within the Arab and Islamic region.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has been very patient with Qatar, even during the crisis of March 2014. The Kingdom was keen on preserving the GCC unity and respecting the values of good neighborliness. However, Qatar’s movements, especially within states bordering Saudi Arabia, have made the country lose its credibility within the GCC.

Riyadh had previously presented a file that contains clear evidence on financial support provided by a Qatari emir to extremist groups in the Kingdom, with the knowledge of the Qatari leadership. Saudi Arabia has in fact many proofs of Doha’s policies against it.

The collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood has paved the way for the emergence of quasi anti-Saudi movements, which have encouraged Qatar to penetrate into the Saudi entity, aiming to gain popular support.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Qatari Scholar Youssuf Al-Qaradawi has led a staunch attack against Gulf States, in particular the UAE, following the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in different parts of the region.

While the Qatari foreign ministry said that Qaradawi’s remarks were only his personal views and did not reflect the country’s official stance towards the Emirates, Doha was known to support outlaw groups and conspirators, who sought to topple the Emirati regime, through the Brotherhood. In fact, the latter was accused of rallying members within the UAE to hamper stability in the ambitious and prosperous Gulf state.

Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain was the third country to pull its ambassador out of Doha. Qatari-owned Al Jazeera channel has long sought to inflame feuds that have resulted from developments over the past years.

Doha succeeded in fueling a silenced dispute when Al Jazeera English Channel aired a documentary on events and protests in Bahrain in February 2011.

The documentary showed that the protests were only aimed at achieving service needs and easing confessional tensions between the Sunni and Shi’ite communities.

Egypt

Egypt, on many occasions, stood up against Qatar, especially following the success of the June 30 revolution, which has toppled the Muslim Brotherhood regime in the African state. Qatari media channels launched a harsh religious and political campaign against Cairo, accusing it of perpetrating an internal coup, as the Brotherhood was Doha’s right arm to spread its influence over Egypt.

Not only Qatar adopted a policy of enmity towards the Arab state, but also provided a safe haven to the leaders of the Brotherhood, who were accused by Egyptian courts of perpetrating terrorist acts that targeted Egypt’s safety and security.

Syria

One of the main vices perpetrated by Qatar in Syria is the division of the moderate Syrian opposition since 2012 and its support to al-Nusra Front, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda terrorist group. Qatar’s continuous sponsorship of the Brotherhood has made it end in backing extremists and terrorist-designated movements.

Libya

Qatar offered support to members of al-Qaeda terrorist group, in particular Abdul Hakim Belhaj to spread control over Libya. According to Libyan Army Commander General Khalifa Haftar, Doha has financed mercenaries and extremist groups. He noted that some of those people have received payments from Qatar, as well as from other states and from terrorist militias inside Libya.

Al Jazeera Channel

When Hamad came to power, he instated Al-Jazeera channel as a means to change the Arab media landscape. However, the channel soon began to influence Qatar’s interests and relations with its Arab neighbors. Instigating crises was something new to Gulf countries, and Saudi Arabia occupied a wide space in every political program.

Through the channel, Doha has shown failure to commit to GCC values, by broadcasting views and opinions that contradict unified stances, especially when it came to defense and security matters.

Iran and its wings

The Qatari emir conducted several visits to Iran, mainly during the Arab uprisings in 2011, when Sheikh Hamad traveled to Tehran and met with then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to discuss shared interests in the wake of regional developments.

Both Tamim and his father believe that Iran represents a strong religious and regional power. They have reiterated on several occasions that Doha was an ally to Tehran and was seeking to consolidate bilateral ties with the Persian state.

In October 2015, the two countries forged a military and security agreement under the slogan of fighting terrorism.

Doha has also offered to cooperate with Hezbollah – which some Gulf countries have designated as a terrorist organization.

Lebanon

In 2010, Saudi Arabia was seeking to crystallize reconciliation between Lebanon and Syria, when Qatar intervened and further complicated the crisis by presenting Hezbollah as a pressure card in the negotiations. Bashar al-Assad was tempted by Qatar’s economic deals at the expense of finding a sustainable solution to the crisis.

Hamas

After Hamas gained control over Gaza Strip in 2007, Qatar began to promote its influential role in the area under the pretext of healing the humanitarian crisis there.

Doha poured money on Hamas Movement, which is known to support the Muslim Brotherhood, despite anger by Fatah Movement, who was aware that the money would be used to buy arms. This has also severed divisions among Palestinians.

9/11 Attacks

Qatar has long supported terrorism and sponsored its members. In the late 1990s, the United States received information about a senior Qatari official who provided refuge to a terrorist accused of plotting airplane attacks against the US.

When the FBI issued the report ahead of the September 11 attacks, it said that the official, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, had managed to escape from Qatar. He was the mastermind of the New York terrorist attacks.

Diplomatic Crisis Shakes Qatar’s Economy, Financial Sector to Suffer the Most

Qatar

Riyadh – Amid a wave of negative economic inhibitors threatening Qatar’s national budget, the financial sector is set out to be most affected eventually resulting in an economic, trade and investment meltdown.

The collapse is an inevitable result of Saudi Arabia severing ties with Doha, followed by a boycott from seven other countries.

In the boycott’s fallout, and with 388 Saudi companies expected to leave Qatari markets, billions worth infrastructure projects are expected to be put on halt until further notice.

Among the first to heed the embargo are construction companies.

Qatar’s economy will lose billions of dollars—a Gulf’s $ 80 billion trade exchange advantage will be withdrawn because it is directly linked to Saudi trade.

With the embargo encompassing transport, Qatar carriers are looking at the loss of at least 50 flights with Saudi Arabia alone, economists told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Saudi severing of ties with Qatar, which consequentially resulted in other influential boycotts, will reflect negatively on Doha’s economic movement—the embargo is a major economic setback as it freezes services previously provided by GCC countries,” economist Dr. Salim Bajaaja said.

The embargo after affecting Qatar imports that are largely used to support local infrastructure, entails rising costs which could cripple Qatar development.

Bajaaja pointed out that the effects do not stop at that, the boycott will end related projects, increasing Qatar’s expenses and manufacturing a deficit in the budget of Qatar for 2017, building up debt.

“The economic impact of this boycott will affect local currency and challenge central bank’s reserves to maintain the dollar-pegged price, especially as opportunists cast speculations on future rates in hopes of cashing in on them,” Fadel Bouneenen told Asharq Al Awsat.

Bouneenen said that the Central Bank of Qatar will be limited, especially after severing cooperation established with regional central banks, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and the UAE Central Bank.

Commenting on closing borders and severing relations, Bouneenen said that it would force Saudi companies operating in infrastructure projects in Qatar to exit or stop work.

Closing terrestrial gateways would also have a negative effect on the country, which relies heavily on Saudi construction exports for its construction sector, he added.

‘Saudi Arabia Among Our Biggest Markets,’ Says Bentley Official

London- Bentley motors company has shown a remarkable interest in the Gulf region because it includes three of its ten biggest global markets, mainly Saudi Arabia. Bentley recently opened in Dubai its largest showroom in the world. The company sells over 11.2 percent of its production in the Middle East, mostly in the Gulf region.

Robin Peel, Bentley’s head of marketing and communications-international, expected luxurious sport utility vehicle, Bentayga, to maintain it 2016 performance and to keep leading the company’s sales in 2017.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, he said the Saudi Vision 2030 could potentially lead to a restructuring of regional priorities and to pave way for the emergence of a new economic model in the region.

He believed this shift would increase investments in the auto industry, especially in the sector of luxury cars, which will improve the sales of luxury brands like Bentley.

Here is the text of the interview:

*What is the importance of the Saudi market concerning Bentley’s sales and the most selling models?

-While the UAE currently leads the world in terms of sales, it forms along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar the three biggest markets in the world for Bentley. In terms of bestselling models, Bentley has almost 100 years of experience in introducing high-performance luxury automobiles that made their mark over the years. Last year, the Bentayga, the world’s fastest and most luxurious SUV, was the most selling in the region. We expect it to continue its outstanding performance as the highly desirable luxury purchase in 2017.

* Compared with the company’s global activity, how was the performance of regional markets?

– Bentley Motors delivered 11,023 cars globally in 2016, a record high up to 9 percent compared to 2015 sales. It was also the company’s fourth consecutive year during which the sales increased above 10,000 cars. Bentley delivered 1,239 cars to the Middle East in 2016, making 11.2 percent of its global production. Saudi Arabia acquired an important share of the region’s exports.

* How do you assess the possible impact of Saudi Vision 2030 on activities in the regional markets?

– As the top oil exporter of the Middle East, and the second in the world, Saudi Arabia, through the implementation of its Vision 2030, could potentially lead a recalibration of regional priorities and inspire the emergence of a new economic model in the region. By opening up on foreign investors, the diversification in the Kingdom’s economy could affect all the region’s economies. This will also motivate investments in the automotive industry, particularly in the luxury sector, encouraging greater sales in luxury brands such as Bentley Motors.

* Do you have programs to train local GCC talent at your facilities?

– Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe is home to all of its operations including design, research and development (R&D), engineering and production of all the company’s cars. It is also responsible for youths training. The company recently launched its 2017 trainee recruitment in the UK, with 60 positions available for apprentices, undergraduates and graduates, in all fields.

* How do you assess the economic situation and consumer confidence in the region in view of the volatile oil prices?

– Bentley Motors is going from strength to strength in the Middle East in 2016 opening its largest showroom in the world, a 75,000-sq. ft. retail development on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. However, we do not consider ourselves immune to the challenging conditions in the automotive sector. We have consistently worked hard to build a sustainable platform to enable long-term growth and to ensure that our customers receive the high-standard service they expect. Along with the Bentayga, we look forward to introducing future models that combine luxury and performance.

* How is Bentayga doing in the region and what is the feedback you are receiving from customers?

– Bentayga has broadened Bentley’s appeal beyond our traditional base of customers, redefining the SUV segment. It offers customers the chance to drive it in different scenarios and styles.

* How is Bentley proceeding with the future of electric and plug-in hybrid models?

– Bently is committed to taking a responsible approach to the sustainability of our production and products. We have been working to adopt new eco-friendly technologies in our cars. For example, in 2014 we launched a hybrid concept based on our flagship model, the Mulsanne, showing that hybrid technology can be applied even in cars with high luxury and performance. This was an extraordinary development in technology and I congratulate our talented group of engineers for achieving it. The first Bentley Hybrid will be launched in the first half of next year. At the recent Geneva Motor Show, Bentley unveiled a concept EXP 12 Speed 6e, which is being tested around the world to assess the feedback from potential customers.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to Meet Putin in Moscow Visit

Prince

Riyadh – Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense will arrive Tuesday in Moscow where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss bilateral cooperation in various fields, in addition to Syria and Iran.

Also during his visit, the Deputy Crown Prince will sign a number of cooperation protocols between the two countries.

“The visit of Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Moscow is very important in its timing, because it comes after the visit of US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia as his first official trip overseas, and what accompanied this visit, including the Gulf-US Summit and the Arab-Islamic-US Summit,” Saudi Ambassador to Russia Abdurrahman bin Ibrahim Al-Rossi told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday.

Al-Rossi said there is a mutual desire to enhance cooperation between Riyadh and Moscow on all levels, and in line with the vision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Putin to achieve the benefit of both people and to strengthen security and stability in the region.

The Saudi Ambassador also uncovered that several Saudi officials had lately visited Russia to enhance relations between both countries.

The latest visit was made by advisor to the Royal Court and General Supervisor of the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief (KSRelief), Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah, who was in Moscow to further develop the Russian-Saudi cooperation, particularly in humanitarian relief and other issues of mutual interest. The advisor had also informed the Russian officials about the Saudi efforts in the humanitarian work and the Saudi plans implemented in a number of disaster areas around the world, particularly in Yemen and Syria.

The meeting between Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Putin also comes following the meeting of Putin with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, during which both men had mainly tackled the crisis in Syria.

Brazilian Minister of Agriculture: Ready to Provide Saudi Market Demand of Meat

Brazil

Riyadh – Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply Blairo Maggi said that Brazil is fully ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in the field of food and to provide the market demand of meat and other products according to Saudi Vision 2030.

Maggi added to Asharq Al-Awsat that he has discussed with the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abdulrahman Bin Abdul Mohsen Al-Fadhli during his last visit to Riyadh the challenges that are facing Saudis and Brazilians in the private sector regarding investment in plant and animal production, as well as the reinforcement of cooperation between the two countries in this field.

“We will expand cooperation between the private and public sectors in Saudi Arabia and we will work on finding solutions to the obstacles that hinder exports or imports from the two countries – we have tight relations with the kingdom and they extend from 40 years,” Maggi added.

The minister said that his country aims at encouraging Saudi investment in food security in Brazil, pointing out that there are cooperation dimensions between Saudi Arabia and Brazil according to Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020.

He added “we have explained for the relevant authorities transparently the importance of the coming phase regarding foreign investment in food security in Brazil.” The minister continued that Brazil acquires 63% of the meat market in Saudi Arabia.

Maggi noted that Brasilia’s economy is growing steadily, hailing the county’s achievements in laws of investments, available opportunities and the facilities provided by the government.