Saudi-Iran talks still ‘exploratory,’ says FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell (left) and Saudi Arabia's FM Faisal bin Farhan hold a joint news conference in Riyadh on Oct. 3, 2021. (REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri)
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Updated 04 October 2021
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Saudi-Iran talks still ‘exploratory,’ says FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan

  • Prince Faisal was speaking at a press conference in Riyadh with EU envoy Josep Borrell
  • Borrell voiced support for a peaceful settlement to the war in Yemen

RIYADH: Talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran are at an early stage but are a basis for addressing major issues between the two countries, the Kingdom’s foreign minister said on Sunday.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the latest round of discussions had taken place on Sept. 21. “We spoke about our deep concern about Iran’s transgressions on the nuclear issue,” he said.

“These discussions are still in the exploratory phase. We hope they will provide a basis to address unresolved issues between the two sides and we will strive and work to realize that,” he said.

Prince Faisal was speaking at a press conference in Riyadh with Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs. Among other issues, the two men discussed the conflict in Yemen, where Iran supports Houthi militia fighters who have launched a barrage of missile and drone attacks on civilian targets and energy infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

Borrell described the situation in Yemen as a “terrible tragedy,” and voiced support for a peaceful settlement to the war.

He said the EU condemned Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, and was working diplomatically to prevent them.

“We appreciate Saudi Arabia’s efforts to end the conflict in Yemen as well as protect its territory,” Borrell said.

Borrell also said he hoped nuclear talks between global powers and Iran would restart in Vienna “soon.” Tehran is under pressure to rejoin the 2015 deal to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. The deal collapsed in 2018 when the US pulled out, and talks are stalled in a deadlock over whether Iran or the US should be the first to resume compliance.

Borrell’s visit to Riyadh is part of a regional trip to GCC countries that includes the UAE and Qatar. The EU aims to advance strategic cooperation with the Gulf states on climate change, global access to vaccines and supporting the “green economy,” the bloc’s foreign policy chief told Arab News earlier.

Borrell also said that he would convene a joint cooperation council at ministerial level early next year during the Saudi presidency of the GCC.

 

 


45th Saudi relief plane for Gazans arrives in Egypt

Updated 8 sec ago
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45th Saudi relief plane for Gazans arrives in Egypt

  • The assistance is part of the Kingdom’s historic role of supporting Palestinian people in times of crisis

AL-ARISH: The 45th Saudi relief plane, operated by the aid agency KSrelief in coordination with the Ministry of Defense, arrived on Friday in Egypt carrying food and shelter items to be transported to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The assistance is part of the Kingdom’s historic role of supporting Palestinian people in times of crisis.
Meanwhile, waterborne diseases are spreading in Gaza due to a lack of clean water and rising temperatures, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Gaza said on Friday.
Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery and hepatitis A, according to the World Health Organization.
Since mid-October, following the assault on Gaza in response to deadly attacks in southern Israel by Hamas, WHO has recorded more than 345,000 cases of diarrhea, including more than 105,000 in children under 5.


Riyadh to host 2024 Saudi Water Forum

Updated 44 min 5 sec ago
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Riyadh to host 2024 Saudi Water Forum

  • The forum aims to achieve security and sustainability in the water-scarce Kingdom

RIYADH: Riyadh will host the Saudi Water Forum from April 29 to May 1 under the patronage of the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen Al-Fadley.

Water security and sustainability are two of the most important concerns being examined and discussed internationally, and are major challenges facing Saudi Arabia, given the region’s scarcity of water resources and continuous population growth.

Increasing and accelerating demands for water place great strain on Gulf states, driven by economic growth and the improvement of quality of life.

The SWF posted on X: “Sustainability of water resources is among the fundamental issues that concern countries ... How can it be enhanced in Saudi Arabia!!? Join us to explore the proposed solutions and learn about the prominent local and regional experiences contributing to enhancing the sustainability of water resources within the #SaudiWaterForum program from April 29th to May 1st, 2024, at Hilton Riyadh.”

The Ministry Environment Water and Agriculture plans to organize the SWF as one of the most important events at local, regional, and international levels, to create a meeting platform between industry leaders, experts, and key stakeholders.

The forum endeavors to gather developers, investors, scientists, and researchers in the field with the relevant official entities, represented by the MEWA, Saline Water Conversion Corp., National Water Co., Saudi Water Partnership Co., the Saudi Irrigation Organization, Water Transmission and Technologies Co., the Water Regulator, and the National Water Efficiency and Conservation Center to present strategies on achieving solutions to challenges facing the sector.

The SWF will showcase the best practices and successful experiences in developing water projects that align with the needs of the Kingdom and contribute to confronting the challenges.

Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s driest countries and the world’s third largest per capita consumer of water after the US and Canada, announced a national program for rationalizing water consumption in the Kingdom at the SWF in 2019, setting ambitious targets that include slashing usage by nearly 24 percent by 2020 and around 43 percent by 2030. 

Speaking at the SWF in 2019, Al-Fadley, officially launched the Qatrah (Arabic for ‘droplet’) program, aimed at reducing water consumption as part of the MEWA’s efforts to attain water sustainability.

Through the program, the MEWA aims to reduce daily per capita consumption from 263 liters to 200 liters by 2020 and to 150 liters by 2030.


Passports chief inspects workflow at Jeddah airport

Updated 11 April 2024
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Passports chief inspects workflow at Jeddah airport

  • Al-Yahya urged the passport officers to perform their assigned tasks with efficiency and to continue in their efforts to serve guests

JEDDAH: Director General of Passports Lt. Gen. Sulaiman bin Abdulaziz Al-Yahya recently inspected the workflow at the passport departments at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and the Umrah halls.

The inspection aimed to assess the work progress, follow up on the performance of the workers, and complete the departure procedures for Umrah pilgrims.

During the inspection, Al-Yahya congratulated and presented gifts to passengers traveling through the airport on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr.

He also urged the passport officers to perform their assigned tasks with efficiency and to continue in their efforts to serve guests.

 


Saudi foreign minister discusses Gaza in calls with US, Algeria

Updated 12 April 2024
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Saudi foreign minister discusses Gaza in calls with US, Algeria

  • Parties review regional developments

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Thursday received a phone call from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Kingdom’s ministry said.

The parties reviewed regional developments and ways to reduce the escalation of tensions in the Middle East.

They also focused on issues of common interest, most notably Sudan, developments in the Gaza Strip, and the importance of introducing more humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Prince Faisal also made a telephone call to Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Attaf to discuss regional developments and the conflict in Gaza.

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Who’s Who: Areej Al-Johani, member of the International Academic Advisory Board of the International Anti-Corruption Academy

Areej Al-Johani
Updated 11 April 2024
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Who’s Who: Areej Al-Johani, member of the International Academic Advisory Board of the International Anti-Corruption Academy

Areej Al-Johani has recently been appointed a member of the International Academic Advisory Board of the International Anti-Corruption Academy in Vienna until 2030, a term of six years.

Al-Johani is a highly accomplished professional with a distinguished career in the Saudi Arabian government.

She currently serves as the director of policies, awareness and training for the integrity department at the Ministry of Defense.

Al-Johani brings a wealth of experience in leadership, policy development, and program implementation to the role.

Her dedication to public service is evident throughout her career. She previously served as the deputy health minister’s human resources counselor for business quality.

Al-Johani also worked as general supervisor of the Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Office at the Saudi Health Ministry.

She served as director general of the ministry’s workforce planning department from April 2019 to February 2021.

Al-Johani has been a certified internal assessor at the Health Ministry for the King Abdulaziz Quality Award since 2018.

She headed the quality excellence team at the ministry’s deputyship of human resources between 2018 and 2019, and was a coordinator of the leadership renewal program in 2016.

Al-Johani worked for nearly a year in 2009 as supervisor at the learning and resource center of the Jeddah-based Al-Abnaa High School.

Al-Johani has attended various local and international training courses. She is the recipient of several prestigious professional awards and has had research papers published in various journals, and attended conferences both inside and outside the country.

Al-Johani received a bachelor’s degree in education from King Saud University in 2003. After completing a master’s degree at the University of Glamorgan, she obtained a Ph.D. in technology science from the University of South Wales.