BRICS Summit set for Johannesburg

People walk past the Sandton Convention Centre, which will host the upcoming BRICS Summit, in Johannesburg, South Africa August 19, 2023. (REUTERS)
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Updated 21 August 2023
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BRICS Summit set for Johannesburg

  • The summit takes place from Aug. 22-24 to welcome more than 40 heads of state and international dignitaries
  • BRICS is focused on three main pillars of cooperation: political and security, financial and economic, and cultural

JOHANNESBURG: The 15th BRICS Summit, which involves member nations Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is set to begin in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said during an address on Sunday: “Together, the members of BRICS … make up a quarter of the global economy, they account for a fifth of global trade, and are home to more than 40 percent of the world’s population.

“BRICS as a formation plays an important role in the world due to its economic power, market potential, political influence, and development cooperation.”

The summit, which takes place from Aug. 22-24, is expected to welcome more than 40 heads of state and international dignitaries.

The first BRICS meeting of foreign ministers was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2006. The organization was known as BRIC before South Africa joined.

The first BRIC Summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in June 2009, and one year later South Africa was invited to join BRICS and attended the third summit, in Sanya, China, in 2011.

BRICS is focused on three main pillars of cooperation: political and security, financial and economic, and cultural.

Dignitaries and heads of state were expected to arrive in Johannesburg on Monday.

The South African president revealed that Chinese President Xi Jinping will be one of those arriving in South Africa, on his fourth state visit.

Ramaphosa said: “This BRICS Summit and the state visit by President Xi Jinping, as well as the many bilateral engagements we will have with President Lula da Silva of Brazil, Prime Minister Modi of India, and many other heads of state on the sidelines of the summit, have a bearing on our relationships with other countries and South Africa’s place in the world.”

An expansion of the membership of BRICS will be one of the topics of discussion.

Ramaphosa said that more than 20 countries had formally applied to join the organization and several others had expressed an interest in joining.

He said: “South Africa supports the expansion of the membership of BRICS. The value of BRICS extends beyond the interests of its current members.

“For its efforts to be more effective, BRICS needs to build partnerships with other countries that share its aspirations and perspectives.”

South Africa was named the chair of the grouping on Jan. 1, 2023. The main themes of the country’s presidency include tackling climate change and helping toward transformational changes across all sectors of the economy; educational and continuous skills development; emphasis on the African Continental Free Trade Area and investments in Africa; the strengthening of post-pandemic socio-economic recovery; and working toward Sustainable Development goals, while strengthening multilateralism.


Saudi, Kosovo officials discuss parliamentary ties

Updated 25 May 2024
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Saudi, Kosovo officials discuss parliamentary ties

RIYADH: The Saudi-Kosovo Parliamentary Friendship Committee, led by Khalid Al-Bawardi, the committee’s chairman and Saudi Shoura Council member, met with Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kreshnik Ahmeti and other officials in Pristina.

Discussions aimed to boost bilateral relations and parliamentary cooperation between the Shoura Council and Kosovo Parliament, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Faisal Hifzi, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Albania and non-resident ambassador to Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, attended the meeting.

Additionally, the committee met with Podujeva’s Mayor Shpejtim Bulliqi and discussed cooperation in municipal affairs. The mayor praised Saudi Arabia’s environmental conservation efforts.

The Shoura Council delegation also engaged with local companies, reviewing Kosovo’s future projects and discussing opportunities for economic cooperation.


Saudi authorities arrest 17,030 illegals in one week

Updated 25 May 2024
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Saudi authorities arrest 17,030 illegals in one week

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested 17,030 people in one week for breaching residency, work and border security regulations, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

According to an official report, a total of 10,662 people were arrested for violations of residency laws, while 4,147 were held over illegal border crossing attempts, and a further 2,221 for labor-related issues.

The report showed that among the 1,119 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 71 percent were Ethiopian, 27 percent Yemeni, and 2 percent were of other nationalities.

A further 65 people were caught trying to cross into neighboring countries, and 17 were held for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior said that anyone found to be facilitating illegal entry to the Kingdom, including providing transportation and shelter, could face imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years, a fine of up to SR1 million ($260,000), as well as confiscation of vehicles and property.

Suspected violations can be reported on the toll-free number 911 in the Makkah and Riyadh regions, and 999 or 996 in other regions of the Kingdom.


KSrelief continues aid projects in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen

Updated 25 May 2024
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KSrelief continues aid projects in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief  continued its humanitarian projects in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen.
In Sudan, the agency distributed 950 personal hygiene kits to displaced and needy families in Kosti, benefiting 5,463 individuals. In Wad Sharifi, 330 food parcels were provided to displaced families, benefiting 1,710 individuals. 
Meanwhile in Lebanon, KSrelief continued its implementation of the Al-Amal Charitable Bakery Project in Akkar and Miniyeh. The project distributed 150,000 loaves of bread daily to Syrian and Palestinian refugee families, or about 62,500 individuals.
In Yemen, 897 food parcels were delivered in Al-Abr, benefiting 6,237 individuals, as part of the Kingdom’s humanitarian initiative.
in Somalia, KSrelief continued providing medical services in collaboration with the Kidney Dialysis Center at Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu. The center catered to a total of 384 patients and assisted dialysis, medical examination and emergency sessions.


12 arrested in qat smuggling attempt in Saudi Arabia

Updated 25 May 2024
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12 arrested in qat smuggling attempt in Saudi Arabia

  • A separate smuggling attempt of 70kg of qat was thwarted in Jazan Region

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested 12 Yemeni nationals for attempting to smuggle 266kg of qat through the borders of Asir region, state news agency SPA reported.
The items were seized and handed over to the relevant authority, SPA said on Friday.
A separate smuggling attempt of 70kg of qat was thwarted in Jazan region. Border authorities said the suspects were arrested and the seized items were transferred to relevant authorities for further action.

Mostly chewed by users, Qat is a mild stimulant and illegal across most of the Arab world.

The government has urged citizens and residents to report any information they have regarding drug smuggling or sales to the General Directorate of Narcotics Control. Reports can be made by calling 911 for Makkah, Riyadh and the Eastern Province, and 999 for other regions. Alternatively, information can be emailed to [email protected]. All reports are treated confidentially.

 


Saudi foreign minister meets French counterpart, discusses bilateral relations and situation in Gaza

Updated 25 May 2024
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Saudi foreign minister meets French counterpart, discusses bilateral relations and situation in Gaza

PARIS: Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah met on Friday with French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Stephane Sejourne in Paris.

The two ministers discussed Saudi-French relations and ways to enhance them as well as improve coordination on various issues of mutual concern.

The two officials also discussed the current situation in Gaza and its surroundings and the need to deliver humanitarian assistance to the civilians in the enclave.

The meeting was attended by Saudi Ambassador to France Fahd bin Mayouf Al-Ruwaili, Foreign Minister’s Office Director General Abdulrahman Al-Dawood and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Advisor Dr. Manal Radwan.