Saudi Arabia wins membership of International Maritime Organization council

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Saudi transport minister held meetings in London on Friday with several officials on the sidelines of the 33rd session of the International Maritime Organization Assembly. (SPA)
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Saudi transport minister held meetings in London on Friday with several officials on the sidelines of the 33rd session of the International Maritime Organization Assembly. (SPA)
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Saudi transport minister held meetings in London on Friday with several officials on the sidelines of the 33rd session of the International Maritime Organization Assembly. (SPA)
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Saudi transport minister held meetings in London on Friday with several officials on the sidelines of the 33rd session of the International Maritime Organization Assembly. (SPA)
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Saudi transport minister held meetings in London on Friday with several officials on the sidelines of the 33rd session of the International Maritime Organization Assembly. (SPA)
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Saudi transport minister held meetings in London on Friday with several officials on the sidelines of the 33rd session of the International Maritime Organization Assembly. (SPA)
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Updated 02 December 2023
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Saudi Arabia wins membership of International Maritime Organization council

  • 143 of the UN-affiliated agency’s 175 members voted for the Kingdom to serve on the 40-member council for the period 2024-2025
  • Saudi transport minister met with counterparts from Jamaica, Nigeria, Indonesia, Sweden and the Philippines as well as IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has earned a place on the 40-member council of the International Maritime Organization for the period 2024-2025. The Kingdom received 143 votes from the agency’s 175 member states in an election at its headquarters in London on Friday.

The UN-affiliated organization is the global maritime authority that sets the international standards designed to ensure the safety and security of maritime transport, reduce pollution from ships, and implement initiatives that help preserve the marine environment and protect nature.

Saudi Arabia’s Transport General Authority described the Kingdom’s success in the vote as the culmination of the efforts and support of the nation’s leaders to develop maritime transport in accordance with the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 development and diversification agenda.

It is “a unique national achievement that propels us toward a promising future,” the TGA said, and “a cause for celebration” that reflects “unwavering commitment toward supporting initiatives aimed at safeguarding the marine ecosystem.”

The success is in recognition of the initiatives the Kingdom has adopted to protect and preserve the marine environment, it added, and it will provide the country with the opportunity to contribute to the development of international regulations and laws relating to global trade and maritime transport.

“The win serves as a confirmation of the Kingdom’s influential position and impact within the (IMO), the significant role of the Saudi naval fleet, ambitious initiatives and projects aligned with the national strategy for transportation and logistical services, and contributions and initiatives in safeguarding the marine environment and empowering seafarers,” the TGA said in a message posted on social media network X.

Under its national strategy for transport and logistics services, Saudi Arabia has adopted a number of initiatives and set ambitious targets that have contributed to the development of the nation’s maritime sector, officials said.

By 2030, the Kingdom aims to handle 40 million containers a year, facilitate clearing and cargo-handling procedures, and develop marine tourism through cruise ships and coastal transportation, taking full advantage of the Kingdom’s strategic location as a meeting point between East and West and the Red Sea’s role as a route through which 13 percent of global trade passes.

Meanwhile, the Saudi transport minister held meetings in London on Friday with several officials on the sidelines of the 33rd session of the International Maritime Organization Assembly, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser met with ministers from Jamaica, Nigeria, Indonesia, Sweden and the Philippines as well as IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

During the meeting, Al-Jasser also met with the Yemeni, Qatari and Bahraini transport ministers.

They discussed strengthening partnerships and employing innovative technologies in the maritime industry.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Britain was elected as IMO president by its member states. 

The IMO is the UN agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.


Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project

Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project

  • Ithra in Dhahran hosts event which includes Alexandria and Rabat
  • Goal is to read 500,000 pages and plant 5,000 trees in 3 Arab cities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture launches Thursday a three-day reading marathon and anti-desertification project, that will take place in three Arab cities.

Also known as Ithra, the center will host the event in cooperation with the Library of Alexandria and the Moroccan National Library. It will be held simultaneously in the Kingdom’s city of Dhahran, Alexandria in Egypt and Rabat in Morocco, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The center is promoting reading, especially in public libraries, and all three cities will ensure a tree is planted for every 100 pages read.

The aim is to have participants read 500,000 pages and plant 5,000 trees.

To plant the trees, the Ithra center is working with the National Center for Vegetation Development to Combat Desertification in Saudi Arabia, and authorities in Egypt and Morocco.

Each reader will receive a commemorative medal for participating.

Bronze medals will be awarded to those who read 100 pages, silver for 200 pages, and gold for 1,000 pages.

The first edition of the marathon was held inside the Ithra library, achieving 162,000 pages read and 1,622 trees planted. The second edition was also held in the Ithra library and two libraries in Riyadh and Tabuk, with 422,000 pages read and 4,222 trees planted.

The planting of seedlings took place in October in the Al-Ahsa National Park with the participation of several readers.


Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh

Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh

  • Saudi-Ukrainian relations, latest developments in Ukrainian-Russian war were discussed
  • Crown prince stressed Kingdom’s support for all international efforts aimed at resolving crisis

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in Riyadh on Tuesday.

During their meeting, aspects of Saudi-Ukrainian relations were reviewed, and the latest developments in the Ukrainian-Russian war were discussed, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The crown prince stressed the Kingdom’s support for all international endeavors and efforts aimed at resolving the crisis and achieving peace, and continuing efforts to alleviate the humanitarian repercussions of the war. 

Zelensky wrote on social media platform X that he would discuss prisoners of war and deportees with the crown prince.

“The Kingdom’s leadership has already contributed to the release of our people. I am confident that this meeting will also yield results,” he wrote. 

The crown prince was involved in securing the release of 10 foreign prisoners captured in Ukraine in September 2022 which then enabled a major prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine.

The president added that he will discuss “promising areas of economic cooperation and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Ukraine’s reconstruction” during his visit. 

Zelensky left Riyadh later on Tuesday evening and was seen off by deputy govenor of Riyadh Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz.


Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy

Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy

  • The parties discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the countries in digital government

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha on Tuesday met his Qatari counterpart Mohammed Al-Mannai in Doha, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The parties discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the countries in digital government and the digital economy, and techniques to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship system.

“This is in line with the aspirations of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council to support and strengthen the partnership between the two brotherly countries,” the SPA’s statement said.

The meeting was attended by several leaders of national technology companies in the fields of business, digital transformation, and digital health solutions, along with other representatives from both parties.


Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law

Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved on Tuesday new regulations that govern the railways in the Kingdom.

The decision “supports achieving the goals of the National Transport & Logistics Strategy, and contributes to the governance of the railway sector and regulates the relationship between the infrastructure owner, the operator and the beneficiary,” Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh Al-Jasser said.

The new regulations will ensure that railway services providers continue to apply the highest standards and requirements for safety and quality, and will develop policies and legislation that ensure fair competitiveness, the minister added.

In 2023, the number of railways passengers exceeded 11.2 million, a 55% increase compared to 2022. Trains also transported 24.7 million tons of goods and minerals, an increase of 6% during the same year.

Al-Jasser stated that regulations will contribute to encouraging use and ensure the protection of railways, their infrastructure, and facilities in accordance with internationally approved standards. 

The new law also specified penalties to protect railway tracks from violations and damage to the network.

The minister thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the new law.


Saudi Cabinet calls for an end to escalation of military operations in Gaza

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet held a meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 27 February 2024
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Saudi Cabinet calls for an end to escalation of military operations in Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet called for an end to the escalation in military operations in Gaza and the dire humanitarian crisis that it is causing, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The Cabinet also reviewed the outcomes of the Kingdom’s participation in a two-day meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Rio de Janeiro and its vision regarding the group’s role in dealing with existing international tensions and restructuring global governance.

The Cabinet also reiterated the Kingdom’s support for regional and international efforts to ban all types of weapons of mass destruction as was expressed during its participation in the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

The Cabinet also praised the outcomes of a recent Arab Interior Ministers’ Council held in Tunisia and stressed the Kingdom’s constant keenness to support and enhance joint Arab action in all fields in a way that contributes to establishing the foundations of security, stability, and prosperity in the region.