Saudi Arabia welcomes move by Norway, Ireland and Spain to formally recognize Palestinian state

A demonstrators holds a sign in support of Palestine, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, during a ‘Stand Together’ solidarity march against war, hate and racism, in Dublin, Ireland. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 23 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia welcomes move by Norway, Ireland and Spain to formally recognize Palestinian state

  • Palestinian Authority and its rival group Hamas both welcomed the recognition
  • Israel recalls envoys to Spain, Ireland and Norway for consultations

RIYADH/COPENHAGEN: Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it welcomed the “positive” decision taken by Norway, Spain, and Ireland to recognize a Palestinian state. 
The Kingdom said it appreciated this decision “which confirms the international consensus on the inherent right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” in a foreign ministry statement. 

The kingdom also called on more countries to swiftly take the same stance, “which would contribute to finding a reliable and irreversible path to achieve a just and lasting peace that fulfills the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Leaders of Norway, Spain and Ireland said on Wednesday they were formally going to recognize Palestine as a state.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said: “There cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also announced that the country’s council of ministers would recognize an independent Palestinian state on Tuesday May 28.

“Next Tuesday, May 28, Spain’s cabinet will approve the recognition of the Palestinian state,” he said, adding that his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu was putting the two state solution in “danger” with his policy of “pain and destruction” in the Gaza Strip.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said it was a move coordinated with Spain and Norway, marking “an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.”

The Palestinian Authority and its rival group Hamas both welcomed the recognition of a Palestinian state by Ireland, Spain and Norway.

The Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank territory while Hamas runs Gaza.

Jordan hailed the coordinated move as an “important and essential step towards Palestinian statehood.”

“We value this decision and consider it an important and essential step towards a two-state solution that embodies an independent, sovereign Palestinian state along the July 1967 borders,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told a press conference.

Qatar’s foreign ministry welcomed the announcement as an “important step in support of a two-state solution,” expressing hope that other countries would follow suit.

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council also spoke out in support of the European countries’ move, with secretary general Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi saying it represented “a pivotal and strategic step towards achieving the two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a statement said.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, based in the Saudi city of Jeddah, similarly welcomed the move as an “important historic step”.

Several European Union countries have in the past weeks indicated that they plan to make the recognition, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.

Israel recalled envoys to Spain, Ireland and Norway over their moves to recognize a Palestinian state.

“Today, I am sending a sharp message to Ireland and Norway: Israel will not go over this in silence. I have just ordered the return of the Israeli ambassadors from Dublin and Oslo to Israel for further consultations in Jerusalem,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a statement.

Sanchez said in March that Spain and Ireland, along with Slovenia and Malta, had agreed to take their first steps toward Palestinian recognition, seeing a two-state solution as essential for lasting peace.

The efforts come as a mounting death toll in Gaza from Israel’s offensive to rout Hamas prompts calls globally for a ceasefire and lasting solution for peace in the region.

Norway, which is not a member of the European Union but mirror its moves, has been an ardent supporter of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The terror has been committed by Hamas and militant groups who are not supporters of a two-state solution and the state of Israel,” the Norwegian government leader said.

“Palestine has a fundamental right to an independent state,” Gahr Store told a press conference.

The move comes as Israeli forces have led assaults on the northern and southern edges of the Gaza Strip in May, causing a new exodus of hundreds of thousands of people, and sharply restricted the flow of aid, raising the risk of famine.

The Scandinavian country “will therefore regard Palestine as an independent state with all the rights and obligations that entails,” Gahr Store said.

Norway’s recognition of a Palestine state comes more than 30 years after the first Oslo agreement was signed in 1993.

Since then, “the Palestinians have taken important steps toward a two-state solution,” the Norwegian government said.

It said that the World Bank determined that Palestine had met key criteria to function as a state in 2011, that national institutions have been built up to provide the population with important services.

“The war in Gaza and the constant expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank still mean that the situation in Palestine is more difficult than it has been in decades,” the Norwegian government said.


10 investors convicted of violating Saudi financial market rules

Updated 14 June 2024
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10 investors convicted of violating Saudi financial market rules

  • One sentenced to prison, all were ordered to pay 101.7 million riyals in compensation to losses
  • The investors were charged by the Public Prosecution upon referral by the Capital Market Authority
  • The "final decision" was issued by the Appeal Committee for Resolution of Securities Disputes

RIYADH: Ten investors had been convicted of violating Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Law and were ordered to pay the Capital Market Authority a total of SAR 101.7 million in fines and compensation for losses, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday.

In a "final decision" the Appeal Committee for Resolution of Securities Disputes, or ACRSD, sentenced one of the convicted individuals to imprisonment, the SPA report said, citing a statement by the General Secretariat of the Committees for Resolution of Securities Disputes. The statement said the "final decision" was issued by the ACRSD on 11/06/1445 Hijri, corresponding to December 24, 2023.

The amount of SR101.7 million constituted SR670,000 in fines for the ten convicts and SR101 million riyals as compensation from all ten convicts and a female investor for losses resulting from the violations committed in their investment portfolios, the report added.

Named in the ruling were Mish'al bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari, Naif bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alali, Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari, Ghada bint Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari, Sami bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari, Fawaz bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari, Jameel bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari, Ali bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari, Fawzi bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alali, and Fawzia bint Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alali.

The convictions were also announced online in detail by the ACRSD and the Capital Market Authority (CMA). According to the CRSD statement, cases were filed against the ten investors by the Public Prosecution upon referral by the CMA.

In a statement posted on its website and on the social media platform X, CMA said: "One of the convicts was held responsible for making an incorrect statement in the announcement published by a listed company in the capital market. This was done to affect the price of the security or to urge others to purchase the security, in addition to his responsibility for neglecting to disclose essential developments in the company."

CMA also said some of the convicts "disclosed internal information relating to the financial position of a listed company in the capital market and the possibility of its bankruptcy," while other convicts engaged in trading based on the illegally disclosed internal information, intending to benefit from it before it was announced and made available to the general public."

In its ruling, the ACRSD ordered sentenced Fawaz bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari to six months in prison and to pay a fine SR330,000. It also banned him from working in companies, shares of which are traded in the Saudi exchange for six years.

Fawaz bin Abdullah was found by the court to have disclosed internal information relating to the financial position of Abdullah A. M. Al-Khodari Sons Co. and the possibility of its bankruptcy.

Also found guilty of disclosing internal information were Jameel bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari and Ali bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari.

Mish'al bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari was ordered to pay to the CMA account the amount of SR. 11,036,678.01 "against the avoided loses as a result of the violations committed in his investment portfolio. He was also banned from working in companies, shares of which are traded in the Saudi exchange for one year.

Sami bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari was told to pay to the CMA SR12,070,268.61; Naif bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alali, SR8,482,596.89; Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari, SR9,226,817.79; Ghada bint Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari, SR1,370,918.10; Fawzi bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alali, SR8,116,873.04; and Fawzia bint Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alali, SR. 187,709.75. All of them were banned from working in companies, shares of which are traded in the Saudi exchange for one year.

Ali bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari imposed only a fine of SR100,000 but banned for two years from working in companies, shares of which are traded in the Saudi exchange.

"One investor to pay to the CMA the total amount of (SR. 50,581,879.82) fifty million five hundred eighty-one thousand eight hundred seventy-nine Saudi Riyals and eighty-two Halalas against the avoided loses as a result of the violations committed in its investment portfolio performed by the convicted person; Fawaz bin Abdullah bin Abdulmohsen Alkhudari," the ARCSD announcement said.

The GS-CRSD urged other individuals affected by the abovementioned violations to file a compensation claim with the CMA.

GS-CRSD said it will announce to the public on its website in case any class action would be filed so that other investors affected by such violations could join.


Al-Jubeir reviews Saudi Arabia’s climate efforts at FII Brazil summit

Updated 14 June 2024
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Al-Jubeir reviews Saudi Arabia’s climate efforts at FII Brazil summit

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s climate envoy Adel Al-Jubeir said the Kingdom is one of the largest investors in clean energy and has huge projects aimed at reducing the effects of climate change and initiatives to enhance global climate action.

Al-Jubeir, who is also the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Cabinet member, added that these projects include a waste recycling program, Middle East Green Initiative, and one of the largest hydrogen schemes in the world, which is being established in NEOM. 

During the Future Investment Initiative Institute’s Priority Summit in Brazil, he tackled the Kingdom’s role and efforts in energy development, and its goal to be one of the largest exporters of all types of energy, including clean, renewable and traditional energy.

He reviewed the most prominent objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 and its focus on improving the quality of life, empowering youth and attracting investments to achieve stability, growth and prosperity in the Kingdom.

Al-Jubeir said the Kingdom is working to intensify its communication and rapprochement with the world to face climate challenges, as it is located between three continents, and is surrounded by the most important waterways. It is also one of the important countries in energy markets, and one of the investors in global markets.

FII Priority is a program that consists of summits, initiatives, and resolutions, focusing on humanity’s priorities, concerns, and hopes. The Rio de Janeiro summit is designed to deliver impactful change by transforming ideas into tangible solutions, according to the institute. 


Pilgrims reminded of benefits provided by Tawakkalna app during Hajj

Updated 13 June 2024
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Pilgrims reminded of benefits provided by Tawakkalna app during Hajj

  • The services it provides include alerts for pilgrims, a distress call function, weather updates, help to determine the direction to face the Kaaba for prayer, and prayer timings
  • The app provides support for seven languages: Arabic, English, Filipino, Indonesian, Bangladeshi, Urdu and Hindi

MAKKAH: Authorities have reminded pilgrims that the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority’s Tawakkalna app provides access to several digital services that can help them during Hajj.
The app provides support for seven languages: Arabic, English, Filipino, Indonesian, Bangladeshi, Urdu and Hindi. The services it provides include the latest information and alerts for pilgrims as they perform Hajj rituals; weather updates for Makkah and Madinah provided by the National Center of Meteorology; readings from the Qur’an; help to determine the qibla, the direction to face the Kaaba for prayer; and prayer timings.
Pilgrims can also use Tawakkalna to display their digital Hajj card (Nusuk), while Hajj workers can access entry permits for holy sites. A “rituals” section gives pilgrims with Hajj permit the option to obtain a permit for Umrah, and provides other services such as a “Help Me” section, a distress call function, and a way to check volunteers’ credentials.
Authorities said the app has 32 million users, provides 315 electronic services, and can be used in more than 77 countries. The annual Hajj pilgrimage will begin on Friday, June 14 and continue until Wednesday, June 19.


Saudi leaders send condolences to leader of Malawi over death of vice president

Updated 13 June 2024
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Saudi leaders send condolences to leader of Malawi over death of vice president

  • King Salman: We express to your excellency and your friendly people our deepest condolences and sincere sympathy
  • Deaths of Saulos Klaus Chilima and the others were confirmed on Tuesday when the wreckage of the small military plane in which they were traveling was discovered

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a message of condolence and sympathy to Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera following the deaths of Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima and nine others in a plane crash.

The king wrote: “We received news of the death of the vice president of the Republic of Malawi, Mr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, and his companions, and we express to your excellency and your friendly people our deepest condolences and sincere sympathy.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent a similar message to the president, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The deaths of Chilima and the others were confirmed on Tuesday when the wreckage of the small military plane in which they were traveling was discovered in a mountainous region in the north of the country. Contact with the aircraft had been lost the previous day. The victims also included former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri, the ex-wife of former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi, and three military crew members.

  • With AP

Egypt’s president prays in the Prophet’s Mosque ahead of Hajj

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi prayed at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah on Thursday. (SPA)
Updated 13 June 2024
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Egypt’s president prays in the Prophet’s Mosque ahead of Hajj

  • The annual pilgrimage starts on Friday and El-Sisi will be taking part this year

RIYADH: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrived in the Saudi city of Madinah on Thursday and prayed at the Prophet’s Mosque, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

El-Sisi was received by Prince Salman bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the governor of the Madinah region, and a number of local officials on his arrival at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport.

The annual pilgrimage starts on Friday and El-Sisi will be taking part this year.