Saudi Crown Prince: Biggest Danger of Terrorism is Distorting the Name of Islam

Saudi Crown Prince and Ministers of Defense during the inauguration of meeting of IMCTC Ministers of Defense Council. SPA
Saudi Crown Prince and Ministers of Defense during the inauguration of meeting of IMCTC Ministers of Defense Council. SPA
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Saudi Crown Prince: Biggest Danger of Terrorism is Distorting the Name of Islam

Saudi Crown Prince and Ministers of Defense during the inauguration of meeting of IMCTC Ministers of Defense Council. SPA
Saudi Crown Prince and Ministers of Defense during the inauguration of meeting of IMCTC Ministers of Defense Council. SPA

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense opened on Sunday the inaugural meeting of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) Ministers of Defense Council under the slogan "Allied Against Terrorism'' with participation of the ministers of Defense of the Islamic State's Coalition and international delegations.

The meeting marks the official launch of the IMCTC which will discuss the fight against the financing of terrorism and the identification of future mechanisms and frameworks that will guide the efforts of Islamic countries to eliminate terrorism, and unifying efforts to maintain international peace and security.

The Crown Prince said in his inauguration speech that the biggest threat of terrorism is the distortion it has imposed on Islam.

The prince also highlighted that today more than 40 Islamic countries strongly reaffirm their commitment to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.

"IMCTC members have gathered in Riyadh to pledge to do all that we can until terrorism is uprooted and is erased from the face of the Earth" the Crown Prince said.

He also sent his condolences to the brothers in Egypt for the attack in Sinai.

IMCTC has established the Counter Terrorism Center as its operational arm. The Center’s mission is to build up the member country’s Counter Terrorism capacity, exchange global best practice on specific IMCTC initiatives and create coordinated efforts across the four IMCTC domains; ideology, communications, counter terrorist financing, and military.

Two years ago in December 2015, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced the formation of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) to form a unified Pan-Islamic front against terrorism and to reinforce solidarity and collaboration among coalition member countries to present a unified front against terrorist organizations trying to tarnish the name of Islam.



Saudi Govt Approves 2024 Budget: 1.251 Trillion Riyals in Revenues

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz chairs the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. (SPA)
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz chairs the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Saudi Govt Approves 2024 Budget: 1.251 Trillion Riyals in Revenues

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz chairs the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. (SPA)
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz chairs the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. (SPA)

The Saudi government approved on Wednesday the Kingdom’s 2024 budget.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz chaired the cabinet meeting that was held in Riyadh.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, who is overseeing the Kingdom's Vision 2030 economic transformation plan, said the 2024 budget aims to boost growth in the non-oil economy by increasing spending and investment in infrastructure, local industry and services.

Total expenditure next year is projected at 1.251 trillion riyals ($334 billion), according to finance ministry figures, about 12% higher than was budgeted for 2023.

Saudi Arabia estimated total revenues at 1.172 trillion riyals in 2024.

Total revenues for 2023 were estimated at 1.193 trillion riyals, revised upwards from the pre-budget statement released in September, despite extended voluntary oil production cuts by Saudi Arabia of 1 million barrels per day for much of this year.

Public debt is forecast to reach about 26% of GDP next year, from just under 25% of GDP in 2023, the finance ministry said.

Economic growth surged last year amid a huge windfall from high crude prices which averaged about $100 per barrel, resulting in the highest GDP growth among G20 nations and the country's first budget surplus in almost a decade.


Saudi, Australian Foreign Ministers Discuss Gaza Situation

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah. SPA
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah. SPA
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Saudi, Australian Foreign Ministers Discuss Gaza Situation

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah. SPA
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah. SPA

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah received a phone call on Wednesday from his Australian counterpart, Penny Wong.

They discussed the developments in the Gaza Strip, stressing the need for an immediate ceasefire and the delivery of emergency relief assistance to Gaza.

The ministers expressed concern over the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and stressed that Israel needs to comply with and respect international humanitarian law.


Saudi Arabia, Qatar Affirm Advancing Political, Security, Economic Ties

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (SPA)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia, Qatar Affirm Advancing Political, Security, Economic Ties

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (SPA)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (SPA)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani presided over the seventh sitting of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council on Tuesday.

The leaders delved into a comprehensive review of the strong fraternal ties between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, exploring avenues to bolster and advance cooperation across various domains, particularly in the realms of politics, security, economics, investment, and more.

During the council's session, several regional and international issues of mutual interest were addressed, with a particular focus on the latest developments in the region.

The leaders engaged in a fruitful exchange of perspectives on matters contributing to regional stability and security.

Additionally, the meeting witnessed the Saudi Crown Prince and Qatari Emir exchanging a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding spanning multiple sectors.

This collaborative effort underscores the commitment of both nations to enhance their strategic partnership and foster mutually beneficial initiatives.

In a joint statement, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman acknowledged the rapid development and collaboration across all fronts in the bilateral relations.

He emphasized the significance of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council as a crucial means of communication and coordination that embodies these robust ties.

He underscored the duty to earnestly strive towards deepening and expanding areas of bilateral cooperation to achieve a future renaissance and sustainable growth for both nations and their people.

Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar expressed satisfaction with the achieved results, positive outcomes, and initiatives, reaching a consensus on the signing of various agreements and memoranda of understanding.

These agreements aim to enhance cooperation between the two nations across various fields, with a commitment to strengthening and deepening the distinguished bilateral relations and taking them to broader horizons.

In the political realm, both parties expressed contentment with the advanced level of political consultations.

They emphasized the importance of continuing to strengthen and enhance cooperation and consultation on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

As for security and military affairs, both parties emphasized the importance of enhancing cooperation to contribute to the support of regional security and stability.

This involves strengthening areas such as military training, sponsorship, the exchange of expertise, and the establishment of partnerships.

On the sports front, both sides commended the collaboration during Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, highlighting the facilitation of fan transportation, including coordination at land and air entry points.

In the cultural, tourism, and entertainment spheres, they lauded the existing collaboration between the two nations in these areas.


Putin Visits Riyadh: Regional Developments, OPEC+ in Spotlight

Relations between the two countries enjoy a close level of political and economic cooperation (Reuters)
Relations between the two countries enjoy a close level of political and economic cooperation (Reuters)
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Putin Visits Riyadh: Regional Developments, OPEC+ in Spotlight

Relations between the two countries enjoy a close level of political and economic cooperation (Reuters)
Relations between the two countries enjoy a close level of political and economic cooperation (Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday for an official visit, where he is expected to meet with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Earlier, Putin's aide, Yuri Ushakov, stated that approximately 30 documents, including economic and trade agreements, have been prepared for signing during Putin’s visit to Saudi Arabia.

Additionally, King Salman will discuss various areas of cooperation between the two countries, encompassing energy, agriculture, industry, military-technical collaboration, as well as cultural and humanitarian exchanges, according to Ushakov.

Wednesday’s talks in Saudi Arabia will focus on bilateral relations and the war between Israel and Hamas, spokesman Dmitry Peskov had said earlier.

Issues related to oil market cooperation are also on the agenda, he added.

According to Ushakov, Putin’s primary discussions will be with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Prior to that, Putin will be in the UAE, where there will also be a working visit.

“I hope that the outcomes of this visit will be very positive,” said Ushakov as reported by the Russian news agency Sputnik.

Ushakov affirmed that Putin will address bilateral relations, the Israel-Hamas conflict, and international politics.

Additionally, discussions will cover the reduction of oil production within the framework of the OPEC+ alliance, which includes Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the UAE.

The last time Putin visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE was in 2019, as reported by the official news agency TASS. This marks Putin’s second visit to Riyadh since assuming leadership in Russia.

Bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Russia carry distinctive historical nuances, dating back to 1926, during the Soviet era, as indicated by official sources.

In that epoch, the Soviet Union became the first non-Arab state to recognize the Kingdom as an independent nation. In 1930, the Soviet consulate in Jeddah was elevated to embassy status.

Official visits from Saudi Arabia have underscored the significance of these ties, particularly with the historic visit by King Salman bin Abdulaziz to Moscow in October 2017.

This marked the first-ever visit by a Saudi monarch to the Russian capital, and it was met with a notable reception from Putin.

Between 2015 and 2018, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman conducted multiple visits to Russia, engaging with Putin and a significant number of Russian ministers, officials, and business leaders.

These encounters played a crucial role in elevating the relationship between the two nations.

Official sources identify Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top oil exporters, with Saudi Arabia ranking first, followed closely by Russia.

The countries closely collaborate within the frameworks of OPEC and OPEC+.


GCC Leaders Meet in Doha, Stress Need for Truce in Gaza

A handout picture provided by the UAE Presidential Court shows Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (C-L) and Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C-R) posing for a group picture with Gulf leaders and officials meeting in Doha on December 5, 2023. From L to R: The Secretary General of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Jasem Mohamed al-Budaiwi, Kuwait's Foreign Minister Salem Abdullah al-Jaber al-Sabah, Omani Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said, the Qatari leader, Türkiye's president, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and the United Arab Emirates' President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. (UAE Presidential Court / AFP)
A handout picture provided by the UAE Presidential Court shows Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (C-L) and Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C-R) posing for a group picture with Gulf leaders and officials meeting in Doha on December 5, 2023. From L to R: The Secretary General of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Jasem Mohamed al-Budaiwi, Kuwait's Foreign Minister Salem Abdullah al-Jaber al-Sabah, Omani Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said, the Qatari leader, Türkiye's president, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and the United Arab Emirates' President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. (UAE Presidential Court / AFP)
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GCC Leaders Meet in Doha, Stress Need for Truce in Gaza

A handout picture provided by the UAE Presidential Court shows Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (C-L) and Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C-R) posing for a group picture with Gulf leaders and officials meeting in Doha on December 5, 2023. From L to R: The Secretary General of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Jasem Mohamed al-Budaiwi, Kuwait's Foreign Minister Salem Abdullah al-Jaber al-Sabah, Omani Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said, the Qatari leader, Türkiye's president, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and the United Arab Emirates' President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. (UAE Presidential Court / AFP)
A handout picture provided by the UAE Presidential Court shows Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (C-L) and Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C-R) posing for a group picture with Gulf leaders and officials meeting in Doha on December 5, 2023. From L to R: The Secretary General of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Jasem Mohamed al-Budaiwi, Kuwait's Foreign Minister Salem Abdullah al-Jaber al-Sabah, Omani Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said, the Qatari leader, Türkiye's president, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and the United Arab Emirates' President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. (UAE Presidential Court / AFP)

Gulf leaders stressed on Tuesday the need for the truce to be reinstate in Gaza, leading to a sustainable ceasefire and the delivery of aid for the Palestinian people.

Qatar hosted the 44th session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The leaders discussed the critical and dangerous challenges facing the region, especially the Israeli attack on Gaza and the West Bank, including the city of Jerusalem and Islamic and Christian holy sites.

They expressed deep concern and great dissatisfaction with the “blatant Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, and condemned the escalation of acts of violence and indiscriminate bombing carried out by the Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.”

They slammed “the forced displacement of the civilian population, and the destruction of civilian facilities and infrastructure, including residential buildings, schools, health facilities and places of worship, in clear violation of international law and international humanitarian law.”

They praised the joint mediation efforts by Qatar, Egypt and the United State, which resulted in reaching an agreement for a humanitarian truce in Gaza.

They stressed the need for “immediately resuming this humanitarian truce to achieve a complete and sustainable ceasefire and ensure the arrival of all humanitarian and relief aid and basic needs, the resumption of the work of electricity and water lines, and the entry of fuel, food and medicine for the residents of Gaza.”

The GCC stands by the brotherly Palestinian people and continues its support to alleviate the suffering of the residents of Gaza, declared a statement after the summit.

It highlighted the aid the Gulf has been extending to Gaza since 2009.

In 2009, the GCC countries established the “Cooperation Council Program for the Reconstruction of Gaza”. They pledged $1,646,000,000 billion, as well as direct bilateral aid, both in kind and financial, and unofficial aid. The most recent of which was the pledge in October of an additional amount of $100 million for humanitarian efforts, in addition to popular campaigns that mobilized hundreds of millions of US dollars to support the Palestinian people.

The Gulf leaders warned of the danger of the expansion of the Gaza conflict in the region if Israel continues its aggression.

The spillover will have “dire consequences on the peoples of the region and international peace and security,” they added.

They called on the international community to intervene to establish a ceasefire and protect Palestinian civilians, and “take the necessary measures in line with international law to respond to Israel’s practices and its policy of collective punishment against the defenseless residents of Gaza.”

The Supreme Council reiterated its firm stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, demanding an end to the occupation and supporting the sovereignty of the Palestinian people over all the occupied Palestinian territories.

It underlined the need for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, guaranteeing the rights of refugees according to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and international resolutions. The Council stressed the need to double the efforts of the international community to resolve the conflict in a way that fulfills all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

Moreover, the Council commended Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts and its initiative in partnership with the Arab League, European Union, Egypt, and Jordan to revive the peace process in accordance with international law, United Nations resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative.

The leaders welcomed the extraordinary Arab-Islamic summit hosted by Saudi Arabia on November 11 that was aimed at discussing the situation in Gaza.

They praised the efforts of the ministerial committee formed by the summit with the aim of “formulating an international movement to stop the war on Gaza and exert pressure for a genuine and serious political process to achieve permanent and comprehensive peace, in accordance with the recognized international references.”

The Gulf leaders welcomed the participation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a guest at the Supreme Council, which witnessed discussions on ways to enhance cooperation between the Gulf and Ankara. They also tackled issues of common interest, particularly the Palestinian issue and the Israeli aggression on Gaza.

The Supreme Council praised the role played by Erdogan and the Turkish government and people for their support for the Palestinian cause and people.

Furthermore, the Council expressed concern about the rising racism and hatred against Arabs and Muslims in several countries, as well as the alarming spread of anti-Islamic discourse, which has created a negative political climate in international relations. They condemned the burning of the Holy Quran and the increasing deliberate attacks on Arabs and Muslims.

The Council emphasized the importance of concerted efforts to confront this phenomenon through political and diplomatic channels.


Saudi Crown Prince, Emir of Qatar Co-Chair Meeting of Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council

A handout picture released by the Qatar Emiri Diwan shows Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (R) meeting with Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, in Doha during a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting on December 5, 2023. (Qatar Emiri Diwan / AFP)
A handout picture released by the Qatar Emiri Diwan shows Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (R) meeting with Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, in Doha during a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting on December 5, 2023. (Qatar Emiri Diwan / AFP)
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Saudi Crown Prince, Emir of Qatar Co-Chair Meeting of Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council

A handout picture released by the Qatar Emiri Diwan shows Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (R) meeting with Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, in Doha during a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting on December 5, 2023. (Qatar Emiri Diwan / AFP)
A handout picture released by the Qatar Emiri Diwan shows Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (R) meeting with Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, in Doha during a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting on December 5, 2023. (Qatar Emiri Diwan / AFP)

Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani co-chaired in Doha on Tuesday the meeting of 7th session of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council.

At the outset of the meeting, Sheikh Tamim welcomed Crown Prince Mohammed on his current visit to Qatar. In turn, the Crown Prince expressed his gratitude to Sheikh Tamim for the warm reception and generous hospitality.

The meeting reviewed aspects of fraternal relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar aimed at boosting bilateral cooperation in various fields. The latest regional and international developments and the efforts made in this regard were also discussed.

Crown Prince Mohammed and Sheikh Tamim oversaw the exchange of a number of bilateral agreements and memorandums of understanding between the two countries.

The meeting was attended by Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Minister of State and Cabinet's Member Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Sport Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Minister of State, Member of the Cabinet and National Security Adviser Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, Minister of Investment Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, Minister of Finance Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan, Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal bin Fadhil Al-Ibrahim, Minister of Media Salman bin Yousef Al-Dosari, President of General Intelligence Khalid bin Ali Al-Humaidan, and Governor of the Public Investment Fund Yasser bin Othman Al-Rumayyan.

The meeting was also attended by Qatari Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani, and a number of senior officials.


Qatar’s Emir: Principle of Self-Defense Doesn’t Apply to Israel’s Genocide in Gaza

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani during the opening of the GCC summit in Doha. (QNA)
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani during the opening of the GCC summit in Doha. (QNA)
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Qatar’s Emir: Principle of Self-Defense Doesn’t Apply to Israel’s Genocide in Gaza

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani during the opening of the GCC summit in Doha. (QNA)
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani during the opening of the GCC summit in Doha. (QNA)

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani inaugurated on Tuesday the 44th Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Doha affirming his genuine confidence in the capability of Gulf nations in contributing to resolutions of regional crises.
The Emir said that the summit convened amid an ongoing tragedy and unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip, adding that inaction by the international community in halting the conflict was "shameful".
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad stressed that the principle of self-defense does not apply to Israel and does not allow the crimes of genocide committed by Israel. He condemned the targeting of civilians of all nationalities and religions.
He said that Israel violated humanitarian and moral standards in Gaza, targeting the fragile infrastructure and cutting off all vital supplies. He renewed the call for an international investigation into the massacres committed by Israel.

The Emir underscored that tragedies could have been avoided if Israel realized the right of the Palestinians to their state. The Gaza issue is not separate but requires an end to the occupation on Palestinian territories, he stated.
He said that Israel must be forced to return to credible negotiations for a two-state solution. The negotiations should not be open without a time limit.
Al-Thani concluded saying that efforts are ongoing to renew (the truce) and to alleviate the burden of the people in the Gaza Strip, but truces are not an alternative for a comprehensive ceasefire.


GCC Summit: Customs Union, Railway Link, Unified Tourist Visa on Agenda

GCC Summit: Customs Union, Railway Link, Unified Tourist Visa on Agenda
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GCC Summit: Customs Union, Railway Link, Unified Tourist Visa on Agenda

GCC Summit: Customs Union, Railway Link, Unified Tourist Visa on Agenda

The leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council are expected to delve into prominent economic issues during the GCC’s 44th Supreme Council Summit in Doha on Tuesday.

Among the key topics to be discussed are the completion of steps towards establishing a customs union by the end of 2024, the railway project connecting member states, and the approval of the unified Gulf tourist visa project.

The GCC’s 43rd Supreme Council Summit held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, last year, mandated the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee to oversee the completion of steps towards establishing a customs union by the end of 2024.

This encompasses the unhindered movement of goods between GCC countries without customs or non-customs restrictions and treating goods produced in any of the GCC countries on par with national products.

Another critical agenda item for the summit is the Gulf Railway project, which was endorsed in 2003.

At that time, the leaders of the six nations tasked the Ministerial Committee of Transport and Communications with conducting an economic feasibility study for the joint railway project named the “Gulf Railway.”

The project was officially approved in 2009.

In its initial phase, the project will connect the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the Sultanate of Oman. The second phase will witness the linkage of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.

During the Middle East Rail Conference held in Abu Dhabi on May 16, 2023, GCC Secretary-General Jassem Al-Budaiwi reaffirmed that the six GCC member states were going ahead with efforts to complete the railway project.

He spoke highly of the project as being a significant step towards joint integration in the Gulf region.

Furthermore, the tourist visa issue is also expected to be on the agenda of the gathering as part of the Gulf tourist visa strategy for 2023-2030.

The strategy is meant to boost the number of incoming flights into Gulf countries on an annual basis of seven percent at a time when the number of visitors hit 38.8 million last year, a growth rate of 136.6% , compared to 2021.

The target is to increase the number of tourists into Gulf countries up to 128.7 million by 2030.

The tourist visa project, which has already been approved by the interior ministers of the GCC member states, is most likely to be put in place by the end of 2025.


Gulf Summit in Doha Today Amidst Tragedy Surge in Gaza

Gulf Summit in Doha Today Amidst Tragedy Surge in Gaza
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Gulf Summit in Doha Today Amidst Tragedy Surge in Gaza

Gulf Summit in Doha Today Amidst Tragedy Surge in Gaza

Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will gather in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday December 5 for the GCC’s 44th Supreme Council Summit.

Gulf leaders will deliberate on a range of issues, with a primary focus on enhancing political, security, and economic coordination among member states of the GCC.

The summit’s proceedings are heavily overshadowed by the ongoing tragic events in Gaza.

Gulf nations, condemning the Israeli war on civilian populations in Gaza, are actively pursuing efforts to halt the conflict and initiate a political process that brings an end to the occupation, enabling the Palestinian people to establish their independent state.

Since the commencement of the Israeli military operations in Gaza on Oct. 7, the toll has been devastating, resulting in the deaths of 15,523 individuals, predominantly children and women, with another 41,316 individuals sustaining injuries and thousands reported missing.

These alarming statistics are according to the latest data released by health authorities in Gaza.

On the eve of the GCC’s 44th Supreme Council Summit, Qatar announced progress in mediating efforts between Israel and Hamas, aiming to secure a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict.

Participating in the Tuesday Summit is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Ambassador of Turkiye to Qatar Mustafa Goksu stated in media remarks that Erdoğan will engage in the GCC leaders’ summit during his visit to Qatar, and will also participate in the ninth session of the High Strategic Committee between Turkiye and Qatar.

Erdogan and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Monday discussed the ongoing Israeli attacks in Gaza.

“During the meeting, the latest developments in Israel’s Gaza massacre, efforts for a cease-fire and permanent peace, and steps taken and to be taken to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza were discussed,” said a statement from Turkiye’s Communications Directorate.

In other news, a Turkish diplomatic source cited by the Russian news agency Sputnik confirmed that the conflict resolution communication group for Gaza is set to engage in negotiations with the US administration this week.

Although the source expected negotiations by the communication group to take place in the US this week, they declined to comment on the expectations from the talks.

This development follows the formation of a communication group on Gaza by the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Türkiye, Indonesia, Nigeria, Jordan, Egypt, and Qatar.

The group was established after the joint summit between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League in Riyadh on Nov. 11. The group has conducted negotiations in Beijing, Moscow, London, and Paris.


KSrelief Extends Winter Aid to Syrian, Palestinian Refugees and Needy Families in Lebanon

The assistance effort is conducted in collaboration with the Beyaz Eller Association - SPA.
The assistance effort is conducted in collaboration with the Beyaz Eller Association - SPA.
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KSrelief Extends Winter Aid to Syrian, Palestinian Refugees and Needy Families in Lebanon

The assistance effort is conducted in collaboration with the Beyaz Eller Association - SPA.
The assistance effort is conducted in collaboration with the Beyaz Eller Association - SPA.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) distributed shopping vouchers enabling beneficiaries to purchase winter clothing from approved stores in Lebanon.

The initiative benefited 31,000 Syrian and Palestinian refugees, as well as the most vulnerable families in Lebanon, as part of the winter clothing distribution project (KNF) for the year 2023.

The assistance effort is conducted in collaboration with the Beyaz Eller Association, SPA reported.

The aid comes as part of the projects presented by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through its humanitarian arm, KSrelief, aimed at alleviating the suffering of Syrian and Palestinian refugees, as well as Lebanese families, from the harsh cold wave with the approach of the winter season.