UAE to File Complaint to UN over Qatar’s Interception of Jets

The UAE will file a complaint to the UN over Qatari fighter jets' interception of civilian flights on Monday. (Reuters)
The UAE will file a complaint to the UN over Qatari fighter jets' interception of civilian flights on Monday. (Reuters)
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UAE to File Complaint to UN over Qatar’s Interception of Jets

The UAE will file a complaint to the UN over Qatari fighter jets' interception of civilian flights on Monday. (Reuters)
The UAE will file a complaint to the UN over Qatari fighter jets' interception of civilian flights on Monday. (Reuters)

The United Arab Emirates announced on Tuesday that it will file a complaint to the United Nations over Qatari fighter jets’ interception of two civilian planes on Monday.

The UAE will accuse Qatar of violating the Chicago Convention in its complaint to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), UAE General Civil Aviation Authority Director General Saif Mohammed al-Suwaidi told Reuters.

The complaint will be filed at the UN aviation agency on Tuesday, he added.

The fighter jets intercepted the civilian aircraft as they were en route to Bahrain.

The UAE news agency WAM quoted Suwaidi as saying on Monday that the intercepts happened at 10:30 a.m. and 11:05 a.m.

He said Bahraini radar, as well as crew and passengers on board, saw the military aircraft, "which constituted a clear and explicit threat to the lives of innocent civilians."

"Qatari military fighter jets came within two miles of the Emirates aircraft, which put the lives of passengers and crew at risk," Bahrain’s news agency said.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry called the UAE's allegations a "totally false claim" in a statement Monday night.



GCC Secretary-General Stresses Importance of Consolidating Ties with UK

A general view of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia, February 20, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Benmansour
A general view of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia, February 20, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Benmansour
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GCC Secretary-General Stresses Importance of Consolidating Ties with UK

A general view of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia, February 20, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Benmansour
A general view of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia, February 20, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Benmansour

Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi has stressed the significance of consolidating friendly relations between the GCC and the United Kingdom in a way that contributes to serving shared interests.

Albudaiwi made the remarks on Thursday during his meeting with the Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the United Nations at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Lord Tariq Ahmed in Riyadh.

The two sides discussed ways to enhance the historical friendship and cooperation relations between the GCC and the UK in various fields, especially addressing the existing security challenges to achieve regional security and stability.

Albudaiwi stressed that the GCC countries are looking forward to the fourth round of negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement to be held in London in July.

He expressed hope that the results of the talks will lead to a Free Trade Agreement between the GCC countries and the UK.


Saudi Foreign Minister Meets with French Counterpart

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his French counterpart reviewed the strong relations between the two countries. SPA
Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his French counterpart reviewed the strong relations between the two countries. SPA
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Saudi Foreign Minister Meets with French Counterpart

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his French counterpart reviewed the strong relations between the two countries. SPA
Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his French counterpart reviewed the strong relations between the two countries. SPA

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah met on Thursday with his French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition against ISIS in Riyadh.

They reviewed the strong relations between the two countries and ways to enhance them in various fields. The two ministers also discussed the latest developments in the world and addressed the most prominent topics at the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition against ISIS.

Saudi Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry for Political Affairs Ambassador Dr. Saud Al-Sati attended the meeting.


Saudi Arabia Says Will Make Every Effort to Pursue ISIS Wherever it is

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan at the conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Thursday, June 8. Reuters
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan at the conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Thursday, June 8. Reuters
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Saudi Arabia Says Will Make Every Effort to Pursue ISIS Wherever it is

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan at the conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Thursday, June 8. Reuters
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan at the conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Thursday, June 8. Reuters

Saudi Arabia will continue to work to prevent the resurgence of ISIS, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in a speech at the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS on Thursday.

The Kingdom believes in the need to confront terrorism and extremist ideology, he said at the meeting attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Saudi Arabia will make every effort to pursue ISIS wherever it is, said the minister.

He added that it was necessary to dry up the sources of the organization’s funding.

He also urged countries around the world to work together to spread the values of tolerance and dialogue.


Saudi, Somali Defense Ministers Discuss Enhancing Cooperation

The Saudi Minister of Defense has met in Jeddah with his Somali counterpart. SPA
The Saudi Minister of Defense has met in Jeddah with his Somali counterpart. SPA
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Saudi, Somali Defense Ministers Discuss Enhancing Cooperation

The Saudi Minister of Defense has met in Jeddah with his Somali counterpart. SPA
The Saudi Minister of Defense has met in Jeddah with his Somali counterpart. SPA

Saudi Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz has met in Jeddah with his Somali counterpart, Abdikadir Mohamed Nur.

During the meeting, the two sides reviewed the relations between the two countries. They also discussed enhancing cooperation and coordination in the defense and military fields and issues of common concern.

Senior Saudi and Somali officials attended the meeting.


Saudi King Issues Decree to Establish Global CyberSecurity Forum Institute

Part of a traveling exhibition to raise awareness on the importance of cybersecurity in Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Part of a traveling exhibition to raise awareness on the importance of cybersecurity in Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi King Issues Decree to Establish Global CyberSecurity Forum Institute

Part of a traveling exhibition to raise awareness on the importance of cybersecurity in Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Part of a traveling exhibition to raise awareness on the importance of cybersecurity in Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz has issued a royal decree to establish a Global CyberSecurity Forum (GCF) Institute.

The Institute is non-profit and enjoys financial and administrative independence. It has the total capacity to achieve its goals and manage its affairs under the supervision of its own Board of Trustees.

The establishment of the GCF Institute aims to strengthen cybersecurity at the global level, as well as to enhance global cooperation, economic and social development in this field, and to support international efforts related to cybersecurity.

The launch affirms the Kingdom's global leadership in this field, supporting international efforts and unifying everyday endeavors.

It also opens broad horizons for transferring knowledge, exchanging experiences, and exploring opportunities for cooperation in the cybersecurity sector.

Saudi Arabia became a successful and pioneering model recognized internationally in the field after making progress in cybersecurity locally, regionally, and globally.

- Boosting cyber systems and the knowledge economy

Shura Council member Fadel al-Buainain lauded the royal decree to establish the Forum, reinforcing the cyber system and the knowledge economy.

Buainain told Asharq Al-Awsat that the new decree didn't come as surprise as the Kingdom is witnessing an unprecedented digital transformation, and aims to fully automate its activities by 2030 and transform into a digital government.

Saudi Arabia topped the global cybersecurity index in the Middle East and Asia and came second, according to the UN.

He believes the new Institution will help create protection against digital attacks targeting the systems and networks, especially the financial sectors that cannot function without it.

The Council member believes that this will place the Kingdom among the pioneers in cybersecurity and launch global initiatives, aiming to support development in the international community, unify efforts, and direct them to serve the whole world.

He expected the Forum to contribute to unifying efforts, exchanging experiences, and opening broad horizons for transferring knowledge and exploring cooperation opportunities. It would be reflected in the development of the cybersecurity system and raise its efficiency, achieving complete protection.

- Protecting domestic and international interests

The Councilmember explained that digital transformation and the information and communication revolution that the world is witnessing are the engines of modern economic development and are as equally important as the industrial revolution and transformation.

He pointed out that digital transformation is connected to all economic, service, and social sectors, while the digital economy has become a basis for modern development.

Buainain described King Salman's decree to establish the Institution as globally significant, contributing to strengthening cyber security at the local and international levels and achieving global cooperation and economic and social development.

- Boosting the security defense mechanism

Saudi businessman and Chairman of Excellence Abdallah al-Meleihi said the new Institution would boost the defense mechanisms in the technology sector and enhance their cyber security.

Meleihi noted that the Kingdom was one of the first countries to realize the dangers of security breaches in information systems.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Meleihi said that Saudi Arabia established a strong base in cybersecurity, a promising and developing field.

Countries that invest and develop this sector will create a safe environment for new industries and the technology sector, said Meleihi, adding that it would stimulate qualitative investment in the field.

Cybersecurity is one of the most important goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030, and its market would reach $5.6 billion, said Meleihi.

- Creating global partnerships

Head of the al-Shorouk Center for Economic Studies in Jazan, Abdul Rahman Baashen, reiterated that establishing the Institution will reinforce the general Saudi trend.

In addition to its interest in cybersecurity, the Kingdom is becoming a global destination for qualitative investments and modern industries, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and carbon neutrality.

Baashen expected the new institution to boost international cooperation and create global partnerships for a healthy environment, noting that it would also deepen innovative ideas and solutions to various issues.


Kuwait Election Results: Opposition, Islamists Prevail Once Again

Kuwaiti National Assembly elections witnessed a 24% change (KUNA)
Kuwaiti National Assembly elections witnessed a 24% change (KUNA)
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Kuwait Election Results: Opposition, Islamists Prevail Once Again

Kuwaiti National Assembly elections witnessed a 24% change (KUNA)
Kuwaiti National Assembly elections witnessed a 24% change (KUNA)

Recent Kuwaiti National Assembly elections have revealed a notable transformation emerging within the parliamentary makeup.

Election results, announced on June 7, indicate a relative progression of opposition factions and a notable representation of the youth.

However, a disheartening setback is evident for women, as their parliamentary representation has dwindled to a mere single seat.

As of this report’s writing, the official voter turnout percentage for these elections has not been officially announced. However, observers have estimated it to be between 50% and 56% based on reports from delegates in the constituencies.

The opposition has once again repositioned itself within the newly elected National Assembly, as its affiliated members, representing multiple blocs, have secured 29 out of 50 seats. This number is lower than the previous Assembly, where the opposition held onto 38 seats.

Moreover, the rate of change in the 2023 parliament compared to the 2022 Assembly - which was invalidated by the Constitutional Court - stands at approximately 24 %.

Ten new deputies, mostly young individuals, have seized their first opportunity to enter the parliamentary sphere.

Additionally, 25 former deputies have returned to the Assembly, while 12 newly elected deputies from the nullified 2022 Assembly have retained their seats.

One of the most significant surprises of these elections was the resurgence of the opposition, reclaiming its position in the parliamentary landscape, accompanied by the rise of young representatives in the new Assembly.

With the youth achieving prominent positions in terms of votes within their respective constituencies, the elections witnessed a significant decline in the popularity of prominent deputies, some of whom garnered less than half of the votes they received in the previous term.

In the electoral process conducted under a single voting system, the eligible voters, numbering 793,646 individuals, have chosen 50 deputies out of a pool of 207 candidates, including 15 women.

The religious currents of the Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood have maintained their position within the parliament, while the populist, liberal, and Shiite Islamist forces have experienced a decline.

It is nearly certain that the seasoned parliamentarian Ahmed Al-Sadoun will become the Assembly’s speaker, as the former speaker has suffered losses among many of his allies.

Deputy Saud Al-Asfour, who received the highest number of votes nationwide, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the upcoming Assembly will be more challenging for Prime Minister Ahmed Al-Nawaf than the nullified 2022 Assembly, due to the “different nature of the elected deputies.”

“The previous council was entirely aligned with Sheikh Al-Nawaf, whereas the upcoming council is expected to include some elements believed to be in disagreement with him,” Al-Asfour explained.

Al-Asfour believes that the premier bears a significant responsibility, which is “to form a strong government that is able to deal with the Assembly by establishing a cohesive team with a clear and capable plan and vision, capable of achieving some popular achievements that resonate with the people.”

Likewise, Al-Asfour contends that the members of the 2023 Assembly hold a substantial obligation to prevent the recurrence of past errors made by the legislative body in 2022. These errors primarily revolved around the absence of prioritization and the lack of coordination among the members.


Riyadh Hosts Meeting of Global Coalition against ISIS

The number of members of the international coalition against ISIS has reached 85 countries and international organizations. (SPA)
The number of members of the international coalition against ISIS has reached 85 countries and international organizations. (SPA)
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Riyadh Hosts Meeting of Global Coalition against ISIS

The number of members of the international coalition against ISIS has reached 85 countries and international organizations. (SPA)
The number of members of the international coalition against ISIS has reached 85 countries and international organizations. (SPA)

Riyadh is hosting on Thursday the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition against ISIS, in the presence of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his US counterpart, Antony Blinken, with the participation of 85 countries and partner organizations.

Blinken arrived in Riyadh from Jeddah, where he met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two sides discussed economic and security cooperation, as well as issues of common interest.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most important founding members of the Global Coalition. It ranks second in terms of the number of Coalition airstrikes. The Royal Saudi Air Force carried out a total of 341 missions to support Coalition strikes in Syria.

In August 2018, Saudi Arabia announced a contribution of $100 million to the Global Coalition against ISIS, in support of projects in areas liberated from the terrorist organization in northeastern Syria.

In December 2022, during a meeting of the political directors of the Global Coalition against ISIS, which was held in The Hague, the Kingdom announced that it would host the next ministerial meeting for 2023, to emphasize “its active role as a strategic partner” in the coalition.

The League of Arab States will participate in the meeting through a delegation headed by the Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the Arab Affairs and National Security of the Arab League, Ambassador Khalil Ibrahim Al-Thawadi.

Al-Thawadi underlined the importance of the gathering to consult and exchange visions on ways to confront the serious challenges posed by the terrorist organization.

The first defeats of ISIS, which had declared its control in 2014 over large areas in Syria and Iraq, were achieved in Iraq in 2017, then in Syria in 2019. However, the international coalition said in May 2022 that the organization continues to represent a threat, confirming the continuation of the war against it in the two countries.

Members of ISIS cells continue to launch attacks against the security forces from their hideouts in Syria and Iraq though on a limited scale. The organization also claims attacks in other countries and poses a constant threat.


GCC, US Discuss Intensifying Coordination

The meeting brought together the Foreign Ministers of the GCC countries and the United States in Riyadh. SPA
The meeting brought together the Foreign Ministers of the GCC countries and the United States in Riyadh. SPA
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GCC, US Discuss Intensifying Coordination

The meeting brought together the Foreign Ministers of the GCC countries and the United States in Riyadh. SPA
The meeting brought together the Foreign Ministers of the GCC countries and the United States in Riyadh. SPA

The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, has participated in the GCC-US Joint Ministerial Meeting on Strategic Partnership.

Wednesday’s meeting brought together the Foreign Ministers of the GCC countries and the United States at the headquarters of the Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh.

During the meeting, the Foreign Ministers discussed enhancing and developing joint Gulf work in various fields and intensifying the GCC-US action and coordination on multiple regional and international issues.

The discussions also encompassed political and security matters of concern to the GCC states and the US.

Moreover, the meeting’s participants engaged in dialogue regarding efforts to reach solutions to many crises facing the Middle East region and the world. These endeavors aim to contribute to enhancing international security and peace.


Saudi FM, Blinken Hold Talks in Riyadh

The meeting came on the sidelines of the ministerial talks of the GCC countries in Riyadh - SPA
The meeting came on the sidelines of the ministerial talks of the GCC countries in Riyadh - SPA
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Saudi FM, Blinken Hold Talks in Riyadh

The meeting came on the sidelines of the ministerial talks of the GCC countries in Riyadh - SPA
The meeting came on the sidelines of the ministerial talks of the GCC countries in Riyadh - SPA

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah met Wednesday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the GCC countries in Riyadh.

The two sides reviewed aspects of the strategic partnership between the Kingdom and the United States, and ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields.

They also discussed developments in the regional and international arenas and the efforts made in this regard.

The talks highlighted the most prominent issues raised in the GCC-US meeting and ways to strengthen the GCC-US relations in various fields.

The meeting was attended by the Saudi Ambassador to the United States of America, Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Political Affairs, Ambassador Dr. Saud Al-Sati; and the Assistant Minister of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Dr. Sami Al-Saleh.


Over 434,000 Pilgrims Arrive in Madinah

The data showed that the largest number of pilgrims arrived from Indonesia, amounting to 89,876 pilgrims - SPA
The data showed that the largest number of pilgrims arrived from Indonesia, amounting to 89,876 pilgrims - SPA
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Over 434,000 Pilgrims Arrive in Madinah

The data showed that the largest number of pilgrims arrived from Indonesia, amounting to 89,876 pilgrims - SPA
The data showed that the largest number of pilgrims arrived from Indonesia, amounting to 89,876 pilgrims - SPA

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah revealed in its latest report on the pilgrim flow to and from Madinah that the number of those who arrived in Madinah on Wednesday amounted to 434,980 pilgrims of several nationalities. The data includes those who traveled through the air and land ports to perform the Hajj rituals this year.

The report indicated that 271,562 pilgrims arrived at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah, while the land immigration center received 81,194 pilgrims.

The data showed that the largest number of pilgrims arrived from Indonesia, amounting to 89,876 pilgrims, while 44,173 pilgrims arrived from India. Also, 42,838 pilgrims arrived from Pakistan, 28,738 pilgrims arrived from Nigeria, and 26,695 pilgrims arrived from Iran.

More than 220,000 pilgrims left Madinah during the past few days on their way to the holy sites in Makkah, the report indicated.