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Archive for Saudi Arabia

Newsline: China, Arab Nations Eye Intensified Diplomacy at Summit in Saudi Arabia Next Month

China and Arab nations will hold a summit in Saudi Arabia early next month, setting up the possibility that Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the key energy partner for the first time in nearly seven years. Li Xuhang, China’s consul-general in Dubai, said the gathering would happen in early December, according to a statement posted on the consulate’s website. The statement didn’t provide any other details. (https://news.yahoo.com/china-arab-nations-hold-summit-084421260.html) The envoy told a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates that the summit would involve face-to-face exchanges between leaders from China and Arab nations, according to a separate Foreign Ministry statement. Xi is likely to use the visit to Saudi Arabia to shore up ties given his last visit was in January 2016. Saudi Arabia was China’s largest source of foreign oil ahead of Russia in October, according to customs data from the world’s No. 2 economy.

Newsline: Saudi Arabia urges Lebanon to extradite man who threatened embassy

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon Walid al-Bukhari said the kingdom is seeking the arrest and extradition from Lebanon of a Saudi man who threatened the kingdom’s embassy in Beirut last week. “We call upon the competent Lebanese authorities to undertake the necessary legal procedures regarding the terrorist threats,” Bukhari said following a meeting with Lebanon’s interior minister. (https://news.yahoo.com/saudi-arabia-seeks-extradition-lebanon-091958631.html) Lebanese and Saudi authorities say the person behind the recorded threats was a Saudi man named Ali Hashem. Reuters could not independently confirm the information and was not able to contact the man. Some Lebanese officials have tried to improve ties with Saudi Arabia, once a major donor, after years of tension over the growing influence in Lebanon of Hezbollah, which is classified by both Riyadh and the United States as a terrorist group.

Newsline: Chinese diplomacy seeks to exploit Riyadh-Washington tensions

Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon end more than two years of self-imposed in-person diplomatic isolation as he travels to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — a month after President Joe Biden’s strained visit to Jeddah. The Xi trip has not been confirmed, but an unnamed Saudi source said it may occur as early as this week. Xi can expect a full helping of Saudi diplomatic pomp and ceremony in contrast to Biden’s low-profile visit, punctuated by an awkward fist bump with MBS, as the Crown Prince is known. Instead of pesky questions about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, Xi will get a red-carpet welcome and likely respond with a full-throated affirmation of deepening Saudi-Chinese ties. (https://news.yahoo.com/xi-jinping-saudi-trip-seeks-083000292.html) Xi’s choice of Saudi Arabia as his first overseas destination since January 2020 gives him a dual diplomatic victory. It offers a high-profile assertion of warm relations with a key energy supplier. And it allows him to project Chinese power without any risk of embarrassing public protests about Beijing’s abuses of Xinjiang’s Muslim Uyghurs, its evisceration of rule of law in Hong Kong and increasing Chinese military intimidation of Taiwan following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the self-governing island earlier this month. The visit not only affirms China’s growing global influence, but it lets MBS signal to the Biden administration that the U.S. has a serious rival as Riyadh’s superpower patron of choice.

Newsline: Iran’s top diplomat demands release of citizen held in Saudi Arabia

Iran on Friday issued a public statement saying it is seeking the release of an Iranian national who has been held by Saudi Arabia since this year’s hajj pilgrimage, which concluded a month ago. Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the country’s top diplomat Hossein Amirabdollahian issued the call during a phone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart. Iraq has served as mediator and facilitator of talks between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. The statement did not identify the detainee. (https://news.yahoo.com/iran-demands-release-citizen-held-071755479.html) There was no immediate acknowledegment of the detention by Saudi Arabia.

Newsline: At least 20 shots fired at Saudi embassy in The Hague

Shots have been fired at the Saudi embassy on the Koninginnegracht in the centre of The Hague, according to local media reports, but police say it is too early to give more information. Reports suggest the building was hit at least 20 times and that dozens of casings litter the ground. (https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/11/at-least-20-shots-fired-at-saudi-embassy-in-the-hague-no-one-hurt/) Police were alerted to the shooting shortly before 6am. No-one so far has been reported hurt. Around 6 AM we received a report that multiple shots were fired at the building of the Saudi Arabia embassy on the #Koninginnegracht in #TheHague. No one was injured. We are currently conducting research. Witnesses who have information are requested to call 0900-8844. — Politie Eenheid Den Haag (@POL_DenHaag) November 12, 2020 According to local broadcaster Omroep West, bullet holes can be seen clearly in several windows. Police and forensic teams are now at the embassy and part of the street has been sealed off while the investigation gets underway.

Newsline: Saudi man arrested in Jeddah after knife attack on guard at French consulate

A Saudi man was arrested in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after attacking and wounding a security guard with a “sharp tool” at the French consulate on Thursday, local police said. A statement from the Mecca region’s police said the guard suffered “minor injuries” and that “legal action” was being taken against the perpetrator. The French Embassy said the consulate was subject to an “attack by knife which targeted a guard”, adding the guard was taken to hospital and his life was not in danger. “The French Embassy strongly condemns this attack against a diplomatic outpost which nothing could justify,” it said in a statement. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-security-saudi/saudi-man-arrested-in-jeddah-after-knife-attack-on-guard-at-french-consulate-idUSKBN27E1QB) The attack occurred after a knife-wielding man shouting “Allahu Akbar” beheaded a woman and killed two other people in the French city of Nice earlier in the day. Nice’s mayor described the attack as terrorism. France is still reeling from the beheading earlier this month of a school teacher by a man of Chechen origin. The attacker had said he wanted to punish the teacher for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics lesson. Since Samuel Paty’s killing, French officials have reasserted the right to display the cartoons as a matter of free expression, and the images have been widely displayed at marches in solidarity with the teacher. That has stirred anger in parts of the Muslim world, with some governments accusing French President Emmanuel Macron of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda. Saudi Arabia on Tuesday condemned cartoons offending the Prophet Mohammad, but held back from echoing calls by other Muslim states for action against images of the Prophet being shown in France.

Newsline: US diplomats leaving Saudi Arabia as coronavirus cases surge

As countries around the world prepare to battle a looming second wave of coronavirus infections, many United States diplomats are following hundreds of US citizens repatriated over the past few months. Dozens of US diplomats, along with their families, have left Saudi Arabia as the kingdom struggles to contain the outbreak, just weeks after it reopened its economy, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported. More are expected to fly out in the coming weeks, officials familiar with the plan told the WSJ, after the US State Department approved the voluntary departure of “non-emergency personnel”. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/diplomats-leaving-saudi-coronavirus-cases-surge-report-200705104720757.html) Despite Saudi Arabia’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus early on, the number of the cases in the country has surged past 200,000 – up 110,000 from May – according to figures published by the Johns Hopkins University. More than 1,800 people there have died.

Newsline: Saudi agents stole Khashoggi’s passport to force him to visit embassy

Saudi operatives had stolen Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s passport from his Washington home to force him to go to the embassy, Deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Yasin Aktay said, citing a close mutual friend of the slain journalist. Aktay, who was a friend of Khashoggi and is testifying as a witness in the Khashoggi trial, told prosecutors that Saudi Arabian embassy workers in Washington stole his passport from his home, forcing him to go to the embassy to apply for a new passport, as he thought he lost it. There, he was obliged to hold a phone call with the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS), who tried to persuade him to go back to Saudi Arabia. (https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/saudi-agents-stole-khashoggis-passport-to-force-him-to-visit-embassy-witness-says/news) Khashoggi noted that the officers at the Saudi Embassy acted as if they were expecting him and that he was disturbed after the visit.

Newsline: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Nigeria is dead

The embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abuja this afternoon announced the passing away Ambassador Adnan Mahmoud Bostaji. The embassy did not give any reason for the envoy’s passing. Before his appointment as a Saudi ambassador to Nigeria, Bostaji served as deputy to the ambassador at the Saudi Embassy in Berlin in 2016 (https://guardian.ng/news/saudi-ambassador-to-nigeria-is-dead/) He started his career by joining the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Later, he was appointed deputy to the ambassador at the Saudi Embassy in Tehran from 1991 until 1998. In 2000, he was appointed as chargé d’affaires at the Saudi Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, until 2003. He then worked as head of economic affairs and international organizations at the Saudi Embassy in London from 2003 until 2005.

Newsline: Saudi Ambassador to UK Calls Donald Trump A “Tweet Monster”

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.K. Prince Khalid Bin Bandar has described United States President Donald Trump as a “tweet monster” over his belligerent response to the attacks on Saudi oil facilities at Abqaiq last month. Speaking at defence think-tank the Royal United Services Institute in London on October 14, Prince Khalid was asked about Trump’s initial response that the U.S. was “locked and loaded” and ready to respond to the attacks. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdudley/2019/10/15/saudi-trump-tweet-monster/#3e1de14f7eed) “He is a tweet monster if you like. He loves engaging with people on social media,” said the ambassador, who was appointed to the role earlier this year. “He does so very quickly and sometimes it’s just his initial reaction.”