Saudi Arabia to support development projects in Yemen [Archives:2004/800/Business & Economy]

December 20 2004

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 16 Dec.- Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, received at his office at the royal court at Al Yamamah palace in Riyadh Yemen's Prime Minister Abdul Qader Bajamal, who chaired the Yemeni side in the Saudi Yemeni Joint Coordination Council's meetings.
Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, who chaired the Saudi side in the council's meetings, also attended the reception.
During the audience, Bajamal conveyed to Crown Prince Abdullah the greetings of President Ali Abdullah Salih of Yemen. On his part, the Crown Prince sent his greetings to the Yemeni president.
Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, was briefed on the outcome of the meetings of the Saudi Yemeni council which concluded its deliberations in Riyadh.
Crown Prince Abdullah and Bajamal also discussed the overall incidents and developments at the regional and international arenas in addition to aspects of cooperation between the two countries.
The audience was attended d by Prince Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Advisor at the Crown Prince's Court; Prince Dr. Bandar Ibn Salman Ibn Mohammed Al Saud, Advisor at the Crown Prince's Court; ministers, senior protocol officials and Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Ibn Mirdas Algahtani, Yemen's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ahmed Mohammed Sofan; Director of the Prime Minister's office Ameer Salim Al Aydaroos and Yemeni ambassador to the Kingdom Khalid Ismael Al Akqwa'a were also present at the audience.
In a historic move for two Arab neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Yemen signed a series of accords here yesterday to strengthen political and economic cooperation, while renewing the pledge to combat terrorism.
They also inked two other deals under which Riyadh will extend a loan facility of SR75 million to Yemen's Social Fund for Development and SR50 million as grant for developing Aden Hospital, a premier health facility in that country.
A total of 11 bilateral agreements were signed on the sidelines of a meeting of the Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council, which called for bolstering political, economic and investment cooperation besides joint efforts to combat terrorism.
The meeting of the council was co-chaired by Prince Sultan, Second Deputy Prime Minister Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General; and Yemeni Prime Minister Abdul Qader Bajamal. The agreements were signed by the respective Saudi and Yemeni ministers.
The meeting was followed by a royal reception hosted by Crown Prince Abdullah in honor of Premier Bajamal. “Crown Prince Abdullah and Bajamal also held wide-ranging talks, which focused on the whole range of regional and international issues,” said diplomatic sources here last night.
The sources said that the reception was attended by Prince Sultan, Ahmed Mohammed Sofan, Yemen's deputy prime minister; Prince Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdullah and Prince Dr. Bandar Ibn Salman Ibn Mohammed Al-Saud, advisers at the Crown Prince's court.
Prince Sultan, who led the Saudi side at the meeting, highlighted the strong and historic ties between the two Arab countries. “Our nations have proved that their special ties will always lead them to agreement on all matters, realizing the interests of both states,” the prince said.
The council meeting saw the signing of an MOU for waste processing, a bilateral agreement for transportation of goods by land and sea, a customs cooperation agreement and agreements in the fields of Islamic affairs, oil and mineral resources, cultural cooperation, sports and youth welfare, postal service and agricultural cooperation.
Prime Minister Bajamal, who led the Yemeni side, underscored the significance of the council's meeting in promoting Saudi-Yemeni ties. “The meeting offers a good opportunity to strengthen cooperation in all areas,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted Bajamal as telling the meeting.
Saudi Arabia and Yemen signed a historic border treaty on June 12, 2000, ending a six-decades-long dispute and opening a new chapter in relations.
At that time, the two countries signed a contract worth $986 million with German firm Hansa Luftbild to stake out their common border in detail.
Bajamal, who came at the head of a high-level delegation, extended greetings from President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Crown Prince Abdullah. The Yemeni premier spoke on the vast investment opportunities in his country and his government's plan to carry out infrastructure projects especially in the areas of health, water, electricity and education.
Bajamal said at the closing session of the two-day meeting that the viewpoints of the two countries “were identical and in line with the resolve of the two peoples.”
The diplomats from Riyadh and Sanaa have evinced keen interest to boost commercial relations. Moreover, there are investment opportunities especially in oil and gas sectors and downstream industries as well as in tourism, telecommunications, energy, transportation, agriculture and fisheries in Yemen, said the diplomats.
On the bilateral front, the two countries have forged closer relations. The Kingdom recently made available over SR28 million for a technical institute in Sanaa. The project is part of a financial aid package of SR188 million from Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) to set up 19 technical institutes in several of Yemen's provinces.
Another project named after Prince Sultan, which will be adjacent to the Military Hospital in the Yemeni capital has been funded by Prince Sultan himself. The total cost of the seven-story Prince Sultan Center is SR17 million.
The sixteenth session of the Joint Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council began and the session was co-chaired by Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, Inspector General and head of the Saudi side in the Joint Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council, and Yemeni Premier Abdul Qader Bajamal, head of the Yemeni side in the council. The session was attended by members of the council of the two sides.
In their statements, Prince Sultan and Mr. Bajamal stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries and fighting terrorism.
Saudi Arabia and Yemen began the high-level talks in Riyadh to strengthen mutual cooperation and an informed Yemeni source said the talks would be crowned with the signing of 11 bilateral accords.
Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul-Aziz, the Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Yemeni Prime Minister Abdul Qader Bajamal presided over a coordination council meeting which also called for greater cooperation to combat terrorism.
“People all over the world, especially those in Arab and Islamic countries are looking forward to a world of peace and security where there will be no place for violence and terrorism,” Prince Sultan said.
Khaled Al Akqwa'a, Yemeni ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the meeting would witness the signing of 11 agreements to promote political and economic cooperation between the two neighbours. He estimated Saudi investments in Yemen at more than $400 million.
In his opening address, Prince Sultan underscored the historic relations between Saudi Arabia and Yemen and said Riyadh would use all its strength to maintain these ties.
He said the two countries would continue their efforts in combating terrorism and protecting their youths from its danger.
“During our meeting a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding will be signed,” Prince Sultan said, adding that the new accords would further strengthen bilateral cooperation.
Prince Sultan called for greater Arab and Islamic cooperation and unity to confront challenges.
He also hoped that the Palestinians would be able to establish their independent state and Iraq would retain its pivotal role in the Arab world.
Bajamal reaffirmed Yemen's solidarity with Saudi Arabia in the latter's fight against terror. “We'll continue our cooperation with various security agencies to contain terrorism,” the Yemeni premier said. “The security of the two countries is inter-linked,” he said quoting a statement of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. “The long borders between the two countries demand greater security coordination,” Bajamal said. “We are also looking forward to strengthening economic, commercial, investment and cultural cooperation…to achieve a real partnership relation,” he added.
During the meeting, the Saudi side was represented by top officials including Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmed Ibn Abdul Aziz, State Minister and Acting Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Khuwaiter, Labor Minister Dr. Ghazi Al-Gosaibi and Higher Education Minister Dr. Khaled Al-Anqari.
On the Yemeni side, main participants were Deputy Premier and Planning Minister Ahmed Soufan and ministers of higher education, telecommunications and information technology, social affairs and labor, agriculture, and water.
Saudi Arabia and Yemen signed a landmark border agreement on June 12, 2000, setting the stage for a new era of relations. Interior Minister Prince Naif described the treaty as a good example for all Arab countries to emulate in settling disputes. The two countries signed a $986 million contract with German firm Hansa Luftbild to stake out their common border in detail.
Saudi Arabia and Yemen have established a number of joint ventures in recent years. The most important among them are: The Yemeni-Saudi Hospital, the $100 million Movenpick hotel in Sanaa, Holiday Inn hotel in Hadramout and two cement factories.
The Yemeni central bank has received an offer to establish a Saudi-Yemeni holding company with a capital of $1 billion, Al-Riyadh Arabic daily reported quoting high-level sources. The new company will specialize in tourism, the paper added.
Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Inspector General held at his palace a banquet in honor of Yemeni Premier Abdul Qader Bajamal and the accompanying delegation.
The banquet was attended by Prince Miteb Ibn Abdul Aziz, Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs; Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, the Governor of Assir Region; Prince Ahmed Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Minister of Interior; Prince Sultan Ibn Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Secretary General of Tourism Higher Authority; Prince Turki Ibn Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Assistant Minister of Culture and Information; ministers and senior commanders.
The Joint Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council issued a joint communique at the end of its sixteenth session.
Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, Inspector General, led the Saudi side in the meeting while Yemeni Premier Abdul Qader Ibn Abdul Rahman Bajamal, headed his country's side in the council.
On the political aspect, the talks tackled relations between the two counties. The two sides expressed confidence in the positive steps taken in support of and for developing fruitful cooperation between the two countries in all fields.
They reiterated their denunciation of terrorist acts, confirming that the principles of Islam are based on justice, mercy and tolerance and forbid attack of innocents and harm of human souls.
They reviewed the situations in the Arab, Islamic and International arenas, showing identical views towards all of them.
Special attention was paid in the talks to the Palestine issue.
The two sides agreed that the setback of the peace process in the Middle East was attributed to the intransigence of Israel and its aggressive policies towards the Palestinian people which categorically contradict the bases and principles of the peace process which is based on the principle of land for peace and the implementation of the resolutions of the international legitimacy, including the implementation of the road map and acknowledgement of the Arab peace initiative which is based on the initiative presented to the Beirut Arab summit by Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, providing security and stability to all peoples of the region and guaranteeing a permanent, fair and comprehensive peace for the Arab Israeli conflict.
The two sides affirmed that peace could not be achieved through unilateral Israeli measures which work for creating news situations on the ground and making changes that affect the sensitive issues scheduled for the final phase of negotiations.
They condemned the continuous escalation against the Palestinian people and the insistence of the government of Israel to establish and/or expand settlements and use violence to destroy the infrastructure of the Palestinian territories.
The two sides stressed that the achievement of the international security and peace in the region necessitates that Israel should join nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty and subject its nuclear facilities to international inspection and monitoring.
They emphasized the great importance of freeing the Middle East of the nuclear and mass destruction weapons.
The two countries expressed their best wishes of success for the Palestinian leadership to continue the march, the unity and cooperation in facing the coming challenges.
The two sides affirmed their keenness on Iraq's territorial integrity, respect for its sovereignty and independence and commitment to the principle of non-intervention in its internal affairs.
They stressed their desire for Iraq's peaceful coexistence with its neighbors.
The two sides agreed on continual cooperation in the security fields within the framework of the signed security agreement, emphasizing that the security of the two countries is integral.
The two countries signed agreements, memoranda of understanding and executive programs in the fields of dangerous waste processing; sports and youth cooperation; SR 75 million loan to Yemen's Social Fund for Development; SR 50 million grant for rehabilitation of Aden Hospital; customs cooperation; Islamic affairs, endowments and guidance; petroleum and mineral resources; cultural cooperation; and agricultural cooperation.
The Kingdom agreed that the Saudi Fund for Development allocates 150 million U.S. dollars for developmental projects in Yemen and agreed on the allocation of 100 million U.S. dollars as a credit line to finance Saudi exports used in Yemeni projects and a grant of 1.5 million U.S. dollars for demining in Yemen for a period of three years.
The agreements and memoranda were signed by Saudi ministers and their Yemeni counterparts.
Agreement was reached on land transport of passengers, goods and materials, cooperation in the field of maritime transport, postal cooperation, continued cooperation in the field of fighting malaria, medical cooperation programs.
Discussions were held on exchange of expertise and cooperation in the field of water.
Work on existing cooperation between the ministries of higher education of the two countries was done to the satisfaction of the Yemeni side.
Yemeni Premier Dr Abdel-Kadir Bajamal arrived in Riyadh to lead the Yemeni delegation to the meeting of the Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council.
He was welcomed at Riyadh Airbase by Prince Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Governor of Riyadh region, and a number of senior officials.
The Yemeni Prime Minister Dr Abdul Qader Bajamal left Riyadh after heading the Yemeni side to the meetings of the Joint Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council concluded.
At Riyadh Airbase Airport, he was seen off by Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, Inspector General and head of the Saudi side in the Council; Dr. Fuad Ibn Abdul Salam Al-Farsi, the Minister of Culture and Information; a number of ministers and senior officials .
Meanwhile Prince Ahmed Ibn Abdul-Aziz Saudi Deputy Interior Minister acclaimed the Saudi-Yemeni drive against terrorism saying the bilateral cooperation in this regard is “strong”.
Speaking at the conclusion of the 16th session of the Yemeni-Saudi Coordination Council in the Saudi capital Riyadh, the Interior official said Yemen's anti-terror efforts are “big and diverse”.
He affirmed that the economic and trade cooperation is binding the two countries together more and more and that Saudi Arabia would increase its support for development of the nation.
In Sanaa Prime Minister Abdul-Qader Bajamal met with the Saudi Higher Education Minister Khalid Ibn Mohammad Al-Anqari who is currently visiting Yemen.
In the meeting, they discussed the bilateral relations between the two brotherly counties, especially in the higher education and scientific research field. They confirmed the importance of visits exchange and making use of the two counties' experiences in this respect.
The meeting shed light on creating communication between the Yemeni universities and their Saudi counterparts and the centers of researches in the both counties.
Bajamal highly appreciated the cultural activities of the Saudi universities held in the Yemeni universities, affirming the importance of such activities to enhance the brotherly ties.
Prime Minister Abdul Qader Bajamal said the Yemeni-Saudi ties are getting deeper and deeper as time goes on.
Opening the Scientific and Cultural Days of Saudi Universities within the Yemeni Universities in Sana'a, he pointed out to the “positive outcomes” of the 16th session of the Yemeni-Saudi Coordination Council which wrapped up last Sunday.
“The gathering of elite of scholars and intellectuals in Sana'a today is a wonderful manifestation of a cultural integrity that has no limits,” he said.
“Regional gatherings have to be moments of discerning our common causes and setting up further economic and political ties in precedence of joining globalization.”
He recalled a number of efforts for restructuring higher education and enhancing the quality of education for undergraduates.
“Universities in our two countries are bound to fulfill the enlightening process and preservation of the heritage.
For his part, Al-Anqari pointed out to the common desire to enhance the cooperation between the two counties, making it clear that the scientific and cultural cooperation between the two counties is natural reflection of good brotherly relations between the two neighbours.
Saudi Minister of Higher Education Dr. Khalid Al-Anqari and the accompanying delegation arrived in Sanaa on a several-day visit to Yemen.
During the visit, he will lead the Saudi delegation to activities of the scientific and cultural days of the Saudi universities at their Yemeni counterparts.
In an arrival statement to Saudi Press Agency, the minister said the activities of the scientific and cultural days of the Saudi universities at their Yemeni counterparts will feature lectures and joint symposiums, reflecting strong Saudi-Yemeni relations.
Mohammed Ibn Mirdas Al Qahtani, the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen, held a banquet in honor of the Higher Education Minister Dr. Khalid Ibn Mohammed Al Anqari and the accompanying delegation currently on a visit to Yemen.
Dr. Al Anqari's visit came to participate in the scientific and cultural days of the Saudi universities held under the Yemeni universities sponsorship.
The banquet was attended by Dr. Abdul Wahab Rawih, the Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research; diplomatic corps members accredited to Yemen; and a number of officials.