Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques discuss with Yemen’s president Yemeni, regional, international developments

King Abdullah expresses Saudi Arabia’s keenness on maintaining Yemen’s stability, territorial integrity

President Saleh says saw eye to eye with Saudi Arabia over security, combating terrorism and piracy

Saudi Arabia receives PoWs

EU condemns Mabhouh assassination as evidence hold Israel responsible

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh held a meeting in Rawdhat Khuraim this week.

The King welcomed the President and the accompanying delegation in the Kingdom and asserted the Kingdom's keenness on Yemen's stability, security and territorial integrity.

For his part, President Saleh thanked the King for warm welcoming and good hospitality and praised the profound bilateral relations.

King Abdullah and President Saleh discussed ways of enhancing relations between the two countries in all fields.

They also discussed the developments at regional and international arenas.

The meeting was attended by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Prince Miqren bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General for Military Affairs; Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Commander of the National Guard for Executive Affairs; Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs; Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the King; Ali Al-Hamdan, Saudi Ambassador to Yemen; and members of the delegation accompanying President Saleh.

King Abdullah held a luncheon in honor of Yemeni President Saleh and the accompanying delegation.

The luncheon was attended by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Prince Miqren bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General for Military Affairs; Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Commander of the National Guard for Executive Affairs; Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz; Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs; and a number of princes and officials.

King Abdullah had received the Yemeni president earlier.

After shaking hands with President Saleh, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques shook hands with members of the official delegation accompanying President Saleh.

Following that, President Saleh shook hands with Prince Miqren bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General for Military Affairs; Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Commander of the National Guard for Executive Affairs; Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz; Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs; and a number of princes and officials.

President described his recent tour of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain as successful and fruitful. In a statement after his return to his country, the President of Yemen said the results of the successful and fruitful visits fall within the service of the joint interests between Yemen and each of the two kingdoms at all levels.

I have felt great encouragement from senior officials in the two countries, led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain who both expressed keenness to push joint cooperation ahead in all fields for the security, unity and stability of Yemen, Saleh said.

He confirmed that view points on the overall issues of mutual concern to the three countries in general were identical, particularly those concerning the Arab security and ways to confront terrorism and piracy in the region.

He thanked the leaderships and peoples of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to him and the accompanying delegation, reflecting the firmness of ties binding Yemen with each of the two kingdoms.

Meanwhile, the Makkah-based Al-Nadwah praised the keenness of Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation for Military Affairs, to receive the prisoners of war at their arrival in Riyadh.

The daily noted that the release of the POWs was one of the three conditions set for ending the war against the evil infiltrators who had tried to violate the Kingdom's sovereignty from its southern borders.

'Two POWs are still missing but Prince Khalid bin Sultan has pledged to search them and to find them either alive or martyrs,' the daily said.

'With the fulfillment of the conditions of ceasefire, the Saudi armed forces have completed victory against the evil infiltrators and taught them a lesson that any aggression against the Saudi territories will be tantamount to bearing a very high price in reply and counter-measures of severe punishment, the daily added.

On the other hand, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud held a meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

During the meeting, the secretary conveyed greetings of U.S. President Barack Obama to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques who in turn sent his greetings to the president.

The meeting was attended by a number of princes and senior officials.

Earlier, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received in Rawdhat Khuraim Secretary of Energy Chu and the accompanying delegation.

The meeting was attended by Prince Miqren bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz; Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the King; Prince Mansour bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the King; Prince Dr. Abdulaziz bin Sattam bin Abdulaziz; Prince Bandar bin Miqren bin Abdulaziz; Eng. Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources; Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Tassan, President of Special Affairs of the King; Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Saudi Ambassador to the United States; and James Smith, US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

They all had lunch with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

In Riyadh, King Abdullah will open on Sunday 21 Rabee'a Awal 1431 H. the second year of the fifth session of the Shoura Council.

In his royal annual address, the monarch will tackle the state's domestic and foreign policy, Speaker of the Shoura Council Sheikh Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh reported.

In Rawdhat Khuraim, King Abdullah and former Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Ayad Allawi held a meeting.

During the meeting, they reviewed a number of issues of common interest.

The meeting was attended by Prince Miqren bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the King; Abdulmohsen bin Abdulaziz Al-Tuwaijri, Assistant Deputy Commander of the National Guard; and members of the accompanying delegation.

Also, King Abdullah and Chadian President Idriss Deby held a meeting in Rawdhat Khuraim.

At the outset of the meeting, the King welcomed the Chadian President and the accompanying delegation, wishing them a pleasant stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On his part, President Deby expressed his thanks to and appreciation of the King for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to them in the Kingdom.

He also expressed his thanks to and appreciation of the King for his efforts to achieve reconciliation between Chad and Sudan, which resulted in rapprochement and brotherhood between the two countries in light of the discussions held by the two heads of state in Riyadh and completed in Makkah.

The King expressed his pleasure over the rapprochement achieved between the two neighboring countries, wishing them progress and prosperity and the return to the previous normal relations along with further rapprochement and stability.

They also discussed overall developments at regional and international arenas, the positions of the two countries towards them, in addition to aspects of cooperation between the two countries and ways of their enhancement in all fields.

The meeting was attended by Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, the Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, President of General Intelligence, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Chief of National Guard for Executive Affairs, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the King, Minister of State and Cabinet's Member for Shura Council Affairs, Dr. Saud bin Saeed Al-Matahami.

On the Chadian side, the meeting was attended by the delegation accompanying the President.

King Abdullah had received Deby and the accompanying delegation earlier.

The King held a luncheon for the President and his delegation.

The audience and the banquet were attended by Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, President of General Intelligence, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Chief of the National Guard for Executive Affairs, a number of princes and senior officials.

Meanwhile, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has sent a cable of condolences to King Mohammed VI of Morocco on the deaths and injuries resulted from the collapse of a mosque in Meknes.

In his own name and on behalf of the people and government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the King expressed deep condolences and sincere sympathy to the Moroccan King, families of the victims and Moroccan people, praying to Allah Almighty to bless the deceased's souls and speedy recovery for the injured persons.

Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, has sent a similar cable of condolences to King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

In his cable, the Crown Prince expressed deep condolences and sincere sympathy to the Moroccan King, families of the victims and Moroccan people, praying to Allah Almighty to bless the deceased's souls and speedy recovery for the injured persons.

Also, King Abdullah sent a cable of congratulations to Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on the anniversary of his country's National Day.

In his own name and on behalf of the people and government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the King wished the Emir permanent good health and happiness and his people steady progress and prosperity.

Crown Prince Sultan has sent a similar cable of congratulations to Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah.

In his cable, the Crown Prince wished the Emir permanent good health and happiness and his people steady progress and prosperity.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has handed over three valuable artifacts that were intercepted at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh to their rightful owners in Egypt.

The artifacts, which were being smuggled in a silver Qur’an cover, were given to the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) delegation at the King Abdulaziz Historical Center, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities’ (SCTA) headquarters.

Customs official suspected the silver Qur’an box had a compartment where the antiquities were being hidden.

After stopping the smuggler, who has not been identified, they discovered the valuable items, which included an antique coin dating back to the Greek Empire era as well as a marble tool for crushing cosmetic ingredients and spire head, both from the Pharaonic era.

According to SCTA’s legal consultant Ali Al-Gabban, the commission is committed to returning all antiquities to their home countries and vice versa. Saudi Arabia is governed by UNESCO’s Convention of Protection of Cultural Property.

Meanwhile, legal consultant to the SCTA Ashraf Al-Ashmawi, who is also head of the delegation in Riyadh, said a number of potential antiquities presented to the Egyptian Consulate in Jeddah actually had no historical value.

He said a Saudi woman had bought the 21 pieces from an Egyptian dealer in the Kingdom.

He expressed his gratitude to the SCTA for their cooperation, while also thanking the Saudi woman for highlighting the importance of combating illegal smuggling.

He denied rumors up to 20,000 smuggling cases have been discovered in Egypt. He said the numbers were exaggerated and that there were stringent measures in place to crack down on smugglers. Punishments for smuggling in Egypt can include 15 years imprisonment or a fine of one million Egyptian pounds.

Egypt recently retrieved 619 artifacts from London, four years after obtaining them from British authorities.

In Cairo, Egypt's Interior Ministry says police have arrested a man suspected of throwing a suitcase containing a makeshift bomb at Cairo's main synagogue.

The ministry says the 49-year-old man was detained Tuesday in Cairo.

The man is suspected of entering a downtown hotel Sunday and tossing an explosive-laden suitcase out the window at the synagogue across the street and then fleeing.

There were no injuries or damage to the synagogue.

The ministry said in a statement the suspect has a record of Islamic extremism and drug abuse, and told authorities he was angered by Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories.

It said the man claimed to be heading to the U.S. Embassy to seek asylum when he was arrested.

Back to Riyadh, Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al-Atiyyah, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), lauded the skillfulness and vigilance of security authorities of the United Arab Emirates, referring to the professional way the UAE security forces followed to reveal the killers of a Al-Mabhouh, a Palestinian leader, in Dubai recently.

He said the culprits misused the advantages granted by the UAE to holders of some friendly countries, supporting the measures taken by the UAE to have the killers repatriated and brought to justice.

Meanwhile, Europe is outraged over the targeted killing of Hamas functionary Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai as members of the European Parliament on Monday threatened Israel with the discontinuation of partnership talks. European foreign ministers likewise demanded Israel’s full cooperation.

It was certainly not the kind of reception that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had been hoping for. Instead of the friendly greetings called for by protocol, Lieberman's European counterparts opted for bluntness in Brussels on Monday afternoon.

Political assassinations, said Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, "have no place in the 21st century." Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos seconded the sentiment, saying "we are extremely concerned." Carl Bildt, who heads up the Swedish Foreign Ministry, said "misuse of European passports is not to be tolerated."

The diplomats were talking about the mysterious murder of Hamas functionary Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai at the end of January. Given the operation's complexity, most observers - including the Dubai police and German officials - consider the Israeli secret service Mossad to be the most likely culprit.

Israel, for its part, continues to deny responsibility. The 11-person hit squad alleged to have been behind the killing used the identities of both Israeli and European citizens: Six held British passports, three Irish, one French and one German.

Governments in London, Dublin, Paris and Berlin have for days been demanding information from Israel, to no avail. On Monday, the European Union agreed on a collective statement, remarkable for the clarity with which the EU gave voice to its dismay at the murder of al-Mabhouh. "We strongly condemn the use of fraudulent E.U. member states' passports and credit cards acquired through the theft of E.U. citizens' identities," the statement read.

Israel was not expressly mentioned in the text. But Brussels made it clear that it has no doubts as to who is behind the killing. The foreign ministers of both Britain and Ireland held closed-door talks with Lieberman on Monday evening. British Foreign Minister David Miliband demanded "full cooperation" from Israel and said that he expected help from leaders at "the highest level in Israel."

Still, they aren't likely to learn much. On Monday, Lieberman once again denied Israeli involvement in the killing. "There is no proof Israel is involved in this affair, and if somebody had presented any proof, aside from press stories, we would have reacted," Lieberman said in a statement. "But since there are no concrete elements, there is no need to react."

Shortly after news of the murder made headlines around the world last week, Lieberman reiterated long-standing Israeli policy regarding intelligence service operations. "Israel never responds, never confirms and never denies," he said. "There is no reason for Israel to change this policy."

Nevertheless, the Dubai affair could result in some uncomfortable political consequences for the Israeli government. For years, the country has been seeking to upgrade its relationship with the European Union. It wants a deeper partnership on both economic and social levels. An agreement with the E.U. from 2008 has been on ice since Israel's controversial military offensive in the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009. Suspicions that Mossad was involved in the Dubai assassination are not exactly helping the country.

"The Dubai murder is yet another setback for Israel's desire for an upgrade in relations," Martin Schulz, chairman of the Social Democratic group in the European Parliament, told Spiegel Online.

Israel was not expressly mentioned in the text. But Brussels made it clear that it has no doubts as to who is behind the killing. The foreign ministers of both Britain and Ireland held closed-door talks with Lieberman on Monday evening. British Foreign Minister David Miliband demanded "full cooperation" from Israel and said that he expected help from leaders at "the highest level in Israel."

Still, they aren't likely to learn much. On Monday, Lieberman once again denied Israeli involvement in the killing. "There is no proof Israel is involved in this affair, and if somebody had presented any proof, aside from press stories, we would have reacted," Lieberman said in a statement. "But since there are no concrete elements, there is no need to react."

Shortly after news of the murder made headlines around the world last week, Lieberman reiterated long-standing Israeli policy regarding intelligence service operations. "Israel never responds, never confirms and never denies," he said. "There is no reason for Israel to change this policy."

Nevertheless, the Dubai affair could result in some uncomfortable political consequences for the Israeli government. For years, the country has been seeking to upgrade its relationship with the European Union. It wants a deeper partnership on both economic and social levels. An agreement with the E.U. from 2008 has been on ice since Israel's controversial military offensive in the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009. Suspicions that Mossad was involved in the Dubai assassination are not exactly helping the country.

"The Dubai murder is yet another setback for Israel's desire for an upgrade in relations," Martin Schulz, chairman of the Social Democratic group in the European Parliament, told Spiegel Online.