Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques undergoes second successful back surgery

Deputy Custodian Prince Sultan hails SAGIA’s efforts catapulting Saudi Arabia to 11th rank worldwide

Saudi Arabia obtains information on role by foreigners in al-Qaeda

Yemen exerts intensive efforts to combat terrorists

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saudi had successful follow-up back surgery in New York, this time to stabilize several vertebrae in his spine, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing the Royal Court.

The monarch will soon begin a second round of physical therapy, the Royal Court said in a statement.

King Abdullah first underwent successful surgery on November 24, according to a statement from the Saudi Royal Court.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah has sent a cable of congratulations to Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, on his country's win of hosting the World Cup in 2022.

In his own name and on behalf of the people and government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques expressed his felicitations to the Emir of Qatar and wished him permanent good health and happiness and the people of Qatar steady progress and prosperity.

The king also sent a cable of congratulations to President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia on his country's win of hosting the World Cup in 2018.

In his own name and on behalf of the people and government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques expressed his felicitations to President of Russia and wished the President permanent good health and happiness and the people of Russia steady progress and prosperity.

Deputy Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent a cable of congratulations to Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, on his country's win of hosting the World Cup in 2022.

Deputy Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques expressed his felicitations to the Emir of Qatar and wished him permanent good health and happiness and the people of Qatar steady progress and prosperity.

On the other hand, Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah bin Ahmed Zainal, on behalf of King Abdullah opened in Riyadh the Gulf-African Investment Conference 2010 held under the theme 'Fostering Economic Relations' and organized by the Council of Saudi Chambers in collaboration with the Gulf Research Center.

During the opening ceremony, the Minister of Commerce and Industry delivered the speech of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Following is the text of the speech:

'In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Gracious.

Peace and blessings be upon Prophet Mohammed and his family and companions.

We have noticed an increase in GCC investments in the northern parts of Africa and the sub-Saharan African states.

Such increase encouraged food companies in GCC countries to increasingly convert their interests towards the Red Sea basin in an attempt to expand their operations, secure supply lines and take advantage of African large markets that are rapidly growing.

From this platform, therefore, I call on GCC businessmen to enter into genuine partnerships with their African counterparts, and I also call for such partnerships to be of interest to the concerned countries in order to facilitate the procedures in a way that achieves the common interests of both parties.

Dear Audience,

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has excellent relations with most African countries, which were clearly evident by the level of financial activity of the Saudi Fund for Development which largely covers the African countries in various areas, where 43 African countries benefited from the fund and 262 projects were funded by the Saudi Fund for Development.

Other programs that strengthen the Kingdom's relations with African countries are the recent initiative which we made for agricultural investment outside the Kingdom, considering the African countries as a priority in this field.

The private sector of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has actually invested in Ethiopia, and there are many other African countries where investment opportunities are currently studied.

These were made in order to achieve human welfare and to remove the specter of famines, wars, diseases and epidemics from our countries and peoples.

In conclusion, I wish the conference all success in achieving the desired expectations.

May Allah's peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.'

Chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers Saleh Kamel delivered a speech in which he thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for patronizing the Conference and for his keenness on the success of the Conference in achieving its objectives. He also called for the need to enhance cooperation with the African countries, pointing out that GCC delegations are currently looking for cooperation and investment opportunities in Africa in accordance with the directives of the GCC leaders who are keen on strengthening economic and trade cooperation with African countries.

For his part, President of Mozambique Armando Emilio Guebuza delivered a speech in which he thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for patronizing the Conference and for his keenness on enhancing relations among GCC countries and the African states, wishing the King good health and speedy recovery.

The President of Mozambique lauded the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques allocating $ 1 billion in a special fund to combat poverty in the African continent.

The Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah bin Ahmed Zainal honored the companies sponsoring the two-day conference, inviting the audience to attend a dinner party held on this occasion.

Meanwhile, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Riyadh Province and Chairman of the High Commission for the Development of Riyadh received Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2010 which was won by the High Commission for the Development of Riyadh on the draft environmental rehabilitation of Wadi Hanifa in Riyadh.

Prince Salman received a member of the High Commission for the Development of Riyadh and chairman of projects and planning center in the commission Eng. Abdullatif bin Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh.

High Commission for the Development of Riyadh has won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2010 for the Wadi Hanifa Rehabilitation Project in Riyadh. Wadi Hanifa was one of five projects selected for the 2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture announced at a ceremony at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha on Nov. 24.

Prince Salman received Mauritania's Ambassador-Designate to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ahmed Ould Mohammed.

During the meeting, they exchanged cordial talks and discussed issues of common interest between the two countries.

In the Hague, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia said that it attaches great importance to the implementation of the Convention of Chemical Weapons Prohibition based on its firm policy aiming at disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction and prohibition of their possession and its belief in the importance of the convention in ridding the world of this type of weapons and in maintaining international peace and security.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia renewed its call for the international community to support Arab efforts to make the Middle East and Gulf a zone free of weapons of mass destruction as a legitimate demand by the peoples and countries of the region.

Saudi Ambassador to the Netherlands Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Shaghroud, who is also Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, made the call in the kingdom's speech he delivered at the 15th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Organization for Chemical Weapons Convention in The Hague.

Al-Shaghroud said that the Convention of Chemical Weapons Prohibition could contribute to supporting the efforts of combating terrorism through the full and non-discriminatory implementation of all articles of the Convention.

He noted the contents of 'Riyadh Declaration' during the International Conference on Combating Terrorism hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in February 2005 and which stressed the importance of strengthening international cooperation to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and support of the United Nations in this field.

This conference also adopted a proposal by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for establishing an international center for combating terrorism under the umbrella of the United Nations and this proposal was endorsed by many countries and international organizations.

In the speech, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stressed the importance of strengthening international cooperation in the fields of using chemical materials for human beneficial purposes.

On the other hand, Deputy Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Prince Sultan Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, has expressed his thanks to the Governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Amr Bin Abdullah Al-Dabbagh and the Authority's personnel for their efforts in improving the investment environment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Deputy Custodian has addressed a cable to the Governor after reviewing the results of the annual Report on 'Doing Business' issued by the World Bank, which ranked the Kingdom the first in the Middle East and the 11th in the world in terms of attractive investment environment and the ease of doing business.

The Deputy Custodian said, 'We thank you for the exerted efforts. We wish you further progress in light of the comprehensive developmental progress patronized by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud.'

Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stressed that it attaches importance to the Gulf region's security, due to its significant impact in achieving international security and stability. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States, Iraq, Yemen and Iran are more concerned with the security and stability of the region than other countries.

This came in the speech of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the seventh session of Manama Dialogue Forum held in Bahrain.

The speech was delivered by Prince Dr. Turki bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Relations.

Dr. Al-Kabeer pointed out that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expressed in all international and regional conferences its rejection of all claims of fragmentation, division or conversion of Iraq into an arena for regional and international ambitions.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is also keen on the security and stability of Yemen, as they are an extension of the national security of the countries in the region, urging the international community to help Yemen economically and developmentally.

Dr. Al-Kabeer also said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia calls for the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, and supports all international efforts aimed at the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction at regional and international levels. He also said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supports the right of all States in the access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Dr. Al-Kabeer also said that the phenomenon of terrorism constitutes a major challenge for the international community.

Therefore, concerted international efforts are needed to address this dangerous phenomenon which is incompatible with the values and principles we all believe in. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has made great efforts to counter terrorism at local, regional and international levels.

Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries began the 31st session of the Supreme Council of the GCC. The session was chaired by Sheikh Khalifah bin Zayed Al Nahayyan, President of United Arab Emirates.

On behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud led the Saudi delegation to the GCC summit.

The opening session started with a recitation of verses of the Holy Quran.

Then, Sheikh Khalifah delivered a speech in which he welcomed the leaders and announced the beginning of the summit.

Afterwards, Sheikh Sabah Alahmad Aljabir Alsabah delivered a speech in which he extended congratulations on the success of the surgery that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud underwent.

Following Sheikh Sabah Alahmad Aljabir Alsabah's speech which included also a condemnation of the terrorist acts and support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and international community in fighting terrorism, Secretary General of the GCC Abdulrahman Ala'teyah delivered a speech in which he highlighted Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's support for the GCC and wished good health and safe return to the homeland to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

The official delegation accompanying Prince Naif includes Prince Saud Alfaisal, the foreign minister, and a number of other ministers and senior officials.

Saudi Arabia's recent roundup of 149 al-Qaeda suspects may have averted a series of planned attacks on government officials and military installations but also demonstrated how much of a danger the jihadists pose to the kingdom, according to a report published by the UPI news agency.

The clandestine network consisted of at least 19 cells across the country, said Interior Ministry spokesman Gen. Mansour al Turki, who announced the arrests Nov. 26.

The extent of that network underlines how the jihadists have been able to regroup following their defeat at the hands of Saudi security forces in 2007, ending a four-year campaign of terror across the kingdom.

The Saudis have clearly developed a highly efficient intelligence and security system, which extends into neighboring Yemen, ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden's family and to where the surviving Saudi jihadists fled in 2006-07.

There the Saudi militants joined forces with their Yemeni comrades to form al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in January 2009. AQAP has become one of al-Qaeda's most active franchises and is clearly determined to revive operations inside Saudi Arabia.

It was responsible for a failed effort to assassinate the Saudi royal who led the counter-terrorism campaign against them, Prince Mohammed, son of Interior Minister Prince Naïf bin Abdulaziz, Aug. 17, 2009.

That was the first known attempt to kill a member of the House of al-Saud, which the jihadists have sworn to overthrow. It signaled that al-Qaeda was back in business in the world's leading oil producer, developing new and innovative terrorist techniques and prepared to attack the United States.

AQAP was linked to the November 2009 killings at Fort Hood, Texas, the failed Christmas Day 2009 attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner over Detroit, and the U.S.-bound parcel bombs intercepted aboard cargo aircraft in Britain and Dubai Oct. 29.

Since 2007, the Saudis have periodically announced large-scale roundups of jihadist suspects. They claimed they apprehended around 200 in six cells in 2007. The following year another 700 were rounded up.

In August 2009, 44 suspects were seized, with another 113 reported picked up March 24 this year.

Among those held in that roundup was a woman identified as Haylah al-Qusair, the wife of a jihadist killed by Saudi security forces Dec. 29, 2004. She was a key AQAP financier, who reportedly transferred $650,000 to AQAP in Yemen before she was caught Feb. 21, suggesting the organization lost a key source of funds with her arrest.

Al-Qusair, 45, is also closely associated with AQAP's deputy leader, Saeed al-Shihri, a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who was returned to Saudi Arabia in 2007, then fled to Yemen to reorganize the jihadist campaign.

In a June 3 audiotape, al-Shihri underlined her importance to al-Qaeda by calling on supporters to kidnap members of the royal family to secure her release.

Al-Shihri's wife, Wafa, has been a key figure in recruiting women for AQAP, a major shift in doctrine that underlines how the network is mutating and evolving.

The National, an English-language daily published in Abu Dhabi, reported that some of the 149 suspects arrested over the last eight months had planned to mail gifts of poisoned perfume to Saudi security officials, clerics and media figures.

It quoted a senior Saudi official as saying documents seized during the arrests showed the plot hadn't reached the operational stage but said it had originated with al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Senior officials, such as Prince Mohammed, the counter-insurgency chief, weren't targeted, the official observed, because they don't open their own mail.

So the deadly gifts were to have been directed at lower-ranking officials in a bid to cause panic within the Saudi system.

A-Shihri issued a communiqué calling on Saudi troops to abandon their "apostate masters" and join the jihad.

"Direct your weapons toward Israel, which is only a few kilometers away from you," Al-Shihri declared.

"The pilots among you should seek martyrdom over the skies of Palestine and those in the navy should point their weapons at the Jews there.

"Guards of the government and royal family should emulate the example of Khalid Ahmed al-Islambouli," leader of the Egyptian Islamists who assassinated President Anwar Sadat Oct. 6, 1981, for making peace with Israel.