Vice Custodian Prince Sultan receives Italian ambassador, princes, officials

Second Deputy Premier Prince Naif receives Italian ambassador, discuss anti-terror agreement

Saudi Arabia ratifies Arab charter on human rights

Obama calls for developing ties between U.S., Muslim world

The Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received at his office at the Ministry of Defense and Aviation Italian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Eugerio D'auria who came to bid farewell to the Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques on the end of his term of office as Ambassador of his country to the Kingdom.

The audience was attended by a number of princes and officials.

Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, also received at his office in Jeddah Ambassador D’auria and discussed issues of mutual interest between the two countries like trade and cultural exchange, activation of security visits and a security agreement to combat crime and terrorism.

Crown Prince Sultan also received at his office at the Ministry of Defense and Aviation a number of princes and senior officials who came to greet him.

The audience was attended by Prince Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation for Civil Aviation Affairs; Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General for Military Affairs; and a number of officials.

The vice custodian also received at his office at the Royal Court at Al-Salam Palace Saudi Ambassadors-designate to a number of brotherly and friendly countries who came to greet him.

They were Faisal bin Hamid Muala, Saudi Ambassador-designate to Sudan; Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh, Saudi Ambassador-designate to Czech; Turki bin Mohammed Al-Madhi, Saudi Ambassador-designate to Argentina; and Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Aba Numai, Saudi Ambassador-designate to Venezuela.

The Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques congratulated them on the royal trust bestowed on them, wishing them all success.

The Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques sent his greetings to the leaders of the countries to which the ambassadors were designated, urging the ambassadors to work on enhancing relations between the Kingdom and the brotherly and friendly countries to which they were designated.

The audience was attended by Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior; and a number of princes and officials.

Meanwhile, Arab Ministers of information held a closed consultative meeting with the Arab League's Secretary General Amr Moussa to discuss a number of developments relating to joint Arab information work as well as the situation on which the Arab media should be to give a fair and correct picture of the Arab situation.

Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, Minister of Social Affairs and acting Minister of Culture and Information, led Saudi Arabia's delegation to the meeting.

During the meeting, Moussa gave an account on his proposal to set up a commission for Arab media despite being rejected by the Arab Media Standing Committee.

The Arab Information Ministers are scheduled to hold an extraordinary session in Cairo in October to discuss this project.

On the other hand, Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz al-Shadi, the chairman of the Shoura Council’s Human Rights Committee, said that only 10 countries ratified the human rights charter, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, adding that the committee followed up countries’ ratification of the Arab Human Rights Charter and urged Arab non-signatories to ratify it.

The Arab Charter on Human Rights had been adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States on 22 May 2004 and affirms the principles contained in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.

It has been in force since 15 March 2008. A number of traditional human rights are provided for, including the right to liberty and security of persons, equality of persons before the law, protection of persons from torture, the right to own private property, freedom to practice religious observance and freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

The Charter also provides for the election of a seven-person Committee of Experts on Human Rights to consider States' reports.

A first version was adopted on 15 September 1994, but no state had ratified it.

On January 24th 2008, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour welcomed the entry into force of the 2004 version of the Charter.

The Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, said that the speech President Obama delivered in Cairo last year was a turning point in US official outlook on Islam and Muslims, after decades of tension and protest, suspicion and even apprehension at the US policy vis-à-vis the Muslim world.

He also said that the Muslim peoples were hoping for a change in the American stance towards the Arab-Israeli conflict and the continuous suffering of Palestinians due to the practices of the Israeli occupation forces, which would not have been as savage and racist as they are, were it not for Israel’s conviction of the American support which makes it believe that it is beyond the law and cannot be held accountable for its actions.

In his address, delivered on his behalf to the international Conference hosted by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina on “Initiatives in Education, Science and Culture: Towards Enhanced US-Muslim Countries Cooperation”, Dr Altwaijri stated that he had no doubt whatsoever of Obama’s resolve to establish a just peace which will ensure to the Palestinians their legitimate right to establishing their independent State, with East Al-Quds as its capital. However, he argued, Israel’s arrogance, its continuous settlements in East Al-Quds and the rest of the West Bank, its attempts to judaize Al-Quds and the excavations it conducts under Al-Aqsa Mosque, in utter violation of international law, are actually instances of Israel’s defiance and rejection of Obama’s initiative.

In the same vein, ISESCO Director General underlined that a better image of the USA in the Muslim world cannot be achieved through a campaign of public relations, but rather through a shift in its policies towards the Muslim world, particularly with regard to the Palestinian cause.

He also highlighted that the American attitudes and policies concerning Palestine account for much of the negative image of the US among a wide majority of Muslim elites and peoples.

For the record, the International Conference is co-organized by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and the universities of Georgetown, Maryland, Yale, Berkeley and Roger Williams, together with the American University Washington D.C., Cairo University, Alexandria University and Al-Azhar University and several academic and cultural institutions and organizations in Egypt and the USA.

The conference, which benefits from the support of ISESCO, brings together Muslim theologians, intellectuals, media pundits, technology and education experts, and heads and representatives of international organizations, including NGOs. On the Conference’s agenda is the discussion of prospects for development and of ways to boost cooperation between the Muslim world and the USA, through investments in education, culture, science and technology. It also features an item on the possibility of launching projects and initiatives to enhance cooperation in such areas.