Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques gives instructions to change name of King Saud Medical Complex to King Saud Medical City

Forbes magazine: King Abdullah is third most powerful personality worldwide

King Abdullah, Second Deputy Premier discuss with Qatari PM region developments

Italian FM praises Saudi Arabia’s role in backing global economy

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was chosen one of the most powerful persons in the world by 'Forbes', the American Magazine.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques ranks 3rd on the Forbes 2010 list of the 'World's Most Powerful People' in his capacity as an influential king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that embraces the most two holy Muslim cities around the world and has a large reserve of oil.

The magazine pointed out that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has applied great and gradual progressive reforms in the Kingdom and maintained good relations at the regional and international levels.

The listing of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah among the top three of the world's powerful personalities is testimony to the king's efforts and contributions to world peace, said Minister of Culture and Information Abdulaziz Khoja.

Leading American business magazine Forbes ranked King Abdullah as the third most powerful man in the world. Khoja said that the king's efforts have been focused on bringing peace to the Islamic countries and establishing a peaceful and better world.

Khoja's sentiments were echoed by Saudis from all walks of life. All were in praise for the king's positive role in making the world more inclusive and peaceful.

"This an accomplishment for Saudi Arabia, for King Abdullah and the Islamic and Arab world. It is because of King Abdullah that Saudi Arabia's words and its peace vision is heard and respected, not just in Islamic and Western countries but also throughout the world," said Shoura Council member Zain Al Abideen.

"Nearly all countries consult the Kingdom on important and pressing matters, and Saudi Arabia has gained everyone's respect with its abilities to help in these matters, especially the global economic crises and its aftermath."

King Abdullah moved up six places from ninth in 2009 to become the third most powerful person after Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama.

Hu was described by Forbes as the "paramount political leader of more people than anyone else on the planet," while Obama was described as the "commander in chief of (the) world's largest, deadliest military, leader of the world's largest (in spending) and most dynamic economy and holds the unofficial title of 'Leader of the Free World.'"

King Abdullah was praised for introducing a series of reforms while "maintaining good relations with (a) deeply conservative religious establishment." He was ranked third for being the head of the nation that "contains the world's largest crude oil reserves (and) the two holiest sites in Islam."

"King Abdullah's ranking was expected following his positive role in the regional and international arenas," said Al-Amin Muhammad, a local government worker in Yanbu.

"I as a Saudi am happy and proud. Every Saudi and every Muslim will be happy and proud of this achievement. While other countries in the region are busy creating trouble, King Abdullah with his vision is working and succeeding in stabilizing the region. The last call for Iraqis to meet in Saudi Arabia to discuss the future of Iraq is a clear example of one of his many achievements."

High school student Ahmad Abu Ali said the king's high ranking truly establishes Saudi Arabia as a country of peace and highlights his international efforts to bring peace to the world.

"We have seen many accusing Saudi Arabia of harboring and supporting terrorism. But King Abdullah has proved to the world otherwise with his efforts to combat terrorism and has sent the world the message of peace. Our king works in silence seeking no rewards. He is not after achievements, but achievements follow him," he said.

King Abdulaziz University student Omar Hassan, 24, echoed his sentiments.

"On the domestic front, Saudi Arabia has achieved incredible and effective reforms in a short time under the king and it comes as no surprise that he was chosen among the world's most powerful people."

Jamal Mahmoud, Egyptian expatriate, said King Abdullah is a simple man and that is why he is winning the hearts and love of many. "King Abdullah puts the interests of people and the Arab nation foremost in his mind. No wonder Saudi Arabia is leading the Arab nation and countries in the international arena," he said.

Mexican businessman of Lebanese origin Carlos Slim Helu, the richest man in the world, dropped from sixth to 21st place and co-founder of Google Sergey Brin from fifth to 22nd.

Some are no longer in the top 10 list. They include Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp. who ranked seventh in 2009 and moved down to 13th in 2010. Bill Gates kept his last year's 10th place.

New leaders joining the top 10 this year include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was ranked sixth, Pope Benedict XVI (fifth), British Prime Minister David Cameron (seventh), and head of the Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi (ninth). Both Cameron and Gandhi joined the Forbes list for the first time.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (fourth), and Chairman of the US Federal Reserves Ben Bernanke (eighth) round off the top 10.

UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan ranked 56 for controlling "97.8 billion barrels of proven oil reserves" and Chilean President Sebastian Piñera ranked 51 after he "led the country through (the) aftermath of a brutal earthquake, mining rescue, and put the economy on track for growth."

Placed 68th was Australian Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who specialized in unraveling classified information that shook the world.

Meanwhile, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has approved changing the name of King Saud Medical Complex to 'King Saud Medical City' in Riyadh.

The king's approval came after receiving a cable from the Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Alrabaia'ah on the recent development phases of King Saud Medical City.

The approval was announced by the Health Minister.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia attained remarkable progress in various domains during all years of its eight development plans, which have been drafted and executed after comprehensive studies, plans and future prospects of growth for prosperity and welfare of its people.

At the same time, the Kingdom has always remained keen on maintaining good relations with all Arab, Muslim and friendly countries.

The soft loans extended by the Kingdom to these countries to enable them overcome their economic problems amounted to about SR 120.6 billion from 1991 up to 2008.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom has succeeded in attracting direct foreign investments which accounted for SR 552 billion by the end of 2009.

Saudi Arabia was one of the countries of G-20 which participated in its summit meetings held in Washington in November 2008, in London in April 2009 and in Toronto in 2010.

The initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz, announced at Washington summit, to increase the Kingdom's general expenditures by $400 billion within the next five years, has positively contributed to overcoming the global economic stagnancy.

A great attention was given to the educational sector and the number of male and female students in the Kingdom amounted in the fiscal year 1429-1430H to about 5.7 million who are assisted in their educational pursuits by an academic staff of more than 445,000 teachers actively participating in more than 33,000 schools.

The Kingdom has also witnessed a great progress in the field of agriculture. By the end of 2009, the Kingdom produced more than 2.6 million tons of fresh vegetables and 1.62 tons of fruits in addition to 992,000 tons of dates.

The Ministry of Water and Electricity constructed by the end of 2009 more than 302 dams with a storage capacity of about 1.4 billion cubic meters of water.

Arrangements are underway to implement projects of about 100 dams with a storage capacity of more than one billion cubic meters of water.

In the industrial sector, the number of the productive factories amounted by the end of the first quarter of 2010 to 4, 600 factories with a capital investment of about SR 404 billion, employing about 528,000 workers.

The financial institutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extended soft and interest-free loans to the citizens amounting to more than SR 396 billion.

The Real Estate Fund up to the fiscal year 1429-1430H extended about 571,000 loans with a value of more than SR153 billion.

Meanwhile, The Industrial Development Fund, up to the end of the fiscal year 1429-1430H, extended 2,694 loans for establishing and expanding 1,779 industrial projects in the various regions of the Kingdom.

The Saudi Credit Bank, up to 2009, extended about SR 26.5 billion worth of loans.

The Kingdom has been giving utmost attention to the service of the Two Holy Mosques and subsequently has spent more than SR 70 billion for the expansion and modern facilities at the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah.

The Madinah-based King Fahd complex for printing the Holy Quran is considered as one of the most important printing centers in the world. It produced up to Shaaban 1430H about 226 million copies of the Holy Quran and the translation of its meanings in various languages.

The number of the sports clubs in the Kingdom has jumped to 156 while the number of the sports federations has jumped to 22.

The number of literacy clubs in the various region of the Kingdom now totals 16.

In Riyadh, King Abdullah received at his palace Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani of Qatar and the accompanying delegation.

During the audience, the Qatari official conveyed the greetings of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. In turn, the King sent his greetings to the Emir.

A number of issues of common interest were discussed during the audience.

The audience was attended by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Commander of the National Guard for Executive Affairs; and a number of officials.

Prince Naif Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior held a meeting with Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al Thani and the accompanying delegation.

The meeting dealt with a number of issues of common interest between the two countries and latest developments at Gulf, Arab and regional arenas.

The Qatari Prime Minister conveyed the greetings of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Crown Prince. In turn, Prince Naif sent the greetings of the King and the Crown Prince to the Qatari Emir.

The meeting was attended by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a number of officials.

Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who was on a visit to Saudi Arabia, has expressed his country's appreciation of the Kingdom, for its great role in maintaining peace and fighting terrorism.

In his speech at Saudi-Italian Economic Forum, he said that Italy lauds the role being played by the Kingdom at regional and international arenas.

'The Kingdom has provided important information in the fight against terrorism which has contributed to the abortion of large-scale terrorist operations. As such, Italy is grateful for these efforts that emphasize the significant role of the Kingdom in maintaining international peace and security, ' the Italian Foreign Minister said.

The Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry hosted a meeting of Saudi-Italian Economic Forum in the presence of Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Ahmad Zaynal Ali Reza; Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini; Italian Minister of Economic Development Paolo Romani; and Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. Hamad Al-Bazaie.

During the meeting, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Italy, stressed their mutual desire in developing economic cooperation between the two countries and taking advantage of great opportunities in business sectors in both countries, especially within the framework of strong historical political relations on the basis of mutual understanding, great confidence and keenness of the leaderships of the two countries on their enhancement.

Addressing the Forum, the Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Ahmad Zaynal Ali Reza pointed out that the Kingdom's imports from Italy amounted to more than SR 17 billion in 2008 so that Italy ranked the seventh among the ten largest exporting countries of the Kingdom; while the Saudi exports to Italy in the same year amounted to SR 23 billion so that Italy ranked the twelfth among the largest countries importing from the Kingdom.

He noted that the number of Saudi-Italian joint licensed projects is 97 projects with a total capital of more than SR 11 billion, the percentage of the Italian side is more than 15%.

On his part, Frattini indicated that Saudi-Italian relations which were built on wisdom and mutual confidence have been characterized by strength and firm friendship, pointing out that it is the responsibility of businessmen in both countries to work positively for greater access to real development of trade and economic relations and enhancement of the level of partnership between the two countries.

In another speech, Italian Minister of Economic Development Paolo Romani stressed his country's desire to strengthen economic and trade relations with the Kingdom especially as the Kingdom enjoys advanced level in energy industry.

Frattini welcomed the increasing of number of scholarships for Saudi students at Italian universities, stressing that sending these Saudi students for training in Italian companies as well as in small and medium-sized establishments is a step to enhance the distinguished relations between the two countries.

During a press conference held after attending the Saudi-Italian Forum hosted by the Council of Saudi Chambers, the Minister Frattini said that increasing investments between the two countries with regard to the knowledge economy was discussed, pointing out that Italy will facilitate all procedures before Saudi businessmen for obtaining their own visas.

Talks with the Saudi officials focused on the strategic partnership between the two countries, especially between the Saudi and Italian business sectors which have a significant relationship.', the Italian foreign minister added.

Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and his Italian counterpart Frattini held a press conference.

At the outset of the press conference, Prince Saud read the following statement:

'I am pleased to welcome His Excellency the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and the accompanying delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Also, I am pleased to welcome the economic and trade delegation accompanying His Excellency. We look forward that their visit will be crowned with success and contribute to supporting and enhancing the relations between the two countries in many fields.

'Today, we held extensive, deep and comprehensive consultations on several regional and international issues of interest to our countries. These issues are topped by the peace process in the region as well as the current efforts to revive it within the framework of our joint keenness on achieving the objectives of establishing the Palestinian state within the framework of the solution of two independent states living side by side in security and peace.'

'With regard to Iraq, I would like to express the Kingdom's strong condemnation of the recent attacks which claimed many innocent lives and caused injuries to a large number of people.

Such attacks are desecration to the places of worship, are rejected by our religion, and are contrary to all principles, human decency and international norms.

'The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques will not hesitate to exert any possible effort to help Iraqis stem the bloodshed, unite their ranks, enhance Iraq's security, stability and prosperity, and preserve its independence and sovereignty with the support of the Arab League. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to express the appreciation of the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the support Arab and international communities have voiced on the appeal the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has sent the Iraqi leaders.

'We also discussed the issue of terrorism. Without doubt, the success of recent international efforts to foil a number of terrorist attacks reflects the importance of effective cooperation of the international community in countering terrorism. Such success prompts us to enhance cooperation, especially in the field of exchanging information among states.

'We dealt with the situation in Lebanon. Our talks reflected the joint keenness on Lebanon's security, stability and territorial integrity. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its brotherly Arab countries will not spare any effort to help achieve these goals. However, achieving such goals is first and foremost subject to the Lebanese leaders who should shoulder their historical responsibilities and put the interest of Lebanon first. Therefore, we hope that all Lebanese parties will exercise restraint, respond to the sincere efforts of His Excellency President Michel Suleiman, and sit on the table for dialogue to resolve the existing differences in accordance with constitutional principles, away from the language of tension and escalation.

'The situation in the brotherly state of The Sudan was also discussed, as it is about to reach a pivotal stage in its history that threatens it with separation. This, however, makes it imperative to overcome any danger to which The Sudan might be exposed as a result of such a situation. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes that the assessment of this situation lies in ensuring the integrity of the referendum and foiling the exercise of any pressures that can lead to undesired results.'

The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs delivered a speech in which he voiced appreciation for the Kingdom's role in stabilizing the situations in Yemen, Pakistan and other countries.

He also highly appreciated the Kingdom's contribution to exchanging information and helping prevent terrorist attacks that would have occurred.

He also praised the efforts of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to bring the Iraqi parties together to form a new government.

Prince Saud Al-Faisal and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs responded to the questions of reporters.

To a question on the Afghan issue, Prince Saud Al-Faisal said: 'There was a lot of talk about Saudi mediation. We developed a condition after Taliban gave a haven for terrorists. We have received a request from the Afghan President to start the mediation. We said if Taliban will come in good faith and stop harboring terrorists, we will enter into mediating negotiations. Unfortunately, communications stopped at this point.'

Prince Saud Al-Faisal asserted that Yemen is a country of civilization, calling for the need to help Yemen economically.

Prince Saud said: 'We agreed ask the next meeting of donors to provide Yemen with its needs, and we will not founder in helping Yemen.'

With regard to the Palestinian issue, Prince Saud Al-Faisal said: 'We will give them a month to extend non-settlement expansion, and we'll see what they will do after that. If they do not comply, we will resort to the international law and the Security Council, and we will request a meeting of the Security Council. They will see if this organization is a tool for peace-making or not.'

Regarding the role of the Arab League in the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Iraqi reconciliation, Prince Saud said that contact with the Arab League is going on to implement what can be done in this framework.

Regarding the referendum in The Sudan, Prince Saud said: 'We emphasized the need to have a fair referendum as it aims to stop the fighting between north and south. It will be a contradiction in case this referendum leads to igniting the war again.'

On the other hand, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi held a meeting with Italian Minister of Economic Development Paolo Romani.

The meeting discussed international oil market; the importance of its stability; the stability of oil prices for the benefit of energy producers, consumers, and petroleum industry; and the positive role being played by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for stabilization of the international oil market. They also reviewed joint investments between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Italy in the fields of oil, gas, mining, support services to these sectors , and the importance of promoting them.

The meeting was attended by Prince Faisal Ibn Turki Ibn Abdulaziz, Advisor to Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, and a number of senior officials of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

On the Italian side, the meeting was attended by Italian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Valentino Simonetti and the delegation accompanying the Italian minister.