Governor of Makkah orders timetable to finalize al-Hada development project

Prince Turki al-Faisal calls for fortifying Gulf states and reviewing economic options

Saudi official launches kingdom’s encyclopedia

Saudi Arabia calls for freeing Middle East region of weapons of mass destruction

Saudi Arabia’s non-petroleum exports rose by 54%

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has called for a fixed timeframe of up to three years to develop Hada west of Taif. He also ordered a working team to monitor the project's implementation.

The team in charge of conducting a study on the Hada development project said they would finish the work in January 2012.

"We have already completed 85 percent of the work including the development structure as well as a plan for making use of the property," one team member said.

The team presented a plan that would enable about 5 million people to reach Taif by road. The proposal also includes the establishment of a regional airport that can operate some international flights. This will enable more than 7 million people to reach the city by air.

The study has taken into consideration the strategic position of Taif being closer to both Makkah and Jeddah. It also noticed that some real estate developers in Hada were not following the architectural style of the region. The study has taken into consideration the region's tourism and agricultural potential.

The study emphasized the need for more government spending to develop Hada's infrastructure, training manpower and facilitating agricultural investment and production. It also called for more investment to preserve the region's architectural heritage.

The team stressed the need for making Hada a major tourist attraction in the region by developing its tourist facilities. The study has taken into consideration the models followed by Italy, France and Australia to develop their tourist cities. It has also put more emphasis on protecting Hada's environment.

On behalf of Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Dr. Turki bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Relations opened the 'Forum of the Gulf and the World', organized by the Ministry's Institute of Diplomatic Studies, in cooperation with the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center.

The opening ceremony was attended by Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Information Technology Prince Mohammad bin Saud bin Khalid; Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf; Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja; the President of Human Rights Commission Dr. Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Eiban; and a number of senior officials from other countries.

On behalf of Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Prince Dr. Turki bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Kabeer delivered a speech in which he said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have been seeking for the achievement of peace and stability in the Middle East, including their support for a Palestinian state, the ban of weapons of mass destruction, and building relationships dominated by the principles of mutual respect and cooperation with neighboring countries, notably Iran, pointing out that the GCC states have no expansionist interests or orientations for intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, but they are determined to protect the security of their peoples, stability and achievements in confronting risks and threats.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs said, 'I assert our permanent quest to build relationships dominated by the principles of mutual respect and cooperation with neighboring countries, notably Iran, which, unfortunately, acts in a manner indifferent to these principles.

Iranian interference in the internal affairs of GCC States is still going on, while Iran continues to develop its nuclear program, ignoring the demands of the world and its legitimate concerns of its pursuit to develop such a lethal weapon, and create a serious threat to the security and stability at the regional and international levels'.

He indicated that with the support of the right of Iran and other countries of the region in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, this must be done under the supervision and control of International Atomic Energy Agency, and according to its regulations, which will help to defuse the crisis and build confidence between Iran and its neighbors in the Gulf on one hand and the international community on the other hand.

Prince Saud Al-Faisal reaffirmed the Kingdom's support for ongoing efforts to make the Middle East free from all weapons of mass destruction, pointing out that Israel's constant refusal to join Non-Proliferation Treaty and keeping its nuclear programs outside the international control are considered as ones of the key obstacles to achieve this legitimate goal for the peoples of the region and the world.

He explained that the Arab region is witnessing profound changes which have never been seen before this time, which requires that all should stand in a responsible manner for maintaining the region's countries, their territorial integrity, and civil peace, without overlooking the legitimate demands of the peoples of the region, adding that in view of the great importance of the Arab Gulf Region linking to its strategic location and large reserves of oil and gas, which are the most important sources of energy in the world, these challenges and threats facing the Arab Gulf region form undoubtedly threats to security and stability.

Addressing the Forum, the Director of the Institute of Diplomatic Studies, Dr. Abdulkarim bin Homoud Al-Dakhil, said that the convening of this forum coincides with unprecedented developments and events in the Arab Gulf region and the Middle East, characterized by the growing roles of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a regional player and maker of diplomatic initiatives seeking to enhance security and stability in the region, notably the most important one is the GCC initiative on the Yemeni crisis , which was signed in Riyadh on 23/11/2011.

He explained that the Gulf Cooperation Council has gained during the last period a prominent position in international diplomacy, through its partnerships and strategic dialogues with a number of major blocs and countries in the world such as the European Union, China, Russia, India, Turkey, and other countries.

On his part, the President of Gulf Research Center, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Saqr bin Othman pointed out that the convening of this forum coincides with preparations for GCC Summit in a few days, noting that the GCC will start the fourth decade of its existence amid many desired ambitions and aspirations on one hand, as well as major challenges facing it, on the other hand.

Meanwhile, Dr. Khalid Al-Anqari, Minister of Higher Education, lauded the issuance of the first edition of Saudi Arabia Encyclopedia, describing it as the first comprehensive work to introduce the homeland of the two holy mosques and highlight its developmental march from the beginning to date.

In a statement to mark the event, Al-Anqari said Arab library was really waiting for this work to enrich it with accurate information covering all historical, geographical, education, economic and cultural fields for its readers and researchers.

Not only Arab readers and researchers but those in friendly and foreign countries also need to have correct profile of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to replace the forged one they usually have to deal with, he said.

This giant project is yet another cultural addition to the Saudi achievements under the prudent leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Meanwhile, the value of the kingdom’s non-petroleum exports during September 2011 rose to 14.989 billion rials against 9.756 billion rials in the same period last year with an increase rate of 54%, according to a Saudi Central Department of Statistics and Information (CDSI) report.

The total weight of exports hit 4187 tons against 3673 tons during the same period last year with a rate up of 14%. Saudi Arabia’s petrochemicals exports increased 37 percent by value in August from a year earlier on higher prices and increased demand from Asia.

The kingdom, the world’s largest oil exporter, shipped petrochemicals valued at 4.38 billion riyals ($1.17 billion) compared with 3.19 billion rials a year earlier, according to data from the CDSI.

Exports declined 2.8 percent on a month-to-month basis from 4.51 billion rials in July, the department reported on its website.