Crown Prince Naif discusses with Yemen PM developments, means to further bilateral relations

Crown Prince underlines importance of developing health services for citizens

Defense Minister Prince Salman holds talks with Japan FM on bilateral relations, regional and international developments

Prince Khalid al-Faisal sheds light on provincial and 10-year plan

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah meetings with Japan FM

GCC, Japan sign strategic cooperation agreement

Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior received at the Conferences Palace this week the Prime Minister of the Republic of Yemen Mohammed Salem Ba Sendwah.

The Crown Prince welcomed the Yemeni Prime Minister and his accompanying delegation in their second country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

For his part, the Yemeni Prime Minister expressed his thanks to and appreciation of the Crown Prince for the warm reception and generous hospitality accorded to them.

The audience was attended by Prince Mohammed bin Saad bin Abdulaziz, Acting Governor of Riyadh region; Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, Minister of Education; Prince Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Chief of the Court of the Crown Prince and His Special Adviser; Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Prince Fahd bin Naif bin Abdulaziz; a number of ministers, and senior commanders.

Then the Crown Prince held a dinner party in honor of the Yemeni Prime Minister and his accompanying delegation.

Then the Crown Prince and the Yemeni Prime Minister held talks on the latest developments in the Republic of Yemen, bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries and ways of their enhancement in various fields.

The talks were attended by Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; Prince Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Chief of the Court of the Crown Prince and His Special Adviser; Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Eng. Ali Al-Naimi; Minister of State and Cabinet's Member Dr. Musaed Al-Aiban; Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf; Minister of Water and Electricity Eng. Abdullah Bin Abdulrahman Al-Hosseim; Acting Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Yusuf Al-Othaimeen; Minister of Economy and Planning Dr. Mohammed Al-Jasser; Special Secretary to the Crown Prince Abdulrahman bin Ali Al-Rubaia'an; and Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Ali Al-Hamdan.

On the Yemeni side, the talks were attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Abu Bakr Abdullah Al-Qirbi; Minister of Interior Major General Abdulqader Qahtan; Minister of Petroleum and Minerals Eng. Hisham Sharaf Abdullah; Minister of Electricity Dr. Saleh Hassan Samie'; Minister of Finance Dr. Sakher Ahmed Al-Wajeeh; Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Dr. Mohammed Saeed Al-Saadi; Minister of Information Ali Ahmed Al-Omrani; Minister of Expatriates Mujahid Al-Qahali; and Yemeni Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Ali Mohsen Al-Ahwal.

Prince Naif also received Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, Minister of Health, members of Health Service Council and a number of officials at Health Ministry.

During the audience, the Crown Prince stressed the importance of improving health services provided to citizens and activating the role of training and scholarship programs.

The audience was attended Prince Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Chief of the Crown Prince's Court and Advisor to the Crown Prince; and a number of princes and officials.

Meanwhile, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Defense received Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba and the accompanying delegation.

During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations and cooperation between the two friendly countries, ways of strengthening them, and the latest developments at regional and international arenas.

The meeting was attended by Director General of the Office of Minister of Defense Lieutenant General Abdulrahman bin Saleh Al-Bunyan; Saudi Ambassador to Japan Dr. Abdulaziz Abdulsattar Turkistani; and Japanese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Shigeru Endo.

Also, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Eng. Ali Bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi met with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba and his accompanying delegation.

The meeting dealt with the current situation in the international oil market and the importance of its stability, prospects of cooperation between oil producing and consuming countries, and cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Japan in the fields of petroleum, energy and environment, including joint investments and the bilateral exchanges of expertise.

The meeting was attended by Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources for Petroleum Affairs; Prince Faisal bin Turki bin Abdulaziz, Advisor at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources; Abdulrahman Bin Mohammad Abdulkarim, Advisor for Corporate Affairs; a number of senior officials of the Ministry; and Japanese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Shigeru Endo.

Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Makkah Region, highlighted the Regional Plan and the 10-year Plan as well as the renovations and changes that took place aiming to securing more development of the region.

In a press conference at Jeddah Helton, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal said Makkah Region administration is among the first in the Kingdom to have strictly executed its ten-year development plan.

He added that a number of governmental bodies in addition to research centers and universities have participated in forging the plan.

Now we have made great strides in the way to complete this giant development plan, he said, adding that Makkah Governorate hierarchy is among the most advanced in the Kingdom.

He said that within few years, the Governorate of Makkah has implemented most of the phases of the plan.

Furthermore, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Japan cemented their relationship further by signing “a memorandum of cooperation for strategic partnership” last week at a time when the biting sanctions on Iran, if enforced, will hamper oil supplies to different parts of the world including Japan.

On behalf of the GCC, the accord was signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah and GGC Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani.

“Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, who is currently visiting the Kingdom, inked the partnership agreement,” said Saudi Ambassador to Japan Abdulaziz A. Turkistani in an interview last week.

Turkistani said that Riyadh and Tokyo on the one hand, as well as GCC and Japan on the other, had opened a new era of relationship following the visit of the Japanese foreign minister to the Kingdom. This was the first visit by a Japanese foreign minister in 11 years.

He said the partnership accord would ensure that Saudi Arabia and Japan will add “concrete strategic contents” to their ties, including building close collaboration in different fields.

“The shared strategic vision will be progressively carried forward,” said Turkistani, adding that the dormant process of political dialogue based on an agreement signed by Riyadh and Tokyo in 2006 has also been activated following the talks between Prince Abdulaziz and the Japanese foreign minister.

Asked about the topics discussed by Prince Abdulaziz and Gemba, he said that “the talks mainly focused on bilateral ties, cooperation in energy field, and on regional developments in the Arab world. We have agreed to upgrade the quality of our relationship to that of a strategic partnership and that this partnership will cover economic issues, trade and investment issues,” said the envoy, adding that the relation will include issues relating to energy security and cooperation in other sectors.

He said that the talks between the Japanese official and Saudi and GCC officials focused more “on strengthening relations with countries that are of vital importance to Japan’s energy security.

Japan is especially dependent on imported oil and natural gas after shutting down nuclear reactors following last year's tsunami. About 30 percent of the total oil consumption of Japan is supplied by Riyadh.”

According to a recent Reuters report, Japan's biggest refiner JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp is talking with the Kingdom and other oil producers to source crude to replace any disruption to its imports from Iran.

European foreign ministers plan to announce more sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking industries at a meeting on Jan. 30 after Greece ended its objections to an oil embargo.

Fresh US sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program could make it difficult for refiners in Japan, Iran's number three crude buyer, to pay Tehran for its oil.

Asked about other topics that were discussed with Saudi officials, Turkistani pointed out that a range of topics including proposals and plans to boost cooperation in education, culture, technology transfer and industrial collaboration were discussed. To this end, he noted that Saudi exports to Japan amounted to SR136 billion in 2010. The Saudi exports were composed of a number of goods, but mainly petroleum and petrochemical products.

“Japan occupies the first rank on the list of top 10 countries in terms of Saudi exports,” said the envoy, adding that Riyadh is number one oil exporter to Japan.

He also disclosed that 400 male and female Saudi students are currently enrolled in different Japanese universities and colleges.

Gemba’s official Middle Eastern tour will cover Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates from January 5 to 12. He will be leaving for Qatar on Sunday afternoon.