Saudi economy grows 3.9 pct in Q1: report

Saudi Arabia’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.9 percent in the first quarter year on year, according to a report issued by the General Authority for Statistics.

The report revealed a 5.8 percent increase in non-oil activities and a 1.3 percent growth in the oil sector between January and March this year.

The seasonally adjusted real GDP, according to the report figures, decreased by 1.3 percent in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter.

Source: Xinhua Finance Agency

UN humanitarian head in Saudi Arabia for Sudan talks

The UN’s top humanitarian official has arrived in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah for talks aiming for a ceasefire between Sudan’s warring sides, a spokesperson said.

“Martin Griffiths is in Jeddah at the moment and the purpose of his visit is to engage in humanitarian issues related to Sudan,” spokesperson Eri Kaneko said on Sunday.

Fighting that broke out in Sudan on April 15 between army and paramilitary forces has killed at least 700 people, most of them civilians, wounded thousands and driven a mass exodus of Sudanese and foreign nationals.

A UN official said Griffiths would meet representatives of the two generals at the heart of the conflict, Sudanese army chief Abdel Fattah al Burhan and his rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who heads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

There was no indication that Griffiths would play a direct role in discussions about a possible ceasefire.

The warring sides have already announced multiple truces but none has taken hold.

Sudanese and Saudi officials have provided scant details about what the Jeddah talks will cover and how long they will last.

A joint US-Saudi statement on Saturday described them as “pre-negotiation talks”.

Saudi Arabia’s aid

Saudi Arabia has assumed a high-profile role in evacuations from Sudan, dispatching naval and commercial vessels to bring thousands of civilians across the Red Sea from the Sudanese coastal city of Port Sudan.

On Sunday, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed $100 million to be donated for assistance including medical aid and help for displaced people, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Saudi officials will also organise a public donations campaign “to mitigate the effects of the conditions that the Sudanese people are currently going through,” the agency said.


Saudi Arabia 95% Self-Sufficient in Papaya Production

According to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture the annual papaya production in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia exceeded 4,717 tonnes, which gives it 95% self-sufficiency, and imported 571 tonnes.

The ministry also said in its report that the papaya season starts in May and lasts until August; the fruit is grown in Jazan and the Eastern Region of the Kingdom. The country is well-known for its hybrid variety of papaya, including the popular “red lady” and “red bella”.

Moreover, the report highlighted the many benefits this nutrient source has on the health of the heart, bones, skin and hair. It also helps digest food.

The ministry supports crop production, enhancing the quality and safety standards in the field, and making marketing local produce more efficient to support local farmers and increase revenues.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Museums Commission to organize International Conference on Islamic Numismatics in Riyadh

The Museums Commission is preparing to organize the “International Conference on Islamic Numismatics”, from May 18 to 20, at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh. The conference, which will bring together a group of prominent experts in the field, is expected to highlight the significance of coins in writing history, and the knowledge and cultural richness linked to them.

The conference will include scheduled discussions and workshops led by local and international experts tackling topics that will contribute to highlighting institutions and collector groups and the value of the heritage content of Islamic coins.

It will also include an enrichment journey that will take the visitors to the era of coin minting in the early days of Islam, to reflect the role played by Islamic coins throughout the ages as original and tangible evidence of civilization. The visitors will also meet experts in numismatics and historians of Islamic museums to discuss rare pieces, historical heritage, how coins contributed to shaping various civilizations, and methods of preserving these treasures.

By organising this conference, the Museums Commission aims to introduce the cultural and historical heritage of the Kingdom, including Islamic coins and the aesthetics they carry, as represented by Islamic decorations and inscriptions, and to nurture an environment for creativity. Moreover, it seeks to contribute to highlighting the Saudi content — information and data — in the museum sector through research, enrich institutions and collector groups, underline the value of heritage, and establish partnerships that may seize the opportunities offered by museums in this regard.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Kuwait Welcomes Saudi-American Initiative on Jeddah Talks for Sudan Peace

The State of Kuwait has welcomed the joint Saudi-US initiative that made possible preliminary talks, yesterday in Jeddah, to stop the violence between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces.

In a statement issued today, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised the efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the US, and urge all parties to immediately cease hostilities and resolve differences through dialogue, to ensure the security and stability of Sudan.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Islamic Affairs Ministry Concludes Participation in Tunis International Book Fair

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance has concluded its participation, as part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s pavilion, in the 37th Tunis International Book Fair, which was held at the Palace of Exhibitions in Karam, in the Tunisian capital, from April 28 to May 7.

The ministry’s corner was visited by more than 80,000 visitors of various nationalities, and 10,000 copies of the Holy Quran were distributed by King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran in Madinah. The corner also included smart applications, including “Teaching the Rites of Hajj and Umrah with Virtual Reality Technology”, and a screen displaying the achievements of King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Water file.. Iraq agrees with Turkey and Iran to hold a specialized technical meeting

The Ministry of Water Resources announced today, Sunday, an agreement with the Turkish and Iranian sides to hold a specialized technical meeting in the near future to discuss the water file, pointing out that the two parties interacted with Iraq’s demands, in which it called for going towards permanent agreements and turning the page on interim agreements.

“We held constructive discussions with the Iranian delegation, headed by the Minister of Energy and the advanced staff in the Ministry, on the sidelines of the third Baghdad Water Conference, which dealt with all outstanding issues, and we felt an interaction with Iraq’s demands,” said Undersecretary of the Ministry of Water Resources Raed Al-Jashami to the official News Agency.

He added that “a high-level Turkish technical delegation also participated in the conference and visited the ministry’s sites in the Euphrates Basin, and was briefed on the effects of water scarcity and understanding of Iraq’s need in light of the continued scarcity,” pointing to “the interaction of the two sides with the size of the challenge that Iraq is going through.”

He pointed out that “the technical meetings that took place with the delegations of the two countries paved the way for an agreement to hold a specialized technical meeting in the near future to discuss the water file in all its details, and Iraq informed the downstream countries of the need to go towards permanent agreements and turn the page on the interim agreements that took place in the past because the water situation has changed.”

The Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani, confirmed Yesterday, the government’s intention to go to desalination of sea water, while stressing that the decline in water levels of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers calls for urgent international intervention.

Source: National Iraqi News Agency

An Attempt To Smuggle 128 Visa Cards At Shalamcheh Port Thwarted

The Border Ports Authority announced it thwarted an attempt to smuggle 128 Visa cards at Shalamcheh port.

It said in a statement that “the Directorate of the Shalamcheh Border Crossing, in cooperation with the Customs Police, arrested an Iraqi traveler, in his possession 128 international Visa cards,” for the purpose of smuggling money from hard currency outside the country by withdrawing those sums in the countries he intends to travel to.”

It explained that “a committee was formed, a seizure report was organized, and the accused and the cards were referred to the customs police station to take appropriate legal measures against him.”

Source: National Iraqi News Agency

Iraq Ranked Fourth In Its Exports To America During The Past Month

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced that Iraq’s oil exports to America amounted to about 6 million barrels last April.

The EIA said in its table: “Iraq exported crude oil to America during last April was 5.940 million barrels, an average of 198 thousand barrels per day, down from March, in which Iraqi oil exports to America amounted to 7.533 million barrels and an average of 243 thousand barrels per day.

It added, “Iraq exported crude oil to America during the first week of April, at an average of 241,000 barrels per day, while its average export was 180,000 barrels per day in the second week, and an average of 222,000 barrels per day in the third week,” noting that “the average of the week’s exports amounted to 148,000 barrels per day.

The US Energy Information Administration stated that “Iraq ranked fourth in its exports to America during the past month, after Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia, and ranked second in the Arab world after Saudi Arabia, whose exports to America amounted to 10 million barrels and 140,000 barrels per day,” indicating that “Canada came first as the most oil-exporting country to America, followed by Mexico.”

Source: National Iraqi News Agency