News – Saudi Arabia – 2010.06.24

Published: June 24, 2010

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ARABIALINK Daily News – SAUDI ARABIA – Excerpts from International Media Reports
[Links to full articles were active on the date posted here]

Kingdom, US to Make Joint Efforts to Confront Terror  [Jun 24]
“US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Smith said Wednesday that the Kingdom and his country would make combined efforts to counter challenges such as terrorism that face the two countries. He described Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s upcoming visit to the US as ‘very important.’.. ..King Abdullah is scheduled to visit the US soon after attending the G20 summit in Toronto on June 26-27. His talks with US President Barack Obama will focus on the prospects of reviving the Middle East peace process and strengthening bilateral relations. The Arab peace initiative, which has been welcomed by all countries except Israel, is the brainchild of King Abdullah.  Obama will host Saudi King Abdullah in Washington on June 29, the White House said..”  [Complete Report]

Aramco Refutes ‘Secret’ Spill Claims  [Jun 24]
” Despite US media reports claiming Saudi Aramco cleaned up a secret oil spill in 1993 using supertankers, the company states there is no factual basis for either assertion.  During coverage of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Nicholas Pozzi, a former Saudi Aramco employee, maintained a 1993 accident caused millions of liters of crude oil to spill into the Arabian Gulf and that he was in the team that developed a plan to remove the crude using Saudi-owned supertankers.  Saudi Aramco refuted his claims in an official statement and stated that Pozzi worked as a foreman in the company’s East-West Pipeline Department. ‘However, he made no significant contribution to the company’s spill preparedness or response teams during his employment or at any other time.’..” [Complete Report]

Shell: Saudi Arabia May Benefit From LNG Imports [Jun 24]
“Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest energy producer, may benefit from importing liquefied natural gas to boost domestic supply and maximize profits from oil exports, a Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) executive said Thursday.  ‘In an environment where much crude and fuel oil is being burnt up for power, there’s a strong case to bring in more gas and free up some of that [oil] for export,’ De la Rey Venter, Shell’s global head of LNG, said at the National Oil Companies congress in London.  ‘I don’t know what the kingdom will decide.’..”  [Complete Report]

GCC’s Free Trade Deal With EU Sticks Over Saudi Export Tariff  [Jun 24]
“After two decades, the gap between the GCC and the EU on a free-trade agreement has been narrowed down to “two to three paragraphs” of a 2,000-page document, trade negotiators say.  The main sticking point is over export duties, according to EU and GCC officials.  Negotiators say one Gulf country wants to impose duties on some of its exports. EU and GCC diplomats say that country is Saudi Arabia which, they say, wants to impose tariffs on its petrochemical exports.  Marcus Noland, the deputy director and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, explained that tariffs could be used as a way to influence global prices for petrochemical products..”  [Complete Report]

Saudi Arabia Selected to CANSO Executive Board  [Jun 24]
“The Kingdom has been selected to become a member of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO).  The organization recognized the Kingdom’s position as a leading country in the Middle East and its geographical location, which allows it to act as a link between Europe, Asia and Africa.  This announcement was made during CANSO’s 14th conference in Oslo recently.  The conference chose president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) Abdullah Al-Rahimi to become a member of CANSO’s executive board and a representative of the Middle East region for 2010-2011.  This decision also recognized the Kingdom’s efforts in developing its civil aviation services as well as safety and security measures.  The CANSO board includes representatives of New Zealand, Austria, Australia, Ireland, Spain and the United States, as well as the vice president of Boeing Co..”  [Complete Report]

Heat Wave: Saudi Scholar Calls for Delaying Dhuhur Prayer  [Jun 24]
“A Saudi scholar has ruled that Muslims in the Kingdom can delay performing the Dhuhur (afternoon) prayer until it is close to the time of the Asr (later afternoon) prayer because of the unprecedented high temperature in Saudi Arabia these days which led to power cuts in various parts of the country.  ‘People in extremely hot areas are permitted to delay the Dhuhur prayer until late afternoon,’ Shaikh Abdul Mohsin Al Obaikan, religious adviser at the Royal Court told local Arabic daily Al Watan yesterday.. ..Saudi Arabia is currently witnessing an unprecedented high temperature which caused repeated power cuts as many of the power generating turbines stopped functioning.  Temperature in some areas reached more than 51C.  Weather experts had earlier predicted that the kingdom would this year witness an extremely hot summer.  They said the worst is still to come, especially between July 20 and August 20..”  [Complete Report]