OCTOBER 2011 ISSUE 50 VOL 6
October 2011 Issue 50 Vol 6
ISSUE 50 OCT 2011
PAGE 2 SAUDI AUSTRALIA BULLETIN
The reign of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, since his ascent to the Saudi throne six years ago, has distinguished itself on several fronts ranging from service to Islam to political and socio-economic reforms aimed at combating corruption, providing job opportunities for Saudis, including women, and expanding the social welfare program to improve the lot of the ordinary citizens. At the economic level, the thrust of his reforms program has been to ensure that the benefits of economic development trickle down to all classes of society, especially the youth. A major contribution of King Abdullah towards streamlining services for pilgrims coming for Haj or Umrah was the launch of the SR 42 billion Haramain Railway project, which will link the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah with Jeddah, according to the reopt circulated by the Saudi Railway Organisation (SRO). The high-speed rail project will bring about dramatic improvement in transportation of pilgrims between the two holy cities, the SRO said. The project has been undertaken to accommodate 20 million passengers annually. The 450km Makkah-Madinah Rail Link is part of the major railway expansion project planned by the Kingdom, which includes linking Jeddah with the Royadh-Dammam Railway and North-South Railway systems. For the railroad authorities, it means generation of an additional revenue stream. Another feature of the transportation network is the inclusion of Rabigh, near the Red Sea coast in the Western Province, into the network. This will make it easier for Pilgrims traveling by sea to take the connecting train from Jeddah to Makkah and onward to other destinations along the pilgrimage route.
On the contrary, the more and more pilgrims flocking to the holy city, they have fuelled a hotel construction boom. The pilgrim traffic reaches a peak during the Haj season with more than 2.5 million pilgrims who visit Makkah for the annual Haj pilgrimage. This has transformed the cityâ€™s skyline with the addition of luxury hotels, high-rise residential blocks and cranes now overlooking the Grand Mosque. Another noteworthy contribution of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah is seen in his decision to strengthen Qurâ€™an memorization centres and set up the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Renovation of mosques all over the Kingdom also marks the same trend to improve various facilities, directly or indirectly, in the service of Islam. These measures form part of the package worth SR300 million to support the Islamic Dawa offices, besides an
Oct 2011 Issue 50 Vol 6
SAUDI AUSTRALIA BULLETIN PAGE 3
In a powerful speech to the nation published on Arab News, King Abdullah said the following, “All people know the role of women in the annals of Islam and their position cannot be marginalized. There were great women who contributed a great deal toward the progress of the religion of Islam from the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).” “We reject any marginalization of women in Saudi society in every domain,” he added. The king’s reforms have been publicized across the world, and there have been positive reactions far and wide. In fact, his announcement was the top story with the leading media companies of the world on the day he released his message. The reforms come during a season of changes in several countries across the Middle East. Many women in Saudi Arabia have been working hard towards greater equality and political representation in the kingdom.
allocation of SR200 million to support Qur’an memorization organisations. He also disbursed SR16 billion to expand health facilities and construct new hospitals, while raising the loan limits to private hospitals from SR50 million to SR 200 million. Another major contribution of the Saudi monarch is related to his prioritization of the Kingdom’s educational and technological advancement and women’s empowerment. He recently inaugurated the new campus of Princess Nora bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) in Riyadh, which was built at a cost of SR20 billion. “The new campus, covering eight million square meters, is considered to be the largest women-only university in the world,” said Huda Al-Ameel, the newly appointed PNU president. She said the huge campus was completed in a record time of less than three years on the instructions of King Abdullah. “We are grateful to King Abdullah for this vital project, which will surely encourage the PNU staff and students to exploit this state of the art facility to excel in education she observed.
“As we march confidently into the 21st century, these positive changes will benefit the Saudi kingdom, and the global community, well into the future,” said Ms. Dearin. “Saudi Arabia, as a nation, has huge potential across several sectors. The fact that King Abdullah is a visionary, who has the best interests of his people at heart, bodes well for the whole of the Arab World. His initiative to provide significant aid to crises-hit areas of Somalia and Pakistan also reflects the kind of leader he is.”
King Abdullah issued a series of decrees at the start of the year by launching a number of social welfare projects worth more than SR600 billion. They included plans to construct 500,000 new housing units in different parts of the kingdom, allocation of SR250 billion for the housing project, setting SR3000 as minimum wage for Saudis, a two-month salary bonus for government workers and SR2000 monthly unemployment allowance for Saudis. The Monarch also constituted a high- level minstrel committee to identify an early solution for the employment of a growing number of graduates. As part of the government’s efforts to fight unemployment a part of the financial resources of the human resource development fund will be allocated to provide assistance to the unemployed youth for a year. In the meantime the general organization for social insurance will set up a cooperative insurance program for the unemployed.
Oct 2011 Issue 50 Vol 6
ISSUE 50 OCT 2011
PAGE 4 SAUDI AUSTRALIA BULLETIN
Saudi Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand H.E Hassan Nazer held a reception to mark the kingdomâ€™s 81st National Day. In presence of the celebration were many diplomatic delegates from different nations. The guests were received by Deputy Ambassador Mr Reda Alnuzha, Cultural attachĂŠ Dr. Ali Bishri and other members of the Saudi Embassy. The ceremony started with the Saudi royal anthem of peace and the Australian anthem was inaugurated by Ambassadorr and chief of protocol in the Australian Foreign Affairs Department Anne Plunkett who exchanged the warmest congratulations and best wishes for both countries. A message from Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard,on the sidelines of celebrations underlined the strength and depth of Australia -Saudi Arabia relations. Gillard said Australia and Saudi Arabia are two strategic powers in the world and shared strategic commitment to regional peace and stability . The Prime Minister extended congratulations on behalf of the Australian government and people to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi leadership and people on the occasion of National Day and wishes prosperity and progress to the kingdom. Gillard also hailed constant coordination and understanding between the two countries. She confirmed the strong commitment of the Australian government to act in cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the next phase at the
Oct 2011 Issue 50 Vol 6
SAUDI AUSTRALIA BULLETIN PAGE 5 multilateral and bilateral cooperation level common between both countries. The Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd conveyed his best wishes and congratulations on the occasion of National Day. Rudd praised the Kingdom leaderships standing in the world and the positive development of bilateral relations shared between the two countries on regional and international level, noting in particular the cooperation in the Group of Twenty and other international forums to serve the issues of stability, peace and development in the world. In his part ambassador Nazer expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Australian officials and Australian people towards the Kingdom, leadership and Saudi people on the occasion of National Day , which reflects the growing and positive development in Saudi- Australian relations. The Ambassador praised the scholarship program of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, noting the increasing numbers of student at universities in Australia, which was only in the dozens a few years ago, and today numbers are more than nine thousands scholarship in various disciplines. His excellency expressed his satisfaction with the durability and the development of Saudi - Australian joint relations in economic, educational, and investment areas between the two countries, which reflects the strength of the relationship and the mutual trust between the two countries in all fields; he thanked the Australian people and government and the Arab and Muslim communities for their eagerness to tighten the bonds of cooperation and human relations and brotherhood with students studying in Australia. Then, students on scholarships performed Saudi danced wearing the colors of the traditional Saudi folklore on the stage. The invitees and attendees welcomed this show. During the ceremony a book entitled (Saudi Arabia, Australia - world leaders, regional partners) was launched. The book talks about the development of Australian-Saudi relations. H.E. Ambassador Nazer, Head of Australian Protocol, Anna Blunkett, the President of the Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce Ray Najjar and President of the foundation of the book publisher Jackie Wayne participated in cutting the cake prepared to mark the occasion. On the sidelines of the celebration, an exhibition was organized by the embassy during which media brochures on The Renaissance in the Kingdom was distributed.
Ambassador Hassan Nazer with Department of Foreign Affairs Chief of Protocol Anne Plunkett,
Ambassador Nazer , Deputy ambassador Mr Reda Alnuzha, with Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs
Oct 2011 Issue 50 Vol 6
ISSUE 50 OCT 2011
PAGE 6 SAUDI AUSTRALIA BULLETIN
On the sidelines of the Saudi National day celebration wich was held at the Federation Ballroom of Hyatt Hotel Canberra Wendsday 21 Sptember 2011, a new book exploring the strong relation between Saudi Arabia and Australia has been unveiled. The book was launched by the Ambassdor Hassan Nazer in the presence of Deputy Ambassador Mr. Reda Alnuzha, Foreign Affairs Cheif of Protocol Anne Plunket and Faucs chief of executive officer Jacqui Lane. The high-quality , bilingual format 224 page book, published by Focus publisher, called ‘Saudi ArabiaAustralia. Regional Leaders, Global Partners The project in itself was a collaboration between two countries, showcasing the growing trade, investment, (From left) Ray Najar’s National Chairman at Arab-Australia Chamber of Commerce cultural and people-to-people relationships between both Saudi Arabia and Australia. & Industr, ,Department of Foreign Affairs Chief of Protocol Anne Plunkett, AmbasThe book includes forewords from HE Abdullah Bin sador of Saudi Arabia H.E Hassan Nazer, Faucs chief executive officer Jacqui Lane. Ahmed Zainal Ali Reda ,Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry ; The Hon. Dr Craig Emerson investment and sporting MP, Australia’s Minister for Trade; HE Hassan Nazer , Amlinks are also increasing. bassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Australia , HE Ambassador Nazer Also Kevin Magee the former Australian Ambassador to Saudi acknowledged the efforts Arabia, and many prominent figure from both countries. of Focus Publishing and all The project was endorsed by both the Ambassdor to the business and company how Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. HE Hassan T Nazer and the sponsored and contributed former Australian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, HE Kevin in producing the book. Magee. “We would also like to thank “We are excited to see the partnership between “Focus Pubin particular Jacqui Lane, lications” with business and trade organisations from both Faucs chief executive officer, countries to create a stunning and compelling publication.” Dr Glen Simpson, former Ambassador Nazer Said Chairman of the Council for “The publication will also undoubtedly aid in the mutual unArab Australian Relations and derstanding of both nations and open new gateways for a Global Leader of Coffey Instrong and lasting partnership.”Ambassador Nazer Add ternational Development and With two trade between Saudi Arabia and Australia all prominent figure who enamounting to over $ 3 Billion, the trade and commercial redorsed the project . lationship is an important and dynamic one for both nations. People-to-people interactions through cultural, educational,
6 Oct 2011 Issue 50 Vol 6
SAUDI AUSTRALIA BULLETIN PAGE 7
The Saudi Ambassador to Australia His Excellency Mr. Hassan Nazer patronized the graduated first group of pilots as part of the Saudi National Guard Training. The group of 17 students have been based at Aviation Australia’s Brisbane campus since May 2010, and have successfully completed the theoretical components of the Certificate IV in Aeroskills program. Mr Bill Horrocks, CEO Aviation Australia says “This is the first group of students to graduate as part of this overall program. This program has been very successful with all students meeting the full requirements within their relevant trades.” The students celebrated amongst 160 guests including high profile representation such as, H.E. Hassan Talat Nazer Saudi Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand; Major General Rashed Al Zahrani (SANG); Major General Tony Fraser, Australian Defence Force and Rod Camm (CEO Skills Queensland) representing the Queensland State Government, Brigadier General Shaddad Al Asmari, Saudi Culture attaché in Australia Dr. Ali Bishri and a number of senior officials of the academy. In a speech ceremony held on the occasion, Ambassador Nazer conveyed the greetings and congratulations of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz and Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, to all the graduates.Ambassador Nazer expressed his pride towards the graduation of the first Saudi pilot group in Australia and wished all the graduated pilots success, in their homeland.
SAUDI STUDENTS IN SYDNEY CELEBRATE
SAUDI NATIONAL DAY
Saudi Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand H.E Hassan Talat Nazer patronized the 18th anniversary celebration held by the Saudi Students Club in Sydney at University of Technology, Sydney, in the presence of Dr. Ali Mohammed Albishri Cultur Attaché , and the president of Saudi Students Club in Sydney Mayah Azemy and many Saudi student all over Sydney . In his speech Ambassador Nazer conveyed the greetings of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud; the Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defence and Aviation and Inspector General, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior to the students and congratulated the students on the latest decisions of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques concerning the participation of women in Majlis Al-Shoura and both the right of candidacy and voting in municipal elections. Then Ambassador Nazer toured the cultural exhibition which included photos, paintings, pamphlets n addition to the special elements of tourism and antiquities in the Kingdom of Saudi products and a special corner of the commemorative photos . (Photo Ambassador Nazer, Dr. Ali Mohammed Albishri, Mayah Azemy)
7 Oct 2011 Issue 50 Vol 6
ISSUE 50 OCT 2011
PAGE 8 SAUDI AUSTRALIA BULLETIN
SAUDI ARABIA RAISES
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz patronized the stone-laying ceremony on August 19 for the expansion project at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. The plans involve construction on the northern part of the facility and will cover approximately 400,000 square meters. Once the work is complete, the Grand Mosque will be able to accommodate more than 1.2 million worshippers. The current expansion of the Grand Mosque, which will cost an estimated $10.67 billion, will be the biggest in the history of the Kingdom. The project was undertaken to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims and visitors who come to the holy site from around the globe. After laying the foundation stone at the Holy Mosque, King Abdullah was briefed on a number of other development projects at the holy sites. These included the expansion of the Masaa (passage between Safa Mount and Marwa Mount), the Development Project of the Yards of the Prophet’s Mosque of Madinah; the AlMashaer Train and Jamarat Bridge Projects; the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project; and the Makkah Watch Project. The King also inaugurated the Makkah Clock Tower, the highest structure of its kind in the world.
$54 MILLION FOR SOMALIA The Saudi National Campaign for the Relief of the Somali People announced that it has raised $54 million in relief funding for the people suffering from famine in Somalia. In addition to financial assistance, donations including food, shelter materials and medical supplies have been distributed to the people of Somalia. “The Kingdom’s contribution to alleviate the suffering of the Somali people is in accordance with its pledge to help those in need around the world,” said Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir. “We hope that the people affected by the famine in Somalia will be able to overcome this tragedy.” The assistance campaign was initiated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz who urged all Saudis to donate generously to the Somali people. The relief funds will be distributed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and, according to the organization, donations will be used to feed Somali children suffering from malnutrition. In July, Saudi Arabia pledged $50 million in emergency humanitarian assistance for Somali refugees to be used for food supplies in cooperation with the World Food Program (WFP) and $10 million in medicine and vaccinations in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO). Saudi Arabia is a valued partner of the World Food Programme and has donated more than $600 million to the United Nations food agency during the past five years. On August 17, the Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) pledged $350 million for a Somalia anti-starvation program.
8 Oct 2011 Issue 50 Vol 6
Published on Oct 14, 2011
The Saudi Australia Bulletin is an Australia based English publication, which aims and focus on Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Arab world issu...