Tag Archives: King Abdullah

Readout of the President's Call with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

By The White House

President Obama spoke by phone today with King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The President relayed his warm wishes to the King on the occasion of Ramadan. The leaders reaffirmed the strong and enduring partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia and discussed regional issues of mutual interest. The President and the King shared their perspectives on the situation in Syria and expressed their strong concerns about the impact of the conflict on the region. The President emphasized the United States’ continued commitment to provide support to the Syrian Opposition Coalition and the Supreme Military Council to strengthen the opposition. The President and King also exchanged views on recent developments in Egypt. They agreed that the United States and Saudi Arabia have a shared interest in supporting Egypt’s stability. The President expressed his serious concern about the violence in Egypt and underscored the urgent need for an inclusive political process that will enable an early return to a democratically elected civilian government in Egypt. The leaders pledged to continue close consultations between their two governments.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at The White House Press Office

Saudi king condemns Boston Marathon bombings

The king of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday condemned the Boston Marathon bombings, saying no religion or morals would condone such an attack.

In a condolences message to President Barack Obama and the American people, King Abdullah said the perpetrators of such “heinous terrorist acts” are “enemies of any humane considerations.” He said the perpetrators represent only themselves.

In a separate statement, the Saudi Embassy said a Saudi woman was among those injured, suffering from minor injuries due to glass fragments.

The Saudi government has been cracking down on Islamic militants since al-Qaida launched a wave of attacks in the country in 2003, killing dozens. It has sought to distance itself from terrorist acts in the past, including the Sept. 11 attacks, where 15 of the 19 hijackers involved were Saudi citizens.

In Washington, a Saudi embassy official said Saudis have not been informed by the U.S. of any Saudi who is considered a person of interest in the Boston Marathon bombings. The official confirmed that a Saudi woman, who was watching the race with her husband and child, was injured by “flying shrapnel.”

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the investigation, said the woman is not a person of interest and the official has no of information regarding any Saudis who may have been questioned.

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Associated Press writer Bradley Klapper contributed from Washington

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/ZfcjV-qxG1k/

Saudi prince backs letting women drive

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has indicated support of allowing women there to drive.

He says that would help the kingdom’s campaign to cut down on the number of foreign workers.

Saudi Arabia follows an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam and bans women from driving.

“The question of allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia will save more than 500,000 jobs in addition to the social and economic benefits,” the prince wrote Sunday on his Twitter account.

Thousands of foreign workers have been fired from their jobs and then deported, part of a government campaign against foreigners who illegally reside and work in the kingdom.

Last week King Abdullah gave workers three months to try to legalize their presence. There are more than 8 million foreign workers in Saudi Arabia.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/lsxFpiigGy4/

Decade-old Mideast peace plan re-emerges

A dormant, decade-old Mideast peace plan has suddenly emerged as a possible key to breaking years of deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians.

A top Palestinian official said Sunday that the visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed interest in reviving the so-called Arab Peace Initiative, a 2002 plan in which the Arab world offered comprehensive peace with Israel in exchange for a full pullout from all territories it captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Arab officials confirmed the Arab League was set to discuss the matter on Monday.

The initiative was revolutionary when it was introduced by Saudi Arabia‘s then crown prince, King Abdullah, and later endorsed by the 22-member Arab League at a summit in Beirut. However, the plan was overshadowed by fierce Israeli-Palestinian fighting at the time and greeted with skepticism by Israel. The Arab League re-endorsed the plan in 2007, and technically, the offer remains in effect.

Key obstacles remain. Israel has not softened its objections to the plan, and the Palestinians turned down a request from Kerry for changes in it.

In the 1967 war, Israel took control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Sinai and Golan Heights. Israeli returned the Sinai to Egypt in 1982 in the framework of a peace treaty and pulled out of Gaza unilaterally in 2005. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, and peace talks with Syria over the territory have repeatedly failed.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been deadlocked since late 2008, in large part over the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The Palestinians refuse to talk while Israel settles its population on the occupied territories where they want to establish their state. They have demanded that Israel accept the 1967 lines as the basis for a future Palestine. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects a return to the 1967 lines and calls for talks with no preconditions.

The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation has also endorsed the 2002 Arab peace initiative.

The plan, if adopted, considers the Arab-Israeli conflict “ended,” offers “normal relations” with Israel and calls for providing “security for all the states of the region.”

Israel has rejected a return to the 1967 lines for both security and spiritual reasons. Israeli leaders have long argued that the 1967 frontiers are indefensible. In addition, a return to those boundaries would mean a withdrawal …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of King Abdullah II of Jordan

By The White House

President Obama will host His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House on Friday, April 26. The President deeply appreciated the hospitality he received in Jordan last month and looks forward to continuing his consultations with King Abdullah on Jordan’s political and economic reforms, the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and additional regional issues of mutual concern. As the President said in Amman last month, Jordan is an invaluable ally and close friend. King Abdullah's visit is a demonstration of the close partnership between the United States and Jordan.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at The White House Press Office

Press Briefing by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, 03/25/2013

By The White House

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:23 P.M. EDT

MR. EARNEST: Good afternoon, everybody. Or, shalom, to those of you who were on the trip with us last week. It’s nice to see you all. I don't see many people who were on the trip. Only a couple, actually. (Laughter.) There are a couple. It’s not an insult, it’s a compliment, in fact.

I don't think I have anything to do at the top today, so, Nedra, if you want to get it started.

Q Yes, that would be great. Can you give us an update on your view of what’s happening in Syria? Over the weekend you had the president of the Syrian National Coalition leave, and I wonder if the White House sees that as the opposition crumbling now in Syria.

MR. EARNEST: We certainly have seen these reports and we're sorry to see the news of Khatib’s resignation. Khatib is a courageous and pragmatic leader who has a strong sense of Syrians’ hopes and fears. The opposition has been well served by his leadership and the Syrian people will continue to benefit from his service in whatever capacity he chooses to provide it.

But it’s important to underscore that leadership transitions are inevitable in any democratic process, and Khatib’s announcement does not change the U.S. policy of support for the Syrian opposition and the Syrian Opposition Coalition. We support the coalition’s vision for a tolerant, inclusive Syria that respects the rights of all Syrians. And the opposition to Assad’s brutal rule is bigger than one person, and that movement will continue.

So it’s certainly — the efforts of the opposition in Syria will continue unabated. The United States will continue to support their efforts. As you know, Nedra, the U.S. is the largest bilateral donor of humanitarian assistance there. The President had the opportunity to talk to leaders in the region, including King Abdullah, who talked about the significant humanitarian strain that is being felt by the Syrian people and is starting to have an impact on other countries in the region. So this is something that we remain concerned about and committed to. And while we're certainly sorry to see the news of Khatib’s resignation, we're going to continue to work in the region to support the efforts of the rebels and to continue our steady drumbeat to urge Assad to step aside so that the Syrian people can have a government that reflects their will.

Q One of his complaints was that there was a lack of international support, so I wonder if there are any next steps that might come from the United States. Is there any examination of what more we could be doing or any thoughts that we could …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at The White House Press Office

Jordan's parliament chooses PM for 1st time

Jordan‘s parliament voted Saturday for the monarchy’s caretaker prime minister to form a new Cabinet, the first time in the country’s history that the legislature rather than the king has decided who will be head of government.

Abdullah Ensour, a former liberal lawmaker known for fiery criticisms of the government when he was in parliament, was selected as part of a reform program aimed at defusing political unrest to stave off an Arab Spring-style uprising.

But he is also committed enough to Abdullah’s plan for cautious reforms to be the king’s choice for prime minister in October, when the sitting government was dissolved prior to parliamentary elections. Those elections were boycotted by the country’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, producing a legislature that has a heavy contingent of conservative tribal lawmakers traditionally loyal to the king but also a surprisingly large opposition bloc of about 50 Islamist, leftists, and others.

Mohammed al-Haj, head of the Islamist Centrist Party which won the largest bloc of 16 seats in elections on Jan. 23, said at least 80 out of 150 lawmakers voted for Ensour. “We gave him the chance to remain in office and pick his Cabinet from inside or outside parliament,” said al-Haj.

King Abdullah II formally confirmed Ensour’s appointment. Abdullah has in the past selected prime ministers, but he relinquished that right as part of the reform package announced last year.

A government official said Ensour will name his Cabinet this week, ahead of a regional tour by U.S. President Barack Obama that includes a stopover in Jordan.

Once the Cabinet is sworn in by the king, it will seek a parliamentary vote of confidence necessary to install it, said the official, speaking anonymously as he was not allowed to comment on matters related to cabinet formation.

In the letter that appointed Ensour, King Abdullah said the prime minister would remain in office for the next four years. Jordanians in street protests since the start of the Arab Spring have been critical of the king for changing his prime ministers frequently — at least four times in the past two years.

The king said the Cabinet should pursue further liberalization and decentralization. He did not mention any specific changes, but the king has repeatedly referred to a controversial election law that the opposition says favors the conservative tribal candidates, and which was the cause …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Saudi Arabia postpones execution of 7 convicted in armed robbery

A Saudi security official says executions of seven Saudis sentenced to death by crucifixion and firing squad have been postponed for a week.

He said King Abdullah would review the sentences. He met families of the seven on Sunday.

The official said on Tuesday that the ruler of the southwestern province of Asir, Prince Faisal bin Abdel Aziz, ordered the postponement. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The seven were juveniles at the time they were arrested for armed robbery, a capital offense in Saudi Arabia. One told The Associated Press by telephone from prison that they were tortured to force confessions and barred access to lawyers.

Human rights groups called on the Saudi government to cancel the executions.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Report: Saudis may drop screen for women advisers

A Saudi newspaper says officials may consider dropping plans for a barrier separating men and the newly appointed women in the country’s top advisory body.

The reports follow the swearing-in ceremony Sunday for the first women in the ultraconservative kingdom’s Shura Council. There was no barrier during the event as the 30 women sat on one side of the chamber and the 130 men on the other.

Saudi Arabia‘s strict Islamic codes sharply restrict mixing between genders.

The pro-government Al-Watan newspaper reported Monday that the original proposal for a barrier in the Shura chamber now could be reconsidered.

In 2011, King Abdullah said women can vote and run as candidates in the next municipal elections in 2015. The kingdom’s women are still banned from driving and face many other restrictions.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Ex-Blackwater Employees’ Felony Charges Dropped, Said CIA Told Them To Provide King WIth Rifles

By The Huffington Post News Editors

RALEIGH, N.C. — The federal prosecution of five former employees of the private security firm Blackwater has collapsed after the defendants said they were acting at the direction of the CIA by providing five automatic rifles as gifts to King Abdullah of Jordan.

Federal prosecutors had indicted former Blackwater president Gary Jackson and four others on a long list of felony firearms violations in 2010. But charges against three of them were dropped Thursday.

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More on Blackwater

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Most charges dismissed against ex-Blackwater execs

The federal prosecution of five former employees of the private security firm Blackwater has collapsed after the defendants said they were acting at the direction of the CIA by providing five automatic rifles as gifts to King Abdullah of Jordan.

Federal prosecutors had indicted former Blackwater president Gary Jackson and four others on a long list of felony firearms violations in 2010. But charges against three of them were dropped Thursday.

Jackson and former company vice president William Matthews pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges related to record keeping violations, resulting in $5,000 fines and no jail time.

The government‘s case crumbled after defense lawyers produced two retired CIA officials who said they knew about the weapons presented to Abdullah during a visit to Blackwater’s compound in Moyok, N.C.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Saudi linguist involved in slavery charges may be cleared for transfer

A Saudi linguist convicted of sexually assaulting a housekeeper and keeping her a virtual slave for four years in Colorado has cleared initial administrative hurdles for a transfer to Saudi Arabia under a United States treaty.

A spokeswoman for the state corrections department said Friday that Homaidan Al-Turki’s foreign national offender transfer application is awaiting final approval by the department’s director.

Al-Turki says he’s innocent and a victim of anti-Muslim sentiment. His 2006 conviction angered Saudi officials and prompted the U.S. State Department to send Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan and al-Turki’s family.

Al-Turki’s sentence in 2011 was reduced from 28 years to life to eight years to life.

Prosecutors who opposed the reduction couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Saudi king Abdullah's half-brother dies

The official Saudi Press Agency says that Prince Sattam bin Abdel Aziz, King Abdullah‘s half brother, has died at the age of 72.

The agency quoted a royal court statement as saying Prince Sattam, governor of the capital Riyadh, will be buried Wednesday.

The statement did not mention the cause of death. The Saudi ruling family rarely gives details on the medical status of top figures, even when they are hospitalized.

Prince Sattam is the 30th son of the late King Abdul Aziz, founder of the kingdom. He graduated from San Diego University in 1965 with a B.A. degree in business administration.

In November, the 88-year-old monarch underwent what was described as back surgery to secure a loose vertebra. He had back operations in 2010 and twice in 2011.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Readout of the President's Meeting with Saudi Minister of Interior Prince Mohammed bin Nayef

By The White House

Today, President Obama met with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Interior, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, in the Oval Office. They affirmed the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and discussed security and regional issues of mutual interest. The President congratulated Prince Mohammed bin Nayef on his appointment to Minister of Interior and asked him to convey his best wishes to King Abdullah bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at The White House Press Office