Joe Biden has had to return empty handed from his first visit to the middle east as U.S. president. The hyperbole surrounding his visit to Israel failed to provide any tangible results as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Sultan emerged as the man in control of the political landscape in the region.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid had called Joe Biden’s visit ‘historic’, with President Isaac
Herzog painting Biden as a ‘Biblical messiah ofpeace’. As Biden headed to Riyadh, news came of Saudi Arabia opening its airspace to ‘all nations’. The announcement didn’t mention Israel, and Saudi was quick to play down any talk of normalisation ofrelations between the two states, saying the move had nothing to do with the diplomatic ties with Israel.
Joe Biden came to Riyadh armed with criticism of Saudi’s MbS over the war in Yemen and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Reports say Biden did in fact raise the assassination with MbS, who
termed it a ‘mistake’. The Saudi crown prince however, was in no mood to go on the backfoot raising the killing of Palestinian-American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while covering an Israeli operation in West Bank. Reports say Shireen was shot to death by Israeli forces.
With oil prices at an all-time high due to the disruptions in supply chain caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine, Saudi flexed its muscles by hosting a big inter-Arab summit.
The summit put to rest any plans of building a regional security alliance which would see Arab states partnering with Israel to counter Iran. The second goal was to get the Arab nations to agree to increasing oil production which would ease the prices of crude oil, but once again the gulf countries declined to commit on any such agreement, keeping all discussions over oil production to the meeting of the OPEC group on August 3.
Biden who had declared he would make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” after the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, professed a long standing alliance with the gulf states declaring, “the United States is invested in building a positive future of the region, in partnership with all of you—and the United States is not going anywhere.
Written by Raghav Chopra ,Senior Journalist
Special to Headline.ae
UAE leaders pay tribute on UK Queen Elizabeth 2 passing away
The country’s leaders have mourned the passing away of UK’s Queen Elizabeth 2 after the world’s second-longest ruling monarch died age 96.
The UAE’s President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has paid his tribute to the late Queen, who took over the mantle at a young age and served for 70 years and 214 days. French leader Louis XVI was on the throne for 72 years and 110 days.
The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.
The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/VfxpXro22W
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed extended his condolences to her family and the people of the UK and said the late monarch was a close friend of the UAE and a beloved and respected leader.
“Her Majesty was a close friend of the UAE and a beloved and respected leader whose long reign was characterised by dignity, compassion and a tireless commitment to serving her country,” Sheikh Mohamed said on Twitter.
Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also posted on social media, saying:
We join the world in mourning the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, a global icon who represented the finest qualities of her nation and people. Her incredible lifetime of service and duty to the United Kingdom is unparalleled in our modern world.
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) September 8, 2022
The UAE and UK share a close bilateral relationship covering economic, strategic and cultural interests. Queen Elizabeth had built the foundation for the friendship when she visited the Emirates back in the late 1970s. The most travelled monarch in the world, Queen Elizabeth has visited the UAE twice – in 1979 and 2010.
The eldest son, Charles, 73, succeeds as King immediately, according to centuries of protocol, to begin a new chapter for the royal family after seven decades.
Britain’s new king released a statement after the death asking for privacy in the mourning period. The flag at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half mast at 6.30pm UK time.
UAE conglomerate to build smart city in Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa broke ground to launch the US$500 million (Dh1.83 billion) state-of-the-art Zim Cyber City – a mixed-use park on the outskirts of capital Harare – that is being developed by the UAE conglomerate Mulk International.
Sprawled across 2.5 million square feet, Zim Cyber City is currently under construction in Mount Hampden, New Harare. The master plan includes the newly completed parliament building and all the ministry buildings as well as high-end residential and commercial buildings. Many can compare this to the Downtown and Sheikh Zayed Road developments in Dubai, UAE.
“Zim Cyber City stands to become Zimbabwe’s landmark project, offering a world-class high-end lifestyle to all the residents. Our government fully supports this exciting development,” Mr Mnangagwa said, offering his “thanks to my good friend Shaji-ul-Mulk, the chairman of Mulk International.”
The president recalled in detail how initial discussions happened when he visited the Dubai Expo 2022 in March and how his government has worked at breakneck speed to get the necessary clearances for a project that will be close to the Zimbabweans.
After he broke from his long address extolling the virtues of the project, he returned back on the dias because he forgot to address the other important connection – cricket. In case his audience didn’t know, Mr Mnangagwa reminded all that Mr Shaji-ul-Mulk is the founder of the popular T10 Cricket League which was born in Sharjah and has become the second most popular league in the world while operating out of Abu Dhabi. The Zim Cyber City will be the start of a very healthy relationship with the UAE businessman, the president hoped.
Under Mnangagwa’s patronage, Zimbabwe has granted Mulk International an exclusive licence to establish a blockchain and digital assets special economic zone.
Mulk Holdings, the parent company of Mulk International, owns Alubond USA, the world’s largest aluminum composite panel (ACP) and has investments in Africa, Asia and Europe.
Reciprocating the sentiments, the UAE businessman Mulk, said: “President Emmerson Mnangagwa has whole-heartedly supported Mulk International’s first Zimbabwean endeavour. Zim Cyber City is the first of many investments that our group, Mulk International, has committed to delivering through the special economic status channel of Zimbabwe Global Investments.
“Zim Cyber City will be a unique, iconic development, offering multi-fold economic benefits to commercial enterprises combined with lavish, uptown living.”
Mount Hampden, in Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe is about 11 miles North West from the capital, Harare. Along the Old Mazowe Road, this area of 15,500 acres has been allocated towards building a new city that represents a new era for Zimbabwe, as well as a special economic zone exclusively for investors.
The master plan of the project includes 250 townhouses, more than 80 luxury villas, a number of apartment blocks, hi-tech office facilities, high-end retail arcade, a 15-storeyed commercial tower, landscaped gardens – all within a high-security gated community with a health club, community centre and other facilities.
Zim Cyber City will offer high-end residential living for those operating and living in the community. It will include 24/7 advanced, built-in surveillance technology that is directly connected to local law enforcement authorities for maximum security of the residents.
Corporate license holders within the Zim Cyber City will enjoy a bouquet of incentives including free repatriation of capital and profits without any limit caps; ease of fund transfers in and out of the country through local or foreign bank accounts without any caps; exemption from paying all taxes for a period of five years; freehold resale of the real estate and permission to employ foreign staff at a flat rate of 15 percent tax.
— Staff report
UAE, France sign energy co-operation deal
The governments of France and the United Arab Emirates signed on Monday a strategic agreement to cooperate in the energy sector, the French government said. The partnership aimed to identify joint investment projects in France, the UAE or elsewhere in the sectors of hydrogen, renewable and nuclear energy, the French government said in a statement.
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 18, 2022
“In the currently uncertain energy context, this agreement will pave the way for a stable long-term framework for cooperation, opening the way for new industrial contracts,” it added. The deal coincides with the visit to Paris of UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan between July 17-19, his first overseas state visit since taking over from his half-brother in May.