01 - 07, 2002
IRAQ, KUWAIT IN LANDMARK
The first breakthrough at the 14th Arab League Summit came,
when heads of the Saudi and Iraq delegations, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abulaziz
and Iraq's Izzat Ibrahim, vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council
hugged and kissed each other, the first such high-level public contact between
the two countries since the 1990 Gulf war.
Meanwhile, Iraq and Kuwait reached a landmark agreement that
could pave the way for a rapprochement for the first time since the 1990 Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait.
"The Arab leaders welcome the Iraqi declaration to
respect the independence, sovereignty and security of the state of Kuwait and
guarantee its safety and unity to avoid anything that might cause a repetition
of what happened in 1990. They also call for developing the relations between
the two brotherly countries," said the final communique of the summit,
known as the Beirut Declaration.
Kuwait is "100 per cent satisfied" with the
agreement reached with Iraq, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh
Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah said on his return to Kuwait from the summit.
"Of course I'm 100 per cent satisfied," Sheikh
Sabah said. "Who wrote these clauses? I wrote them," he said when
asked if he was satisfied with all the provisions of the Beirut summit's
non-aggression agreement in which Iraq pledged to respect Kuwait's independence
Sheikh Sabah hinted that Kuwait no longer demanded an apology
from Iraq for invading the country in 1990.
"What is more (important) than that is that it doesn't
happen again," Sheikh Sabah said when asked if reconciliation would be
followed by an official apology from Iraq for invading the country.
Arab leaders also called for stopping all kinds of media
campaigns by the two countries against each other, and asked Iraq to put an end
to the issue of Kuwaiti prisoners of war, and return all Kuwaiti property taken
by the Iraqis during the Gulf War. They also urged Kuwait to cooperate with Iraq
in this regard.
GCC INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENTS TRIPLE
Industrial investments in the GCC nearly tripled over the
past decade to approach $100 billion as the countries pushed ahead with a drive
to boost revenue and immunise their economies against volatile oil sales.
From around $33 billion in 1990, the cumulative capital
pumped in the GCC's manufacturing sector leapt to nearly $98 billion by
end-2001, according to Doha-based Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (Goic).
Saudi Arabia emerged as the biggest industrial power,
accounting for nearly 68 per cent of the total. The UAE was second with more
than 10 per cent. The massive investments also sharply boosted the number of
industrial units in the region from around 4,380 to 7,680.
A breakdown showed industrial capital in Saudi Arabia jumped
from $17.5 billion to $60.7 billion while factories surged by 56 per cent to
3,270. Investment in manufacturing in the UAE soared from $5.5 billion to nearly
$9.2 billion, pushing up industrial establishments by 168 per cent to 2,147.
In Kuwait, investment in this sector shot up from around $4
billion to $8.5 billion and industrial units by 23 per cent to around 705. In
Qatar, such investments surged from $1.1 billion to around $3.2 billion and the
number of manufacturing units by 41 per cent to 403.
Capital pumped into Bahrain's industry grew from $3.6 billion
to $5.3 billion and industrial units by 43 per cent to 348. In Oman, such
industrial capital increased from 989 million to $2.1 billion and industrial
units by around 106 per cent to 769, according to the report.
Experts said combined GCC industrial investments covered
mainly petrochemicals, cement, aluminium, paper, home appliances, furniture,
machinery, equipment, spare parts and electrical products.
ARAB SUMMIT ADOPTS SAUDI PEACE PLAN
The Arab summit ended on Thursday with a ground-breaking plan
offering Israel peace and security in return for its pullout from territory
occupied since 1967, amid warnings of a new Israeli offensive on the Palestinian
headquarters in the West Bank.
The offer was contained in a final statement called the
Beirut Declaration read to the closing session of a summit full of dramatic
incidents, including no-shows by heavyweight leaders, a Palestinian walk-out and
the beginning of a reconciliation between Iraq and Kuwait.
The declaration said a committee would be set up to pursue
the Saudi peace initiative, which was unanimously adopted by the summit,
including with the United Nations Security Council. The declaration also
"categorically rejects" any military strike against Iraq, which had
earlier pledged never to invade Kuwait again.
Iraqi number two Ezzat Ibrahim earlier embraced Saudi Crown
Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and greeted Kuwaiti First Deputy Premier and
Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
GCAA REPORTS DH14.8M PROFIT FOR 2001
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has reported a
profit of Dh14.8 million on revenues of Dh67.4 million for 2001.
The results were achieved despite the uncertainty cast on the
aviation industry by the September 11 events. The authority held a board meeting
to discuss and set future targets.
The meeting was attended by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum,
President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman of Emirates Group, and Ahmed
Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of Communications and chairman GCAA.
Ghanim Al Ghaith, director general of GCAA said: "The
profits will be added to the GCAA capital of Dh300 million, and will be
capitalised for the development of equipment and training."
JAPAN NON-OIL TRADE WITH UAE SET TO
Japan is stepping up its non-oil trade with the UAE to
increase total bilateral volumes. As a first step, a Japan Today exhibition is
being organised in Abu Dhabi next month, top Japanese officials confirmed.
Although Japan's trade with the UAE has been growing, there
are areas in the non-oil sector where Japan can increase its exports.
Oil and gas constitutes some 85 per cent of trade between
Japan and UAE.
Japan's trade with the UAE grew 0.26 per cent to $8.3 billion
during the first half of 2001, compared to $8.2 billion during the corresponding
period in 2000, as per the latest figures available.
OMAN, CHINA SIGN OIL DEAL
Oman signed a one-year agreement on Saturday to supply crude
oil to China's state-run Unipec and Sinochem as from July 2002.
Under the agreement, the Chinese traders together will buy a
total of 34,000 barrels a day of Omani crude oil. Officials did not specify how
much the deal was worth.
"China has shown interest in buying more oil than the
quantity signed on Saturday and we are looking at the oil availability to see
what we can offer in the future," Salim bin Mohammed Shaaban, Oman's Oil
Ministry under-secretary, told reporters at the signing ceremony in Muscat.
Oman, an independent oil producer, has reduced its output by
40,000 barrels per day (bpd) as from January in collaboration with Opec to boost
crude oil prices.
Omani Oil Minister Mohammed al-Rumhy has said enforcement of
its cut left Oman pumping 915,000 bpd of crude oil and condensates during
February and exporting roughly 830,000 bpd.
ARABS SEE ISRAEL BIGGEST ECONOMIC
Arab finance and economy ministers on Saturday kicked off
preparations for Arab summit with a call for greater efforts to face the
economic challenge posed by Israel.
Lebanese Economy Minister Basil Fuleihan told envoys from the
22-member political grouping that the region faced renewed global challenges and
increased competition since the events of September 11.
"Our biggest challenge is in our continued struggle with
our Israeli enemy," Fuleihan said. "Our struggle with Israel is not
just a military, political, ideological struggle, but an economic struggle to
reach European and world markets and to draw in international investment,"
Israel boasts one of the highest annual per capita incomes in
the region, reaching $16,310 in 1999, compared with $360 in Yemen, the poorest
Arab state, according to the latest World Bank figures.
MOVE TO LIFT IMPORT BAN ON LIVESTOCK
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is to consider
lifting a ban imposed on imports of live animals from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan
The UAE banned imports from seven countries following the
outbreak of foot and mouth disease as a precautionary measure to protect local
livestock from the disease.
Engineer Saif Al Shraa, Acting Director of the Animal Wealth
Department, explained that the Ministry intends to lift the ban on live animal
imports from these two countries, in consultation with the GCC Secretary
General, and the international organisations concerned such as the Paris-based
Epidemic Diseases Office, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and
the Arab Organisation for Agricultural Organisation.
SHARJAH STAKE IN NBS COMES DOWN TO 27PC
The Sharjah Government's holding in National Bank of Sharjah
(NBS) has come down by around 36 per cent following the issue of 10 per cent new
shares to Kuwait Finance House (KFH) during 2001.
The bank also sold a big chunk of its holding, which is
equivalent to 10 per cent of total share capital, to KFH.
These two developments have brought down the government stake
in NBS from 42 per cent as of end-2000, to 27 per cent as of end-2001 — a 36
per cent effective drop.
BAHRAIN TO STRENGTHEN TIES WITH IRAN
Bahrain is to strengthen its economic relations with Iraq and
Iran by offering their businessmen and investors "major procedural
concessions", a senior Bahraini official announced.
He also said the maritime line between the island and both
countries will be reinstated "very soon".
HYUNDAI MOBIS SEES $40M REVENUE
Part of the diversified South Korean industrial conglomerate,
Hyundai Mobis, the spare parts company, forecasts revenues from the Middle East
and East Africa to fetch around $40 million this year.
Projections for 2003 and 2004 are for $45 million and $60
million respectively. The region represents one of the stronger growth markets
for the company, according to its chairman, Park Jeong In.
DUBAI FIRM, AL FUTTAIM INK MEGA DEAL
Dubai Transport Corp has singed a multi-million dirham
contract with Al Futtaim Motors for 473 Toyota Camry units, as part of a
strategy to update the level of services of its fleet.
ISRAEL ATTACKS ARAFAT COMPOUND
Israeli tanks last moved into Ramallah two weeks ago. About
30 Israeli tanks moved into the West Bank town of Ramallah early on Friday,
surrounding the offices of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Army bulldozers have started to demolish a wall of the
compound, where the Palestinian leader remains confined.
Gun battles have broken out between Israeli troops and Mr
Arafat's bodyguards and four Palestinians were reported wounded during heavy
exchanges of fire as the tanks entered the town.
The move came after the Israeli cabinet decided to
"completely isolate" Mr Arafat and mobilise army reservists.
OMANI LAW TO FIGHT MONEY LAUNDERING
The Sultanate of Oman enacted a much-awaited money laundering
law in the wake of growing white-collar crimes worldwide.
A Royal Decree issued by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos said that
the new law will be effective from the date it is published in the official
"Article 2 cancels all that contravenes the attached law
or contravenes its provisions."
The law has come into force after a series of debates and
deliberations involving foreign experts trained in the subject of money
laundering and other financial and monetary irregularities rampant worldwide.
UAE-CHINA INVESTMENT, TRADE TO SOAR
Trade and investment between the UAE and China is tipped to
increase because of the opening of the latter's markets, said Madam Wu Yi, State
The petrochemical and manufacturing sectors are set to get
the biggest boost, said Yi while visiting the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and
Accompanied by 20 senior Chinese business people, Yi said
that China "offers a lot of potential scope for investment in the future.
Currently, Iran is China's largest trading partner in the
Middle East, while the UAE is ranked second.
In 1999, China was the second largest exporter of goods to
Dubai. Exports from China to Dubai reached Dh5.4 billion while in the same year
Dubai's exports to China came to Dh50 million.
SAUDIS IN BID TO SORT OUT
Saudi Arabia is considering further action to bar foreigners
from some jobs as part of a drive to tackle a festering unemployment problem
caused by heavy reliance on foreigners and slow economic growth.
But experts believe such measures would be doomed without
strict implementation as an employment drive launched a decade ago has made no
tangible progress and hundreds of thousands of Saudis remain jobless.
TEL AVIV REJECTS RIYADH PEACE PLAN
An Israeli official said the Saudi peace plan adopted at the
Arab summit Thursday was "unacceptable" in its current form, warning
that Palestinian refugees' right of return would destroy the Jewish state.
"We cannot accept the right of return. It would mean a
situation where there are two Palestinian states," foreign ministry
spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon told AFP.
He said the proposal to create a Palestinian state in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as the return of millions of Palestinian
refugees into Israel would lead to the decimation of the Jewish state.