April 15 - 21, 2002
ISRAELI ARMY IN PULLOUT PLOY
The United States voiced support for Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon before Secretary of State Colin Powell's arrival on a peace mission,
despite Israeli defiance over its West Bank military offensive.
The Israeli army launched new raids in the West Bank before
dawn but also said it pulled back from 24 villages under intense pressure from
Washington, the Jewish state's chief ally.
But a top aide to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat denied
that Israeli forces had pulled out of 24 West Bank villages, calling the claim
— made just before U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives — a
"I deny the Israeli statement that it has pulled out of
24 villages, this is a big lie," said Nabil Abu Rudeina, quoted by the
official Palestinian agency Wafa.
"This is just a manoeuvre for the international
community. Israel aims to carry on with terrorism and Nazi plans against our
people, our holy land," he said.
Abu Rudeina said any villages the army had left were in areas
of the West Bank officially under Israeli security control.
Powell arrived in Tel Aviv. The chief U.S. diplomat will meet
in occupied Jerusalem with Sharon. He is set to meet with Arafat in Ramallah.
Israel's latest moves sent a mixed message to U.S. President
George W Bush, who has led international calls for an immediate end to the
13-day-old military onslaught.
But comments by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer indicated
Washington remains firmly behind Israel, despite its criticism of the fierce
West Bank offensive.
"The president believes that Ariel Sharon is committed
to peace — to finding peace in the region," Fleischer told reporters in
OPEC COULD STAND TO LOSE BY OUTPUT CUT
Any attempt to restrict supply and boost oil prices by Opec
may hand market share to non- Opec producers, notably Russia, and encourage
substitution into other fuels such as gas, according to a report prepared by
"The world's economic recovery is under threat from
events in the Middle East. The immediate impact has been on the oil price, which
has risen by over 30 per cent this year," says the latest 'Economic
"Opec itself may be one of the biggest losers. The group
now represents only 40 per cent of world production." According to the
report, a small rise in oil prices would be welcome for the Gulf states, which
together produce 12.8 million barrels a day.
"But the problem is that the rise in prices has been so
large and rapid. Concerns that the violence could spill over and disrupt
deliveries added a considerable premium to the price," the report added.
"Further anxiety was added by Iraq's call, later echoed
by Iran, that Arab nations should use oil as a weapon against Israel and its
allies. "Higher oil prices will slow growth in the major economies, by
diverting consumer spending and pushing up costs for business."
The report suggested that Saudi Arabia's source of strength
is also an "area of vulnerability", and mirrors the problem facing the
rest of the region as well.
"So complete is the dominance of oil in the economy that
Saudi Arabia is very exposed to changing prices. Spending has continued to rise
while revenues have declined.
"Falling production last year meant that the Saudi
economy grew by only 1.2 per cent, insufficient to maintain, let alone improve,
living standards given a population growth of 3.4 per cent per annum.
Unemployment is now a widespread fear in Saudi Arabia," the report has
UAE, SUDAN SIGN CRUCIAL TAX ACCORDS
UAE investors who do business in Sudan will be allowed to
repatriate profits free of tax under an agreement signed between the two
Dnata is also in talks with Sudanese authorities to handle
operations at Khartoum airport. Another agreement was signed on double taxation.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates' Commercial Operations Director,
who was part of a 70-member high-level delegation on board Emirates' inaugural
flight to Khartoum, said the two agreements will pave the way for the smooth
flow of business and protect the interests of investors. They will also further
enhance the strong ties that the two countries already share.
He said Dr Mohammed Khalfan bin Kharbash, Minister of State
for Financial and Industrial Affairs, signed the agreements with Abdul Rahim
Hamdi, Sudanese Minister of Economy and Finance.
BAHRAIN SIGNS DEALS FOR $255M
The government of Bahrain signed two blended loan agreements
for $255 million to finance the construction of the 700 MW expansion of Al Hidd
Power and Desalination Station.
The agreements were signed with BNP Paribas and HSBC, Bank of
Bahrain and Kuwait, and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, the four mandated lead
The feasibilities include a $200 million loan supported by
ERG, the Swiss Export Credit Agency, and a $55 million Islamic finance Ijara wa
Iktina facility. Kuwait Finance House and the Islamic Development Bank have
joined the $55 million facility as Islamic co-arrangers.
BNP Paribas (Suisse) is the facility agent for the
ERG-supported loan and HSBC Amana Finance is the facility agent for the Islamic
This the first time that an Islamic facility and an ERG-
backed loan have been structured jointly in the Middle East for a project of
PAKISTANI MEAT WILL BE AVAILABLE
Pakistani livestock and meat will be available in the UAE
market next week, following the UAE's decision to lift a ban imposed two years
ago. The decision was widely welcomed by the Pakistani community, particularly
restaurant owners, who said their businesses had been feeling the effects of the
"This is a great relief for us and our customers, who
always demand meat from Pakistan," said Mohammed Younus of Pak Ghazi
restaurant in Sharjah. Animal traders have already started placing their orders
to resume the imports.
An average five to six tonnes of meat were imported from
Pakistan daily, before the ban was imposed. Thousands of animals, including
goats, sheep and cows, were also imported monthly.
SAUDI SOOTHING DEFLATES OIL PRICE
Ali Naimi, the Saudi Oil Minister, has assured markets and
oil-dependent economies that there will not be a squeeze in the supply of oil.
Oil prices in the international marketplace immediately edged lower in response
to the soothing from the world's largest oil exporter.
The price of crude oil has been rising steadily since
January, and surged over 5% on Monday due to fears of reduced output from the
"I do not believe anything could threaten reliability of
supplies on the global level," said Mr Naimi, according to local press
"We have proven in many previous crises that Saudi
Arabia and Opec are reliable and stable source of oil supplies."
NEW VARIETIES OF DATE
The UAE Date Palm Research and Development Programme has
successfully introduced 10 new varieties of date palm in the country and plans
to introduce 18 more this year.
The programme has also achieved the target of producing
40,000 plants, and has set a new goal of producing 100,000 date palms this year,
according to an achievement report of the programme, which operates from UAE
SAUDI TELETHON RAISES OVER SR50M
Saudi Arabia raised more than 50 million riyals by midnight
in a telethon held to help Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
The telethon was broadcast live by the official Saudi TV and
the Dubai-based Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC). By 10.30 pm, the
drive netted 46 million riyals, in addition to gold jewellery, and other
Some people, mostly from Saudi Arabia, even donated their
plots of land, valuable items, clothes and other materials.
ATFP POSTS NET PROFIT
The Arab Trade Financing Programme (ATFP) announced a net
profit of $35.5 million for 2001, slightly lower than the $40 million earned in
the previous year. A four per cent dividend on the paid-up capital has been
Gulf Air is enhancing its presence in two of the four partner
states — Bahrain and Abu Dhabi — which do not have their own carriers, as
part of the airline's corporate and route restructuring plans aimed at spurring
growth, a company official said.
CUPOLA REPORTS NET PROFIT
Cupola Group has posted a net profit of $18.283 million for
the year ending June 30, 2001 against a net of $18.1 million the group has made
for the year ending June 30, 2000.
The Sharjah Economic Development Department is hosting a
seminar on international trade and its impact on the UAE.
Sheikh Tariq bin Faisal Al Qasimi, chairman, will deliver the
HEZBOLLAH OFFERS ISRAELI HOSTAGE DEAL
Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon have offered to hand over a
captured Israeli colonel if Palestinian fighters trapped in the West Bank town
of Jenin are allowed to go free.
Hezbollah's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, said he would
release businessman Elhanan Tennenbaum, a reserve Israeli army colonel held by
the guerrillas since October 2000, if Israel spared the lives of about 100
Palestinian guerrillas in Jenin.
BLAIR FACES MPS' ANGER OVER IRAQ
Tony Blair has gone all out to calm MPs' fears over possible
action against Iraq amid a welter of Commons questions about the issue. Mr Blair
was grilled by MPs from all sides at a stormy Prime Minister's Question Time.
He told them Britain will not be rushed into a new offensive
against Saddam Hussein. But he stressed that he remained committed to a
"regime change" in Iraq.
UK CONDEMNS IRAQI OIL EMBARGO
The UK has accused Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of
depriving his people of vital food and medicines through his oil embargo.
Oil exports from Iraq have been halted for the next month in
protest at Israel's military campaign against Palestinian cities.
Foreign Office Minister Ben Bradshaw said the people of Iraq
were suffering already and would now lose out on supplies through the UN
"oil for food" programme.
IRAQ LOST MORE THAN $400B DUE TO SANCTIONS
Iraq has lost more than $400 billion since United Nations
sanctions were imposed in 1990, said Mohammed Mahdi Saleh, Iraqi Trade Minister.
Iraq's trade with Arab countries made up more than 50 per
cent of its total trade, compared with less than 10 per cent average of
inter-trade between Arab countries, the Iraqi minister said in an exclusive
interview with Gulf News in Beirut recently.
"Iraq lost more than 1.6 million people, and some 6,000
children die every month because of the unfair sanctions. We have also lost more
than $400 billion, including $200 billion in oil revenues and the same amount in
destruction of projects and establishments during the past 12 years," said
Saleh. He hailed the economic cooperation with the UAE.
IRANIAN CARS TO HIT UAE ROADS SHORTLY
Iran Khodro Co, which claims to be the Middle East's biggest
carmaker, says Iranian made cars will be imported by the UAE in three months.
The 1.8-litre Samand, the first car to be wholly designed and
built in Iran, will be sold directly through the company's own new showroom in
The company plans to sell 1,000 Samands in its first year.
"The cars are aimed at Iranian expats and will sell for around
Dh37,000," said A.R. Ghane, executive manager, Automotive Components
Technology General Trading, the spare parts division of Iran Khodro, which
already has offices in Dubai.
JULPHAR OPENS SIXTH PLANT
His Highness Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of
the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, officially opened the Gulf
Pharmaceutical Industries latest plant, Julphar VI.
In his opening speech, read by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi,
Chairman of the Ras Al Khaimah Emiri Court and Chairman of Board of Julphar, the
Ruler said that Julphar had been able to occupy a very respectable place
worldwide in the pharmaceutical industry, as its six plants were among the best
in the world.
DUBAI FORUM AIMS TO LURE ARAB TOURISTS
Twenty-two Arab ministers of tourism would discuss the latest
issues in the region including easing of visas to encourage tourism among Arab
countries at an annual conference to be held in Dubai from May 4.
The Arab Tourism Conference will receive extra attention as
most European leisure travellers are still shy to fly in the aftermath of
Multiple airports in Sharjah form a viable option for future
expansion, sources said. A ready option is available in Khor Fakkan, which
already has an airstrip and a modest-sized terminal, now in disuse, they said.
They added that the emirate, which stretches from the west
coast to the east on the Arabian Sea, offers potential to set up satellite
airports to service tourists.
Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Co has no plans to bring in additional
shareholder capital to finance its near term capacity and network expansion,
confirmed a top official.