29 - May 05, 2002
BUSH URGED TO MODERATE SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL
U.S. President George W. Bush and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah
met amid warnings from Saudi officials that Bush must moderate U.S. support for
Israel or risk "grave consequences."
The two leaders held two hours of formal talks at Bush's
ranch in Crawford, Texas, as world oil prices jumped on reports — later denied
by the Saudis — that frustration over perceived U.S. favoritism toward Israel
could drive Saudi Arabia to consider supporting an Iraqi suspension of oil
Bush and the Crown Prince, whose meetings ran roughly twice
as long as scheduled, then broke for a tour of the ranch and a working lunch, a
U.S. official said.
The U.S. side declined to immediately characterize the talks,
but a Saudi foreign policy adviser told reporters during the break Prince
Abdullah warned Bush U.S. relations with the Arab world would be endangered
unless Washington persuaded Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to end the
occupation of Palestinian areas.
"He (Prince Abdullah) doesn't mince his words, like the
president...If the U.S. doesn't do more to reduce the violence, there will be
grave consequences for the U.S. and its interests," adviser Adel al-Jubeir
Meanwhile, international donors jacked up promised 2002 aid
for the Palestinians on Thursday to $1.2 billion, still far short of
Palestinians' demands for cash to help overcome devastating Israeli incursions.
At a 21-nation meeting in Oslo to review world efforts to
help the Palestinians, the World Bank also estimated the costs of damage caused
since Israel launched an offensive on March 29 to halt suicide bombings at $300
ARAB STATES POST NEARLY 4PC GROWTH
The economies of Arab states grew by nearly four per cent in
real terms last year despite a sharp global slowdown after the September
incidents in the U.S. and a mammoth growth over the previous year.
The Arab world's top economist, Dr. Jassim Al Manai, chairman
of Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund, said growth last year varied widely in
the Arab League's 21 members, with reformist Egypt and Jordan posting growth at
around 6 per cent and the GCC between 2.5 and 5 per cent.
"Growth was recorded despite the untoward conditions in
the global economy last year because of the September 11 events in the U.S...most
world economies slowed down while some of them sharply receded as was the case
in Argentina," he wrote in the quarterly bulletin of the AMF's Arab Trade
Manai forecast the combined Arab economy would record real
growth of around 3.6 per cent this year as oil prices and production would be
below the 2001 average.
Oil prices are a major factor in the economic performance in
the Arab region as more than half the League's members rely heavily on crude
sales while others depend partially on inflow of aid, remittances and investment
from the Arab oil producers.
The combined Arab economy leapt 12.5 per cent to $708.9
billion in 2000 when oil prices soared to nearly $27 and Arab crude production
exceeded 18 million barrels per day.
According to Kuwait-based Organisation of Arab Petroleum
Exporting Countries, the combined Arab oil revenues hit their their highest
level in 19 years to reach around $180 billion in 2000. A decline in prices and
output in 2001 pushed earnings to around $145 billion and they are expected to
slide further this year.
The surge in oil prices in 2000 and intensified reforms in
some members boosted public and private investment in the Arab world to its
highest ever level of around $138.5 billion.
HOTELS WITNESS BRISK BUSINESS
Dubai's hotels and hotel apartments witnessed a 6.04 per cent
growth in the number of guests in 2001 despite September 11 events, according to
the latest statistics from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
The total number of hotel guests rose to 3,626,625 in 2001,
compared to 3,420,209 guests in 2000.
Like the previous year, 2001 also saw Arabs make up the
largest group with 1,515,665, compared to 1,423,396 in 2000, which represents a
6.48 per cent increase. This includes 301,593 UAE nationals, 845,716 GCC
nationals (excluding the UAE), 368,356 nationals from other Arab countries.
Europeans make up the second largest group, according to the
statistics, with 953,064 visitors. This is 2.02 per cent higher than the number
of Europeans visiting the emirate in 2000 which was 934,239.
STRONG OIL PRICES TO CURB SAUDI BUDGET DEFICIT, DEBT
Saudi Arabia is expected to sharply cut its budget deficit
this year and curb the swelling public debt as oil prices will likely remain
above its projections and the Gulf oil giant is exercising restraint in
spending, economists said.
The Gulf kingdom has assumed a price for its oil at between
$17-19 and an average oil production of 7.6 million barrels per day, but prices
have remained far higher and output could be hiked later this year depending on
political and market conditions.
With that average production, Saudi Arabia's crude exports
could total around 2.5 billion barrels during 2002 and prices of Saudi crude
could remain above $20.
DUBAI TO GET METALS, COMMODITIES CENTRE
Dubai to get metals, commodities centre Dubai |By Rasha Owais
Dubai is establishing three gold refineries and a metals and
commodities centre that will provide a full range of facilities for trading in
gold, diamonds and key commodities like tea and sugar. The announcement was made
by General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE
Through the establishment of Dubai Metals and Commodities
Centre (DMCC), the emirate aims at acquiring 50 per cent of the annual
2,300-2400 tonnes global gold production, during the coming few years, said
VIOLENCE ERUPTS IN HEBRON AND GAZA
Israeli tanks and troops have entered the West Bank city of
Hebron as efforts continue further north in Bethlehem to end the three-week
siege at the Church of the Nativity.
Palestinian eyewitnesses said 10 tanks and 10 armoured
personnel carriers went about one kilometre (half a mile) into the city
overnight and exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen, before leaving several
Hebron is the only major West Bank city not to have been
reoccupied in Israel's military offensive.
ADSB IN TALKS TO WIN KUWAIT DEAL
Kuwait's Navy is in talks with Abu Dhabi Ship Building Co (ADSB)
for upgrading its vessels and construction of sophisticated new warships,
official sources confirmed.
THREE HOTEL PROPERTIES
Three hotel properties totally worth around Dh400 million are
in various stages of planning or implementation in Fujairah, as part of the
emirate's ongoing drive into tourism, one of the government's stated thrust
DUBAI INVESTORS RUSH TO BUY UK PROPERTY
The sale of more than Dh40 million worth of UK property in
just a few days goes to show that the UAE's property investment market has
regained confidence, said an industry expert.
Before the Tally Ho Property Show opened at the Dubai Creek
Yacht and Golf Club, about 35 of 40 released apartments were sold.
The apartments at the Tally Ho development, in London's
north, sold so quickly that the developers, Wilson Connolly, were forced to
UN SAYS JENIN MISSION TO PROCEED
UN officials say a fact-finding mission to examine the
Israeli army's incursion into the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank will go
ahead by the weekend.
In renewed military activity in the West Bank, about 15
Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers went into the town of Qalqilya
early Friday, according to witnesses.
The army said troops detained at least 13 Palestinians in the
raid the second since Israeli forces pulling out of the city on 9 April.
The Israelis say their incursion in Jenin earlier this month
was part of the military operation to destroy "terrorist cells".
HAMDAN APPROVES DH151M FOR PROJECTS
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai,
UAE Minister of Finance and Industry and Chairman of Dubai Municipality, has
approved two drainage projects worth Dh151 million.
This was announced by Qassim Sultan, Director General of
Dubai Municipality, who said that the projects include the construction and
maintenance of main pumping station 'K' in Rashidiya at a cost of Dh81 million.
USED CAR MARKET STAGES A COMEBACK
Sharjah has once again become a favourite place for people
who want to buy used cars, with the number of used car showrooms increasing
multi-fold over the last year.
Despite mushrooming showrooms, the car dealers have reported
brisk business, especially for used cars imported from Japan.
Once the region's largest market for used right hand drive
cars, the emirate has now become one of the biggest places for business in used
left hand drive cars — a change that has come about during the last couple of
ZAYED CELEBRATES SON'S WEDDING
President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan held
here at the Armed Forces Officers' Club a luncheon to celebrate the wedding of
his son, Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive
Council and Chairman of the Economic Department, to the daughter of Hamad Suhail
AUTOMOTIVE BODY TO FIGHT FAKE SALES
An estimated 30 per cent of automobile spare parts outlets in
the UAE may be selling fakes, according to a private survey conducted in the
local market. The survey was conducted within the last few months across key
trading areas in the country.
DIAMOND IMPORTS DOUBLE
The number of polished diamonds imported into Dubai from
Antwerp doubled last year in comparison to 2000 despite a worldwide slowdown in
precious gems trade.
Antwerp's diamond sector turned over $23 billion last year, a
12 per cent decrease on the "very successful" 2000, said Filip Van
Laere, director of public relations, Antwerp World Diamond Centre, HRD, Belgium.
Despite the drop, the number of gems flowing into Dubai from
the diamond capital of the world continued to grow sharply.
CENTRAL BANK 'MUST UPDATE RULES'
The UAE Central Bank's regulations will have to be updated in
a manner that will help the Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre (DMCC) to grow,
like how the Bank of England helps the London Bullion market, according to an
"The DMCC team has been in touch with the UAE Central
Bank from the initial stage," said Terry Smeeton, a member of the DMCC
Advisory Board. He said Dubai refineries have a scope for development,
particularly in the field of scrap gold.
DMCC TO AID DUBAI GAIN LOST GROUND
The Dubai Metal and Commodity Centre (DMCC) will help Dubai
gain lost ground in the bulk consumption of gold, officials said.
Dubai's gold consumption rose to 660 tonnes in 1998, the
highest point to date. It later went down to less than 300 tonnes a year due to
liberalised bullion policy in India and Pakistan.
Current world gold consumption is around 2,300 tonnes. Dubai
accounts for about 10 per cent of the global market.
DUBAI FIRM WINS DH20M CONTRACT
Amusement Whitewater, a Dubai-based group specialising in
themed construction and the design and building of amusement water parks, has
been awarded a Dh20 million contract to build an "African village" of
up to 30 chalets for a UAE hotel.
The group, which has an annual turnover exceeding Dh40
million, is also constructing an African village resort on a private island off
the UAE coast.
PALESTINIANS SEEK LARGE AID PACKAGE
The Palestinians are seeking more than $1bn in emergency and
other aid at a meeting of international donors in Norway on Thursday.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen said experts would
map out emergency needs for the Palestinians in the wake of the onslaught by the
TURKEY AND GREECE IN MID-EAST EFFORT
The foreign ministers of old enemies Greece and Turkey are
hoping to meet Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat on Thursday.
The visit is a gesture intended to demonstrate that even
bitter rivals can cooperate in the search for peace.
It is unlikely to change anything on the ground in the Middle
East but is, nonetheless, loaded with symbolic significance.
BUSINESS AS USUAL IN IRAQ
Despite the growing US calls for a regime change in Iraq and
a military strike possibly looming on the horizon, life in Iraq seems to be
continuing as usual.
No-one is stocking up on food and there is no visible
out-of-the-ordinary military activity. For the past 12 years, Iraqis have
learned to live with the threat of a major US strike.