Handing Bush a major victory, the Republican-led
House voted 296-133 to pass a resolution negotiated between the White
House and congressional leaders backing a possible use of force to rid
Iraq of suspected weapons of mass destruction and possibly oust Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein.
The Senate was expected to pass the measure in the
early hours on Friday after amendments pushed by some Democrats to
narrow the resolution's scope were defeated easily.
Bush has sought the congressional resolution as the
United States presses the U.N. Security Council to adopt a tough new
measure demanding that Saddam abandon any programs for biological,
chemical or nuclear weapons or face possible military consequences.
"The House of Representatives has spoken clearly
to the world and to the Security Council. The gathering threat of Iraq
must be confronted fully and finally," Bush said in a brief
statement of thanks to lawmakers.
Iraq pledged to give up weapons of mass destruction
following the 1991 Gulf War. But the Bush administration accuses Saddam
of developing those weapons in defiance of U.N. Security Council
resolutions — a charge Iraq denies.
The resolution appeared set to pass by wide margins
after Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat who
earlier expressed reservations on Bush's Iraq stance, said he would back
TRANSFORMING THE KUWAITI OIL INDUSTRY
The petroleum industry in Kuwait is poised for
Serious efforts are underway to allow international
oil companies (IOCs) to develop hydrocarbon resources, as part of
efforts to expand production capacity. Also, a state-owned company plans
to take over control of oil fields in the neutral zone.
Existing capacity stands at 2.4 million bpd, but
production is less partly due to disruption caused by a series of
incidents. Of the 2.4 million bpd, 2.25 million bpd is generated from
onshore fields, notably Burgan with 1.35 million bpd.
The balance of 150,000 bpd is produced from the
Neutral Zone (NZ) bordering Saudi Arabia.
Kuwait Gulf Oil Co, a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum
Co (KPC), is expected to take over the exploration and operation of the
NZ once Japan's Arabian Oil Co surrenders it in January 2003. KPC is the
parent company of Kuwait Oil Co (KOC).
A string of accidents over the last two years had
undermined the country's oil capacity. Earlier in the year, a leak at
the Rawdhatain oil field in northern Kuwait caused the reduction of oil
capacity by 300,000 bpd.
A key advantage for Kuwait is the low cost of oil
production, at $1 per barrel. But KOC is under pressure to invest in
developing new techniques for improved reservoir management and enhanced
oil recovery, which in turn would increase the average production cost.
Ambitious plans call for raising production capacity
to 4 million bpd by 2004, which requires speedy opening up of the
upstream segment. The government seems determined to win parliamentary
approval for the plan to allow IOCs to develop oil fields in northern
GULF STATES PUSH FOR SINGLE CURRENCY
Six Arab Gulf states have turned to the eurozone for
advice in how to successfully launch a single currency.
At this week's meeting of Gulf central bankers in
Riyadh, the six Arab states vowed to press ahead with plans for monetary
union and the launch of a single currency.
And they decided to seek the help of the European
Central Bank, which rolled-out euro notes and coins at the start of the
year with very few glitches. Dr Henry Azzam, chief economist at Jordan
Investment Trust Group, said that monetary union should be relatively
easy to achieve in the Gulf since all six currencies are already at
least partially pegged to the dollar.
"It's a political rather than an economic
decision," Dr Azzam told BBC News Online.
"All it needs is for someone at a very senior
level in Saudi Arabia to take the decision to push forward," he
KAZAKHSTAN PRESIDENT PRAISES TIES WITH UAE
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev received
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince
and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, who is visiting
Kazakhstan on the invitation of the Kazakh president.
Sheikh Khalifa conveyed to Nazarbayev the greetings
of His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his best wishes
for the Kazakh people for further development and prosperity.
Nazarbayev lauded the excellent relations between his
country and the UAE.
He expressed his appreciation for Sheikh Zayed's
nationalistic and humanitarian roles in supporting Muslim causes in
various fields, thus giving the UAE a high status among the comity of
Nazarbayev said that the UAE and Kazakhstan had taken
big strides in consolidating cooperation between them, particularly in
economic and commercial fields.
BAHRAIN LAUNCHES $1B FINANCIAL HUB
One of the largest financial investment projects in
Bahrain, the $1 billion Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH), which consists
of 25 internal developments within the mother project, was launched by
the Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
Construction of the project, which will be owned by a
to-be-established holding company, will start next May and be completed
in six years, said Essam Janahi, chief executive of the Manama-based
Gulf Finance House (GFH), which will own 60 per cent of the new company.
The government of Bahrain and other private investors
will own the remaining 40 per cent of the shares.
The project, covering 202,272 square metres, will be
developed mainly by Reemoon Business Development Consultants, in-corporated
13 BUSINESS GROUPS JOIN HANDS IN CAPITAL
The 13 business groups of Abu Dhabi have joined hands
to create greater synergy by sharing business ideas for mutual benefit.
Towards this end, representatives of the various business groups met as
a first interactive step.
"Networking of the different business groups
with one another helps in understanding each other, in sharing ideas,
facilitating and supporting one another," commented Mohammed Omar
Abdullah, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and
Industry (Adcci), who spoke on the occasion.
PALESTINIAN GIRL SHOT DEAD IN GAZA
There has been more violence in the Gaza Strip, with
Palestinian medical staff saying a 12-year-old girl was killed by
Israeli fire in the southern town of Rafah.
The Israeli army has not commented on the reports,
but military sources confirm its forces were in the area. They are said
to have opened fire after coming under attack.
The incident comes the day after a major Israeli
incursion into the Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis in which at least 14
Palestinians were killed.
OIL PRICE SLIDES
The price of oil fell on Thursday after Iraq invited
the United States to inspect two sites where Washington suspects Baghdad
of having resumed its prohibited weapons programmes. The price of
benchmark Brent North Sea crude for November delivery fell to $27.55 a
barrel from $28.13 at the close of trading on Wednesday.
In New York, a barrel of reference light sweet crude
for November delivery fell 64 cents to $28.71 in early deals.
GM VETS BIDS FOR CADILLAC DEALER
General Motors (GM) is evaluating bids to determine
who will have the unified Cadillac dealership for the UAE, and a
decision is expected in 12 months, according to a top official of the
This is in accordance with plan to have only one
dealer for Cadillac, GM's premium marque, in each territory.
GM has integrated its Cadillac dealerships in Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait under the Aljomaih and Alamana banners respectively.
MOHAMMED TO OPEN SUMMIT
General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai
Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister will open the Arab Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) Summit.
The Arab ICT Summit is organised by Emirates Media
Inc. and Dubai Internet City, under the auspices of the Arab League. It
will address the issue of accelerating economic and social development
in the Arab world through information and communication technology.
IRAN FORCES SEIZE 72 TONS OF DRUGS
Iranian anti-drug forces have confiscated 72 tons of
drugs since January as part of a campaign to combat narcotic smuggling
from Afghanistan, officials told Gulf News.
Some 137 tons of narcotics were confiscated last
year, the officials said.
This is in spite of Iran beefing up security on its
sealed eastern border through a considerable increase in checkpoints,
and making an unsafe desert, punctuated with deep trenches, impassable
for drug caravans.
SAUDI DEBATE RAGES OVER NEW STOCK EXCHANGE
Saudi Arabia has revived a heated debate on whether
to set up a controversial stock exchange, and the process is expected to
take a long time as lawmakers are split on the project that once
materialised briefly before it was buried again.
The Shura Council (appointed parliament) discussed
the bourse plan last week and decided to resume the debate this week,
but put it off temporarily because of differences.
MEBANK LAUNCHES MEBOX
As banks in the UAE, especially in Dubai, are
competing with each other to establish their presence in an extremely
competitive market, and meBank has come out with the unique idea of
meBox — a bank in a box.
meBox is an even more convenient way of instant
banking, providing customers with all their banking needs in a box.
SWEDEN TO BOOST EXPORTS TO UAE
The Gulf has never been a large export market for
Sweden — but times are changing. In the past six months, exports from
Sweden to the Gulf have grown by 30 per cent, said Jan Carlborg,
regional director, Swedish Trade Council (STC).
About 75 Swedish business people representing about
40 companies visited Dubai, with the STC, to explore opportunities.
STRAW COMPLETES MID-EAST MISSION
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw returns to the UK at the
end of a four day Middle East mission in which he sought to build
support for action to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.
Mr Straw held meetings in Paris, Cairo, Jordan and
Kuwait before the visit culminated with talks in Iran.
After a first meeting with his Iranian counterpart,
Kamal Kharazi, Mr Straw described the talks as "good".
CLOSER TIES AMONG GCC STATES SOUGHT
Sheikh Abdullah bin Shuwain Al Hosni, Information
Undersecretary, has said fast changes in the telecommunications and
information sector necessitate further cooperation among the GCC states.
He said the prevailing political and economic
conditions also call for a closer cooperation between the GCC member
Speaking at the 14th meeting of the GCC Information
Undersecretaries, Al Hosni said cooperation can be achieved through
certain mechanisms agreed by the GCC information ministers and will be
endorsed during their meeting.
Emaar Properties has set up a wholly-owned IT
subsidiary, Sahm Technologies. The move, which represents the holding
company's move to integrate its diverse business portfolio, comes soon
after the launch of its fully owned banking subsidiary, Dubai Bank; the
property and facilities management company, Emrill; and Amlak, UAE's
first mortgage company.
Hernando de Soto, known as the world's leading
speaker on capitalism, will join a debate on the role of governance at
the Dubai Strategy Forum.
The debate at the forum, to be held in Dubai from
October 28 to 30, will also include Pakistan's Minister of Finance,
Mohammed Al Gergawi, chairman of the forum, says he
expects the debate to be bullish. "The governance issue on day one
of the forum is set to lead the open dialogue style that we want to see
prevail over the three days," said Al Gergawi.
Gulf Business Machines (GBM) — believed to be the
largest IT company in the Middle East — is setting its sights on
revenues of $180 million by the end of 2005. Its current turnover is
Jordan is selling off 15% of its revamped state-owned
telecoms company. The government announced that shares would be sold for
between 2.30 dinars (£2.07; $3.23) and 2.70 dinars.