Sharjah has emerged as a top business city as
several industries and manufacturing units established in the emirate
contributes significantly to Sharjah's economy and the sector is
witnessing a steady growth with the emirate currently accounting for
more than 50 percent of the total manufacturing business in the UAE,
according to a report.
In the recent years, Sharjah has also become the
best place to set up business due to its busy ports and their
strategic locations. Mina (Port) Khalid in Sharjah City and Khor
Fakkan on the East Coast have a combined total of 17 berths and can
handle a wide variety of tonnage, ranging from tankers, container
vessels, pure car carriers, passenger ships, heavy lift ships, bulk
carriers as well as many small vessels such as supply boats, tugs and
barges. Moreover, Port Khalid is one of the easiest ports to enter in
the Persian Gulf with only a short approach channel.
Sharjah Airport, the first airport in the UAE, also
plays a major role in making the emirate a business hub as it welcomes
around 100,000 passengers from various parts of the world and provides
all the services and facilities that is expected in a first class
Air Arabia launched in 2003 is doing tremendous
business and has increased its fleet with five Airbus A320s and flying
to 18 destinations which proves the emirate's rapid economic growth.
Last month, the airline carried 57 percent more passengers compared to
the same period last year and within the next six months; the airline
will offer new destinations across the region.
The emirate is changing beyond recognition with
huge expansion projects, infrastructure upgrade, skyscrapers, and
self-contained residential and commercial districts.
According to officials of Sharjah Expo Center, the
hospitality industry and tourism in Sharjah generated more than Dh150
million of revenues in 2004 and is one of the best place to set up
business as the government encourages the locals as well as the
expatriates to establish any business without any legal hassles.
Apart from this, the emirate is one of the best
places to set up business as it has two free zones offering excellent
facilities to investors. Hamriya Free Zone emphasizes on free market
systems and encourages Steel and Heavy industries because of long-term
growth prospects. The steel industry is energy oriented and doing well
globally. This free zone also encourages companies' involved in
general industrial development, manufacturing, processing and
The other free zone, Sharjah Airport International
Free Zone with a growth rate of more than 36 percent offers imports of
raw materials, manufacturing, processing, assembling, packaging and
exporting the finished products along with general trading and
GULF PRODUCERS RAISE CRUDE PRICES
Gulf producers Abu Dhabi, Oman and Qatar have
raised their monthly crude oil prices. But Yemen has cut its crude
formulas for September by 3¢ to 10¢ a barrel, the Middle East
Economic Survey reported.
Qatar raised its two crude varities by $1.35 and
$1.59 a barrel, even though its Oman MOG-based prices saw one formula
rise by 19¢ a barrel and the other dip five cents below.
The Cyprus-based weekly added that Saudi Arabia has
also increased the formula for its liquid petroleum gas contracts for
Saudi Aramco and Kuwait Petroleum Corporation said
their equally priced monthly price formulas for propane was raised by
$3 a tonne to $398 and butane went up by $6 a tonne to $406.
The three Gulf producers, who price their monthly
formulas retrospectively, raised crude prices by $1.35 to $2 a barrel
for July. Abu Dhabi raised its Murban, Lower Zakum and Umm Shaif crude
varities by $1.65 a barrel and Upper Zakum by $2 a barrel, while Oman
upped its single benchmark Ministry of Gas (MOG) crude by $1.40 a
LOUVRE MUSEUM TO MOUNT ISLAMIC ART EXHIBITION IN S.
The world famous Louvre Museum of Paris will mount
an exhibition of Islamic artifacts at the national museum here next
January, said French diplomatic circles.
Prince Waleed ibn Talal, Chairman of Kingdom
Holding Company, donated a gift of $20 million to the Louvre as part
of his effort to promote Islam in the West.
"The exhibition in the capital will be a major
step in the cultural relations between Paris and Riyadh," sources
said, adding that such activities could bring the two countries still
closer. France intends to display the masterpieces from its
collections of Arabic and Islamic artifacts. The upcoming show is
being arranged by the Musee du Louvre and the Supreme Commission for
Tourism (SCT), in cooperation with the Department of Antiquities and
Museums and the National Museum located at the King Abdulaziz
Historical Center. An agreement for the exhibition was signed between
SCT Secretary General Prince Sultan ibn Salman and Secretary General
of the Louvre Henri Loyrette in Riyadh recently. The French are deeply
appreciative of the contributions made by the members of the royal
family towards developing Islam in France, sources said, recalling
that two months ago King Abdullah during his visit as crown prince had
donated 1 million euros to the Arab World Institute in France.
The Kingdom has signed cooperation agreements with
France for various educational programs. Under the programs, Saudi
Arabia is to send 50 students in November to pursue medical studies in
more than 15 French universities. The seven-year graduate program
funded by the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education is the first of its
kind to be implemented in France, besides that plans are underway for
a postgraduate program as well for Saudi graduates. In a related
development, the French Embassy has selected a group of seven Saudi
students to follow graduate courses in political science beginning in
The selected students will be studying in a new
department meant for political science with a special emphasis on
Middle Eastern politics. The new department, which will function under
the Paris School of Politics, is located in Menton, south of France.
These students will join other foreign students to pursue their
studies in political science relevant to their region. Several
programs with bilingual teaching (French and English) have been set up
between Saudi and French universities to facilitate access to the most
prestigious French institutions for Saudi students. They include major
engineering schools such as Ecole des Mines, Ecole Polytechnique and
Ecole des Ponts et ChaussČes, main business schools and the Paris
School of Political Science.
In the field of archaeology, a Saudi-French team
led by Professor Jean-Marie Dentzer, member of the French Academie des
inscriptions et belles lettres, and Dr. Laila Nehme, an archaeologist
at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), have
been working for three years on the Madain Saleh Nabatean site in the
northwestern part of Saudi Arabia, in cooperation with the Directorate
of Antiquities and Museums.
The research program has produced interesting
results and accordingly a comprehensive archeological and epigraphic
GIS Atlas of the site will be published shortly.
REAL ESTATE IN JEDDAH
The real estate investment in the construction of
apartment buildings, villas and commercial centers increased in Jeddah
despite the increase in cement prices.
In a recent field study, it showed that currently
Jeddah needs 45 thousand housing units to face the large increase in
population in the next seven years. It is estimated that the cost will
be SR202 billion.
IRAN BREAKS SEALS AT ISFAHAN UCF
Iran last week broke the UN nuclear watchdog's
seals at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility, UN and Iranian
officials said. "They have begun breaking the seals,"
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spokesman Mark Gwozdecky
said. "They are going to break all the seals and begin operating
the plant in full." Iran Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Deputy
Director Mohammad Saeedi told the Tehran Times correspondent in Vienna
that the IAEA authorized Iran to remove the seals. IAEA officials
agreed to Tehran's request to remove the seals after installing
surveillance cameras to ensure no uranium is shifted away from the
plant for any covert weapons work.
The European Union and Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
members of the IAEA Board of Governors were unable to convene a
meeting because of differences over calls to draft a resolution on
Iran's nuclear program. The NAM states on the IAEA Board even insisted
that there is no need to draft a resolution. Gwozdecky said the plant
at Isfahan "is fully monitored by the IAEA" and "is not
a uranium enrichment plant." "Their uranium enrichment plant
in Natanz remains frozen, and they have indicated it will remain that
way," he said. "This plant (Isfahan) produces feed material
that could one day be used in enrichment." Still, he said, Iran's
decision "isn't particularly helpful." "This is a
process of confidence building," he added. "The
international community, through our board of governors, has asked
Iran to put on hold activities that are not urgently needed right now
and allow this dialogue... as well as allow the inspectors to finish
their job." In Vienna, the IAEA Board of Governors postponed a
planned meeting to give delegates more time to hammer out a resolution
on the issue.
The UN watchdog placed the seals on some sections
of the Isfahan UCF after Tehran agreed to a request by Britain,
Germany, and France to suspend all nuclear fuel cycle work last
November in order to allay international concern about its nuclear
Iran on Monday restarted work in the unsealed areas
of the plant after rejecting a package of economic and political
incentives from the EU3 to give up its nuclear fuel cycle program.
IAEO Director Gholamreza Aqazadeh told Iranian
state TV on Tuesday night that the suspension of peaceful nuclear
activities in Iran was a political measure.
"According to the safeguard agreements, there
is no problem with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the
suspension of nuclear activities at the Isfahan UCF was a voluntary
act meant for confidence-building."
He called the EU's recent nuclear proposal to Iran
insulting, saying, "So far, Europe has not presented a
constructive nuclear proposal to Iran."
Aqazadeh noted that the EU has asked for export
controls over Iran's nuclear equipment, conditional production of
radio-isotopes, the sealing of all nuclear equipment so that it cannot
be used in other installations, and the approval of a law according to
which Iran would not have the right to withdraw from the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, and asked Iran to grant IAEA inspectors
permission to visit any site in Iran and to interview anyone they
"These are only part of Europe's proposal to
Iran, which indicates a part of their insult to the nation." He
stressed that Iran's peaceful nuclear activities serve as a model for
members of the Non-Aligned Movement and other states seeking nuclear
technology. "Therefore, Iran's efforts to defend its legitimate
rights also benefit other countries."
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi
called the EU officials' demands that Iran suspend activities at the
Isfahan UCF "illogical and selfish". Iran's move is entirely
within the framework of international regulations, Asefi added.
The EU has misunderstood the situation because
Iran's commitment to negotiations does not at all mean that it is
willing to compromise the Iranian nation's legitimate right to use
nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he said. The resumption of
activities at the Isfahan UCF is a move to defend the inalienable
rights of the Iranian people, and pressure and intimidation cannot
force Tehran to relinquish the rights of the people, he emphasized.
After receiving Iran's negative response to their
illogical proposal, the Europeans started raising a commotion, said
Asefi, adding that they are speaking of confidence-building despite
the fact that they have taken no steps in that direction. Europe has
interpreted the Paris Agreement in its own way, but it should act upon
its commitments instead of raising a stir, he said.
Asefi called the recent statements of certain
European officials about Iran's nuclear dossier "undiplomatic and
rude", adding that such statements are tantamount to intervention
in Iran's internal affairs and thus unacceptable. The Islamic Republic
of Iran has had "constructive and positive" cooperation with
the IAEA and with the passage of time, it becomes clearer that Iran's
nuclear programs and activities are of a peaceful nature and free of
any ambiguity or diversion from international regulations.
New Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad told UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan in a phone call on Monday night that Iran
is willing to continue negotiations on its nuclear program. But
Ahmadinejad rejected the EU proposal meant to settle the dispute as
"an affront to the Iranian nation." "I have new
initiatives and proposals which I will present after my government
takes office," he told Annan.
U.S. President George W. Bush told reporters at his
ranch in Crawford, Texas that Ahmadinejad's willingness to come back
to the table is "a positive sign", but warned that the
United States is "deeply suspicious" of Iran's goals. Sirus
Naseri, Iran's delegate to the IAEA, told reporters Tuesday that an
Iranian settlement proposal is still on the table for European
consideration. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said he hopes
the dispute between Iran and the EU is "simply a hiccup, not a
permanent rupture." He urged all parties to exercise maximum
"Our strategy has been all along to work with
Germany, France, and Great Britain in terms of sending a strong signal
and message to Iran," Bush said. "Today it looked like the
new Iranian leader has heard that message," he said. The bottom
line, Bush said, is that "we don't want the Iranians to have
Naseri, speaking in Vienna, scoffed at the U.S.
insistence that Iran should not have nuclear weapons. "The United
States is the sole nuclear weapons state which had the guts to drop
the bomb and kill and maim and turn into ashes millions in a split
second," he said, referring to the atomic bombs that destroyed
Hiroshima and Nagasaki 60 years ago this month.
"The United States is in no position
whatsoever to tell anyone or to preach what they should or should not
do with their nuclear program." The German government said Iran
had rejected the EU3's incentives after only "brief and
superficial review" and appealed to Tehran to take the
"sensible path" and look at the proposals again.
"We appeal urgently to the Iranian side to
return to the status quo ante, to a full suspension of all
enrichment-related activities," a government spokesman said. The
IAEA Board convened an emergency meeting on Tuesday but quickly
adjourned to give the trio time to negotiate with other key members of
the 35-nation board about the text of an IAEA resolution urging Iran
to immediately resume the suspension. One EU diplomat said that the
United States, Russia and China and other Western countries on the
IAEA Board all supported its toughly-word draft resolution, but
developing countries like India, Brazil, and others opposed it.
"The non-aligned countries don't want a
resolution at all, but we're meeting with them today and will make it
clear that they're a minority," the diplomat told Reuters.
"I think they'll give in. We're quite firm on the need for a
resolution." Around a third of the IAEA Board members are
non-aligned. The board was expected to reconvene on Thursday,
Iran says it needs to develop nuclear power as an
alternative energy source to meet booming electricity demand and
preserve its oil and gas reserves for export. Iran's new President
Mahmud Ahmadinejad defended the resumption of work at the plant. But
he said Tehran wanted to continue negotiations with the EU, adding
that he had new ideas on how to resolve the nuclear standoff with the
Britain told Iran that there was still time for it
to resume the suspension and reopen talks with the EU. "The door
remains open for Iran to come back to the Paris Agreement process by
urgently halting all work at (Isfahan) and recommitting itself to the
suspension and the Paris Agreement," Britain's Foreign Office
said in a statement. However, the head of Iran's delegation to the
IAEA meeting, Sirus Naseri, said that Iran would not reverse its
(Inputs from PAGE sources and courtesy to Tehran