Australia set to welcome crown prince
On behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman, minister of defense, will attend the G-20 summit in the Australian city of Brisbane on Nov. 15-16.
Crown Prince Salman, who arrived in Singapore Tuesday on a private visit, will stop over in the island country in Southeast Asia before he finally leaves for Brisbane to join 20 heads of state at the G-20 meeting. Crown Prince Salman’s entourage to Brisbane is composed of about 300 officials, businessmen and editors in chief.
“Australia is looking forward to welcoming Crown Prince Salman,” said Australian Ambassador Neil Hawkins, here Tuesday. Hawkins said: “The voice of the Kingdom in the G-20 reflects its important influence regionally and globally, and Australia recognizes the role of Saudi Arabia in the stability of the global economy.” He expressed hope that the crown prince’s visit will contribute to the continuing joint efforts to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries and build a brighter economic future.
As the only country from the Middle East to be represented in the G-20, the Kingdom’s membership provides an opportunity to influence key international policies that could have an impact on the economy and the region.
The Saudi official delegation to Brisbane includes Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chief of the Crown Prince’s Court; Ibrahim Al-Assaf, minister of finance; Bandar Al-Hajjar, acting minister of culture & information; Nizar Obaid Madani, minister of state for foreign affairs; and Fahd Bin Abdullah Al-Mubarak, governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).
Hawkins, who met Prince Mansour bin Miteb, minister of municipal and rural affairs here Tuesday, said that Crown Prince Salman’s visit will boost bilateral ties further. He pointed out that the trade in goods and services between the two countries exceeds $3 billion annually, and Saudi companies have invested about $5 billion in Australia so far. Also, more than 10,000 Saudi students are currently on the rolls of Australian colleges and universities, he added.
In fact, Australia’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is substantive, and supported by shared membership in the G-20 as well as Australia’s engagement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Moreover, the people-to-people links between the two countries are another important aspect of bilateral relationship and this provides a strong foundation for warm and friendly engagement in the G-20.
Referring to the agenda of the G-20 summit talks, a report released by the G-20 secretariat said that the heads of state will talk about the major issues confronting the world. “With the G-20 gathering representing more than 85 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), 75 percent of global trade, and 65 percent of the world’s population, the event will be more than a talkfest with practical measures to remove international impediments to trade, jobs and growth,” it said.
But the focus of the meeting will be more on reducing the barriers to trade; increasing investment in nations’ infrastructure; promoting effective tax systems and better banking regulations. Other anticipated discussion points include tax evasion, corruption, and the stealthy shifting of corporate profits offshore. For example, reports indicate that some $3.2 trillion of undeclared income is stored in tax havens around the world.