Gulf in the News – April 3, 2013

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques performs funeral prayer for Prince Badr bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

The funeral prayer was also performed by Sheikh Saeed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Representative of UAE President; former Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Al-Hariri; a number of princes, ministers, senior civil and military officials; and a group of citizens. The funeral prayer was led by the Kingdom’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh.
Following the funeral prayer, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received condolences on the death of Prince Badr bin Abdulaziz.

UAE to drop visa demand for Canadian citizens

Source: The National (Read full story)

The UAE will drop its reinstated visa requirements for Canadian citizens within a month, the two countries’ foreign ministers announced today. John Baird, the visiting Canadian foreign minister, today met Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs. “Just over a year ago we set out an agenda between our countries to strengthen and re-energise the Canada-UAE relationship,” a statement from the two ministers said. “We will facilitate travel requirements to increase business, tourism and joint prosperity for our citizens by restoring the visa regime.


The opposite impact of Arab Spring

Source: Gulf News (Read full story)

The impact of the Arab Spring on the Gulf monarchies was felt from day one and is clearly visible. It is unrealistic to think that these states are immune, unique or possess some exceptional qualities that make them different from the other Arab states. The fact of the matter is that the Gulf states do not exist in a vacuum. They are an integral part of the Arab world and do not possess a separate history of their own outside the general trajectory of Arab history. The impact of the Arab Spring, which unleashed forces of change, demanding more freedom for the Arabs, on the oil-rich Gulf states is beyond doubt.

GCC banks outperform international banks: BCG

Source: The Saudi Gazette (Read full story)

In 2012, retail banking revenues in the GCC which had remained rather flat during the last few years experienced a further uptick of some 4 percent, largely due to an increase in the three biggest markets – the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Oman repeated the strong double digit growth of the previous year. On the whole, the variance between growth rates of individual banks in retail was very high and ranged from -39 percent to +19 percent. GCC retail profits, which had been declining for several years, saw another significant uptick of 8 percent compared to 11 percent last year.

Oman Finance Minister Signals Spending Restraint

Source: Gulf Business (Read full story)

Pressure for Oman to keep increasing its state spending every year is decreasing because the country has finished building most of the infrastructure it needs, finance minister Darwish al-Balushi said on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters at a meeting of Arab finance ministers and central bank governors in Dubai, he said that in contrast to last year, Oman did not expect this year to spend more than it had originally budgeted. “As far as the budget is concerned, we have in this year’s budget taken all the anticipated expenditure to sustain the expected growth. We do see any unexpected expenditure to occur during the year,” he said.

Kuwait re-affirms keenness on limiting hazards of lethal weapons globally

Source: Kuwait News Agency (Read full story)

Kuwait, a State that produces no deadly arms, has endorsed international treaties for non-proliferation of lethal and nuclear weapons for it ” believes that power lies in human resources and existence, rather than , extinction of the human race.” “The State of Kuwait, which does not manufacture various types of arms, has joined such treaties and accords out of its belief that power lies in the human resource and the existence of man, not his extinction, and for the same of making the world free of weapons of mass destruction namely nuclear weapons of mass destruction namely nuclear arms,  as well as with the aim of shifting financial resources toward economic social, humane, and political development, ” affirmed Kuwait’s Second Secretary Abdul-Aziz Ammash Al-Ajmi, addressing the UN Disarmament Commission during the 2013 session.