Saud: Procedures in workers’ interest

The procedures taken to streamline the Saudi labor market were in the best interest of Indian workers, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said here on Saturday at a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid.

Saud: Procedures in workers’ interest

Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, received a message from Vice President of India Hamid Ansari. The message was delivered to the Crown Prince during an audience with Indian Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid in Jeddah on Saturday. – SPA


Saudi Gazette report


JEDDAH – The procedures taken to streamline the Saudi labor market were in the best interest of Indian workers, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said here on Saturday at a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid.

“It is in their interest because without valid papers, these workers will always remain at the mercy of those who brought them here,” he said.

Prince Saud said people now have the opportunity to find a new job legally. “As for those who couldn’t find new jobs, they will have to go back and there won’t be any procedures (punitive action),” he said.

Khurshid, on his part, said: “Difficulties that may have arisen would have to be addressed and they are being addressed very satisfactorily.”

He said that there was very detailed discussion on the Nitaqat issue and he thanked the Saudi authorities for the generosity in the matter of compliance with the labor laws.

“The grace period of three months that is being given is immensely useful and I think a majority of people will be able to resolve their future issues by shifting to appropriate new employers because they now have a very generous offer to be engaged by new employers,” he said, underlining that only “some unskilled people” may not be accommodated.

“For them, provision would be made to get back home. We hope that the numbers and the paperwork that needs to be done will be kept in mind considering the facts we have only a three-month grace period for being able to do this,” he said.

“And we have offered many volunteers that may be required ...We will be willing to give help so that within the expected framework of timelines we are able to ensure that all these matters are satisfactorily addressed,” Khurshid said.

As of May 20, 75,000 Indians have registered with the Indian Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate in Jeddah to be processed and sent home.

According to official figures, of the total processed applications of 56,734, there are 21,331 people from Uttar Pradesh as against 3,610 from Kerala.

The two ministers also discussed international and regional issues. Prince Saud said: “We reviewed the Syrian crisis in light of the latest and international developments as well as the call for holding an international meeting to discuss full application of the Geneva statement.

“We hope that the conference is to apply an immediate ceasefire and to respond to the aspirations and hopes of the Syrian people through a safe transfer of power,” he stressed.        

He confirmed that the Kingdom emphasizes the statement issued by the Friends of Syria meeting in Amman which highlighted that the Bashar Al-Assad’s regime which has stained hands should not have any role in the future of Syria.

“It is a necessity to give the transitional government more powers in order to enable them manage the country’s affairs, security and stability. The Kingdom considers that it is important for supporting the Syrian opposition represented in the National Alliance, which is the legitimate representative of the Syrian people,” Prince Saud said.

He highlighted the need to enable the Syrian opposition defending themselves against the heinous killing machine with the continuation of humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian refugees.

Prince Saud also warned against the danger of Iran’s nuclear program to the region’s security and said Iran should not threaten its neighbors since countries in the region harbor no ill-intentions to it.

“We stress the danger of the Iranian nuclear program to the security of the whole region,” he said.

“We discussed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I laud the Indian stance supporting the Palestinian legitimate rights and its vote for the decision of the General Assembly of the United Nations to give Palestine non-member observer status in the UN. The views are identical regarding the need to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace according to the principles and resolutions of international legitimacy as well as the principle of land for peace, the Arab peace initiative leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the borders of 1967. We will also discuss the situation in Afghanistan,” Prince Saud said.

He hailed the fruitful and constructive cooperation between the Kingdom and India in the fight against terrorism, stressing that the cooperation contributed to supporting existing international efforts to combat this menace.

Talking about Saudi-Indian relations, Prince Saud stressed the need to develop relations to the level of strategic partnership and strengthening it in many fields.

“A number of agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed in many fields of joint cooperation in the mutual interests of the peoples and the governments of the two countries,” he said.

“During our meeting today, we reviewed these relations in all aspects and stressed the need for developing them,” Prince Saud added.

For his part, Khurshid said India regards Saudi Arabia as one of its most valued strategic partners.

“We are bound by a shared history and close and regular contacts that span several centuries. In modern times, each generation of our leaders have contributed to deepening this relationship. The high level visits between our countries in 1955, 1956 and 1982 have laid a very strong foundation to our relationship.”

“Today we exchanged views on a number of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common and mutual interest. We reviewed the progress in the implementation of the Delhi Declaration and Riyadh Declaration, expressed satisfaction at the state of our bilateral relationship and discussed ways and means to further strengthen our strategic partnership,” said Khurshid.

“We expressed satisfaction at the progress in our defense and security relations. The visit of defense minister of India in February last year, the first by an Indian defense minister, and the exchange of other defense delegations have contributed to strengthening our defense and security engagement.

“The security and stability in the Arabian Peninsula is closely linked to the security in South Asia. We discussed the menace of terrorism the world continues to face and agreed to further strengthen our counter-terrorism cooperation which is an essential element of the Riyadh Declaration we signed in 2010. Our cooperation would not only benefit our two countries but also contribute significantly to the stability and security of the entire region and beyond.

“We welcomed the regular meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission Meeting and agreed on the need for speedy implementation of its recommendations to strengthen our engagement.  Information technology, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, education, new and renewable energy are among the several areas where we hope to cooperate. There is huge potential for the private sector in both countries for deepening their business engagement. In this century of Asia, further enhancing economic cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia would benefit not only the peoples of our two countries, but the entire region,” the Indian foreign minister said.