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Milestones in complex Saudi-US partnership

The following are milestones in the complex diplomatic relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States, as President Barack Obama prepares to visit Riyadh on Friday. - May 1933: US and Saudi Arabia establish full diplomatic relations. The Californian Arabian Standard Oil Company (later Arab American Company or Aramco) explores for oil in the desert country. Saudi Arabia gains full control of Aramco in 1980.

Indonesia calls for clemency for maid on Saudi death row

Jakarta called Monday for a Saudi family to accept a substantial payment and halt the impending execution of an Indonesian maid on death row in the kingdom for murder. If the execution of Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad goes ahead, it could set back attempts by Indonesia and Saudi Arabia to mend ties damaged by the 2011 beheading of an Indonesian maid, who was also guilty of murder. Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest destination for Indonesian maids, with around one million in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Pentagon to host Saudi deputy minister for talks

The Pentagon was due to host Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister for talks Thursday as the two sides try to smooth over differences on US policy towards Iran and Syria. Prince Salman bin Sultan was scheduled to meet Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel as well as Deputy Secretary of State William Burns during a visit to Washington that comes days before President Barack Obama's planned trip to Saudi Arabia, officials said.

Saudi 2013 GDP up 3.8%: central bank

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia's GDP grew by 3.8 percent in 2013, media on Sunday quoted Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) governor Fahad al-Mubarak as saying. The International Monetary Fund said last May that it expected growth in the largest Arab economy to fall to 4.4 percent in 2013 from 6.8 percent the previous year, blaming an anticipated drop in oil production and government spending. Mubarak said the 2013 budget surplus was 180 billion riyals ($48 bn), or 6.5 percent of gross domestic product.

Saudi Arabia loans Pakistan $1.5 billion to shore up economy

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia loaned $1.5 billion to Pakistan last month to help Islamabad shore up its foreign exchange reserves, meet debt-service obligations and undertake large energy and infrastructure projects, Pakistani officials have told Reuters. The Saudi assistance has contributed to a sharp recovery of the Pakistani rupee, which rose to a nine-month high of 97.40 from 105.40 against the dollar between March 4 and 12, its strongest rally in 30 years.

UAE summons Iraq envoy to protest Saudi terror accusations

The United Arab Emirates summoned Iraq's ambassador on Wednesday to protest accusations by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that Saudi Arabia was supporting terrorism, state media reported. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash handed ambassador Mowafak Mahdi Abboud a memorandum protesting Maliki's "claims that Saudi Arabia supports terrorism," the official WAM news agency said.

Saudi Arabia backs global 'terrorism': Iraq PM

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki accused Saudi Arabia of supporting global "terrorism," both inside the Arab world and in other countries, in an interview broadcast Saturday. Maliki, in an interview with France 24, slammed "the dangerous Saudi stance" of supporting "terrorism in the world -- it supports it in Syria and Iraq and Lebanon and Egypt and Libya and even in countries outside" the Arab world. mah-wd/psr/hkb

Saudi women activists demand end to 'absolute' male control

Saudi women activists have petitioned the country's consultative council to back a demand to curb the "absolute authority" of male guardians over women in the ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim kingdom, a signatory said. Saudi Arabia imposes a strict interpretation of Islamic law, forbidding women to work or travel without the authorisation of their male guardians. It is also the only country in the world that bans women from driving, and a woman cannot obtain an identification card without the consent of her guardian.

Japan asks Saudi Arabia to scrap restrictions on Japanese food imports

Japan requested Tuesday that Saudi Arabia relax or eliminate import restrictions on Japanese food products, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. Parliamentary Senior Vice Foreign Minister Nobuo Kishi lodged the request in a meeting in Tokyo with Nizar bin Obaid Al Madani, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs. Madani said the Middle East country will study the request with high interest, the ministry said.

Saudi executes 10th convict this year

A Saudi citizen convicted of murder was beheaded on Sunday, the interior ministry announced, bringing the number of executions in the kingdom this year to 10. Salem al-Jahdali beat fellow tribesman Abdullah al-Jahdali to death following a dispute, the ministry said in a statement published by the official SPA news agency. The execution took place in the holy western city of Mecca. The ultra-conservative kingdom beheaded 78 people in 2013, according to an AFP count.
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