Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during Cabinet meeting. Image Credit: SPA

Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz yesterday hailed a recent power-sharing deal between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC), hoping it will lead to a more comprehensive political settlement in the war-devastated country.

Earlier this month, the Yemeni government and the STC sealed a Saudi-mediated accord officially known as the Riyadh agreement.

“We hope that the Riyadh agreement will open the door for larger understandings among the Yemeni factions,” the Saudi monarch said in an address at the kingdom’s Shura Council.

Yemen has been in the grip of a ruinous war since late 2014 when Yemen’s Iran-aligned Al Houthi militia toppled the internationally government and seized the capital Sana’a. Months later, an Arab military coalition, co-led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, started a campaign in Yemen against Al Houthis.

Saudi Arabia has been the target of 286 ballistic missiles and 289 drones fired by Al Houthis, the Saudi leader said on Wednesday.

King Salman also accused Iran of standing behind recent attacks against commercial vessels in the Gulf area and Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities.

“We hope that the Iranian regime will opt for wisdom and realise it cannot overcome the international stance that rejects its practices without abandoning its expansionist and subversive ideology,” he said.

“Aramco’s quick restoration of its production after the terrorist attacks proves ability to meet the global demand,” he added.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia started a long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) of state-owned Aramco, as part of an ambitious scheme to attract investments and wean the Saudi oil of its oil dependence.

“The Aramco offering will create thousands of jobs and attract foreign investments,” King Salman said

He added that the kingdom’s launch of several development projects reflects its form keenness to diversify its economy.

He also pledged to go ahead with further empowerment of women in Saudi Arabia and increase their engagement in the public and private sector activities.

“We have made big strides in developing human resources and qualifying the nation’s young male and female youth for the labour market.

The women’s labour force in the kingdom reached 23.2 per cent in the first half of this year, compared to 19.4 per cent in late 2017, according to the Saudi leader.