6/14/16, "Deputy crown prince's US visit: KSA means business," arabnews.com, Washington, DC
"Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Washington on Monday.
He met Saudi students who are studying in the US at their own expense and announced that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has ordered that 2,628 Saudi students who have achieved high scores to be brought under the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Scholarship Program.
The announcement was warmly welcomed by the Saudi student community in the US.
He is expected to hold talks with President Barack Obama on Thursday.
He is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry, and on Tuesday with CIA Chief John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, as well as representatives from the private sector.
On Wednesday, he will meet several Congressional leaders, US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. The agenda also includes a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and with the President of the US Chamber of Commerce Thomas Donohue.
He will then head to New York to meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, followed by a trip to California for talks with chief executives of major companies in Silicon Valley, the report stated.
Meanwhile, a press report said on Monday that the deputy crown prince had 12 meetings and phone calls with US officials over the past six months in preparation for his visit to the US — from Dec. 7 to April 21.
The discussions focused on joint cooperation in all fields, especially military cooperation and to localize military production and industry in the Kingdom. There were also talks held on terrorism and finding solutions to the Yemeni, Syrian and Iraqi crises.
Officials also focused on seeking a joint solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in line with international resolutions and the establishment of an independent state for the Palestinians with Jerusalem as its capital.
Five of the phone calls were with the secretary of state and three with the defense secretary, while other calls were with the US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Affairs Richard Stengel, leader of the US Central Command Gen. Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, chair of the US congressional delegation.
George Alm, a political and diplomacy analyst, said:
“Communication is ongoing between the two countries, despite differences on many issues. The visit is to resolve several issues in the Middle East, especially those related to Syria, Yemen, Iraq and terrorism in general.”
He said strategic relations rely on maintaining the interests of both sides, be it Saudi Arabia’s regional role or the US’ concerns in the Middle East. Iranian intervention in regional affairs remains a point of contestation between the Kingdom and the US, he said.
Sami Nader, a professor of political science, said the visit would have significant ramifications for the local and global economy. It would reinforce the basic pillars of the alliance and seek to end American silence on Iran’s continued intervention in regional and Arab countries, he was quoted as saying." above chart from Arab News
9/29/2015, "Saudi Arabia insists UN keeps LGBT rights out of its development goals," UK Independent, Samuel Osborne
"The Saudi Foreign Minister says LGBT rights are 'counter to Islamic law'
"Saudi Arabia is insisting the UN removes gay rights from the organisation’s Global Goals, saying it is “counter to Islamic law”. The protest comes from the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, who told the UN General Assembly that “mentioning sex in the text, to us, means exactly male and female. Mentioning family means consisting of a married man and woman,” AP reported.
He stated Saudi Arabia has the right not to follow any agenda that runs “counter to Islamic law”.
The Sustainable Development Goals program sets a series of “ambitious targets” for the UN’s 193 member states, related to poverty, equality and ending climate change.
However, overt references to LGBT equality were removed from the final agreement, Pink News reports.
The goals pledge to ensure that “human rights and fundamental freedoms are enjoyed by all, without discrimination on grounds of race, ethnicity, colour, sex, age, language, religion, culture, migration status, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic situation, birth, disability or other status.”
Homosexuality is illegal under Sharia law in Saudi Arabia and punishments for those engaging in same-sex relationships include execution, chemical castration and imprisonment.
The United Nations was criticised recently for handing Saudi Arabia a key human rights role, despite its record on human rights abuses and freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents
Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN was elected as chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council. He has said calls for Saudi Arabia to support rights for same-sex couples were “unacceptable” and a “flagrant interference in its internal affairs”"
6/13/16, "Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punishable by death," Washington Post,
Saudi Arabia: Under the country’s interpretation of sharia law, a married man engaging in sodomy or any non-Muslim who commits sodomy with a Muslim can be stoned to death. All sex outside of marriage is illegal.
Somalia: The penal code stipulates prison, but in some southern regions, Islamic courts have imposed Sharia law and the death penalty.
Sudan: Three-time offenders under the sodomy law can be put to death; first and second convictions result in flogging and imprisonment. Southern parts of the country have adopted more lenient laws.
United Arab Emirates: Lawyers in the country and other experts disagree on whether federal law prescribes the death penalty for consensual homosexual sex or only for rape. In a recent Amnesty International report, the organization said it was not aware of any death sentences for homosexual acts. All sexual acts outside of marriage are banned....
Yemen: According to the 1994 penal code, married men can be sentenced to death by stoning for homosexual intercourse. Unmarried men face whipping or one year in prison. Women face up to seven years in prison.
Iran: In accordance with sharia law, homosexual intercourse between men can be punished by death, and men can be flogged for lesser acts such as kissing. Women may be flogged.
Iraq: The penal code does not expressly prohibit homosexual acts, but people have been killed by militias and sentenced to death by judges citing sharia law.
Mauritania: Muslim men engaging in homosexual sex can be stoned to death, according to a 1984 law. Women face prison.
Nigeria: Federal law classifies homosexual behavior as a felony punishable by imprisonment, but several states have adopted sharia law and imposed a death penalty for men. A law signed in early January makes it illegal for gay people countrywide to hold a meeting or form clubs.
Qatar: Sharia law in Qatar applies only to Muslims, who can be put to death for extramarital sex, regardless of sexual orientation."...