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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Qatar’s Amir, Saudi Arabia’s MBS discuss ‘green initiatives’ in phone call

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The two Gulf states recently restored diplomatic ties after a three-year-long rift.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] called Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on Sunday, Saudi state news agency [SPA] reported.

The two leaders reviewed the “Saudi Green Initiative” and the “Middle East Green Initiative” while also discussing the importance of joint action to tackle regional environmental challenges, SPA added.

The royals also tapped into road map to address challenges, including “clean energy, reforestation and natural reserves, in order to achieve a significant reduction in carbon emissions, preserve biodiversity, and enhance public health and quality of life”.

Saudi and Middle East Green Initiative

Saudi Arabia’s latest initiative aims to plant 10 billion trees over the next decades in order to help reduce carbon emissions, pollution and land degradation, with a target set by the kingdom to generate half of its energy using renewables by 2030.

Read also: Qatar Amir’s phone call with MBS: Beyond the speculations

“The kingdom, the region and the world needs to go much further and faster in combating climate change,” the Saudi de facto leader said, adding that clean energy production in the Middle East is below 7%.

The Middle East Green Initiative also aims to plant 40 billion trees in what MBS said “would be the world’s largest reforestation programme” Reuters reported.

MBS also said Riyadh aims to reduce carbon emissions produced by hydrocarbon production by more than 60% by collaborating with regional partners in order to accomplish the said goal.

“As a leading global oil producer, we are fully aware of our responsibility in advancing the fight against the climate crisis, and that just as we played a leading role in stabilising energy markets during the oil and gas era, we will work to lead the coming green era,” said MBS.

No further details about the initiative were announced, but the latest phone call signals developing relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia since the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration on January 5.

Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, imposed an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Qatar in 2017 over allegations that Doha funds terrorism. Qatar vehemently denied these claims.

The Al Ula accord between the GCC states and Egypt was not made public, but entailed more joint action in order to combat issues that pose a threat to the region’s security and stability.


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