BUSINESS | U.S. Should Keep Congress Informed About Nuclear Talks With Saudis: GAO

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Departments of State and Energy should commit to regular briefings to relevant committees in Congress on talks about nuclear power cooperation with Saudi Arabia, a congressional watchdog said in a report on Monday.

The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, report Congress should consider amending the 1954 Atomic Energy Act, or AEA, to require  the briefing for the House of Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about negotiations on nuclear power sharing.

Lawmakers concerned about nonproliferation issues associated with nuclear power development had complained they were being kept in the dark about Trump administration talks with Saudi Arabia, many of which were led by former Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Concern grew after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS in 2018 that the kingdom did not want to acquire a nuclear bomb, but would do so if its rival Iran did so.

Riyadh could announce a tender this year for two nuclear power reactors, its first commercial ones. Russia, China, South Korea and France have also been in talks about building reactors there.

The State Department is required by the AEA to keep Congress ‘fully and currently informed’ about the talks. But the GAO found it was ‘unclear’ whether the department did so. ‘Congressional staff provided us with examples of having to find information on the negations from other sources, such as press articles’, the GAO said.

Some U.S. lawmakers want the United States to insist the Saudi Arabia agree to a so-called golf standard that restricts enrichment and reprocessing, potential pathways to making fissile material for nuclear weapons. The United States struck such an agreement with the United Arab Emirates in 2009. If Saudi Arabia develops nuclear power without the gold standard, the UAE would likely seek to be released from its agreement.

The GAO said Congress should consider whether to amend the AEA to require briefings, perhaps on a quarterly basis, and to specify expectations for the content of the briefings.

Senators Robert Menendez, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, has asked the GAO last year to review U.S. agency negotiations with Saudi Arabia on nuclear power, partially because they were concerned the Energy Department, not the State Department took the lead.

The senators said they would explore legislative changes recommended by the GAO. ‘Congress must reassert its critical role in reviewing nuclear cooperation agreement to ensure these agreements do not pose an unnecessary risk to the United States’ they said.


SPORTS | Formula One Season Set To Start In Bahrain After Australian Grand Prix Postponement

MILAN – – The start of the Formula One season has been delayed after the Australian Grand Prix was postponed from March to November because of the COVID-19 pandemic.The Australian race in Melbourne has been rescheduled from March 21 to November 21. The Chinese GP has also been delayed but no new date has been … Continue reading SPORTS | Formula One Season Set To Start In Bahrain After Australian Grand Prix Postponement

BREAKING NEWS | Investments In Saudi Arabia’s Economy Will Reach Six Trillion Dollars: Crown Prince

AL ULA – – Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says major investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia will amount to six trillion dollars over the next ten years, including 3 trillion dollars in investments in new projects, within the framework of the opportunities provided by Vision 2030, reported Saudi Press Agency. Saudi Arabia’s Crown … Continue reading BREAKING NEWS | Investments In Saudi Arabia’s Economy Will Reach Six Trillion Dollars: Crown Prince

TRAVEL | Saudi Arabia Warns Citizens Against Travel To 12 Countries Without Approval Over Virus Fears

RIYADH – – Saudi Arabia warned on Wednesday its citizens against travel without prior approval to 12 countries where the coronavirus pandemic is still not under control.The Interior Ministry said the countries were Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Somalia, Armenia, Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela and Belarus.It added that the same permission applies to other countries … Continue reading TRAVEL | Saudi Arabia Warns Citizens Against Travel To 12 Countries Without Approval Over Virus Fears

ROYALS | Oman Sultan’s Eldest Son Dhi Yazan To Succeed Him, Becoming First Crown Prince

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SOCIAL MEDIA | YouTube Suspends Trump’s Channel After Violating Policy On Inciting Violence

Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube said on Tuesday it has suspended Donald Trump’s channel as it violated policies for inciting violence after last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol by the president’s supporters. Online platforms and social media companies are distancing themselves from, and taking action against, those that encouraged or engaged in the violence in Washington, … Continue reading SOCIAL MEDIA | YouTube Suspends Trump’s Channel After Violating Policy On Inciting Violence

BREAKING NEWS | Saudi Crown Prince Congratulates Romanian PM, On Winning President, Parliament Confidence

RIYADH – – HRH Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, has sent a cable of congratulations to Prime Minister of Romanian Florin Citu on obtaining the confidence of the Romanian President as well as the parliament for the office of the prime minister.  HRH … Continue reading BREAKING NEWS | Saudi Crown Prince Congratulates Romanian PM, On Winning President, Parliament Confidence

BREAKING NEWS | Saudi King Congratulates Romanian PM, on Winning President, Parliament Confidence

RIYADH — The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud sent a cable of congratulations to the Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu, on obtaining the confidence of His Excellency Romanian President as well as the parliament for the office of the Prime Minister. In his cable, the King expressed sincere … Continue reading BREAKING NEWS | Saudi King Congratulates Romanian PM, on Winning President, Parliament Confidence

BREAKING NEWS | Saudi Arabia Welcomes Washington’s Designation Of Houthis As Terrorist

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NEWS ALERT | Oman To Get Its First Crown Prince In Constitutional Overhaul

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