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Arabic press review: Saudi Military Industries ambitiously targets homemade drones

Meanwhile, Moroccans protest inflation in 40 cities, and Cypriot minister speaks of common ground with Riyadh
Saudi fighter jets on display during Saudi Arabia’s first World Defence Show, north of the capital Riyadh, on 6 March 2022 (AFP)

Saudi Arabia sets sights on locally produced drone

The chief executive of Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) Walid Abukhaled revealed on Sunday that the kingdom plans to produce a Saudi-made drone and establish one of the world's biggest munitions factories.

Abukhaled said in an interview with Saudi state TV al-Ekhbariya that the company is working with local partners, including the General Authority for Military Industries, “to manufacture a drone that will be the first drone designed by Saudi hands and will be produced and utilised by Saudi armed forces”.

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Saudi Arabia plans to channel 50 percent of its military spending to Saudi companies by 2030, he added, according to the TV channel.

SAMI is owned by the Saudi sovereign Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia has witnessed several drone attacks by Yemen’s Houthi movement, which it has been fighting since 2015 as the leader of a military coalition supporting the internationally recognised government.

Abukhaled gave the interview as he participated in Saudi Arabia’s first World Defence Show north of the capital Riyadh.

Protests in 40 Moroccan cities against inflation

Hundreds of people demonstrated in different cities in Morocco on Sunday against the rise in prices of goods and fuel, and rights violations, according to the London-based Al Araby Al Jadeed newspaper.

The demonstrations came as a response to a call by the Moroccan Social Front, a non-governmental organisation, to participate in protests against “the government's absolute neglect of the urgent demands of Moroccans, the first of which is reduction of prices, respecting freedoms, and the government’s continued implementation of the same policies”.

The Moroccan Social Front has said that the protests seek a reduction in the “skyrocketing price increases of many vital materials”, and “an increase in wages”.

Hundreds of legal professionals and citizens participated in protest activities across 40 Moroccan cities, raising slogans that called for "freedom, dignity, social justice", and "no to high prices".

Cypriot-Saudi relations at ‘highest level ever’, says minister

Cypriot Minister of Defence Charalambos Petrides has described his country's relations with Saudi Arabia as being at their "highest levels ever". 

Cyprus is determined to develop relations with the kingdom and to increase the level of cooperation in all fields, Petrides told Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat in an extensive interview published Monday.

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"The relationship of our two countries has come a long way, and we will continue to enhance our very promising bilateral visions in the defence and military fields, in addition to close coordination on the regional and common challenges we face,” said the minister, currently on a trip to Riyadh.

“We look forward to signing an agreement as soon as possible." 

Petrides said the two countries have been cooperating in multiple areas, including combatting terrorism, for the past five years through bilateral consultations and exchanges.

When asked about the Eastern Mediterranean, the minister said the increasingly unstable situation in the region, specifically highlighting the crisis in Syria, Libya, Lebanon and Afghanistan, represent major security challenges.

“Above all, the discovery of huge quantities of natural gas and oil in the Eastern Mediterranean has added another dimension to the geopolitical and geo-economic importance of the region."

*Arabic press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye

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