Interior Minister Prince Mohammad bin Nayef on Washington Visit

Published: January 18, 2013

SPECIAL REPORT

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef at the State Department with Secretary Clinton (State Dept Photo)

Saudi Arabian Minister of Interior Prince Mohammad bin Nayef has been making the rounds in Washington, DC this week meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House and a broad spectrum of Administration officials in separate meetings. A Saudi embassy press release detailed his activities:

On January 14, Prince Mohammad met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House. Prince Mohammad expressed greetings to the president on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. That evening, Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Adel A. Al-Jubeir hosted a dinner party in honor of the visiting interior minister. The reception was attended by a number of U.S. administration and congressional officials, as well as businessmen, diplomats and embassy staff.

Prince Mohammad also met with a number of senior U.S. officials throughout his visit, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Director of National Intelligence James Robert Clapper, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Robert Mueller, and Director of the National Security Agency General Keith B. Alexander.

During Prince Mohammad’s meeting with Secretary Clinton on Jan. 16, they renewed the Technical Cooperation Agreement that was signed during President George W. Bush’s May 2008 visit to Saudi Arabia by then-Minister of Interior Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz and then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In a separate meeting on Jan. 16, Prince Mohammad and Secretary Napolitano signed an agreement to begin implementation of each nation’s trusted traveler programs and to continue efforts to combat international security challenges in the areas of cyber crimes, physical infrastructure protection, and maritime security.

The interior minister was accompanied by Ambassador Al-Jubeir and members of the minister’s delegation. The visit is part of the ongoing consultations between the two countries on bilateral and regional issues.

King Abdullah visited Prince Mohammed following a suicide bomb attack which wounded him in 2009. (SPA)

Prince Mohammad bin Nayef was named as Interior Minister in November 2012 replacing his uncle, Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, who headed the Ministry for five months following the death of Crown Prince Nayef, Prince Mohammad’s father, who served 37 years in the post. Mohammad bin Nayef was Assistant Interior Minister for Security Affairs until being named Deputy Minister in June. The naming of Prince Mohammad to the powerful post of Interior Minister in November was noteworthy in that he is the among the first of his generation to move into top government positions.

As the leading figure in countering terrorism in the Kingdom, Prince Mohammad, was credited with running very effective operations against Al Qaeda which began an open campaign against the Saudi Arabian government in May 2003. Prince Mohammad famously survived an attack launched by Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in 2009 when a suicide bomber, who feigned surrendering to authorities, blew himself up with a bomb inside his body at an audience in the prince’s Jeddah home.

Cooperation between Washington and Riyadh in countering terrorism is a centerpiece of the relationship as noted in a January 2011 fact sheet released by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia:

  • Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have established two Joint Task Forces—one to combat terrorists, another to combat terror financing. Experts from both governments work side-by-side, sharing real-time information about terror networks.
  •  The Saudi government has increased the size, training and professionalism of its security forces, which are now seasoned by direct experience in Saudi Arabia. Saudi security forces have trained alongside American counterterrorism forces in the U.S.
  •  This experience and training has led to the arrest and conviction of hundreds of wanted terrorists and the destruction of most of the known terrorist cells in the Kingdom.
  •  The Saudi-U.S. Strategic Dialogue, a counterterrorism working group created following September 11, 2001, continues to help ensure the governments’ efforts and resources are aligned.
  •  This year, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud met with U.S. Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan while President Obama met with the Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs Prince Mohammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz. These visits are part of ongoing consultations and exchange of views between the two countries.
  •  In October 2010, Saudi intelligence provided key information to American officials that foiled an attempted terrorist plot involving bombs heading to the United States that originated in Yemen. The bombs were found and defused before reaching their targets.

The extent of cooperation is generally not in the public eye but two episodes of the Saudi intelligence service having foiled AQAP plots against the United States have received attention. The 2010 plot involved the shipment of bombs concealed as printer cartridges and entered into the international air shipment stream to the United States. Last year a bomb, a device improved over previously failed attempts, intended to take down a US bound aircraft was turned over to Saudi intelligence and then US officials, by a Saudi mole in AQAP, according to press reports.

The ongoing nature of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States in counter terrorism work was exemplified last month at the Global Counter Terrorism Forum 3rd Ministerial in Abu Dhabi. US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns noted, “This work is extraordinarily complex. Progress is often measured over years rather than months. But we can’t let that deter us from acting now. This Forum is ideally suited to play a central role in our collective effort, alongside our bilateral partnerships and existing cooperation.” Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah told the GCTF, “The fight against terrorism is an international obligation.” For its part Saudi Arabia has contributed to that obligation through bilateral and multilateral cooperation and through efforts like the initiative to build the UN Center for Counter Terrorism.

US Attorney General Eric Holder and Saudi Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef. (US Gov Photo)

This SUSRIS special report provides additional information relating to Prince Mohammad bin Nayef’s Washington visit this week, including the joint statement between the Interior Ministry and the US Homeland Security Department. Among other things it points to increasing cooperation to facilitate travel between the countries under the rubric of the US “Global Entry” program. “The objective will be to start implementation within the next six months with full operations starting in 2014,” the statement said.

You will also find a copy below of the Technical Cooperation Agreement signed between the governments in 2008. The agreement was renewed this week by Prince Mohammad and Secretary Clinton. It provides for: “transfer of technical knowledge, advice, skills and resources from United States to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the areas of critical infrastructure protection and public security, including border protection, civil defense capabilities, and coast guard and maritime capabilities.”

JOINT STATEMENT BETWEEN THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (MOI) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have a long history of working bilaterally and regionally to promote mutual security and economic prosperity. Both the MOI and DHS recognize that the development and promotion of these relations serves the joint interests of both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America.

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano (DHS Photo)

In effort to reaffirm the extraordinary bond between them and advance this partnership, MOI and DHS have signed an arrangement to begin implementation for each nation’s trusted traveler programs. The trusted traveler programs will facilitate trade and travel between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America and will help authorities from MOI and DHS more effectively identify potential threats to keep their borders and countries secure. The objective will be to start implementation within the next six months with full operations starting in 2014.

In addition, MOI and DHS note their emerging cooperation on cybersecurity. MOI and DHS have a mutual interest in partnering to protect critical vital government and private sector critical infrastructure of binational importance, and to make cyberspace more secure for citizens of both countries. Given the significance of each nation in the global economy, this partnership also contributes to global security.

Finally, MOI and DHS highlight the continuing effort in combating international security challenges in the areas of cyber crimes, physical infrastructure protection, and maritime security through the joint Office of Program Management-Ministry of Interior (OPM-MOI) initiative. These areas signal further the strong bond between MOI and DHS and recognize the vital importance for both of cooperation in the security field.

Jointly released in Washington on 16 January 2013.

Source: US Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Government – Global Entry Program

What is “Global Entry”?
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

How Does the Global Entry Program Work?
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports.

At airports, program participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.

Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and interview before enrollment.

While Global Entry’s goal is to speed travelers through the process, members may be selected for further examination when entering the United States. Any violation of the program’s terms and conditions will result in appropriate enforcement action and revocation of the traveler’s membership privileges.

Source: DHS/Customs and Border Protection

INTERIOR MINISTER PRINCE MOHAMMAD BIN NAYEF VISIT TO WASHINGTON – SPA

Washington, Rabi’I 05, 1434, January 17, 2013, SPA — As part of his current official visit to the United States of America, Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, met here last night with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

During the meeting, they discussed partnership and cooperation and relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States to enhance security and economic prosperity of the two friendly countries.

In a statement issued by the U.S Department of Homeland Security after the meeting, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security said that the meeting represents major step forward in supporting the partnership relations between the two countries.

It also said: ‘She is proud of the links between the two countries since strengthening cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America confirms the commitment of both sides to secure their countries against the new and emerging threats with supporting and facilitating aspects of trade relations and the movement of travel between them more effectively.’

During the meeting, the Minister of Interior and the Secretary of Homeland Security signed an agreement on arrangements relating to the implementation of a program of the ‘Trusted Traveler’ between the two countries, which allows customs authorities, passports and border guards to apply the program and principle of reciprocity in order to facilitate and accelerate the trusted passenger screening in airports, and allow the authorities to focus on passengers who may pose potential threats.

The meetings were attended by the Saudi ambassador to the United States of America Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and the official delegation accompanying the Minister of Interior.

After the meeting, a joint statement issued by the two sides during which they highlighted the long history of bilateral and regional working relationships between the Ministry of Interior in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Department of Homeland Security in the United States of America to strengthen their joint security and support prosperity and economic growth in both countries.

The statement said: ‘The Saudi Interior Ministry and the Department of Homeland Security realize that the support and development of those ties aim to serve the common interests of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America.’

‘In order to emphasize the strong links between the two sides and to support the progress of partnership relations existing between them, the Saudi Interior Ministry and the Department of Homeland Security have signed arrangements for the application, by each of them, the program of ‘Traveler Reliable’, which will facilitate trade exchange and travel movement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, as well as help the competent security authorities of both sides to effectively identify potential threats and maintain the security of their borders and their countries.’ it added.

The statement also pointed out that the objective to be achieved would be the start of implementing the program over the next six months and up to implement it fully by 2014.

Also, the joint statement said that the two sides stressed the importance of cooperation between them in the field of information network security, and that the two countries have bilateral interests to strengthen their partnership in order to protect the vital and important infrastructure for both the public and private sectors and to make the information networks more safely for use by their citizens, especially if taken into account the importance represented by both countries to the global economy.

It pointed out that the partnership between the two countries in the field of information security will also contribute to the support of global security.

The statement also highlighted the continuing efforts in the fight against the international security challenges in the fight against information crimes and in the field of protecting infrastructure and maritime security through the joint effort of the U.S. Department’s program and initiatives of the Saudi Ministry of Interior, which emphasizes even further the depth of ties between the Ministry of Interior in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as emphasizes the vital importance of all aspects of cooperation between the Kingdom and the United States of America in the field of security.
–SPA

Readout of Secretary Napolitano’s Meeting with Saudi Arabian Interior Minister Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef
January 16, 2013

WASHINGTON—U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today met with Saudi Arabian Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef to discuss the ongoing partnership and cooperation between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to promote mutual security and economic prosperity.

“I am proud of the bond between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and today’s meeting marks another major step forward in our partnership,” said Secretary Napolitano. “By enhancing collaboration with the Government of Saudi Arabia, we reaffirm our commitment to more effectively secure our two countries against evolving threats while facilitating legitimate trade and travel.”

During the meeting, Secretary Napolitano and Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef signed an arrangement to begin implementation of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s trusted traveler program, Global Entry, in Saudi Arabia, and initiate discussions to establish a reciprocal program. Global Entry streamlines the screening process at airports for trusted travelers, allowing customs authorities to focus on those travelers they know less about, in order to more effectively identify potential threats and keep our borders and country secure.

Secretary Napolitano and Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef also released a joint statement affirming ongoing cooperation on cyber crime, maritime security and infrastructure protection, and cooperation on cybersecurity, which is critical to both nations’ economic competitiveness and national security.
For more information, please visit www.dhs.gov.

Source: DHS

Minister of interior, meets with US Secretary of State, her Deputy – SPA
Friday 18 January 2013

Washington: On Wednsday , Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, held a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her deputy separately.

During the meeting with Clinton, the two sides discussed issues relating to the Saudi U.S. bilateral relations and a number of regional and international issues of common interest.

The meeting also renewed the technical cooperation agreement signed between the two countries since 2008.

Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz also held a meeting later with the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed a number of issues concerning the relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries and ways of enhancing them in all fields.

The meetings were attended by the Saudi ambassador to the United States of America Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and the official delegation accompanying the Minister of Interior.

Prince Mohammed bin Naif also met with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. During the meeting, they discussed partnership and cooperation relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States to enhance security and economic prosperity of the two friendly countries.

In a statement issued by the U.S Department of Homeland Security after the meeting, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security said that the meeting represents major step forward in supporting the partnership relations between the two countries.

It also said: “She is proud of the links between the two countries since strengthening cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America confirms the commitment of both sides to secure their countries against the new and emerging threats with supporting and facilitating aspects of trade relations and the movement of travel between them more effectively.”

During the meeting, the Minister of Interior and the Secretary of Homeland Security signed an agreement on arrangements relating to the implementation of a program of the “Trusted Traveler” between the two countries, which allows customs authorities, passports and border guards to apply the program and principle of reciprocity in order to facilitate and accelerate the trusted passenger screening in airports, and allow the authorities to focus on passengers who may pose potential threats.

–SPA

[May 16, 2008]

TECHNICAL COOPERATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA

In recognition of the good relations existing between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America (the Parties), and of the mutual desire to further this relationship,

And desirous of facilitating the transfer of technical knowledge, advice, skills and resources from United States to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the areas of critical infrastructure protection and public security, including border protection, civil defense capabilities, and coast guard and maritime capabilities,

The Parties agree that:

1. The United States will make available for sale to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior (MOI), for the purpose of assisting the Kingdom in the development of its capacity in the areas of critical infrastructure protection and public security, including border protection, civil defense capabilities, and coast guard and maritime capabilities, articles and services, including technical assistance as provided for in subsequent project-specific agreements between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Such technical assistance may include provision of advice, training and equipment and other resources. The United States will provide the MOI with technical assistance directly or through U.S. Government contractors, or will facilitate the procurement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of such knowledge, skills and resources from private U.S. organizations.

2. All U.S. assistance upon the advance of funds by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States under this agreement will be done pursuant to subsequent project-specific agreements. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will pay all costs for services performed, equipment provided and expenses incurred by the United States under these project-specific agreements. The United States will pay for all costs of U.S. Government direct-hire employees assigned to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform services under this Agreement.

3. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will establish a dollar disbursement account in the United States Treasury. Any funds required by the United States for agreed-upon projects will be deposited by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the account in such amounts and at such times as are mutually agreed, and theUnited States may draw on this account in the amount so agreed. If upon termination of this agreement there are funds remaining in the special account after all expenses have been paid, such funds will be refunded to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

4. U.S. Government personnel who are assigned to perform services under this Agreement will be attached to the Embassy of the United States of America in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and will be entitled to the corresponding privileges and immunities of the administrative and technical staff of the Embassy unless otherwise agreed by the Parties. U.S. contractors in Saudi Arabia under this Agreement will be accorded immunity for all acts done in furtherance of the Agreement.

5. The United States may make available training in the United States, or may arrange visits designed to assist in the acquisition of specialized technical or professional knowledge, for selected employees of the MOI. The number of participants and the kind and duration of training shall be mutually agreed between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Funds for expenses associated with this training will be withdrawn from the account established pursuant to paragraph 2 above.

6. The Parties will establish a Joint Commission on Infrastructure and Border Protection (the Commission). The Commission will be headed by the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs for the United States and by the Assistant Minister of Interior for Security and Internal Affairs for Saudi Arabia. Its purpose will be to develop and oversee implementation of programs under this Agreement.

a. The Commission members will include representatives from the Departments of State, Energy, Homeland Security, Defense, and possibly other agencies from the United States side. For the Saudi side, it will include representatives from the Ministry of Interior and possibly other Saudi government ministries or departments.

b. Joint Working Groups will be established as needed to consider specific project proposals in the areas specified in this Agreement or to review implementation issues regarding such projects. All specific work-program activities will be discussed through the relevant Joint Working Group on a case-by-case basis. These could include the following: a Joint Working Group on border protection issues; a Joint Working Group on civil defense issues; and a Joint Working Group on maritime protection issues.

c. The first formal meeting of the Commission will take place in Saudi Arabia, at a mutually agreed-upon time. The two sides will strive to meet thereafter on a semi-annual basis, with one meeting in Riyadh and one meeting in Washington, D.C.

d. The Joint Working Group on Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection will continue its ongoing efforts, pursuant to the December 7 2006 [illegible] of Saudi Arabia. However, it will become a part of the Commission.

7. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia agrees that no claim will be brought by Saudi Arabia against the United States or its employees or contractors that may arise as a result of the articles or services, including technical services furnished under this Agreement or under subsequent agreements for agreed-upon projects under this Agreement, and further agrees to hold the United States harmless against any and all claims that may arise as a result of the articles or services, including technical services furnished under this Agreement.

8. Assistance provided by the United States under this Agreement will be subject to U.S. law and regulations.

9. The duration of this Agreement will be five years, subject to revision or extension, as mutually agreed. This Agreement enters into force upon signature of the Parties. This Agreement may be terminated at any time by either Party with ninety days’ advance written notice.

Signed at Riyadh on the 16th day of May, 2008, in duplicate, in the English and Arabic languages, both texts being equally authentic.

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES
/s/
CONDOLEEZZA RICE
Secretary of State

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF OF AMERICA SAUDI ARABIA
/s/
NAYIF BIN ABDULAZIZ AL-SAUD
Minister of Interior

Source: US State Department

Minister of the Interior:
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud
Born: 1959 in Jeddah
Education: BA in Political Science, 1981
Positions Held: Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs (1999-2012); Minister of Interior since November 5, 2012.

Source: SaudiEmbassy.net

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