Oman plans to boost its 2013 budget spending by 10 percent compared to this year's plan to fund new infrastructure projects, an official source familiar with the government's financial planning has told Arabian Business.
"A 10 percent hike in spending will take care of our growth to fund development projects such as airports, ports, roads, hospitals and in the energy sector," said the source, who declined to be identified.
The 2013 budget plan would be based on an oil price of US$85 per barrel and assume a deficit of about the same size as the shortfall originally projected for this year, he said.
Iraq said on Wednesday that Royal Dutch Shell has denied starting talks with Iraqi Kurdistan to sign energy deals with the semi-autonomous region.
Sources told Reuters last week that Shell was exploring possibilities in Iraqi Kurdistan, encouraged by the example of rivals who were risking Baghdad's anger by moving into the northern region while developing oilfields in the south.
"We don't have any discussions with the Kurdish regional government about working in the region," Shell's vice-president Hans Nijkamp told Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani, according to a statement from Shahristani's office.
North Lebanon has an array of untapped investment opportunities, the head of the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon has said, vowing to extend the support needed to attract investors to the region’s lucrative agricultural sector.
“North Lebanon is full of promising investment opportunities, particularly in agriculture. But there are barriers that we are working to resolve,” Nabil Itani added.
He said the relatively low prices of agricultural land, affordable labor costs and the availability of raw materials were among very favorable factors that could encourage a substantial increase in agricultural investments.
The United States has said it has signed a framework agreement with Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to explore ways to boost trade and investment with the oil-rich region.
The GCC also includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE. Total two-way trade between the United States and the GCC totalled almost $100bn last year, with the US running about a $24bn trade deficit.
"This important trade and investment agreement will help to grow and strengthen our economic ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is a key strategic US partner in the Middle East and North Africa region," US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has turned down an invitation by his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay a visit to Turkey to attend Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) congress this weekend Today`s Zaman reported
Speaking during an interview with Iraq's semi-official al-Iraqiya television, Maliki cited another planned foreign visit in his rejection of the invitation, adding that he had penned "a letter of thanks" to the Turkish premier.
Turkish diplomatic officials confirmed on Wednesday that Maliki had been invited to attend the upcoming party congress of the AK Party, scheduled for Sept. 30.
A man linked to an anti-Islam video that sparked riots across the Muslim world has been held without bond after a hearing in Los Angeles, California.
A judge said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was a flight risk and cited a pattern of deception when making his ruling, Reuters news agency reported.
Nakoula was investigated for violating probation terms after he was released from prison in 2011 for bank fraud.
He has not been detained over the contents of the inflammatory video.
The United States is temporarily withdrawing more staff from its embassy in Libya's capital for security reasons, but hopes to send them back early next week, the State Department has said.
"This is a temporary further drawdown of staff for security reasons. We will review our posture again early next week with the goal of restoring staff as soon as conditions allow," a State Department official said in New York, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is attending the U.N. General Assembly.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed during what Washington has called a terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on September 11.
Kuwait's parliament will not try to convene but will turn to the emir for the next move in a political standoff between legislators and the government, the assembly speaker said, which could lead to parliament's dissolution and fresh elections.
The oil producer and OPEC member has been grappling with long-running political tensions between an elected parliament and the government, led by a prime minister chosen by the ruler and by a cabinet with ruling family members holding the major portfolios.
Kuwait has been unable to hold a parliamentary session for several months after its top court effectively dissolved the opposition-dominated parliament, which was elected in February, basing its decision on a technicality.