Saudis Keen on Joining WTO, but Say no Compromise on Sharia
Saudi Arabia, striving to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), urged Europe on Saturday to understand its special position of being an Islamic country which implements Sharia, reported the Gulf Daily.
The call came during a meeting in Riyadh between Saudi Minister of Commerce Osama Al Faqih and EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy as part of Riyadh's bilateral negotiations with world countries over its WTO membership, said the paper.
"The minister called on the need that EU understands the unique conditions of the kingdom ... which is proud of implementing the Sharia, and that of the conservative nature of the Saudi society," a statement by the commerce ministry said, cited by the paper.
Europe is Saudi Arabia's first trading partner with trade volume between the two sides hitting 17.6 billion dollars last year, said the paper.
Lamy also met Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al Nuaimi and discussed with him the stability of the world oil market and Saudi membership in the WTO, the official Saudi SPA news agency reported.
Last week, Faqih told an investment symposium that Saudi accession to WTO has moved to an advanced stage as the country was engaged in intensive bilateral negotiations.
Riyadh has already signed bilateral agreements over WTO with 11 countries, but not with the EU or the US, said the paper -- Albawaba.com
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