RIYADH, 26 June 2005 — Saudi Arabia will participate in a high-profile international conference on desalination and water reuse to be hosted by Singapore on Sept. 11.

Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen, will lead the Saudi delegation to this six-day world congress in which more than 40 countries will participate and a huge panel of world-renowned desalination and water experts will present 100 scientific and technical papers.

Singaporean Minister of Water and Environment Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, who is also incharge of Muslim affairs in Singapore, announced the details of the conference yesterday.

Dr. Yaacob said this biennial international congress was being organized by the International Desalination Association (IDA), a nonprofit body dedicated to the development and promotion of desalination technology, water pollution control and water treatment. The IDA objectives also include dissemination of information.

Dr. Yaacob, who is currently visiting the Kingdom both to make arrangements for pilgrims and to hold talks with top Saudi officials including Al-Hussayen on the possibility of cooperation in the water and garbage waste management sector, first gave an overview of the Saudi-Singaporean relations in his interview.

The minister, who is accompanied by Alami Musa, president of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, held talks with Haj Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsy late last week.

Referring to the Haj arrangements, Dr. Yaacob said: “I requested for a quota of 3,000 pilgrims for this year during my talks with the Saudi minister.”

Dr. Yaacob said: “Our small island state of Singapore had 68 mosques including 21 new generation mosques, jointly funded both by the individuals and the government under a novel scheme launched by the state some years ago.”

Referring to his talks with Al-Hussayen, Dr. Yaacob said: “Singapore is keen to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in the fields of water, garbage and waste management. Singapore has advanced considerable expertise water management, especially in water conservation.”

He said a visit to Singaporean facilities would be made by his Saudi counterpart, when he visited Singapore for the IDA congress.

Dr. Yacoob confirmed that he would meet Municipal and Rural Affairs Minister Prince Miteb to discuss the possible cooperation in municipal affairs in the area of waste management.

“Most of the garbage in the Middle East including the Kingdom is disposed of in land fills or just thrown away without any plan,” he said. He added that further discussions would be held with Saudi officials as to how to derive benefits from Singapore’s experience. “We have been generating power from our garbage.”

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