Regional cooperation vital for Gulf security

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Updated 19 September 2014
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Regional cooperation vital for Gulf security

Cooperation among Arabian Gulf countries in combating terrorism and addressing regional issues is vital for security and stability in the region, said guest speakers and strategic affairs experts on the last day of a conference entitled “Arabian Gulf and Regional Challenges.”
The conference was organized by the Institute of Diplomatic Studies (IDS), a premier institution under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Gulf Research Center.
Nathalie Goulet, a member of the French Senate, reasserted the importance of regional cooperation in the Middle East. “We cannot have a sound society without assessing failures and making efforts to resolve the problem,” she said.
Goulet also advocated for Turkey to help solve problems in the Arabian Gulf since it shares borders with regional countries.
She commended the anti-IS campaign being aired by 30 TV channels, appreciating Tuesday’s Arab News front page coverage of the initiative.
“We should join the campaign to address the challenge,” she said.
She observed that Israeli extremism goes against every UN guideline and said it is vital for Israel to have respect for international law.
The French senator deplored the fact that the US does not react to these outright violations of international law. “When Israel fails to comply with international law, the US also fails to make a point against the violations,” she said.
Joseph Westphal, US ambassador to the Kingdom, said during the subsequent session that “our relationship with the Middle East is important, as we are committed to achieving security and stability in the region.” Westphal referred to the recent visit of Secretary of State John Kerry, who urged joint efforts in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) terror group, with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), led by Saudi Arabia, agreeing to join the US-led campaign. He pointed out that US President Barack Obama has a comprehensive policy for partnership with GCC countries and a will and vision to fight terrorism.
He said the Gulf is a vital region for the US, which is committed to its security and stability.
Michael Clarke, general director of the Royal United Services Institute in the UK, pointed out that the United Kingdom hopes to have strategic changes in the Middle East, as terrorism threatens to send the region into chaos. Rajiv Sikri, former secretary at the Indian External Affairs Ministry, said that GCC countries should initiate talks with Iran to resolve regional issues.
“If the US, as an outsider, can be a party to regional issues, there is no harm in sitting with Iran, a neighboring country, to resolve the sectarian strife plaguing the region and causing upheaval in Iraq, Syria and Yemen,” he said.
Denouncing terrorism, the guest speakers also called for moderation and international cooperation for peaceful coexistence in the region.
Participants pointed out that disunity and instability in the region harm peaceful coexistence.
Several attendees raised questions about the role of outsiders in securing stability in the Arabian Gulf, while others asserted that resolving the Palestine issue is vital for the region and that it is the lack of US strategy that is allowing Israel to continue committing its crimes.


Media spotlight falls on Saudi Arabia’s most historic sites

Updated 21 min 15 sec ago
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Media spotlight falls on Saudi Arabia’s most historic sites

  • Journalists were taken on a cultural and heritage tour of key locations aimed at showcasing the Najd region of the Kingdom as a top visitor destination
  • The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) organized the trip, concentrated around the old towns of Shaqra and Ushaiger

RIYADH: Some of Saudi Arabia’s most historic sites on Sunday went under the media spotlight as part of a drive to boost tourism.
Journalists were taken on a cultural and heritage tour of key locations aimed at showcasing the Najd region of the Kingdom as a top visitor destination.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) organized the trip, concentrated around the old towns of Shaqra and Ushaiger, to coincide with the Colors of Saudi Arabia forum that aims to strengthen national tourism.
Places visited by the group of journalists and writers included Al-Halawa Museum Market, Al-Subaie House, the Husseini Mosque, the House of Mashreq and the heritage village of Ishiqar. They also went to a desert camp, watched cultural shows and ate locally produced cuisine.
Abdulrahman Al-Manee, whose Al-Halawa Museum Market shop was visited by the group, told Arab News: “Collecting antiques and cultural pieces has been my hobby for more than 50 years.”
He graduated from the fine arts school at King Saud University, and has a website where he sells his products throughout the Kingdom and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
The SCTH presented a workshop for media professionals during the tour. Majid Al-Hasna, director of media relations at the SCTH, said it is keen to organize more trips for journalists to the Kingdom’s archaeological, historical, heritage and tourism sites.