Exclusive Interview: Prince Turki says metro to change face of Riyadh

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Updated 12 August 2013
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Exclusive Interview: Prince Turki says metro to change face of Riyadh

JEDDAH:  The Riyadh Metro will bring about qualitative improvement in the city’s transport system and change the lifestyle of people in the city, said Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, deputy governor of Riyadh.
“The project will change the face of Riyadh and empower future Saudi generations to reach new heights of progress and prosperity,” the prince told Arab News.
Riyadh Gov. Prince Khaled bin Bandar launched the project on Sunday night.
“We would like to have the best metro system in the world,” the deputy governor said, adding that the project is being implemented after studying similar projects in the US, Europe and East Asia.
“Our late arrival in this field may help us have the distinction of acquiring the best technology in public transport,” he said.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Prince Turki said the project, when first presented to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, was designed to have only one line in the first phase and the whole project would have taken 15 years to complete. “King Abdullah then instructed to construct six lines within four years,” the deputy governor said.
“The project’s studies and designs have been revised as per the king’s instructions and Prince Sultan (the late crown prince) and Crown Prince Salman, who was then governor of Riyadh, were supervising it.”
He said the metro would solve the problem of traffic jams in the capital city and ensure smooth flow of traffic. It will also increase the level of traffic safety and reduce the number of fatal accidents.
The fall in the number of vehicles on Riyadh roads will reduce pollution as well as temperature in the city. “There are many indirect benefits for this project. It will save a lot of time for Saudis and expats and will have a huge economic impact,” he said. Saving time is one of the standards used to rate world cities.
Prince Turki said the project would change the lifestyle of Riyadh people, adding that it would serve all groups of people. “It will also provide a dependable and flexible transport system for the city that goes in line with the city’s fast development,” he said. It would also meet Riyadh’s future requirements.
Prince Turki said the metro would create more job opportunities for Saudi youth. “We expect the project would be completed in less than five years,” he said, adding that a number of major international companies are involved in its implementation.
“This is for the first time such a number of international companies are working for a single project,” he pointed out.
Riyadh Metro is part of the new public transport system, which includes bus services. It would meet present and future requirements. “The bus system will be ready before metro,” he said.
Asked if there is any plan to impose any toll for using some main roads in order to encourage people to use the metro instead of their cars, Prince Turki said: “We would like to encourage people to use public transport but without imposing any fees.”
A study is being conducted with the support of King Saud University to promote a culture using public transport, the prince said. Prince Turki said King Abdullah’s keen interest in the project would be one of the factors for its success, ensuring a high standard. He referred to the rapid development of Riyadh with the implementation of massive projects such as King Abdullah Financial District.
“This will be an integrated cultural project in downtown Riyadh,” he said adding that the metro stations inside the city would be designed in accordance with the distinguished Najdi architecture.
King Abdullah’s generous support to Riyadh projects would open new horizons of progress and prosperity for the city and its people, the deputy governor said.
He commended the role played by Prince Salman for Riyadh’s development when he was the region’s governor. “Prince Salman and (late) Prince Sattam have laid down the city’s strategic plans and we are now completing their work,” he added.


Saudi Crown Prince calls for decisive international position against Iran: interview 

Updated 25 min 18 sec ago
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Saudi Crown Prince calls for decisive international position against Iran: interview 

  • Talking to Asharq Al Awsat, Mohammad Bin Salman says Kingdom doesn’t seek war but will defend itself against threats 
  • Says killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was “painful crime” and that strategic ties with US are key to regional stability 

JEDDAH:  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday said Saudi Arabia does not seek war but will also not shy away from confronting any threats.

He called for a decisive international position against Iran and said the regime in Tehran didn’t even respect the presence of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe when it attacked two tankers, one of them carrying the Japanese flag. 

The crown prince’s comments came in an interview with Arab News’ sister publication Asharq Al Awsat.

The heir to the Saudi throne said the Kingdom will continue to support Sudan and wishes nothing but good for Yemen. However, Saudi Arabia would never accept having a militia serving the Iranian agenda at its border, he said. 

He also described the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a “very painful crime.” He added that the Kingdom seeks to achieve full justice and accountability. 

As for the Aramco IPO, the crown prince says it is expected to occur at some time between 2020 and the beginning of 2021. 

(Full transcript to follow)