Riyadh welcomes Eid Al-Fitr with fireworks display

Updated 18 August 2013
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Riyadh welcomes Eid Al-Fitr with fireworks display

A 30-minute colorful fireworks display lit up the sky over the Kingdom’s capital late Thursday as residents welcomed the Eid Al-Fitr holidays.
The dazzling fireworks display had about 400 to 500 residents of Malaz district and nearby areas spellbound. They thronged the park near the Riyadh Zoo to have a better look at the breathtaking spectacle of various colors such as violet, yellow, green and red, among others.
“What a sight it was indeed! Many watched it with bated breath, so to speak, as a way of welcoming Eid Al-Fitr holidays,” said Abdulaziz Al Hendi, a Saudi who works for a news agency.
Erma Elshiger, a housewife married to a Sudanese, said: “The fireworks display was fascinating to watch. The explosion of various colors with black sky as backdrop gripped the imagination. My four kids really enjoyed watching it.”
The fireworks display was preceded by an intermittent explosion of firecrackers. The crowd watching the spectacle spilled over into the street, blocking cars headed toward Al-Ahsa Road.
The traffic buildup was exacerbated by the fact that cars passing on Al-Ahsa Road stopped, with the drivers taking pictures of the fireworks display with their cell phones.
Others pulled over, got off their cars and joined the crowd watching the fireworks display.
As a result, drivers blew their horns as they hurried to go home or for an appointment in other parts of the city. 
Eric P. Asi, an engineer at a local firm, who was with his family and relatives, including one from Alkhobar, could not help but smile at the impatient drivers.
“What to do?” he said. “The dazzling colors of the fireworks display were really attractive against the black sky as backdrop. My two kids and my wife could not be persuaded to go home as they watched the colorful night spectacle.”
Meynard Pesig, also an engineer with a local firm, said, “This event is rarely held in the Kingdom’s capital, so I have taken advantage of this opportunity to watch it,” he said.
To others, like those working or living in other parts of the Kingdom but spending their holidays in the Kingdom’s capital, the event was something to remember.
Residents of adjoining areas like Suleimania said that they were not able to watch the fireworks spectacle but could hear its explosions from two to three kilometers away.


Yemen FM: No peace before Houthi disarmament

The Arab coalition is striving to rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis, says Yemen’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani. File/Getty Images
Updated 26 May 2018
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Yemen FM: No peace before Houthi disarmament

  • Alongside military operations, the coalition is undertaking humanitarian work to “rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis
  • The Houthis’ “weapons and missiles must be handed over, and there is no room for dialogue or negotiation about them

LONDON: There cannot be peace in Yemen unless Houthi militias abandon their arms, said the country’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani.

The internationally recognized government will not allow Iran, which backs the Houthis, to maintain a foothold in Yemen or interfere in its internal affairs, he added.
“This terrorist regime” in Tehran, “which supplies terrorist militias all over the world, is close to collapse as a result of international and popular pressure by the Iranian people, who are suffering as their terrorist state spends billions here and there for a foolish expansionist idea,” Al-Yamani said.
“The modern and civilized world that respects international law cannot accept the existence of a state sponsor of terrorism and all subversive and terrorist militias in the region,” he added.
“If Iran wants to be part of the social, cultural and political fabric of our region, it must rationalize its behavior.” Its “terrorist behavior… encourages the spread of violence in the region,” he said.
Al-Yamani added that he will start his tenure as foreign minister by focusing on negotiations and the efforts of the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.
The government is working round the clock with the envoy’s office so he can present his ideas on June 7 after consultations with the government, Al-Yamani said.
There will be meetings in the next few days with Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and a special meeting with the negotiating team, all within the framework of the envoy’s efforts in the region, Al-Yamani added.
Griffiths has visited several countries in the region, and has met with Yemen’s government and the leadership of the Saudi-led Arab coalition.
The Houthis “suggest that political arrangements should come before security and military arrangements,” said Al-Yamani.
But “the coup against the state in January 2015 came as a result of the preference of political over security arrangements,” he added.
“And after the Houthis achieved their goals, they turned against the national consensus reflected in the peace and partnership agreement, under which the president provided facilities to save the homeland from the fate we have reached today,” Al-Yamani said.
“We cannot talk about any political arrangements because we consider them to be a foregone conclusion if we achieve the withdrawal and delivery of heavy and medium weapons and missiles,” he added. “We cannot retry something we tried before... The coup must end.”
The Houthis’ “weapons and missiles must be handed over, and there is no room for dialogue or negotiation about them,” he said. “Heavy and medium weapons should be handed over, and those militias must be withdrawn.”
Al-Yamani criticized Iran’s ambassador to the UN for speaking in dovish language while his country causes destruction in Yemen.
“Most of what we have been able to remove of the mines planted by the Houthis had the trademark of Iranian industry,” Al-Yamani said.
“Even if we achieve peace today, we will need decades to demine... There will be no possibility of safe living in the areas where mines were planted.”
Al-Yamani expressed the gratitude of his government and people for the Saudi-led coalition’s support for the government to achieve security and peace in Yemen and the whole region.
Alongside military operations, the coalition is undertaking humanitarian work to “rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis, rebuild the Yemeni psyche destroyed by the war, distribute goods throughout Yemen, and reconstruct what was destroyed by the Houthi war machine,” he said.
“All this confirms that the project of restoring the state… is the project of life,” which is “opposed to the project of death brought by Iran and its Houthi militias to Yemen,” he added.
This interview is simultaneously published in Asharq Al-Awsat.