King starts Gulf tour with UAE visit

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman is being decorated in Abu Dhabi with the top UAE civilian award — the Order of Zayed — in the presence of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Dubai ruler, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Abu Dhabi crown prince. (SPA)
Updated 04 December 2016
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King starts Gulf tour with UAE visit

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman arrived in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, kick-starting his tour of four Gulf states. 
 
During this visit, King Salman will hold wide-ranging talks with high-ranking officials from the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. 
 
“King Salman will meet with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders and high-ranking Gulf officials to review relations and ways of enhancing them in all fields, and he will also discuss regional and international issues of common interest,” said a statement released by the Royal Court on Saturday. 
 
The statement confirmed that the king would attend the 37th GCC summit, to be held in Bahrain later this week.
The statement added that “based on the king’s keenness to communicate with GCC leaders in serving the people and enhancing brotherly bonds among Saudi Arabia and other GCC states, the Saudi monarch started the GCC tour.” 
 
The king’s visit has added significance as it comes a couple of days before the GCC summit in Bahrain.
The king’s visit also coincides with the visits to the UAE of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, French President Francois Hollande, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic. 
 
On arrival in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, King Salman was received at the airport by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Abu Dhabi crown prince and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and several Cabinet members.
 
An official reception was held for King Salman at the airport, where the Saudi national anthem was played, accompanied by a 21-gun salute. 
 
The king then shook hands with high-ranking UAE officials, including rulers and ministers, while Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed welcomed Saudi officials accompanying the king.
 
Welcoming the visit of King Salman to the Gulf states, Ibrahim Al-Qayid, founding member of the Riyadh-based National Society for Human Rights, said: “Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as the Kingdom and the GCC, have a strong bilateral relationship, one which has grown even closer these days.”
 
Al-Qayid added: “King Salman’s visit will be an opportunity to hear and exchange important perspectives on Middle East issues, including Syria, Yemen, the Middle East peace process, Iraq, Daesh, Iran, and above all, terrorism.”
 
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are close allies, signing a protocol earlier this year to establish a coordination council. 
The council is led by Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who is the UAE deputy prime minister and minister of presidential affairs. 
 
The decision to create the council came after similar agreements between Saudi Arabia and other countries such as Jordan and Turkey.
 
During this trip, the king is accompanied by several members of the royal family, ministers and top officials. 
Prominent among them are Prince Khaled bin Fahd bin Khaled bin Mohammed, Prince Mansour bin Saud bin Abdul Aziz, Economy and Planning Minister Adel Fakeih, Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qassabi, Culture and Information Minister Adel Al-Toraifi and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nizar bin Obaid Madani. 
 
 


Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

Updated 15 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

  • A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally
  • “This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

RIYADH: Formula E is one for the books. Attracting fans from all over the world, the mega event — held in the historic Saudi town of Ad Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is set to revolutionize motorsports by using only electric race cars. 

Officially known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the race expects to draw 40,000 attendees, with access not only to the race but also to the Kingdom’s largest ever festival for music, entertainment and cultural activities.

A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally.

A milestone was marked as Bandar Alesayi and Ahmed bin Khanen became the first Saudi I-Pace eTrophy racers, sponsored by the General Sports Authority (GSA). 

Both drivers predict increased grassroots support in the Kingdom for youths to train in carting and race-car driving.  

At 1.76 miles long with 21 corners, the track is somewhat tricky for first-time Formula E drivers.

“The system is like Mario Bros when they get the little star and go faster,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. The new electric circuit in Saudi Arabia has been hailed as one of the best Formula E tracks.

The three-day event is hosting some of the world’s top singers, including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and One Republic, along with DJ EJ. 

“This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

Outside the venue, Al-Bujairy, one of Ad Diriyah’s historic areas, hosts high-end restaurants, cafes and local designer outlets overlooking the historic district of At-Turaif, which was once home to the Saudi royal family and has newly opened for visitors.

Another area of interest is the Family Zone, with many events and activities to entertain all age groups. Men, women and children are given different driving experiences.

In Ad Diriyah’s Formula E, only one car is allowed per driver instead of two, making pit stops more crucial in terms of timing.  

“Attack mode” gives cars a temporary power boost from 200 to 225 kilowatts, equivalent to 268-302 horsepower. Drivers need to move to a certain area on the track to activate this mode.

“Saudi Arabia is racing into the future with Formula E, as we open the Kingdom to the world in a transformation that’s being supercharged by the Vision 2030 plan, driven forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, told Arab News.