Tillerson arrives in Riyadh ahead of Saudi-Iraqi talks

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson steps off his plane as he arrives at King Salman Air Base on October 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Saudi Arabia Saturday, his second visit to the region in recent months as he seeks a breakthrough in a diplomatic crisis gripping the Gulf. (AFP)
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is greeted as he arrives at King Salman Air Base on October 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Saudi Arabia Saturday, his second visit to the region in recent months as he seeks a breakthrough in a diplomatic crisis gripping the Gulf. (AFP)
Updated 21 October 2017
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Tillerson arrives in Riyadh ahead of Saudi-Iraqi talks

RIYADH: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Riyadh on Saturday to attend a landmark meeting between officials from Saudi Arabia and Iraq aimed at improving relations between the two countries and countering Iran’s growing regional influence, Reuters reported.
Tillerson landed at King Salman Air Base and was received by the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s Undersecretary for Protocol Affairs Azzam Al Qain.
The visit comes a little more than a week after US President Donald Trump unveiled a strategy to contain Iran and compel Tehran to agree to close what he described as flaws in the multinational 2015 deal designed to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.
Tillerson’s only official meeting on Saturday was a working dinner with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir. He was stopping in Saudi Arabia on the first leg of a six-day trip that will also take him to Qatar, Pakistan, India and Switzerland.
His talks in Saudi Arabia and Qatar are expected to be dominated by Iran’s growing regional influence.
This week, Iranians aided Iraqi security forces in seizing the oil-rich area of the northern city of Kirkuk in an effort to abort the independence bid made by the Kurdish minority.
On Sunday, Tillerson is due to attend the inaugural session of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council, a body whose creation was promoted by the Trump administration to bolster relations between Riyadh and Baghdad.
During his visit, Tillerson is also expected to renew a push to end the Gulf rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, although he has conceded he is not optimistic.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have accused Qatar of supporting hard-line Islamist groups and strengthening ties with Iran at the region’s expense. Doha denies the allegations.


Riyadh to host forum to observe World Heritage Day next year

Riyadh hosts the sixth National Urban Heritage Forum in April with its focus on investment opportunities in the urban heritage. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Riyadh to host forum to observe World Heritage Day next year

  • Forum will encourage private investment to capitalize on the country’s rich urban heritage
  • Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage hosts the forum each year in a different part of the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Saudi capital will host the sixth National Urban Heritage Forum (NUHF) next April to coincide with World Heritage Day, with its focus on investment opportunities in urban heritage.

“The four-day National Built Heritage Forum will be launched in Riyadh on April 15,” said Majed Alshadeed, a spokesman for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), on Thursday, adding that the forum will culminate on April 18, World Heritage Day. World Heritage Day is celebrated every year on April 18 with the aim of preserving the human heritage and recognizing the efforts of the relevant organizations in the field.

Organized by SCTH under the umbrella of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cultural Heritage Program, the 6th forum will encourage private investment to capitalize on the country’s rich urban heritage.

The forum will look at developing business models in the management and development of — and investment in — urban heritage sites, as well as the development of crafts and handicrafts.

The heritage forum is organized each year by the SCTH in a different province in collaboration with the relevant governorates, municipalities and local universities, following the recommendations of the first International Conference for Urban Heritage in the Islamic Countries, which was held in Riyadh in 2010.

The first session of the NUHF was organized in Makkah province, the second in the Eastern Province, the third in Madinah province, the fourth in Asir province and the fifth in Al-Qassim province.

Next year’s forum seeks to invest the expertise, knowledge and experience that the SCTH has gained and transfer it to the four economic sectors working in urban heritage. These sectors are construction, restoration and contracting, site operation, human resources development, and services and industries related to urban heritage.

The forum will include the distribution of prizes to the projects winning the Prince Sultan bin Salman Urban Heritage Awards, exhibitions, scientific sessions, workshops and business meetings with Saudi and international experts and consultants to discuss investment opportunities in urban heritage. There will also be a specialized expo for companies and institutions working in the sectors of the economics of architectural heritage, restoration and engineering consultancy.