Tillerson attends landmark Saudi-Iraqi meeting in Riyadh

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Saudi King Salman holds talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Saudi King Salman holds talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Saudi King Salman holds talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 22 October 2017
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Tillerson attends landmark Saudi-Iraqi meeting in Riyadh

RIYADH: US diplomat Rex Tillerson attended a landmark meeting Sunday between Saudi Arabia and Iraq aimed at upgrading strategic ties between the two countries and countering Iranian regional influence.
Saudi King Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi held the first meeting of the joint Saudi-Iraqi coordination council that aims to boost cooperation after years of tensions.
Al-Abadi hailed the meeting as an “important step toward enhancing relations,” echoing similar comments from King Salman.
“We are facing in our region serious challenges in the form of extremism, terrorism as well as attempts to destabilize our countries,” the Saudi monarch said.
“These attempts require our full attention.”
Iraq is seeking economic benefits from closer ties with Riyadh as both countries suffer from a protracted oil slump.
Saudi Arabia is also seeking to counter Iranian influence in Iraq.
“This event highlights the strength and breadth as well as the great potential of the relations between your countries,” Tillerson said, referring to the meeting.
After years of tense relations, ties between Riyadh and Baghdad have begun looking up in recent months.


 
After Saddam Hussein’s August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Riyadh severed relations with Baghdad and closed its border posts with its northern neighbor.
Ties remained strained even after Saddam’s ouster in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, since when successive governments in Baghdad have stayed close to Tehran.
But a flurry of visits between the two countries this year appears to indicate a thawing of ties.
Al-Abadi’s tour coincides with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih’s high-profile visit to Baghdad on Saturday where he called for the strengthening of economic relations to boost oil prices.
At the opening of the Baghdad International Fair, Al-Falih hailed what he called “the new Iraq, on the ambitious road to prosperity and growth while strengthening its relations with the world.”


Media spotlight falls on Saudi Arabia’s most historic sites

Updated 17 December 2018
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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.