Yanni ‘so happy’ to perform in Saudi Arabia

Yanni and his daughter Krystal Ann at the press conference at Bay La Sun Hotel in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) on Thursday. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 30 November 2017

Yanni ‘so happy’ to perform in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Renowned Greek composer and musician Yanni, on his first visit to the Kingdom, said in Arabic at a press conference on Thursday that he is “so happy to be in Saudi Arabia.”

“I’m so happy and relaxed, more than my other concerts. The way people look at me makes me smile because they’re very welcoming and gentle," he said.

“You have to come to Saudi to feel this and to witness the changes... I’m really amazed by the speed of how things have changed.”

The press conference was held at the Bay La Sun Hotel in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) prior to his two concerts.

It was attended by Sultan Al-Qahtani, public relations manager at the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), Abdul Aziz Al-Dhuayan, chief communications officer at the GEA, and many local media representatives.

“I’d like to express my deep appreciation to KAEC, which has done so much to make this event a success,” said Al-Dhuayan.

“We’re aware of the huge leap made in bringing international stars to the Kingdom, with all kinds of events and concerts to entertain people and make them happy,” he added.

“More than 70 events have been organized by the GEA this year under the umbrella of ‘Winter Festivities’.”

Describing “every one” of his accompanying musicians as “a very special performer,” Yanni said music “gently opens both your heart and your mind.”

He added: “This is an extremely important time for me. It gives me great pleasure and makes me feel a great sense of responsibility.

“I want to provide something that’s suitable to your culture because you’ve trusted me with your eyes, ears and minds.

“I want the audience to be happy. I want to touch their hearts, and for them to leave the concert smiling and hoping to see me in the future. I want my music to bring love, peace and hope to everybody.

“I’m going to perform something very special for my Saudi fans, so you must stay tuned. I don’t want to say any more, but I want you all to see it.”

Yanni’s visit is part of his global 2017-2018 tour, in which he will play his most popular songs from his career that began in 1984.

Huge expectations from Saudi crown prince’s Korea visit

Updated 9 min 4 sec ago

Huge expectations from Saudi crown prince’s Korea visit

  • The export of South Korea’s APR-1400 nuclear reactor technology to Saudi Arabia is high on the agenda

SEOUL: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is due to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday to discuss wider economic ties between the two countries, according to the presidential office.
The crown prince’s visit to South Korea is the first by an heir to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter since then-Crown Prince Abdullah’s tour in 1998. The crown prince will also attend the G20 Summit next week in Osaka, Japan.
The two-day visit is expected to deliver key agreements with South Korea in a variety of industrial fields, including cooperation on nuclear reactor and defense technologies.
“Saudi Arabia, a key ally of South Korea, is the biggest oil supplier to our government and the largest economic partner among the Middle Eastern countries,” presidential spokeswoman Koh Min-jung told reporters.
“Both leaders are expected to discuss detailed measures to expand bilateral cooperation beyond the traditional areas of construction and energy to the sectors of information and technology, nuclear energy, green cars, health, public service and exchange of human resources.”
The crown prince and his economic advisers are scheduled to have luncheon with South Korean business leaders after his summit with President Moon, she said.
Business leaders attending the luncheon will include Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics; Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group; Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, and Koo Kwang-mo, chairman of LG Group.
A Samsung spokesman, who declined to be named, told Arab News that his company has a package of business proposals to present to Saudi Arabia.
“We’re not sure at the moment what business elements the Kingdom wants, but we have a variety of business packages that can meet the Saudi Vision 2030 requirements, ranging from engineering, procurement and construction to information and communications technology, and artificial intelligence,” the spokesman said.
Hyundai Motor Group was cautious about revealing potential business projects with Riyadh.
“We’ll see what’s happening. We have high expectations about potential business cooperation with Saudi Arabia,” a Hyundai Motor spokesman said, while asking not to be named.
The export of South Korea’s APR-1400 nuclear reactor technology to Saudi Arabia is high on the agenda.
Team Korea, led by the Korea Electric Power Corp., was shortlisted last year for a nuclear power plant construction project in Saudi Arabia, along with the US, China, France and Russia. The project by the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy is aimed at building two nuclear power plants by 2030.


• Different South Korean companies are reportedly keen to invest in Saudi Arabia and become part of Vision 2030’s success.

• The Saudi leader is also expected to attend a ceremony celebrating the completion of Saudi-owned S-Oil’s residue upgrading facility.

• Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will also attend the G20 Summit next week in Osaka, Japan.

With Riyadh reportedly leaning toward the US bidder, Team Korea is considering forming a strategic consortium with the US side, according to government sources.
“The possibility of the Korea-US consortium for the Saudi project is a feasible option,” said Huh Min-ho, a researcher of Shinhan Invest Corp., referring to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval of the technical design of South Korea’s APR-1400 reactors.
“For South Korea, joining hands with the US is a feasible option to win the Saudi nuclear reactor contract, though the total order amount would be reduced,” the analyst said. “Once the Saudi project is won, more orders are expected to come from other countries such as the UK, the Czech Republic and Poland.”
South Korea already has a nuclear power footprint in in the Middle East after its construction of the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE. The country recently won a five-year maintenance deal for the nuclear plant with Nawah Energy Co., the operator of the plant.
The Saudi crown prince is also interested in South Korea’s weapons development technology, according to defense sources, and is scheduled to visit the Agency for Defense Development, South Korea’s only weapons developing agency, during his stay.
“We heard the crown prince is interested in the transfer of weapons technology when his country imports foreign weapons systems,” a Defense Ministry official told Arab News.
The Saudi leader is also expected to attend a ceremony celebrating the completion of Saudi-owned S-Oil’s residue upgrading facility. S-Oil, which is wholly owned by state-run Saudi Aramco, is third-largest oil refiner in South Korea.