Belgium becomes first country to appoint female envoy to KSA

Dominique Minuer. (Courtesy photo)
Updated 20 December 2017
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Belgium becomes first country to appoint female envoy to KSA

RIYADH: Belgium has become the first country to appoint a female diplomat as its ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Dominique Minuer, a veteran diplomat currently serving as ambassador to the UAE, has been named by the Belgian Foreign Ministry as the next envoy to head its diplomatic mission in the Saudi capital.
“The Belgian government has made the decision to move Minuer from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh by the middle of next year,” said Siegfried Peinen, deputy chief of the mission at Belgian Embassy, on Tuesday. “Minuer is likely to arrive in early summer after submission of the diplomatic credentials to the host government,” he said.
Belgium’s public broadcaster VRT said that move is “an international first” which also responds well to a series of social and economic reform measures undertaken by the Kingdom recently.
Yekaterina Majering Mikadze, a Georgian diplomat appointed in 2010, previously had responsibility for Saudi Arabia, but was based in Kuwait and covered a number of neighboring countries. When Georgia later opened an embassy specifically for Saudi Arabia in 2015, it appointed a male ambassador in Riyadh.
The Kingdom and Belgium have been close allies. On the commercial front, the two countries have forged closer ties. Belgian imports from Saudi Arabia have increased by 40 percent from $1.7 billion in 2014 to $2.5 billion last year. On the other hand, Saudi exports of commodities to Belgium increased from $3.8 billion in 2015 to $4.2 billion in 2016. The two sides have shown a keen interest in forging closer investment ties.


King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed ‘lend new dimension to unification’

Millions of citizens plan to celebrate the Saudi national day on Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 23 September 2018
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King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed ‘lend new dimension to unification’

  • More than 900,000 fireworks will light up the sky from 58 locations across the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Day, celebrated every year on Sept. 23, has come a long way in broadening the concept of unification over the years.
Though the National Day meant unifying disparate sheikhdoms under the nation’s founder, the late King Abdul Aziz, its implications across the political, socioeconomic and cultural spectrum have not been lost on successive rulers.
It was King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who fine-tuned the definition of unification as an operating philosophy. This is why millions of citizens plan to celebrate the Saudi National Day on the streets on Sunday.
The capital city, along with other Saudi cities, will witness fireworks and the unfurling of the largest national flag. More than 900,000 fireworks will light up the sky from 58 locations across the Kingdom.
Car owners, limousine drivers and young Saudi motorcyclists said that they planned to go for drives, particularly on the fashionable streets of the capital city, to celebrate. Grocery shops, stationery shops and vendors were selling bunting, flags, banners and pictures of national heroes.
“We went around the city to see the lighting and fireworks,” said Saleh Al-Omri, a local pharmacist. “Green and white balloons fill either sides of Riyadh streets,” he said.
In his National Day congratulatory message, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, said: “The wise policy of the leaders of this country contributed to peace, security and stability.”
Fakhr Al-Shawaf, chief executive of Al-Bawani Contracting Co., said: “We are celebrating the 88th anniversary of our unification, a day when the late King Abdul Aziz established the Saudi nation.”
Ali Al-Othaim, a member of Riyadh Chamber’s board of directors, said: “The Kingdom is on the path of comprehensive economic and social development under Vision 2030.”
Shafik Namdar, a taxi driver, said that he had bought an SR10 flag for his car and planned to work and also drive with his friends to look at the city and its landmark buildings.
Several young boys, including Arslan, 12, and Mishal, 14, said that they had bought bunting, badges and flags to decorate their houses. They planned to celebrate with a special meal at home with relatives, before going into the city streets for dance and music. Some of them had plans to organize celebrations in public parks.