Saudi-Cypriot talks focus on key regional issues

King Salman receives Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 04 January 2018
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Saudi-Cypriot talks focus on key regional issues

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Cyprus added a new dimension to their bilateral relations after wide-ranging talks here at Al-Yamamah Palace Wednesday between King Salman and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who arrived here Tuesday night on his maiden visit to the Kingdom.
Anastasiades, the first Cypriot president to visit Saudi Arabia, discussed with King Salman the whole gamut of bilateral and regional issues of common concerns. The need to strengthen the EU’s relations with Gulf countries was also discussed in the president’s talks.
“The talks focused on a range of key regional issues that have been hampering peace and security in the Middle East,” said Nikos Panayi, ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus, speaking exclusively to Arab News on Wednesday. He pointed out that “the signing ceremony of three agreements was witnessed by King Salman and the Cyprus president.”
Panayi said “a major memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the two countries for holding periodic political consultations.” The MoU will make provision for regular consultations between the foreign ministries of the Kingdom and Cyprus. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed for avoidance of double taxation, the envoy added.
According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), President Anastasiades praised the productive meeting he had with the King Salman.
“The meeting was extremely productive and creative, always, to the benefit of the interests of the Cypriot people and our Saudi friends,” he said, speaking to the staff of Joannou and Paraskevaides, a Cypriot company operating in Saudi Arabia.
On other accords endorsed by the two sides, the Cyprus ambassador said that “an executive program for cooperation was inked by the state-owned General Authority of Civil Aviation and the Cypriot Ministry of Transport.” During his stay in Riyadh, President Anastasiades also met Abdullatif Al-Zayani, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and discussed important regional and international subjects of common concern.
Nicos Christodoulides, a spokesman for the Cypriot president, said that the talks with the GCC chief focused on “the need to strengthen the EU’s relations with the countries of the region, for which the Republic of Cyprus can and has the will to play a major role.” Christodoulides added that “the king and the president also discussed security issues, fighting terrorism, regional relations, and how the developments in our region are evolving.”
He said that “the historic visit of President Anastasiades to Saudi Arabia fulfills one of the main objectives of Cyprus’s foreign policy: to strengthen its relations with the Gulf countries.” The spokesman noted that “the agreement on political consultations between the Foreign Ministries provides for consultations twice a year to discuss issues of common interest.” He added that “there is an interest in Saudi Arabia on energy issues and this visit is the beginning of a new period in our relations.”


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”