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.”


Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

Updated 21 June 2018
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Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

  • A fan named Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time.
  • Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s World Cup dreams were shattered after Uruguay beat the Green Falcons 1-0 in the second of the three group-stage matches. Most Saudi fans in Jeddah were much happier with the team’s performance in game two, following the resounding 5-0 defeat by host nation Russia in the opening match on June 14, but still bitterly disappointed by the loss, which means they cannot qualify for the knockout stages.

Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time. “Although we lost, the performance was much better than the first game with Russia. I hope we win our next match,” he said.

Nasrah, who watched the game with her two sons, said: “I was really disappointed because we played good today and nothing less than a win should have been acceptable. I am also disappointed to see the looks on my boys faces when the game ended as they were hoping for a win.”

Khalid Al-Raghbi said at least it had been a good match to watch. “We played a bit better today,” he added. “I wish we would have won but at least we performed better than our last match against Russia.”

Before the game, Ibrahim Al-Turki had been optimistic about Saudi Arabia’s chances. “We didn’t expect today’s result. I was thinking that Saudi would win by two goals, and Uruguay would score one,” he said.

The result was especially disappointing given the close result and the number of chances the Saudis had to score, said Badr, who added: “I don’t know what to tell you because we are deeply disappointed. At least if we lost with a big defeat I would say we deserved it. We had the potential but we could not score.”

Shadi Al-Ghamdi said he wished the national team’s much improved performance in their second game had been more evident in their first. “I am very proud of the players, I thought they played very well. I just wish they had played like this against Russia," he said.

Safah was less complimentary and said that the Saudi players had let their fans down, adding: “They seemed scared whenever they attempted to score any goals.”

Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25. It will be the final game in the competition for both sides, with only pride to play for, as they battle it out to see who will finish third in the group and who will be left in bottom spot.