Saudi-US relationship will continue to grow, says charge d’affaires

Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar cuts a cake with Charge D’Affaires Christopher Henzel during US Independence Day celebration in Riyadh on Monday.
Updated 14 February 2018
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Saudi-US relationship will continue to grow, says charge d’affaires

RIYADH: Christopher Henzel, the charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Riyadh, reaffirmed on Monday that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US is based on fundamental shared interests including economic prosperity, security and stability.
Speaking at a function to celebrate the 242nd year of the independence of the US on Monday at Quincy House, the official residence of the US ambassador in the Diplomatic Quarter, Henzel said the US strongly supports Saudi Arabia’s ambitious goals.
“As the Saudi Arabian government implements its vision, we believe that both sides will continue to benefit from our unique bilateral relationship, and that partnership will continue to grow,” he said. “The government’s plans for the further development of the Kingdom continue at an impressive rate.”
Welcoming guests including Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar, Henzel said, “2017 witnessed remarkable developments in the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US, with Riyadh welcoming President Donald Trump on the first stop of his first overseas trip, which brought together 55 heads of state at the Arab-Islamic-American Summit.”
Henzel said security cooperation was one of the key areas of the partnership, both historically and at present.
“Countering violent extremism is a very high priority for both of our governments,” he added.
He went on to stress the strength of the two countries’ economic ties, pointing out that bilateral trade in goods between the US and the Kingdom amounted to $35 billion last year.
“Our two countries have long shared a strong economic relationship, with ties in trade and investment that have created jobs for thousands of Americans and Saudis,” he said.
Saudi citizens and companies hold major investments in the US that employ thousands of Americans. For example, Saudi Aramco now owns the largest refinery in the US states, in Port Arthur, Texas, Henzel explained, adding that US companies are working with Saudi partners on additional investment projects in energy, infrastructure, defense, health care, and many other sector.
Henzel also highlighted the increased cultural exchange over the past year, thanks in part to Vision 2030.
US performance artists including Blue Man Group, Nelly and Toby Keith, have all performed in the Kingdom recently, while events such as Monster Jam made history in the Kingdom as part of Saudi Arabia’s new initiative to offer more entertainment options to citizens and residents.
Meanwhile, the embassy has sent a number of Saudis to the US on cultural exchanges.
Another important facet of the US-Saudi relationship is cooperation in the field of education, Henzel pointed out.
“Right now, there are roughly 66,000 Saudi students in American universities,” he said. “The Saudi government is making an incredible investment in the future of its country and I am proud that American higher education is able to play such an important role in that effort.”


Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief chief meets UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen

Updated 7 min 12 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief chief meets UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen

JEDDAH: Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), met on Saturday with Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, at the center’s headquarters in Riyadh.
They discussed means of cooperating and providing support to the mechanism of humanitarian and relief work in Yemen.
They also reviewed operations taking place on the ground, as well as subjects of common interest.
Al-Rabeeah showcased the humanitarian assistance provided by KSRelief in Yemen, and the 321 projects it has implemented there so far.
Topics discussed included the $500 million grant from Saudi Arabia and the UAE to the UN “to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people in 2018,” he said.
“We also examined the mechanism ensuring that humanitarian assistance reaches all Yemenis without exception,” he added.
“The meeting looked into ways to avoid Houthi violations when it comes to humanitarian aid, especially those related to the looting of aid provided by the World Food Programme (WFP),” Al-Rabeeah said, adding that they discussed “our strategic partnership” in 2019 and alleviating the famine in Yemen.
Grande said the meeting was of great importance, adding: “It discussed the famine in Yemen, possible solutions, and how to provide rapid assistance to the Yemeni people.”
She said: “The Kingdom’s contribution through KSRelief is crucial. The center provided us with tips on how to put an end to the famine in Yemen.”
She added: “We have to help Yemeni families so they can have a proper source of income. We seek to develop the work environment to facilitate the task for humanitarian workers.”
Grande stressed the importance of addressing all violations, and expressed her happiness at Yemeni officials agreeing to allow the WFP to use a fingerprint system to identify beneficiaries.