All smiles as Lebanon’s Hariri shares selfie with Saudi crown prince

Selfie of Lebenese PM Saad Hariri, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Khaled bin Salman, Kingdom's ambassador to US. (Twitter/@saadhariri)
Updated 04 March 2018
0

All smiles as Lebanon’s Hariri shares selfie with Saudi crown prince

JEDDAH: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri shared a selfie early Saturday with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and his brother .
The image, which will likely go viral on social media in both countries, was posted to Hariri’s Twitter account shortly after 2 a.m. in the Saudi capital. It shows the trio smiling as they pose for the snap.
The selfie, taken with a slight tilt, shows Hariri in the foreground and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his country’s ambassador to the US Prince Khaled bin Salman behind him.
The relaxed leaders are seen in casual dress with the crown prince wearing what appears to be a dark winter thobe with the prime minister in a zip-up pullover, and the Kingdom’s top US-based diplomat in a classic white thobe with the collar buttons undone.
The Saudi Press Agency reported that Prince Mohammed and Prime Minister Hariri discussed bilateral and regional issues on Friday.
Hariri was welcomed by King Salman in Riyadh on Wednesday in his first visit back to the country since he announced his resignation in the kingdom.


Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 December 2018
0

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

AD DIRIYAH: The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”