Saudi crown prince: Relationship with US built on trust and strategic partnership

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Supplied)
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Ambassador to the US, Prince Khalid bin Salman speaking at the inaugural KSA – USA Partnership event dinner in Washington. (Supplied)
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James Baker American attorney and political figure. (Supplied)
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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Ambassador Khalid bin Salman. (Supplied)
Updated 23 March 2018
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Saudi crown prince: Relationship with US built on trust and strategic partnership

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman delivered his first address in the United States on Thursday at the inaugural KSA – USA Partnership event dinner in Washington.
Hosted by the Saudi embassy, the dinner was a celebration of the Saudi-US bilateral security relationship over the past 70 years.
“Saudis and Americans have trained together and fought together to confront shared threats and to defend common interests,” the Crown Prince said.
“Our relationship with the United States is fundamental to security in the Middle East, and we are grateful for your support in building a better future together.”
The crown prince, who has been on a royal visit, met with US President Donald Trump on Tuesday at the White House where they hailed the historic link between the two nations as well as investment deals worth billions of dollars struck by the two nations as Saudi Arabia embarks on Saudi Vision 2030, a massive set of programs aimed at reforming the country.
“My own brother and our Ambassador to the United States experienced this first-hand as a pilot training with the US Air Force. He often reminds me that policy may be made in Riyadh and Washington, but it is in training and then in battle where trust is built, where friendships are formed, and where unbreakable ties are forged,” Prince Salman said.
Ambassador to the US, Prince Khalid bin Salman, commemorated the historic American and Saudi Arabian leaders of the past who further reinforced the foundations of the alliance between our two nations.
The Saudi envoy said the strong links between the Kingdom and the US were “a force of good, a force for peace, for stability, for international order, and economic prosperity.”
 “Just as America is, and always will be, the land of the free and the home of the brave- the Kingdom has been the city upon a hill for the region; a leader in the Muslim and Arab world,” he said.
During his remarks, the crown prince gave detailed examples of the ways in which Vision 2030 is currently modernizing Saudi Arabia, and providing future opportunities for continued strategic collaboration between the two nations beyond defense cooperation.
High-level speakers, including Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and James Baker where also present at the event, as well as former Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
Former president George Bush and General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. were honored with  KSA-USA partnership awards for outstanding leadership, a recognition of their roles in building strategic partnerships during and after the Gulf War. Senator John McCain was also honored for his leadership and service.


Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018
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Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

  • Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
  • Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site

Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased. 

Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.

With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.

One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.

Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.

Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.

The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.

Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures. 

Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.

Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip. 

“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!

Decoder

What is hiking?

Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails in the countryside. Day hikers generally carry at least food, a map or a GPS navigation device.