Arab leaders meet in Saudi Arabia as Syria tensions reach boiling point

Foreign Ministers pose for a group picture during the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers ahead of the 28th Summit of the Arab League in Riyadh on April 12, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 15 April 2018
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Arab leaders meet in Saudi Arabia as Syria tensions reach boiling point

  • The fate of Jerusalem will also be on the agenda as the US prepares to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv after declaring it Israel’s capital
  • Saudi Arabia is likely to seek Arab support to pile the pressure on Iran

RIYADH: Leaders of the 22-nation Arab League, who will meet in the Saudi city of Dhahran on Sunday, are expected to stress continuity in their efforts to find a solution to the Syrian conflict. It follows airstrikes by the US, UK and France against the Assad regime on Saturday. The leaders are likely to seek Arab and international support to increase pressure on the regime to find a solution to the conflict.
Their push for a tough stand against Iran is expected to dominate the Arab League Summit as regional tensions grow over the wars in Syria and Yemen. 
The fate of Jerusalem will also be on the agenda as the US prepares to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv after declaring it Israel’s capital.
“All key regional issues are on the agenda, with Syria, Yemen and Palestine at the top,” Ali Al-Kayed, Jordanian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told Arab News.
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Qayid, founding member of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), said Saturday’s airstrikes are “largely welcomed by Western and Arab nations, which condemn (the regime’s) crimes against humanity by repeatedly using chemical weapons against civilians.”
He added: “There is an urgent need to defuse the crisis in Syria, where more than half of the population has either fled the country or become homeless.”
He asked: “Should the world sit and watch as an arrogant ruler (Syrian President Bashar Assad) commits genocide in his own country?”
Al-Qayid urged Arab leaders to take “stern and decisive action” to resolve the conflict once and for all. 
He commended the US, UK and France for Saturday’s attack, saying when a ruthless regime commits war crimes, the international community has the right to take action and save innocent civilians.
Arab leaders and heads of delegations started arriving in Dhahran on Saturday to take part in the summit, SPA reported.
They were received by Prince Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, governor of Eastern Region; Prince Ahmed bin Fahad bin Salman, deputy governor, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, secretary general of the Arab League, and a number of officials.

Iran’s interference
Thursday’s preparatory meeting of Arab foreign ministers said there could be “no peace and security in the region as long as Iran continues to interfere in the domestic affairs of Arab states.”
The meeting was led by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, who received the Arab League’s rotating chairmanship from his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in the presence of the secretary-general.  
Addressing the meeting, Aboul-Gheit said the decline of Arab influence on the situation in Syria had led to the “domination of foreign powers” there, paving the way for the country’s eventual disintegration. “The crisis in Syria can only be resolved through a political solution,” he added.
Saudi Arabia is likely to seek Arab support to pile the pressure on Iran, an analyst told AFP.
“Saudi Arabia is going to push for a much harsher stance on Iran — not necessarily on the nuclear dossier per se, but on Iranian influence in the Arab countries, particularly Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen,” said Karim Bitar of the Paris-based Institute of International and Strategic Affairs.


Vox Cinemas wins second license to operate movie theaters in KSA

Updated 23 April 2018
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Vox Cinemas wins second license to operate movie theaters in KSA

  • Al-Futtaim Group to invest SR2 billion to open 600 screens and provide 3,000 jobs in the next five years
  • Vox Cinemas is the largest cinema operator in the MENA region

JEDDAH: Vox Cinemas, a subsidiary of Majid Al-Futtaim Group, won the second license to operate cinemas in the Kingdom.

The company received the license from the Minister of Culture and Information and Chairman of the General Authority for Audiovisual Media, Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad.

Al-Futtaim Group will invest SR2 billion to open 600 screens and provide 3,000 jobs in the next five years.

This will help achieve the goals of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision when it comes to diversifying the economy and local production.

Vox Cinemas is the largest cinema operator in the MENA region and the leading regional cinema operator in the Kingdom.

Al-Futtaim Group is planning on opening its first movie theater in the Kingdom during the coming days. It will be in Riyadh Park Mall within the largest Magic Planet Family Entertainment Center in the region.

It consists of four screens, including the first IMAX screen for young people's movies and VOX KIDS, which is dedicated to children’s entertainment.