Saudi Arabia stresses interest in strengthening relations with African countries

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and his Angolan counterpart Manuel Augusto in Riyadh. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia stresses interest in strengthening relations with African countries

JEDDAH: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir has met with his Angolan counterpart Manuel Augusto in the capital Riyadh.
Al-Jubeir affirmed, during a news conference, that the Kingdom was concerned with developing and fostering ties with African countries in all fields. He added that there are mutual interests that link the Kingdom to African states.
Al-Jubeir described the visit of Augusto as historic, describing the deep links between the two countries. The Saudi FM noted that he discussed with his Angolan counterpart the latest developments in the region, the Middle East and the African continent.
For his part, Augusto stressed that Saudi ties won’t be restricted to oil, urging Saudi businessmen to invest in Angola. He added that Angola has huge investment opportunities in agriculture, fishing, and diamond production.
The Angolan FM stated that the two countries have common interests in the political and diplomatic sectors, and that they insist on fighting terrorism and cooperating with the Kingdom to reform the UN, especially the Security Council.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of African Affairs, Ahmed Qattan, revealed a strategic plan for the Kingdom to develop and consolidate relations with all African countries without exception.
“There is great interest from the Saudi leadership toward developing and consolidating relations with all African countries, and how to seriously deal with this matter,” he said in comments to Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper.
Qattan explained that Al-Jubeir has made more than 18 shuttle visits to the African continent in recent times. “We are now on the right track, especially as we have not adapted to the African continent in the last few decades,” Qattan added.
He stressed that, “Saudi Arabia has a strong desire not only to strengthen relations with the larger countries on the continent, but with all African countries and we need some time to achieve what we aspire to in this regard.”
The Minister of State for African Affairs spoke of Saudi cooperation in all fields in Africa, saying “the issue is how to invest between us and the countries of the continent and enhance and establish investment and developmental projects.”
“Saudi aid in Africa speaks for itself. This has to be made public as many are unaware of the Kingdom’s aid contributions to Africa over the past decades, which are considerable,” he said, adding that Saudi Arabia behaves in a very honorable way when dealing with African countries.
Qattan said next year, Saudi Arabia will host the Saudi-African summit and the Arab-African summit, which confirms the strong desire of the Saudi government to consolidate its relations with Africa.


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”