Saudi Arabia’s King Salman invites UN chief to Ethiopia, Eritrea peace summit

Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attend a concert in Addis Ababa, after signing an initial declaration of peace, in July. (Reuters)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman invites UN chief to Ethiopia, Eritrea peace summit

  • The two countries, 20 years after commencing what turned into a protracted border war, announced a cessation of hostilities two months ago
  • Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will host the signing ceremony in Jeddah to be attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has invited UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to attend the signing of the peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea in Jeddah, according to Al-Arabiya.
The two countries, 20 years after commencing what turned into a protracted border war, announced a cessation of hostilities two months ago.
Ethiopia and Eritrea will attend the summit in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to sign an agreement cementing the thaw between the two former Horn of Africa enemies, a UN spokesman said Friday.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will host the signing ceremony in Jeddah to be attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat.
UN spokesman Farhan Haq did not provide details, saying the Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders would sign a “further agreement helping to cement the positive relations between them.”
On Tuesday, the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea reopened two land border crossing points for the first time in 20 years, clearing the way for trade between the two nations.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki signed a declaration of peace in July that formally ended two decades of hostility.
Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in the early 1990s, and war broke out later that decade over a border dispute.
A 2002 UN-backed boundary demarcation was meant to settle the dispute for good, but Ethiopia refused to abide by it.
A turnaround began in June when Abiy announced that Ethiopia would hand back to Eritrea the disputed areas including the flashpoint town of Badme where the first shots of the border war were fired.


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.”