Jeddah brings together presidents of Eritrea and Djibouti at a historic reconciliation summit

Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh and his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki met in Jeddah. (SPA)
Updated 18 September 2018
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Jeddah brings together presidents of Eritrea and Djibouti at a historic reconciliation summit

  • Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh of Djibouti and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki met upon the invitation of Saudi King Salman
  • Eritrea and Djibouti have been at loggerheads for decades over a long-standing border dispute

JEDDAH: Leaders of Eritrea and Djibouti met in Saudi Arabia on Monday for historic talks a decade after a border conflict strained ties.
Presidents Ismaïl Omar Guelleh of Djibouti and Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea shook hands as they met upon the invitation of the Saudi leadership.
Dr. Essam bin Saad bin Said, minister of state and member of the Saudi Council of Ministers, and the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir attended the meeting.
Both presidents expressed gratitude for King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for facilitating the meeting, which opens a new chapter for relations between the neighbors.
The two nations have been at loggerheads for decades over a long-standing border dispute.
“There is a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who attended the signing of a historic peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab Emirates are helping broker peace in the region, in a sign of the growing importance the Gulf nations put on east Africa as they battle Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Dozens of commercial vessels transit daily through the Bab Al-Mandeb waterway, a crucial shipping lane between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.
Houthi rebels have launched a number of attacks on ships during the Yemeni conflict.


Riyadh book fair hears lecture on Bahrain culture industry

Updated 52 min 50 sec ago
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Riyadh book fair hears lecture on Bahrain culture industry

  • Professor Diaa Al-Kaabi presented a survey of all aspects of Bahraini culture, from the early 19th century until the present day
  • She also highlighted the role of prominent Saudis in the founding of major cultural institutions in Bahrain

RIYADH: Riyadh International Book Fair on Wednesday hosted Dr. Diaa Al-Kaabi, who gave a lecture on the role of culture in Bahrain, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The academic, who is a professor at the University of Bahrain, highlighted the role of prominent Saudis in the founding of major cultural institutions in Bahrain. She named Muqbel Al-Zukair, and the families of Al-Gosaibi, Al-Bassam, Al-Ajaji, Al-Mashari and others, as pioneers.
She also mentioned the cultural agreement that was signed in 1974 between the Kingdom and Bahrain as the first such agreement signed between the two Gulf states.
Al-Kaabi presented a survey of all aspects of Bahraini culture, from the early 19th century until the present day. She highlighted major trends in Bahrain’s cultural industry, and the role of societies, theaters and universities, as well as state institutions, in promoting the nation’s culture to an international audience.
She addressed the beginnings of the cultural movement under Sheikh Issa bin Ali, which she considered as the founding of the country’s cultural consciousness. 
It heralded the age of enlightenment in Bahrain, which was part of the modern Arab Renaissance starting from the early nineteenth century, she said.
Al-Kaabi concluded her lecture by stressing that culture, if nurtured, could be a pillar of economic development as it provided many job opportunities and its revenues were high. 
Bahrain is the guest of honor at the fair, which runs until March 23.
A Bahraini pavilion will host 13 cultural events including poetry nights, seminars and children’s programs over the course of the fair. In total, more than 900 global publishing houses are set to participate, with 500,000 books and publications on display, and up to a million visitors expected to attend.