FaceOf: Nizar bin Obaid Madani, retired Saudi diplomat

Nizar bin Obaid Madani
Updated 09 January 2019
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FaceOf: Nizar bin Obaid Madani, retired Saudi diplomat

  • He joined the ministry in 1965 and served in various positions. He remained the minister of state for foreign affairs between 2005 and 2019
  • Madani is a prolific writer

After having served his country for over 50 years, Nizar bin Obaid Madani retired from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Jan. 7.

He joined the ministry in 1965 and served in various positions. He remained the minister of state for foreign affairs between 2005 and 2019. 

He began his diplomatic career as an attache, then proceeded to the Saudi Embassy in Washington in 1968 and became charge d’affaires.

Madani participated in many international conferences and was among Saudi Arabia’s delegation at the UN, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. He was appointed a member of the Saudi Consultative Council, the Shoura Council, in 1993 and then reappointed in 1997.

He also chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Shoura Council and became a member of the Security Affairs Committee of the council.

He received a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Cairo University, a master’s degree in international relations, and a Ph.D. in international relations at the American University in Washington, DC.

Dr. Nizar is a prolific writer. His works have been published by the Diplomatic Studies Institute. Moreover, his latest book was a biography of Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the former Saudi foreign minister who was the longest-serving foreign minister in modern history. The biography was published in 2018 by King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. 

His autobiography was published in 2009. In his memoirs, he recorded the history of his diplomatic career.  Madani was born in 1941. He belongs to one of the prominent families of the city of Madinah. His father Prof. Obaid Madani, who died in 1976, was a prominent historian and poet who documented the history of Madinah in five volumes.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 16 June 2019
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.