ABCC holds meeting on Arab sports, media sectors

The meeting was a major preparatory stage for the organization of an Arab-British conference on the sports, entertainment and hospitality industries as important economic sectors. (SPA)
Updated 09 March 2019

ABCC holds meeting on Arab sports, media sectors

  • Event focuses on KSA in particular, praises Vision 2030
  • Council's chief stresses importance of strengthening ties between Arab countries and the UK

LONDON: The Arab-British Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) hosted a roundtable meeting on the development of the sports, media and entertainment sectors in all Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia, and benefiting from the experiences of developed countries in this regard.

The meeting also discussed the impact of the media and technological progress on the sports and leisure industries; investment in sports; the management of clubs, federations and sports cities; and the social responsibility of sports businesses. 

The meeting also touched on partnership between the public and private sectors in sports and entertainment.

Participants concluded that relevant government institutions should focus on developing necessary legislation, creating markets and job opportunities, and strategic planning for the medium and long terms.

They also noted the importance of supporting the private sector, especially small and medium enterprises, to work and invest in the sports, culture, hospitality and media sectors due to their great impact on development, creating jobs and supporting the economy.

Participants praised the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan, driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which aims to diversify and develop the Kingdom’s economy at all levels, including increasing the number of tourists. 

The hosting of continental and international sporting events by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Egypt and Morocco has great economic value, they said. 

Participants stressed the importance of the human, cultural and legal dimensions of sports and entertainment programs.

The ABCC’s secretary-general and executive chairman, Bandar bin Ali Riza, said the meeting was a major preparatory stage for the organization of an Arab-British conference on the sports, entertainment and hospitality industries as important economic sectors. 

He stressed the importance of strengthening relations between Arab countries and the UK by exchanging experiences in all fields of trade and the economy.

He also stressed the importance of benefiting from the experiences of the UK as one of the world’s leading countries in the fields of sports, entertainment, tourism, services and economic management.

The head of development and international relations at the International Association of Sports Law, Majed Garoub, noted the importance of the huge investments in Saudi Arabia. 

He urged British and international companies to participate in these projects, share their expertise, and partner with Saudi and international companies so all parties benefit.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 49 min 38 sec ago

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.