DiplomaticQuarter: Relations between Paris and Riyadh are better than ever, says French envoy

French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Francois Gouyette meets Tabuk Gov. Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz. (SPA)
Updated 25 April 2019
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DiplomaticQuarter: Relations between Paris and Riyadh are better than ever, says French envoy

  • Gouyette expressed his appreciation for the historic status of the Tabuk region

RIYADH: French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Francois Gouyette has praised the partnership between Paris and Riyadh, saying that the relationship is the best it has ever been.

Speaking after a meeting with Tabuk Gov. Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the envoy added that France is a strategic partner of the Kingdom and seeks to develop these fraternal ties by promoting scientific, cultural and commercial exchanges.

As part of this mission, he said, there have been discussions about various types of cooperation, and one of the objectives of his Tabuk visit is to identify opportunities for the two nations to work as partners in a variety of fields. These include the mega-development projects that have been launched in the Kingdom, including Qiddiya, Neom, the Red Sea Project, and the Amaala Project.

Gouyette also expressed his appreciation for the historic status of the Tabuk region, and visited Tabuk University where he learned about the campus and its 16 faculties, which host more than 25,000 students who, he said, will play important roles in shaping the country’s future.

He also commended Saudi Arabia for the vital role it plays in achieving stability in the world, politically and economically, with particular reference to the Kingdom’s preparations to host the 15th annual G-20 Leaders’ Summit next year.

Underlining the importance of the historic relationship between the countries, the envoy said that as part of efforts to strengthen bilateral ties France recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of late King Faisal’s visit to Paris. Following his meeting with French President Charles de Gaulle in 1967, relations between the countries evolved through a series of high-level visits, including two trips to France by King Khalid, in 1978 and 1981. The first French president to visit the Kingdom was Valery Giscard d’Estaing, in 1977. He returned twice, in 1980 and 1981. King Fahd embarked on two official trips to France, in 1984 and 1987, and King Abdullah also visited twice, in 1985 and 1999. French President Jacques Chirac came to the Kingdom in 1997, and again in 2001 and 2006.

The increasingly close relationship between the two nations was also evident in the fact that former French President Francois Hollande paid four visits to the Kingdom following his election in 2012. His final official visit, in May 2015, was particularly historic; in addition to meeting King Salman and other senior officials, he was invited to attend the 15th meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a rare honor for a foreign leader. This month, France also marked the first anniversary of the visit by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in April 2018.


Music festival finale at Jeddah Season eclipses all expecations

Updated 11 min 6 sec ago
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Music festival finale at Jeddah Season eclipses all expecations

  • Attendees filled King Abdullah Sports City despite the heat, but nothing could prepare them for what was to come
  • Fans were wowed by performances including 50 Cent, Tyga, DJ Steve Aoki and Janet Jackson

JEDDAH: Seven megastars closed the Jeddah Season with a bang for the Jeddah World Festival on Thursday.

Attendees filled King Abdullah Sports City despite the heat, but nothing could prepare them for what was to come. 

R3wire and Varski appeared on stage and cheers erupted from the crowd. They played remixes of songs like “We Will Rock You” by Queen and The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” before mixing “One Kiss” by Dua Lipa and Calvin Harris.

Once the mood was set, superstar singer Janet Jackson stormed onto the stage. She sang and danced to hits like “All For You” and her latest track “Made for Now.”

After her powerful performance, she was replaced by English heart-throb Liam Payne. Once a part of One Direction, Payne is now a solo artist.

He performed a mix of songs, showing his vocal range and inspiring the crowd to sway with him when he sang a cover of “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran.

“The crowd here in Jeddah is amazing,” he said while performing.

After a short intermission, American rapper Tyga delivered his second performance in Jeddah after his debut on July 12.

The audience was waiting especially for him, and when he appeared on stage people made sure to show the rapper all their love with loud cheers.

Tyga performed some of the fans’ favorite tracks, including “Ice Cream Man”, “Taste”, “Rock City” and “Hookah.”

Without a moment’s rest, rapper Future began to spit fire on the stage as soon as Tyga stepped off. The rapper, 35, performed his famous tracks like “Jumpman”, “Low Life” and “Mask Off.”

Legendary rapper 50 Cent then transported the audience to the early 2000s as he performed his tracks “P.I.M.P” and “Candy Shop” before the crowd exploded with energy when the intro to “In Da Club” began to play. 

Although Chris Brown’s time on stage was short-lived and bittersweet, with the singer only performing four tracks, fans still swayed to the rhythm of his huge hit “Loyal” featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga.

Lastly, legendary DJ and producer Steve Aoki set the stage alight with an immense set-list.

The crowd jumped and surged to the beat of his opening track, “Moshi Moshi,” before moving to another classic, “Bella Ciao.”

Even though members of the crowd were exhausted after being at the venue for seven hours, their energy was refuelled as Aoki hyped them up with his high-octane performance.

Aoki created a brand new track with Saudi singer Daliah Mubarak and remixed two special songs for the Jeddah World Festival, including a mix of Egypt’s beloved singer Abdel Halim Hafez.