Maritime terrorism threats destabilize ‘regional security’: Saudi security workshop

Gen. Awad bin Eid Al-Balwi, director general of the Border Guards, speaks during the workshop in Jeddah. (SPA)
Updated 28 April 2019

Maritime terrorism threats destabilize ‘regional security’: Saudi security workshop

  • Such acts seriously undermine our efforts to achieve sustainable development, says Saudi Border Guards chief

JEDDAH: A three-day maritime security workshop held at the Mohammed bin Naif Institute for Maritime Science and Security Studies in Jeddah has ended, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The workshop was organized by the Directorate General of the Border Guards in collaboration with the International Maritime Organization, under the guidance of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif.
It focused on the Jeddah Amendments to the Djibouti Code of Conduct, which were designed to enhance the international community’s response to criminal activity at sea and were adopted in 2017.
The Djibouti Code of 2009 was designed to improve regional capacity to respond to piracy off the coasts of Africa and Saudi Arabia.
Gen. Awad bin Eid Al-Balwi, director general of the Border Guards, gave a speech at the closing workshop session. He thanked King Salman, the crown prince and the interior minister for their continued support toward achieving regional maritime security.
Al-Balwi said there was an urgent need to promote the role of national contact points so that there was better exchange of information.
“Only like this we would come a long way in promoting maritime security in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, and contribute to maritime development,” added Al-Balwi.    
Al-Balwi said the Jeddah amendments were considered a successful example of regional cooperation, and that they were a great framework for building regional capacity.
He condemned maritime terrorism, which he said destabilized the security of the region. “Such acts not only constitute a threat to the maritime navigation, but seriously undermine our efforts to achieve sustainable maritime development and a blue economy as well.”
Representatives from 18 different states took part in the three-day workshop.
Organizations or institutions that attended the event included Cardiff University, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Interpol and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Photo exhibition recalls 90 years of Saudi-Lebanon ties

Updated 19 August 2019

Photo exhibition recalls 90 years of Saudi-Lebanon ties

  • Thousands of photos on display
  • Ties ‘rooted’ in history, says Kingdom’s ambassador

BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari and Lebanon’s Minister of Information Minister of Information Jamal Jarrah on Monday inaugurated a photography exhibition celebrating 90 years of bilateral relations.

The King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives and the Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation provided the embassy in Lebanon with historical documents and photos for the exhibition, which was launched on World Photography Day. Some of the material dates back more than 90 years.

Bukhari said the exhibition’s content proved that the countries’ relations were rooted in history and recalled the words of King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman, who said: “Lebanon is part of us. I protect its independence myself and will not allow anything to harm it.”

Jarrah, who was representing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, said: “We need this Arab embrace in light of the attacks targeting the Arab region and we still need the Kingdom’s support for Lebanon’s stability, because Lebanon is truly the center from which Arabism originated.”

The exhibition starts with a document appointing Mohammed Eid Al-Rawaf as the Kingdom’s consul in Syria and Lebanon. It was signed by King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Faisal Al-Saud in 1930 and states that the consul’s residence is in Damascus and that his mission is to “promote Saudi merchants, care for their affairs and assist them with their legal and commercial interests.”

Black and white pictures summarize milestones in the development of bilateral relations, while others depict key visits and meetings between leaders and dignitaries.

“The exhibition demanded great efforts because the pieces were not found at one single location,” former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told Arab News. “Circulating this activity in the Kingdom’s embassies in numerous countries is a great step and has pushed the Lebanese Ministry of Information to benefit from this archive. The Lebanese people remember the important positions the Kingdom has taken over the year to support their independence and sovereignty and in hard times.”

Lebanon, particularly Beirut, is a hit with Saudi travelers although the Kingdom had been advising citizens since 2011 to avoid the country, citing Hezbollah’s influence and instability from the war in neighboring Syria. 

But the easing of restrictions since February has led to a surge in Saudis heading to Lebanon.

Riyadh earlier this year released $1 billion in funding and pledged to boost Lebanon’s struggling economy. Another sign of warming ties was an anniversary event marking the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father that featured Saudi Royal Court adviser Nizar Al-Aloula as a keynote speaker.

“The exhibition highlights the unique model of Lebanese-Arab relations that should be taught in diplomatic institutes, starting with the Lebanese Foreign Ministry,” former minister Marwan Hamadeh told Arab News. “Over the course of 90 years, we have had brotherly ties and political support for independence, freedom, growth, economy and culture and then the Taif Accord (which ended the Lebanese Civil War). Even after that, when Lebanon engaged in military adventures, the Kingdom was there to help with reconstruction and we are proud of these relations.”

Highlights include a recording of King Faisal telling President Charles Helou about the need to strengthen “brotherhood in the face of the aggression targeting our countries without respecting the sanctity of holy sites and international, human and moral norms to extend its influence not only in the region but across the world.”

There are also photos from a recent meeting that brought together King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Lebanese officials. 

An old broadcast recording can be heard saying that the “tragedy of the Lebanese civil war can only be ended by affirming the Lebanese legitimacy and preserving its independence and territorial integrity.”

The exhibition is on at Beit Beirut, which is located on what used to be the frontline that divided the city during the civil war.