Iran ‘linked to all regional ills’

SOLIDARITY: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman breaks fast with soldiers at the southern border. He went to meet them soon after ending the foreign trip to US and France.
Updated 30 June 2016
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Iran ‘linked to all regional ills’

PARIS: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French president have committed their two nations to seeking joint solutions to the crises affecting the Middle East.

This came as Prince Mohammed wrapped up his visit to the country on Wednesday and sent a message to Francois Hollande thanking him for hosting him and holding talks on deepening cooperation on the political, social and economic fronts, SPA reported.
Prince Mohammed had held several meetings on Tuesday in Paris, including a visit to the country’s Parliament, and French Business Council where he briefed members on Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020, the plans to diversify the country’s economy with a focus on investment income.
He also held a meeting with Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO and urged further cooperation in terms of developing education and having more archaeological sites in the Kingdom placed on the World Heritage List.
Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, speaking at a symposium hosted by the French Diplomatic Academy, said Saudi Arabia and France shared views on how to deal with problems in the Middle East, including Syria, Yemen and Libya.
“There is a sectarian problem in our region created and encouraged by Iran after 1979. After the Iranian revolution a revolutionary system was established in Iran that wanted to act as if it were responsible for every Shiite in the world, and as a result we have seen increasing sectarianism in the Middle East. Then the Hezbollah was founded in Lebanon ... Iran is behind the unrest in the region,” he said.
He said that all acts of terrorism and civil wars in the region can be linked to Iran. The country has to change its behavior so that there can be a dialogue. It must stop interfering in the internal affairs of Yemen, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Palestinians, he said.
“Saudi Arabia had no interest in conducting a war in Yemen but we had no choice when there was a militia allied with Hezbollah and Iran fighting there, with forces and ballistic missiles only 30 miles away from our borders. It was crucial for us to act,” he said. There was now hope for a political solution because most of the country was controlled by the government, and to rebuild Yemen, he said.
On Syria, Al-Jubeir said a solution must be found without Bashar Assad because he killed and displaced millions of his own people. This has caused the rise in terrorism in that part of the world, he said.


Riyadh Eid festivities draw more than 1.5 million visitors

Updated 2 min 8 sec ago
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Riyadh Eid festivities draw more than 1.5 million visitors

  • The diversity of events the municipality provided this year offered plenty of choice to the capital’s residents and visitors.
  • The garden of King Fahd Library which received visitors over the three days of Eid witnessed interactive and entertainment shows.

JEDDAH: Riyadh municipality Eid Al-Fitr activities attracted more than 1.5 million visitors, residents and citizens over the three-day holiday.
The diversity of events the municipality provided this year offered plenty of choice to the capital’s residents and visitors.
The municipality hosted 200 functions in 30 different locations across the city. It distributed thousands of presents, balloons and candy to children to encourage them to attend Eid prayers and to bring joy to their hearts.
Riyadh’s Eid festivities in Qasr AL-Hokm included the Saudi traditional folk-dance show, activities and competitions for children, as well as folk arts and poetry shows.
The garden of King Fahd Library which received visitors over the three days of Eid witnessed interactive and entertainment shows, as well as artistic activities and sports competitions.
Riyadh municipality organized five theater shows for men and women, including two for men: Shekka Wa Noss, and Tersam Al-Wahch; two plays for women: Banat Al-Social and Umm Suwaileh Al-Sawaqa, and an open play, Al-Qarya Al-Maghdoura.
Riyadh municipality also organized three theater shows for the blind and deaf.
“Al-Qarya Al-Maghdoura” (The Betrayed Village), the first open-theater show in the Kingdom, was held in the showroom of Al-Jazeera neighborhood. It was written, directed and played by Saudis.
The municipality allocated several events and locations for the participation of humanitarian organizations by receiving them and setting private seats for them, in coordination with the Saudi Association for Deaf.
It also organized a special program to entertain women and children over the three days of Eid. The events for women included plays, free drawing and coloring sessions, artifacts and competitions.
Carnival marches were launched in the north and west of Riyadh, by 300 cartoon characters and featured the participation of touring folk groups, along with a solidarity march with soldiers, as well as classic car shows.
The capital’s residents and visitors enjoyed fireworks that lasted 10 minutes and colored the sky of Riyadh at King Fahd International Stadium, a location near King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) and a location near Wadi Leban Bridge in west Riyadh.