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.


Lights, camera, action: Gala heralds rebirth of Saudi cinema

Updated 19 April 2018
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Lights, camera, action: Gala heralds rebirth of Saudi cinema

  • Saudi Arabia plans to open nearly 350 cinemas, with more than 2,500 screens, by 2030
  • Movie theaters are expected to contribute more than $24 billion to the Saudi economy and create more than 30,000 jobs by 2030

RIYADH: It was a night to remember: Cinema returned to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday with the first major movie screening in 35 years in a spectacular new theater in King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh.
The gala screening of the Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther was attended by hundreds of invited guests in the sleek and chic complex — described by AMC cinema chain bosses as “the most beautiful movie theater in the world.”
As the guests took their seats, Princess Reema bint Bandar told Arab News: “It’s a privilege to be here. I hope everyone gets to enjoy the experience I’m having this evening.”
In an official opening ceremony before the movie began, AMC bosses joined Saudi government officials on the stage. Each placed their hand each on a large handprint, triggering a shower of glittering, colorful confetti on the audience. It was a magical moment — just like the movies, in fact.
Paul Hill, the general manager of AMC, told Arab News: “It’s an absolute honor and privilege to be part of the opening It’s a historic achievement. This really will be the place to go.”
The opening was overseen by the Development and Investment Entertainment Company, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and a partner with AMC in the new cinema complex.
Dr. Awwad Alawwad, the Saudi Minister of Culture and Information, and Adam Aron, chief executive and president of AMC Entertainment, joined diplomats and industry experts to watch Black Panther in the first in a series of invitation-only screenings during April.
“I know for sure that Saudis are very eager to be able to watch their favorite films here in their own country, as now made possible by Vision 2030,” Dr. Alawwad said before the screening.
“This is a landmark moment in the transformation of Saudi Arabia into a more vibrant economy and society. None of this would be possible without the visionary leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
The cinema will open to the public on Friday. “There are some surprises and secrets on how we are promoting it. The tickets will be sold online and there will be more information in 24 hours,” said AMC Vice President Jason Cole.
Three more screens will be added to the cinema complex by September. Saudi Arabia plans to open nearly 350 cinemas, with more than 2,500 screens, by 2030.