King Salman concludes Gulf tour

King Salman concludes Gulf tour
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman was presented with top civilian awards during his visit to four Gulf countries. He received (clockwise from top left) the Order of Zayed in the UAE, Sword of the Founder in Qatar, Order of Mubarak the Great in Kuwait and Order of Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa in Bahrain.
Updated 10 December 2016

King Salman concludes Gulf tour

King Salman concludes Gulf tour

JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman concluded his weeklong visit to the Gulf states after attending a spectacular show at Kuwait's Opera House on Friday.
The colorful ceremony included stellar performances by singing sensations Mohammed Abdu and Abdullah Ruwaished. The Saudi king was welcomed with poetic lines that whipped up nationalist fervor and the awe-inspiring military marches completed the visually dazzling show.
King Salman was presented with Order of Mubarak the Great — Kuwait's highest civilian award.
The whirlwind tour, that began last Saturday, took the king to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, and throughout the past six days, the king was seen enjoying the hospitality of his Gulf counterparts.
In the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, the king performed the traditional Saudi dance and visited a number of cultural landmarks. The videos of him performing Ardha in the different Gulf capitals created quite a buzz on the social media.
In the UAE, which he was visiting for the first time since ascending the throne, he was awarded the Order of Zayed — the highest civilian award — at Al-Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi.
The award was in recognition of King Salman’s “pivotal role in strengthening the fraternal cooperation between the two countries and supporting the Gulf and the Arab common action.”
“Arab history will always remember the historic stance and decisive decisions of King Salman against attempts by greedy foreign forces to meddle in Arab internal affairs,” said Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
“King Salman created a unified GCC-Arab front to confront these interferences. History will long ponder the operation to restore legitimacy in Yemen at a critical juncture in the brave Arab action that is driven by self-initiative and self-dependence in protecting Arab higher interests, aborting plots of expansion and hegemony in the region.”
From UAE, the king went to Qatar where the proverbial red carpet was rolled out for him.
The warm welcome for King Salman included festivities on the Corniche, banquet meals and the presentation of a sword belonging to Qatar’s founder Sheikh Jassim — the “highest national decoration.”
According to Qatari News Agency (QNA), King Salman was the first person to receive the honor, “to cement bonds of brotherhood between the two brotherly peoples.”
The highlight of the visit was an impromptu Ardha dance by the king as he stood next to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
“I would like to extend on behalf of the people of Qatar and on my own behalf our sincere welcome and express our great pleasure over the visit of my brother, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, for whom we have deep affection, dearness and all appreciation, and we share with his kind people the most deeply rooted, strongest and well-established fraternal ties. We welcome him in his second country, Qatar, among his family and relatives,” Sheikh Tamim said in a statement. “I do not need to stress in this context our intense pride over the strong … ties between Qatar and the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, laid by parents and grandparents...”
After Qatar, the king arrived in Bahrain where he attended the 37th GCC Summit and also the GCC-UK Summit, which included British Prime Minister Theresa May.
It was during this summit that the British prime minister came out with the strongest support for the Gulf countries — opening a new chapter in GCC-UK ties.
May, the first woman and first British leader to address a GCC summit, told assembled leaders: “Gulf security is our security. I want to assure you that I am clear-eyed about the threat that Iran poses to the Gulf and to the wider Middle East.”
May said she sought a “bold new chapter” in cooperation with Gulf states, which she described as “a strategic relationship… based on true partnership and an enduring commitment between our countries and our peoples.”
The next day Bahrain conferred its highest civilian award on King Salman — Order of Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa.
Another significant aspect of the visit was the decision by King Salman and King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa to study the construction of another bridge between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain over the Arabian Sea. This will run parallel to the King Fahad Causeway.
After a successful Gulf trip, the king is expected to return to Riyadh on Saturday.