Saudi foreign minister determined to bolster Cyprus ties

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister meets his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia. (Twitter/@KSAmofaEN)
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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister meets his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia. (Twitter/@KSAmofaEN)
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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister meets his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia. (Twitter/@KSAmofaEN)
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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister meets his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia. (Twitter/@KSAmofaEN)
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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister meets his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia. (Twitter/@KSAmofaEN)
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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister meets Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia. (Twitter/@KSAmofaEN)
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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister meets Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia. (Twitter/@KSAmofaEN)
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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister meets his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia. (Twitter/@KSAmofaEN)
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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister meets his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia. (Twitter/@KSAmofaEN)
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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister meets his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia. (Twitter/@KSAmofaEN)
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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister meets his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia. (Twitter/@KSAmofaEN)
Updated 11 September 2019

Saudi foreign minister determined to bolster Cyprus ties

  • They addressed challenges like terrorism, the rise of extremism and climate change
  • ‘EU-Saudi cooperation is key to dealing with regional challenges’

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister says his country is keen to explore ways of strengthening relations with Cyprus given the European Union member country’s geographic location and long-standing ties with the Arab world.
Ibrahim Al-Assaf’s visit to the east Mediterranean island nation on Wednesday where he also met with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades was the first by a top Saudi official.
Al-Assaf said there’s “high interest” in developing relations “on all fronts.”
Among the topics they discussed were some of the most pressing challenges in the region, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Syria, Iran and Yemen.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said the two men agreed to focus initially on tourism and investment.

“In this context, we stand ready to proceed with the facilitation of bilateral Business Forums in our two countries, respectively, within the framework of our Economic Diplomacy program,” he said.
Christodoulides noted a shared understanding to jointly address challenges like terrorism, the rise of extremism and climate change.
The Cypriot foreign minister said EU-Saudi cooperation is key to dealing with regional challenges and that Cyprus would continue advocating that in Brussels.
Both sides also discussed opportunities for cooperation regarding the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy and develop political, economic, energy, security, military and defense fields.

Some important steps have already been taken between the two countries, such as implementing the Double Taxation agreement and the Air Services agreement that have enhanced bilateral relations.
Christodoulides also briefed Al-Assaf on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem and expressed their sincere appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s support of their “efforts to reach a just, viable and comprehensive solution” to the issue. “Taking into consideration recent developments in our Exclusive Economic Zone and particularly the illegal activities and aggressive behavior of Turkey, the solidarity and support of countries such as Saudi Arabia is indispensable,” Christodoulides said.
Speaking during a joint press conference Al-Assaf said the Kingdom “supports the legitimacy and sovereignty of Cyprus and the decisions by the United Nations and hopes that the two sides will solve the problem peacefully.”
He added: “We need to take advantages of the many elements that bring us together and the economic opportunities that our two countries offer.”
Meanwhile, Cyprus’ defense minister said the east Mediterranean island nation and neighbor Egypt are exchanging information to bolster security around an offshore search for natural gas as part of enhanced defense ties.
Savvas Angelides says the two neighbors’ information-sharing extends to countering any extremist threats.
The Cypriot minister says defense ties are also being upgraded between Cyprus, Egypt and Greece as through joint military exercises and personnel exchanges.
Angelides was speaking Wednesday after escorting his counterpart, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki, to a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
Cyprus and Egypt share a sea border delineating their respective exclusive economic zones where each country is carrying out exploratory gas drilling.
Officials said a recent discovery of Egypt’s Zohr gas field bodes well for more discoveries in Cypriot waters.


Organizers promise ‘exceptional’ Saudi National Day celebrations

Updated 16 September 2019

Organizers promise ‘exceptional’ Saudi National Day celebrations

  • We are keen to have the largest international events to create an exceptional season, says GEA CEO Amr Banaja

RIYADH: Fireworks, concerts, festivals and international performances will be among the highlights of the 89th Saudi National Day celebrations this year.

The General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has announced a season of record-breaking events for the annual celebration.

At a press conference in Riyadh on Sunday, GEA CEO Amr Banaja said that Saudi citizens and residents can enjoy a number of entertainment activities planned across 13 regions of the Kingdom as part of the National Day season being supervised by the GEA from Sept. 19 to 23.

“The GEA is proud to oversee the Saudi National Day Season activities by launching a unified identity that brings together the society under “Himma Hatta El-Qimmah,” Banaja said, inspired by the words of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: “The Saudis’ strength is like that of the Tuwaiq mountain.”

The GEA was proud to be overseeing the occasion, Banaja said. “We are keen to have the largest international events to create an exceptional season befitting this dear country,” he said.

“This year fireworks celebrations will continue for several days where more than 700,000 shots will be fired at an altitude of up to 300 meters, accompanied by music,” he said.

Celebrations will be held in all regions during the season, and visitors will be able to enjoy a range of activities that reflected the unity of the nation and the cohesion of the people and leadership.

“Distinctive international shows designed especially for the National Day will be held in Riyadh from Sept. 21-23,” he said.

Fireworks will light up Jeddah over Al-Hamra Corniche accompanied by sound and light effects and laser shows.

At the five-day Dhahran Exhibition in Dammam starting on Sept. 19, the world’s largest theatrical producer “Cirque du Soleil” will present a specially designed show for Saudi National Day.

Forty artists will present 14 shows of acrobatics, sports, music, and dance. Eight concerts will also be held in a number of regions where, besides international stars, Saudi and Gulf artists will present patriotic songs.

The concerts will begin on the first day of the season on Sept. 19 at Al-Jouf University Stadium in Sakaka with performances by Khaled Abdulrahman and Nabil Shuail.

The next day, a concert will be held at King Khalid Sport City in Tabuk staged by artists Abdullah Al-Rowaished and Aseel Abu Bakr.

On Sept. 21, Majid Al-Mohandes and Dalia Mubarak will perform at Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Musaed Stadium in Hail.

On Sept. 22, two concerts will be performed at King Abdullah Sports City in Buraidah by artists Rashid Al-Majid and Balqees Fathi; the second at Prince Sultan Cultural Center in Jazan by “The Artist of Arabs” Mohammed Abdo and Turki.

On Saudi National Day (Sept. 23), three concerts will be held in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

Thousands will gather at King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh to listen to singers Hussein Al-Jasmi and Abadi Al-Jawhar.

In Jeddah, Rabeh Saqr and the artist Waad will perform at King Abdullah Sports City, while in Dammam, and in the Green Halls in Riyadh, Kuwaiti singer Nawal and the artist Ayed will entertain the audience.

Five forums will take place in five cities, where a number of speakers will present inspirational events.

Forums will be held in Madinah and Tabuk on Sept. 19, while in Abha and Buraidah the forum will be held on Sept. 21 and in Hail on Sept. 23.

Banaja said that the GEA had created 150 smartphone apps for the National Day celebrations with 40,000 downloaded so far.

He thanked the security authorities for their efforts to make the season a success, and all government, private and nonprofit sectors for their contribution.

The programs were mostly free, he said, though there were some concerts for which tickets could be purchased online.

There will also be a major aero show in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province, and a Saudi falcon show will be organized in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar.