Saudi Vision 2030 looks to the future but Iran’s ‘vision 1979’ is regressive: Prince Khalid

Prince Khalid bin Salman speaks during an interview with Vice Media. (Photo: Screenshot)
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Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Vision 2030 looks to the future but Iran’s ‘vision 1979’ is regressive: Prince Khalid

  • Deputy Minister of Defense said that Iran wants to export its revolution and has “an expansionist ideology”
  • In an interview with Vice Media, he said the country was the biggest threat to the region

JEDDAH: As the leadership of Saudi Arabia works, through its ambitious Vision 2030 project, to move the country and its people forward, Iran continues to follow its “vision 1979” in an attempt to push the region backward, according to Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman.
Speaking during an interview with Vice Media, he said: “We have…this great vision, Vision 2030, where we want to reform our economy, to basically uncap the potential in Saudi Arabia, to open new sectors in Saudi Arabia, and to have a prosperous country, and to move our citizens forward.
“To be able to do that, we need a stable, secure region, a prosperous region. We need to increase our economic cooperation with neighboring countries.”
Turning to the dangers the region is facing, the minister said: “I believe the biggest threats to the region, and to international security, is basically Iran: the Iranian regime and its proxies on one side, and Daesh, Al-Qaeda and terrorist organizations on the other side.
“We believe that they’re two sides of the same coin. They believe in the same concept; not necessarily exactly the same ideology, but they both do not believe in the sovereignty of nations, they both believe in a transnational ideological state, they both do not believe in international law, and sometimes they compete with each other and they fight each other. But when it comes to us, we’re the common enemy and they cooperate.”

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Asked why the Kingdom is viewed as the common enemy, Prince Khalid said it is because “we are a force of stability, a force of peace, a force of prosperity in the region.”
He added that Iran wants to export its revolution: “Iran has an expansionist ideology. Iran wants other states in the region not to be partners, but to be under the Iranian expansionist project.”
Prince Khalid highlighted US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Kingdom in 2017, his first official foreign trip after taking office, as a significant moment not only for the Saudi Arabia but the entire Muslim World.
“The Saudi-US relationship is strong and it has been strong for seven decades,” he said. “This relationship started with President Roosevelt, who was a Democrat, and has been strengthening since then with different presidents of the United States, Democrats and Republicans.”
He pointed out that this close relationship has benefited both countries economically.
“So this is a continuation of this historic, strong relationship that has protected people from both countries on the security side, and also it has on the economic side created a lot of jobs and opportunities in both countries and helped the economy,” he said. “President Trump’s visit is an important visit to the Muslim world, and I believe that it is vital for the United States to have a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia and the Muslim world.”
The prince added that the speech Trump made during his visit highlighted the fact that the most common victims of terrorist groups are Muslims.
“I think the president’s speech on that visit was very encouraging to Muslim people to see,” he said. “He spoke about counterterrorism and he said that Daesh and the terrorist groups’ victims are mostly Muslims. And it’s very important for the Muslim people to hear the President of the United States mentioning this.”


World leaders call for courage as virus death toll nears 70,000

Updated 06 April 2020

World leaders call for courage as virus death toll nears 70,000

  • Be strong, Pope Francis says
  • US faces ‘Pearl Harbor moment’

JEDDAH: World leaders urged people on Sunday to show courage and strength in fighting the coronavirus pandemic as the global death toll approached 70,000 from more than 1.25 million cases of infection.

Pope Francis described the outbreak as a tragedy, Queen Elizabeth of the UK offered her personal thanks to frontline health workers, and Americans were warned that they faced the “hardest and the saddest week” of their lives.

Saudi Arabia reported five more deaths from the virus, bringing the total to 34. The number of confirmed cases rose by 206 to 2,385, the highest among Gulf Arab states.

The Foreign Ministry will register requests this week from Saudis abroad who want to return home, with priority given to the elderly, pregnant women and people in countries most affected by the pandemic. Those who return are subject to a 14-day quarantine, and about 11,000 hotel rooms have been set aside for them.

The Health Ministry warned that too many people were ignoring advice to stay at home. “Unfortunately, there is still more than 40 percent mobility in shopping and outdoor activities. This is a very alarming percentage,”ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said.

“We are all in this boat together, and those who risk their own lives by going out for no urgent need are risking everybody else’s lives too.”

The six Gulf states have reported 6,757 cases of infection and 54 deaths from the coronavirus. The UAE, where 1,505 people have been infected and 10 have died, will increase its stockpile of strategic goods and waive residency visa fines for the rest of the year, said the prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

In Rome, on Palm Sunday, a Christian religious festival, Pope Francis celebrated mass by live stream with St.Peter’s Square empty of the usual huge crowds.

“Today, in the tragedy of a pandemic, in the face of the many false securities that have now crumbled, in the face of so many hopes betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that weighs upon our hearts, Jesus says to each one of us: ‘Courage, open your heart to my love’,” he said.

Queen Elizabeth gave a rare special address to the British people, only the fourth in her 68-year reign. She praised frontline health workers and more than 750,000 people who volunteered to help the state-run National Health Service.

“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge, and those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any,” she said.

In the US, as the death toll approached 10,000, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said: “This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives … our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment.”