US ambassador John Abizaid attends 75th anniversary of Saudi-US ties celebration in Riyadh

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US ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid made an address in Riyadh on Friday at a celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the meeting between President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz on board the USS Quincy in 1945. (Supplied)
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US ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid made an address in Riyadh on Friday at a celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the meeting between President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz on board the USS Quincy in 1945. (Supplied)
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US ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid made an address in Riyadh on Friday at a celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the meeting between President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz on board the USS Quincy in 1945. (Supplied)
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Updated 15 February 2020

US ambassador John Abizaid attends 75th anniversary of Saudi-US ties celebration in Riyadh

  • Abizaid made an address in Riyadh on Friday at a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the meeting between President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz

RIYADH: US ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid made an address in Riyadh on Friday at a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the meeting between President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz on board the USS Quincy in 1945.

His remarks can be read below:

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“Thank you all for joining us this evening. Welcome to Quincy House. Exactly seventy-five years ago, two great leaders met aboard the USS. Quincy.
“President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz met to chart the future of our bilateral ties. This first encounter between a US president and a Saudi King laid the foundation for the broad strategic partnership the United States and Saudi Arabia share today.
“Beyond partnership, President Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz forged a personal friendship that is at the heart of the strong ties our two countries share today.

“As we mark this important anniversary, I particularly want to welcome our guest of honor, the governor of Riyadh, His Royal Highness Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Thank you, your highness, for joining us in our celebration today. Let me also welcome His Highness Prince Abdullah bin Faisal binTurki who served as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in the United States. He was instrumental in strengthening our ties and advancing our mutual security and prosperity.
“I am also honored to welcome and recognize Mr. Hassan Yassin, who as a young boy was present onboard the USS. Quincy and witnessed the meeting between President Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz. His father, Yusuf Yassin, provided valuable counsel to KingAbdulaziz during this pivotal meeting and the early stages of our growing partnership. We are grateful that Hassan followed in his father’s footsteps and spent many years in the United States advancing our shared goals and building our friendship.

 


“It is also important to recognize the representatives of forty-four companies who have generously assisted to make this wonderful celebration possible.
“The historic meeting aboard the USS. Quincy launched a partnership that has brought our people together to deliver an unprecedented record of successes. Americans and Saudis built the global energy system that has been so crucial to the steady growth of the world’s economy. During the Cold War, we stood together against Communism and Soviet aggression.
“In 1991 our joint forces liberated Kuwait. We have stood shoulder to shoulder to oppose threats to the region, especially terrorism. Our citizens have learned from one another through a rich slate of exchange programs. Hundreds of thousands of Saudis have visited, studied, and worked in the United States.

 

“Similarly, hundreds of thousands of Americans have undertaken pilgrimage to Makkah and Medina and have worked in the Kingdom to build our strong business, educational, and security ties.
“And we continue to work together. American companies are working to ensure the success of Vision 2030. Our militaries work together to bring stability and security to the region, even as Iran continues its campaign of aggression.

 

 

“As many of you may have heard, we recently launched the Quincy College Preparatory Scholarship program to help young Saudis interested in pursuing college education in the United States. Thanks to Saudi Arabia’s new visa regulations, more Americans than ever are visiting Saudi Arabia as business representatives, thought leaders, tourists, scholars, artists, athletes, and competitors.
“I am confident that this is just the beginning. The future of our two great countries and our bilateral ties is indeed bright. Thank you for being our guests here tonight, and for your friendship. Please enjoy the evening and help us launch the next 75 years of the US-Saudi partnership.”


Rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

Updated 10 July 2020

Rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

  • Saudis turn to domestic traveling and flock to their nation’s cooler cities and rural areas

TAIF: As Saudi citizens turn to domestic tourism in the country’s summer resorts, adapting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, rural areas have become targeted by local tourists wishing to get away from the soaring temperatures in most of the Kingdom’s cities.

Visitors are now choosing cold Saudi cities instead of Europe, which they are accustomed to visiting, such as Taif, Al-Baha, and Abha.

COVID-19 has postponed all plans to travel abroad, and attention has now focused on domestic tourism amid strict health protocols in parks, gardens and recreational areas.

Walid Al-Hamidi, vice president of the Tourism Development Council, confirmed to Arab News that Asir, with its facilities and attractions, was ready to receive summer visitors from across the country.

He said that under the directives of Asir's governor, who supervises all activities and events directly and constantly, many committees had been formed to prepare a successful summer tourism season, to optimize the opportunity and allow people to enjoy the exceptional ambiance of Asir.

“A comprehensive tourism plan was set up two years ago, which resulted in a successful Al-Soudah Season with the support of Asir’s Investment Authority,” Al-Hamidi added.

He noted that Asir’s directives aimed this year to build an exceptional tourism model that meets optimal health standards in dealing with COVID-19.

The model is supported by the “Nashama Asir” team — consisting of 4,000 volunteers — who have been trained for months and have all the necessary skills to make the season successful. Their work will continue until the end of the pandemic and throughout the summer.

“Everyone is ready at public facilities, gardens and parks, to serve tourists,” he said, adding “tourists coming from all the over the Kingdom will be welcomed with smiles, enhanced services, and warm welcomes.”

Dr. Sami Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taif, told Arab News that the tourism sector was the economic backbone of any country or city.

He said that Taif was considered one of the most important tourist cities, given its many attractions  that made it top of any list of places to visit in the Kingdom.

“Suspending travel abroad, and limiting tourism … due to the coronavirus pandemic, makes us, as officials and citizens in Taif, well placed for a beautiful and safe tourism season for Taif’s citizens and visitors,” said Al-Obaidi.

“Meetings are held around the clock, headed by Saad Al-Maimouni, the governor of Taif, with the participation of the relevant authorities.”

He expected all sectors, especially tourism, hospitality and a few other businesses in Taif, to recover to some extent during this season, especially now tourists have already started flocking to the region, with numbers set to increase over the coming weeks.