President of Djibouti delivers opening speech at launch of Arab News en Français

Ismail Omar Guelleh, the president of the Republic of Djibouti, at the launch of Arab News French edition. (Screengrab)
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Updated 15 July 2020

President of Djibouti delivers opening speech at launch of Arab News en Français

  • Since Djibouti gained its independence in 1977, it has built a strong bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The launch of Arab News en Français reflects Saudi Arabia’s “leading role in the exchanges and interactions of an increasingly interdependent world,” according to Ismail Omar Guelleh, the president of the Republic of Djibouti.

“There is no doubt that the launch of a French edition of Arab News naturally reaffirms the Kingdom’s mission for promoting linguistic and intellectual universality,” he said as he delivered the opening speech at the virtual launch event. “With this French edition, the Saudi press, which for long has formed Arab and English opinions, will rapidly gather … many French-speaking followers.

“This media support will serve, along with a new linguistic component, as a relay and a communication channel to illustrate the brotherly Kingdom’s high aptitude in terms of its capacity to embody a driving and a leading role in the exchanges and interactions of an increasingly interdependent world.”


The introduction of the digital French-language edition of Arab News — which goes live on July 14, French National Day — follows the successful launch of two other online international editions of the Middle East’s leading English-language daily: Arab News Pakistan (www.arabnews.pk) in Feb. 2018 and Arab News Japan (www.arabnews.jp) in Oct. 2019.

Guelleh kicked off the official launch by saying he was “pleased to have the honor of delivering the opening speech at the launch ceremony of the French edition of the Saudi newspaper, Arab News.”

He added: “This is a token of appreciation that comes in line with the privileged nature of the friendly ties between the two brotherly peoples of the Republic of Djibouti and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Since Djibouti gained its independence in 1977, it has built a strong bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia, the president said, adding that the countries have a number of mutual interests and enjoy good relations on many levels.

“The relations between our two nations have gone beyond the classical course of exchange between governments and have now, indeed, reached all the levels of exchange, including the private sector, to which Arab News belongs,” he said.

“There is no doubt that the launch of a French edition of Arab News naturally reaffirms the Kingdom’s mission for promoting linguistic and intellectual universality.”

Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti

“Djibouti and Saudi Arabia share a strong relationship, built throughout history. The solidarity and cordiality they continuously and invariably display for one another show that this does not stem from nothing; they draw their energy and force across a community of cultural and linguistic values and heritage.”

Guelleh also highlighted the role and standing of Saudi Arabia in the international community, and the ways in which the French edition of Arab news might reflect and reinforce this.

“As an economic power and a cultural and civilizational focal point, the Kingdom is permanently at the forefront in the global fight for integration, dedicated to the regulation of transcontinental challenges,” he said.

“French opinions, just like the Arab-speaking and English-speaking readership, will undoubtedly take fully into account the community of interests and destinies shared with the Kingdom and the rest of the Arab world.”


The president concluded by noting that the new edition of Arab News will not only promote Saudi interests.

“This initiative falls within the scope of the measures conducive to bringing together the different cultural and linguistic communities of our increasingly integrated world,” he said.


Lebanese news agency boycotts politicians’ press conferences, including Hezbollah’s Nasrallah

Updated 07 August 2020

Lebanese news agency boycotts politicians’ press conferences, including Hezbollah’s Nasrallah

  • The Lebanese news agency LBCI has said it will no longer provide coverage of any politician’s press conference, including Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah
  • “Let your accomplishments speak for you and don’t distract people with storytelling,” an LBCI presenter said

LONDON: The Lebanese news agency LBCI has said it will no longer provide coverage of any politician’s press conference, including Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, following Tuesday’s massive explosions.

“The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International decided that what comes after Aug. 4 is not like what came before,” a presenter announced on live television on Friday.

“Because after the earthquake is not the same as before, because your (Lebanese government) neglect and failure is one of the main reasons for what we have come to ... because after Aug. 4, we need actions and not words, achievements and not speeches.

“Let your accomplishments speak for you and don’t distract people with storytelling,” she said.

“Finally, we tell people: While you are waiting for the speeches of your leaders, there are mothers who are waiting for the return of their children from the rubble — the priority is for them, not for you.”

Many Lebanese welcomed LBCI’s announcement, with several taking to social media to praise the move — especially given that Nasrallah spoke at a press conference at 5:30 p.m. local time, his first address since the blasts.

“Not only Nasrallah, but all speeches, by all parties. They are nothing more than propaganda. They own their own propaganda bullhorns, so let them use those to address their sheep, rather than block the airwaves for the rest of us,” Raghda Azad, a policy adviser, told Arab News.

“Not that LBC is a model or anything, but all television outlets should stop unquestioning and uncritical reports of so-called leaders,” she added.

However, some doubt the move will not be followed by other stations.

“I think it would be great if they all do. But I think because many people care what he says, stations feel like they should oblige,” Aya Chamseddine, a Beirut-based researcher, told Arab News.

“Generally, people tend to — even if they loathe him — root themselves in front of TVs to watch and listen. His speeches are theatrics above all,” she said. “His narrative will be predictable. He will say they know more than anyone what it means to lose people. He’ll be insulting.”

A Lebanese media expert, who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, disagrees with the move.

“CNN, even when it hates (US President) Trump, carries his speeches. Nasrallah is the biggest political player in the region; when he speaks people would want to listen because of his effect on politics and our daily lives,” he said.

“The issue is analyzing what he says later, and tearing it apart when it is false or stupid, like CNN does after every Trump speech or statement.”

The boycott comes three days after Beirut was rocked by two blasts when 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate confiscated six years ago and left in a port storage hangar exploded.

The massive explosions left at least 140 people dead, over 5,000 injured and more than 300,000 homeless. Many say that government corruption and negligence are behind the explosion.