LONDON: The publication of a French-language digital edition of Arab News was warmly welcomed on Wednesday across the Arab and French-speaking world.
François Gouyette, the French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, launched Arab News en Français on Tuesday — France’s National Day — at a videoconference event attended by Saudi, Arab and French officials, diplomats and journalists, and special guests.
The Arab News French-language edition created “a window of communication between an independent Arab media outlet and French speakers everywhere,” said Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs.
“Human beings share common human values ... and language is an important communication tool,” the minister said.
Video footage of a colorful light show at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, marking the launch and congratulating France on its national day, was shared by social media users and commentators around the world.
Ludovic Pouille, the French ambassador to the UAE, said the launch was great news for the French-speaking world.
“I hope that Arab News will become the new Francophone bridge between France and the UAE, between the Gulf and Europe and between Europe and Africa, this big francophone continent with which we have so much to share,” he said.
The publication of Arab News en Français was “a great day for us, for information and for culture, and for relations between France and the Arab world,” said France’s former Culture Minister Jack Lang.
“A French edition can help to publicize the riches and the projects of Saudi Arabia today, and highlight the multiple economic, cultural, educational and scientific projects that this country is giving birth to.”
Lebanese politician and media chief executive Nayla Tuéni said: “The launch of a digital news platform in French by Saudi media is a first. Arab News throws out challenges today against a backdrop of international turmoil and uncertainty.”