Saudi Arabia and US hold ‘strategic dialogue’, agree to counter Iran threat

Saudi Arabia and US hold ‘strategic dialogue’, agree to counter Iran threat
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, listens to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan speaks during their meeting at the State Department, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 14 October 2020

Saudi Arabia and US hold ‘strategic dialogue’, agree to counter Iran threat

Saudi Arabia and US hold ‘strategic dialogue’, agree to counter Iran threat
  • Iran’s development of its nuclear program represents a danger to the region and the world, Prince Faisal said
  • Pompeo also agreed that Iran’s threatening behavior needed to be reined in

LONDON: Saudi Arabia and the US agree that Iran’s destabilizing behavior must be countered and deterred, the Kingdom’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“The Iranian regime continues to provide financial and material support to terrorist groups including in Yemen, where the Houthis have launched 300 Iranian-made ballistic missiles and drones toward the Kingdom,” said Prince Faisal bin Farhan after participating in the first US-Saudi Strategic Dialogue.
Iran’s development of its nuclear and ballistic missile program represents a danger to the region and the world, he added.

“Our strong partnership (with the US) is vital in confronting the forces of extremism and terrorism that threaten our security and prosperity,” Prince Faisal said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo participated in the dialogue, which aims to further strengthen US-Saudi ties.

At a joint press conference attended by Arab News, Pompeo said Iran’s behavior “threatens Saudi Arabia’s security and disrupts global commerce,” and needs to be reined in.
He added that this was clear from Iran’s attack on Aramco facilities last year, and frequent Houthi bombardment of Saudi territory using rockets, drones and “lethal technologies supplied by the Iranian regime.”

Pompeo said: “Today we reaffirmed our mutual commitment to countering Iranian malign activity, and the threat it poses to regional security and prosperity, and the security of the American people as well.

“Whether transforming the economy and empowering women through its Vision 2030 goals, facilitating negotiations that would bring an end to the Yemeni conflict, or coordinating a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic during its leadership of the G20, Saudi Arabia has been a stabilizing force throughout the region,” the Secretary of State added.

The first US-Saudi Strategic Dialogue marks a new era in the relationship between the two countries, Pompeo said.

“Ever since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud first laid the foundation for our ties 75 years ago, Saudi Arabia has been an important partner in this volatile region,” Pompeo added.

“The relationship between our people has grown since that time, and it’s distinguished today by deep and steady cooperation between our two nations.”

Pompeo took the occasion to announce that the US is preparing to acquire a 26-hectare site for a new embassy in Riyadh.

The embassy, along with the recent opening of a new consulate in Jeddah and the ongoing construction of a new consulate in Dhahran, represents a US investment of over $1 billion, he said.

Prince Faisal said he looks forward to expanding US-Saudi ties, enhancing institutional cooperation and elevating “our partnership to new highs.”

He expressed concern over the SAFER oil tanker on the Red Sea, which the Houthis are refusing to allow full access to, “threatening an environmental catastrophe that will irreparably damage Yemen’s coastline and marine life in the region.”


Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival
Located between Al-Ammariyah and Diriyah, the stunning desert area just outside of Riyadh city will combine modern luxury with oasis scenery. (Supplied)
Updated 17 January 2021

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival
  • Saudi capital’s latest desert attraction features live entertainment, shopping and international fine dining

RIYADH: The highly anticipated Riyadh Oasis will begin serving customers from Sunday until April 12.
The event, sponsored by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and the International Company for Organizing Events and Activities, in cooperation with Seven Experience and Rotana audio and video company, is a luxury entertainment project in the Kingdom’s desert interior.


Saudi Royal Court Adviser and Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority Turki Alalshikh took to Twitter to announce the date of inauguration, telling followers that “our rendezvous will be on Sunday, God willing, out of your wildest imagination!”

Described as “a tailor-made 5-star winter sanctuary at the heart of Riyadh’s beautiful golden desert landscapes,” Riyadh Oasis will offer an entertainment experience where visitors will be able to explore, eat, play, celebrate and camp out with friends and family.

Located between Al-Ammariyah and Diriyah, the stunning desert area just outside of Riyadh city will combine modern luxury with oasis scenery.
The oasis will provide Saudis with the chance to experience the country’s rich culture, live entertainment and fine dining, along with multinational cultural music and live performances.

Also featured is a shopping area with brands such as perfumery Tolat Etr, luxury jewelers Cardial, and local home and retail store Papillon.
The oasis also offers accommodation in the form of “glamps” — “glamorous camps.” Able to hold up to eight people, these strikingly decorated, tastefully modern areas include living rooms, dining areas and luxury bathrooms. While overnight stays are not possible at the glamps, the oasis is open between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekdays, and 1 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekends.
A selection of award-winning international cuisines will be on offer, with pop-ups of famous international outifts such as Japanese restaurant Zuma, Latin American fusion restaurant Amazonico, Emirati Arabic restaurant Ninive, and Greek seafood restaurant Nammos.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The oasis offers accommodation in the form of ‘glamps’ — ‘glamorous camps.’ Able to hold up to eight people, these strikingly decorated, tastefully modern areas include living rooms, dining areas and luxury bathrooms. While overnight stays are not possible at the glamps, the oasis is open between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekdays, and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends.

• People can book tickets for the restaurants and the glamps using The Chefz app. Restaurant reservations cost between SR500 ($130) and SR860, while a reservation for one of the Glamps will be about SR13,000.

People can book tickets for the restaurants and the glamps using The Chefz app. Restaurant reservations cost between SR500 ($130) and SR860, while a reservation for one of the Glamps will be about SR13,000.
Maha Abdulmajeed, a Riyadh resident, told Arab News that she had booked a reservation for Zuma “almost immediately” when news broke of its opening.
“I’m a big fan of Zuma; I’ve been to both their Dubai and New York locations. I’m very excited to visit the pop-up, especially with COVID-19 affecting my ability to travel,” she said.
“I’ve been to several other pop-ups that came to Saudi during Riyadh Season and Jeddah Season, such as Nusr-Et and Coya, so I have no doubt that the Riyadh Oasis pop-ups will be just as well-done and enjoyable,” she said.
Sarah Alghamdi, who plans to travel to Riyadh from her hometown of Alkhobar, told Arab News that she would be making a reservation for at least one of the restaurants.
“I haven’t had the chance to visit any of the permanent locations yet, so I’m not sure which one to try, but I would love to be able to visit at least one of them,” she said.
Alghamdi said that she appreciated the efforts that the Kingdom was making to keep citizens entertained and happy while international travel was not possible.
“My family is in the habit of traveling abroad every year around this time, and since we were unable to do so this year, it kind of bummed us all out. It’s great that we still have the opportunity to travel and experience new things even if we can’t go abroad. It’s also really made me appreciative of domestic travel. It’s very easy to assume that there’s nothing to do at home and that international destinations are the only ones that can hold any appeal,” she said.