US, Saudi Arabia strengthen links to fight common threats

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, at the State Department in Washington. (AFP)
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Updated 21 October 2020

US, Saudi Arabia strengthen links to fight common threats

  • Historic Washington dialogues highlight ‘extensive security, economic ties’

NEW YORK: A US-Saudi Strategic Dialogue in Washington has highlighted both countries’ commitment to “countering and deterring the threat that Iranian malign activity poses to regional security and prosperity.”

The talks, co-chaired by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan, also underscored “the extensive security, economic and cultural ties” between the two nations.

A joint statement yesterday came as Saudi Arabia and the US celebrated the 75th anniversary of a partnership established during the historic 1945 meeting between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz aboard the USS Quincy.

In addition to the common Iranian threat, the dialogues held on Oct. 14 in Washington focused on range of issues and conflicts in the region.

In Yemen, the US acknowledged Riyadh’s leadership within the Saudi-led Coalition and the Kingdom’s “commitment to end the Yemeni conflict through political negotiations.”

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Mutual efforts to enhance security in Iraq were also discussed, with both sides highlighting the importance of their close partnership in combating terrorism in the country. The US sees the role of the Kingdom as key for regional and international stability.

The US also praised Saudi Arabia’s progress in implementing Vision 2030 and adopting wide economic and social reforms. Washington commended the Kingdom for its G20 leadership, and for its investment in global health and financial response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The joint statement also offered details of discussions between Pompeo and Prince Farhan on defense cooperation to deter regional threats, as well as security and intelligence cooperation in the fight against terrorist groups, “which have been instrumental in saving countless American and Saudi lives.”

Other subjects included infrastructure protection and public security, creating durable energy markets, and restoring international travel and transport as part of the economic recovery from the pandemic.

Talks explored coordination between Washington and Riyadh on issues of cybersecurity and “enhancing diplomatic, cultural and consular cooperation, including major construction projects to expand the US Embassy and consulates in the Kingdom.”

Expansion of the US platform for diplomatic engagement with Saudi Arabia “signifies our enduring commitment to achieving our mutual security and economic objectives,” the statement said.

The two countries announced the formation of bilateral working groups to pave the way for future dialogues.

These include security and intelligence partnerships, defense cooperation planning, shared economic and energy interests, bilateral education and culture cooperation, and cybersecurity cooperation.
 


On the go with Saudi Arabia’s first professionally trained cycling club

Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally. (Supplied)
Updated 30 November 2020

On the go with Saudi Arabia’s first professionally trained cycling club

  • Saudi Arabia’s female population is enjoying the new wave of opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle

RIYADH: As sports and other activities continue to gain popularity in Saudi Arabia, residents are seeking out exciting ways to get moving.
The Kingdom’s female population are enjoying the new wave of opportunities that have been made available to them in recent years to live a healthy lifestyle.
Hiking, outdoor yoga and football are all popular choices, but one less familiar pastime on the increase is cycling.
Events such as the annual Saudi Tour and the General Sports Authority’s highly successful all-women’s cycling race in Jeddah in 2018 have fostered a growing interest in the sport.
Studies have shown that cycling improves overall health, more specifically improving mental health, strengthening the immune system, promoting weight loss, reducing heart disease and cancer and more.
Riding a bike can be one of the easiest forms of returning to fitness when you are bouncing back from an injury or illness.

Doves Ride organizes rides for all levels, from the gentle trails suitable for beginners to the more challenging routes for hardened cyclists. The group offers lessons that can help any beginner ride a bike safely. (Supplied)

A group of bike enthusiasts from Riyadh intend to spread the word and make people more aware of the healthy advantages of cycling and the joy that can be had on the back of a bicycle.
Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally. Shahd Alturki, Doves Ride’s founder and a professional cycling trainer, spoke to Arab News about why she set up the team.

HIGHLIGHTS

• A group of bike enthusiasts from Riyadh intend to spread the word and make people more aware of the healthy advantages of cycling and the joy that can be had on the back of a bicycle.

• Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally.

• Riding a bike can be one of the easiest forms of returning to fitness when you are bouncing back from an injury or illness.

“I founded Doves Ride to create an environment for women and families where they could get into sports,” Alturki said.
Based in Riyadh, Doves Ride’s goal is to create an environment where Saudis can discover what biking is like and meet others with similar interests.
“The idea was to create a team that would motivate Saudi society to start biking, and to raise awareness in general about sport and movement. We also wanted to help teach Saudis to cycle by creating a program to teach people in all categories,” she said.
Doves Ride organizes rides for all levels, from the gentle trails suitable for beginners to the more challenging routes for hardened cyclists.
“We welcome participants at any level, whether they are looking for a long-term membership or just to try it out,” said Alturki.
She also spoke about the benefits of the sport and hopes to encourage people to try it out for themselves.
“Biking is more than just a fun sport; it raises your fitness levels and can also boost your mental health,” she said.
For the more hesitant, Alturki reassures them that she is well-equipped to train them and get them on the path to biking like a pro.
“We have bike-riding lessons for zero-experience learners, licensed by the British Cycling Federation. Children, men and women are all welcome to take them. These lessons can help any beginner ride a bike safely, and teaches them all the necessary skills and basics,” she said.
Doves Ride can be contacted via their Twitter or Instagram accounts, @dovesride.