Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Al-Lawz blanketed in snow

Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Al-Lawz blanketed in snow
1 / 2
The snowfall on the granite terrain of Jabal Al-Lawz makes the mountain a perfect winter destination. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Al-Lawz blanketed in snow
2 / 2
The snowfall on the granite terrain of Jabal Al-Lawz makes the mountain a perfect winter destination. (SPA)
Short Url
Updated 31 January 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Al-Lawz blanketed in snow

Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Al-Lawz blanketed in snow
  • The gentle snow-covered tracks and starlit sky is nature’s way of inviting residents of Tabuk and visitors from across the Kingdom to enjoy the magic of the Saudi winter season

JEDDAH: Residents of the Kingdom are enjoying a rare snowy escape this Saudi Winter Season.
One of the season’s destinations is Jabal Al-Lawz, Almond Mountain, which takes its name from the large number of almond trees growing on its slopes. Located in the northwest of the Kingdom and rising to more than 2,600 meters above sea level, Jabal Al-Lawz is blanketed in snow every winter and this year, the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has chosen the area as one of its 17 destinations.
The snowfall on the granite terrain of Jabal Al-Lawz makes the mountain a perfect winter destination, especially for adventure lovers. For those who haven’t experienced snow before, this winter season is a great opportunity to head up north.

HIGHLIGHT

The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has provided a wide variety of touristic activities within the Saudi Winter Season, for citizens, residents and visitors of GCC countries, to create long-lasting memories and unforgettable family experiences.

The mountain offers fun activities such as skiing, snow boarding and tubing — and who can resist a snowball fight? The areas are also great for camping on the snow-covered soft sands.
The gentle snow-covered tracks and starlit sky is nature’s way of inviting residents of Tabuk and visitors from across the Kingdom to enjoy the magic of the Saudi winter season.

 

The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has provided a wide variety of touristic activities within the Saudi Winter Season, for citizens, residents and visitors of GCC countries, to create long-lasting memories and unforgettable family experiences.
During the season, which will run until the end of March, visitors will be able to choose from more than 300 experiences and packages by more than 200 tour operators and tourism companies, to discover the Kingdom’s geographical and climate diversity.


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince arrives in Qatar

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince arrives in Qatar
Updated 1 min 36 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince arrives in Qatar

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince arrives in Qatar

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in the Qatari capital, Doha, where he was welcomed by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad.
The crown prince arrived in Doha from the UAE on the third leg of his official tour of Gulf states. He began in Oman and is expected to visit Bahrain and Kuwait, where he will meet with leaders and senior officials in an effort to boost relations.


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince visits Dubai Expo, meets Dubai ruler

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. (Twitter/@DXBMediaOffice)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. (Twitter/@DXBMediaOffice)
Updated 27 min 54 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince visits Dubai Expo, meets Dubai ruler

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. (Twitter/@DXBMediaOffice)
  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE issued a joint statement following the crown prince’s visit
  • The two sides agreed to work to coordinate their positions on regional and international issues

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday arrived at the World Expo headquarters in Dubai, on the second day of his official tour of the UAE.
The crown prince was received by UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, where they held a meeting to discuss “ways to strengthen bilateral relations that bind the two brotherly countries and peoples within the framework of the same destiny and common vision,” Dubai Media Office reported.

Sheikh Mohammed said that the world is looking for ward to Saudi Arabia hosting the World Expo 2030 in the capital, Riyadh, with the efforts of Prince Mohammed.
“I assured the prince that we are also looking forward to the upcoming Riyadh Summit,” he said in a tweet, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council annual meeting, adding: “The peoples of the Gulf are waiting for us with new and great ideas and projects.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. (Twitter/@HHShkMohd)

Saudi Arabia and the UAE issued a joint statement following the crown prince’s visit, which also included a meeting with his Abu Dhabi counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
The two sides praised the distinguished level of cooperation between them in the political, security, military, economic and development fields, and the cooperation and integration achieved under the umbrella of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council.
“The two sides referred to the abundant economic potentials and distinguished opportunities for strengthening the strategic partnership and doubling joint investments, stressing the importance of highlighting the promising areas for investors in the two countries,” the joint statement said.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE commended the close cooperation between them, and the successful efforts of the OPEC+ group, aimed at enhancing the stability of the global oil market. They called on member states to continue cooperating and adhere to the OPEC+ agreement. 

Sheikh Mohammed said that the world is looking for ward to Saudi Arabia hosting the World Expo 2030 in the capital, Riyadh. (Twitter/@HHShkMohd)

They agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of energy, artificial intelligence, digital transformation, cybersecurity, climate change, health, tourism, food security and human development, especially in the youth and women’s empowerment sectors.
On regional and international issues, the two sides agreed to work to coordinate their positions in a manner that serves their interests and enhances security and stability.
They affirmed their full support for all legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, foremost of which is their right to establish an independent and sovereign Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
On Yemen, the two sides agreed to continue their efforts to find a comprehensive political solution to the crisis and stressed the need to complete the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement. 
“We condemn the continued targeting by the terrorist Houthi militia of airports, objects and vital installations in the Kingdom,” the statement said.
The two sides called for implementing comprehensive political and economic reforms to ensure that Lebanon can overcome its crises and confine weapons to the legitimate state institutions.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visits the Kingdom’s pavilion at Dubai Expo. (Twitter/@KSAMOFA)

“Lebanon must not be a launching pad for any terrorist acts and an incubator for organizations and groups that target regional security and stability, such as the terrorist Hezbollah group, nor a source for drugs that threaten the safety of societies in the region and the world,” the statement said.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE welcomed the success of the recent elections in Iraq, and hoped the new Iraqi government will continue to work for the security, stability and development of the country and eliminate terrorism and foreign interference.
“The two sides also welcomed the agreements reached by the parties to the transitional phase in Sudan, and affirmed their continued support for everything that would achieve security and stability in Sudan” and stability and prosperity for its people, the statement added.
They also stressed the need to cooperate and seriously and effectively deal with Iran’s nuclear and missile program with all its components and repercussions in a way that contributes to achieving regional and international security and stability. They emphasized the principles of good neighborliness and respect for UN resolutions and international legitimacy, and sparing the region from all destabilizing activities.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman leaves the UAE and is seen off by his Abu Dhabi counterpart Mohammed bin Zayed. (Twitter/@KSAMOFA)

The statement also demanded on parties to the Iran nuclear talks to take into account the interests, security and stability of the countries of the region during negotiations.
The two sides also affirmed that a political solution is the only solution to the Syrian crisis, and pledged support to the efforts of the UN envoy. They also welcomed Libyan and UN efforts to support the implementation of the agreed political outcome, and stressed the need to withdraw mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya.
The Kingdom and the Emirates also agreed to support security and stability in Afghanistan so it does not become a safe haven for terrorists and extremists. The two sides denounced any acts aimed at recruiting Afghan refugees in the various conflict areas, and pledged to support relief efforts and humanitarian work in Afghanistan. 
The UAE praised the Kingdom for calling an extraordinary meeting for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, which will be held in Pakistan on Dec. 19. Saudi Arabia also praised the the UAE’s efforts in the evacuation operations from Afghanistan.

Prince Mohammed sent separate cables to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, as well as to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, following his visit, thanking them for the warm reception and hospitality he and his accompanying delegation received.
He said the talks he held over the past two days “confirmed the depth of the historical and distinguished relations between the two brotherly countries,” and wished them good health and happiness and the Emirati people steady progress and prosperity, SPA reported.
Prince Mohammed left the UAE for Qatar following a two-day visit to Oman, as part of a wider Gulf tour that also includes stops in Bahrain and Kuwait.


Saudi national arrested in Paris over Khashoggi murder released after verification – French public prosecutor

Saudi national arrested in Paris over Khashoggi murder released after verification – French public prosecutor
Updated 08 December 2021

Saudi national arrested in Paris over Khashoggi murder released after verification – French public prosecutor

Saudi national arrested in Paris over Khashoggi murder released after verification – French public prosecutor
  • Saudi citizen released after case of mistaken identity

DUBAI: A Saudi national arrested in Paris in connection with the murder of the late citizen Jamal Khashoggi has been released, the French prosecutor said Wednesday.

Verifications have allowed to conclude that the Turkish arrest warrant did not apply to the arrested person, a statement added.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry earlier said the arrested individual linked to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi “has nothing to do with the case,” and called for his “immediate release.”

“Regarding the arrest of a Saudi citizen on the grounds of being a suspect in the murder of the late citizen Jamal Khashoggi, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of France would like to clarify that what was reported in the media is incorrect, and that the person who was arrested has nothing to do with the case in quesiton,” a statement released on Tuesday said.

“Therefore, the Kingdom's embassy expects his immediate release.

“The Embassy would also like to reaffirm that the Saudi judiciary has issued verdicts against all of those who paritcipated in the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi, all of them are currently serving their sentences,” it added.


Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Abu Dhabi visit heralds a promising new era in Saudi-UAE relations

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Abu Dhabi visit heralds a promising new era in Saudi-UAE relations
Updated 08 December 2021

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Abu Dhabi visit heralds a promising new era in Saudi-UAE relations

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Abu Dhabi visit heralds a promising new era in Saudi-UAE relations
  • Visit to Abu Dhabi, where the crown prince received the Order of Zayed, is his first since Nov. 2019
  • Five-day Gulf tour will take the crown prince to Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait after Oman and the UAE

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE, two Gulf Arab countries bound by strong familial, religious, cultural and commercial ties, have enjoyed a fraternal relationship for most of their modern existence.

The depth of the bilateral relationship, however, owes much to regular official exchanges, reciprocal visits by royals, and high-level summits that have taken place over the years.

The continuity of that decades-old process is epitomized by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Abu Dhabi, the second stop in a tour of Gulf states ahead of the annual Gulf Cooperation Council summit this month.

“The visit by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman comes as part of enduring efforts to deepen strategic cooperation and coordination between our two countries on local, regional, and international issues, reflecting the shared visions and policies of our two countries’ leaderships,” Khalifa Shaheen Al-Marar, UAE minister of state, told Arab News.

Under the leadership of King Salman, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Saudi-UAE bilateral ties have grown into a comprehensive strategic partnership.

“The UAE and Saudi Arabia maintain a strategic partnership based on the same objectives and vision for regional prosperity, security and stability,” Al-Marar said.

“The UAE believes that the developmental journey of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is remarkable, and contributes to the overall progress and growth of the region.”

When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed last met in Riyadh in July this year, they explored avenues for enhancing Saudi-UAE ties and strategic cooperation.

Each generation of leaders has built on the foundation laid under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed Al-Nahyan, founding father of the UAE, and King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, his Saudi counterpart. (SPA)

Each generation of leaders has built on the foundation laid under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed Al-Nahyan, founding father of the UAE, and King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, his Saudi counterpart, when bilateral cooperation began to expand.

During one of his Umrah trips to the Kingdom, Sheikh Zayed described the relationship between the two neighbors this way: “The UAE is with Saudi Arabia through its heart and soul, and we believe that we have one destiny, and that we have to act as one and stand by each other.”

In 1981, on the strength of their centuries-old ties, and common economic and strategic visions, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar created the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The creation of the GCC “was not a product of the moment but an institutional embodiment of a historical, social and cultural reality. Deep religious and cultural ties link the six states, and strong kin relations prevail among their citizens,” according to the official website.

In 2014, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two leading members of the GCC, formed a joint committee to achieve the strategic visions of the two countries’ leaders, to overcome challenges and strengthen relations.

This led to the formation of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council to promote religious, historical, social and cultural ties and to intensify bilateral cooperation.

A year later, the two countries organized a high-level meeting, which was attended by over 150 officials from both countries to discuss areas of mutual interest and to create a general framework for the bilateral council, under three main themes: economy, human development and political and military cooperation.

A second meeting was held in Riyadh during the same year, with the objective of building on the earlier resolutions and launching initiatives to develop coordinated policies.

In 2018, Saudi Arabia and the UAE developed a unified vision that aimed to boost their global stature through the implementation of 44 joint projects. The Alaazm (Determination) Strategy was developed over 12 months by 350 officials from both countries, involving 139 governmental, sovereign and military bodies.

By focusing on three main areas — the economy; humanity and knowledge; and politics, security and the military — it sought to promote security and economic ties and to improve the living standards of citizens.

A timescale of five years was set to implement the strategy’s projects, which aimed to build an integrated model that would support joint GCC cooperation and contribute to protecting their interests, in addition to creating new opportunities.

On the sidelines of the coordination council’s first meeting, 20 memorandums of understanding were signed to implement projects from the Alaazm strategy.

In 2018, Saudi Arabia and the UAE developed a unified vision that aimed to boost their global stature through the implementation of 44 joint projects. (SPA)

Middle East analysists believe that in recent years, close political and strategic cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the UAE has helped preserve the prosperity of the Gulf countries amid a strife-torn Middle East.

“Politically, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have upheld common objectives to ensure that the region’s peoples can achieve their aspirations for security, stability, peace and development,” Al-Marar told Arab News.

“In Yemen, in particular, the UAE remains steadfast in its calls for a political solution to end the conflict and maintains full confidence in Saudi Arabia’s leadership of this file.”

Economic cooperation between the two countries is an achievement in its own right. Saudi Arabia is the leading Arab trade partner of the UAE and its third-largest international trading partner, accounting for 7 percent of the UAE’s international non-oil trade.

The two countries have the two largest Arab economies and are among the top 10 exporters in the world, with a total export value of nearly $750 billion in 2018.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan during his latest visit. (SPA)

“Similarities in economic development between the UAE and Saudi Arabia have united our two nations and allowed us to stimulate prosperity. Having already convened two meetings of the Saudi-UAE Coordination Council in recent years, our two countries are keen to develop new partnerships in all sectors, including tourism, infrastructure, transport, shipping, and logistics,” Al-Marar said.

He added: “Bilateral discussions continue to address ongoing efforts to develop the national economy in non-oil sectors, as well as ways to improve the business climate and empower the private sector in our countries.”

Saudi-UAE cooperation has been no less evident in the fields of energy and environment. Last month, the two countries, core members of OPEC, both highlighted their investments in renewable energy and decarbonization initiatives, but also defended the oil industry at the UN Climate Change Conference for its role in ensuring energy security and economic development.

The energy ministers of the two countries jointly contended that the focus of COP26 should be to contain emissions, which would allow oil and gas to continue to be used and smooth the energy transition, especially for poorer nations that cannot afford renewables, rather than seek to pivot the world away from fossil fuels.

“The UAE and Saudi Arabia, as the largest economies in the Gulf, recognize that we must play a leading role in adopting clean energy technologies and promoting a sustainable future for generations to come,” Almarar said.

“Through economic diversification and green innovation, our two countries are determined to promote climate resilience and conservation, particularly in developing countries.”


VOX Cinemas bringing Saudi stories to film

A Saudi cinema-goer has her temperature taken as she wears a colored face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus,  at VOX Cinema hall in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 26, 2020. (AP)
A Saudi cinema-goer has her temperature taken as she wears a colored face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, at VOX Cinema hall in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 26, 2020. (AP)
Updated 08 December 2021

VOX Cinemas bringing Saudi stories to film

A Saudi cinema-goer has her temperature taken as she wears a colored face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus,  at VOX Cinema hall in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 26, 2020. (AP)
  • Majid Al Futtaim backing new wave of talent, KSA chief says

JEDDAH: With more than 130 films set to be screened at the Red Sea International Film Festival, VOX Cinemas are on a mission to support and promote local films the best way they can.

The Red Sea International Film Festival kicked off its festivities at Jeddah’s UNESCO World Heritage Site old town, Al-Balad, on Dec. 6. It will run until Dec. 15, in partnership with VOX Cinemas and others.

VOX Cinemas will screen 138 feature films and shorts from 67 countries in 34 languages. The content was produced by established and emerging talent, with fans, film enthusiasts, filmmakers and actors in attendance for many of the films.

A slate of new Saudi films — 27 from an exciting wave of Saudi filmmakers — will be shown alongside the best of contemporary international cinema.

“We’re very proud to be partners of this festival, especially since this has been the first international Red Sea Film Festival taking place in Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Toni El Massih, managing director of VOX Cinemas, told Arab News.

RSIFF is a significant breakthrough for the whole industry, exhibitors, distributors and producers, he said. “This platform will help future filmmakers and storytellers know that this country is so full and rich in culture and storytelling. This is the exact platform that is needed for the talent to come across and present their project,” he added.

HIGHLIGHT

VOX Cinemas will screen 138 feature films and shorts from 67 countries in 34 languages. The content was produced by established and emerging talent, with fans, film enthusiasts, filmmakers and actors in attendance for many of the films.

On tour to the main VOX Cinema sites in Al-Balad that have been constructed to screen RSIFF films, Arab News spoke to Mohamed Al-Hashemi, KSA chief of Majid Al Futtaim. He said: “The Red Sea Film Festival is a statement for the Kingdom. There were no cinemas prior to April 2018, however, customers enjoyed the set of experiences as soon as they opened.

“With life coming back to normal after the COVID-19 period, the Red Sea Film Festival is a statement from the Kingdom to the world that Saudi Arabia will be a major player when it comes to local content production, demand for international content, and most importantly, demand for exhibitions as well, when it comes to the best of the best that can be offered to consumers.”

With movie theaters in more than six cities across the Kingdom in over 15 locations, VOX Cinemas operates 154 screens in Saudi Arabia. “We are considered to be the largest cinema exhibitors in the Kingdom in terms of site numbers and screen counts,” Al-Hashemi said.

Why is the screen count so important?

“The screen basically is the only platform where people can showcase local content producers on the big screen. With more big screens, more local content will be produced for the local market and the regional market, and hopefully Saudi as well to the international market,” Al-Hashemi said.

“The RSIFF is where the Kingdom can act as a local content producer and where we can bring out the folded and untold stories of this beautiful company, to the customers within Saudi,” he added.

On Dec. 6. during the inaugural red-carpet event, VOX Cinemas announced an ambitious initiative that aims to foster homegrown talent and showcase untold stories on the big screen.

A plan was made to boost regional film production and develop 25 Arabic films in the next five years.

El Massih said that many of these films would be from Saudi Arabia, with Saudi talent working as directors, producers and actors. There will also be films coming out of the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Speaking on the genres of the future films, he said: “The genre that we are focusing on and that has proven to work best is the comedy-drama. This is the sort of film that we’ll be working toward.”

As part of the initiative, VOX Cinemas will continue to support the next generation of homegrown content developers and provide resources for emerging filmmakers to bring their scripts to screen.

“This platform will search and scout for talent. It’ll be the same case later in the UAE and in other festivals that are taking place across the region.

“Accordingly, we’ll start putting a team together, building screening and writing rooms, getting stories from each of the different regions together, and then we’ll take that forward and then do the necessary films that we’ll see on the big screen,” El Massih said.

“Majid Al Futtaim has been very active in the region since 1999, starting off with exhibition, and then elevating our activities into film distribution, and recently in film production.”

Being a main contributor and partner of RSIFF is “huge,” he added, saying that such an opportunity will support emerging talent.

El Massih said: “This is the perfect platform for us to be participating and searching for the emerging talent and filmmakers that we can bring on board.”