Sultan Haitham and King Salman hold talks in NEOM during Saudi Arabia visit

Sultan Haitham and King Salman hold talks in NEOM during Saudi Arabia visit
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Saudi Arabia's King Salman receives Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq in NEOM on July 11. (SPA)
Sultan Haitham and King Salman hold talks in NEOM during Saudi Arabia visit
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King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receive Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq in NEOM on July 11. (SPA)
Sultan Haitham and King Salman hold talks in NEOM during Saudi Arabia visit
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Sultan Haitham is being accompanied by senior ministers and diplomats. (ONA)
Sultan Haitham and King Salman hold talks in NEOM during Saudi Arabia visit
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King Salman awarded Sultan Haitham with the Order of King Abdul Aziz whilst the sultan awarded the king with the Order of Al-Said, the highest order of Oman. (SPA)
Sultan Haitham and King Salman hold talks in NEOM during Saudi Arabia visit
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An MoU is signed to establish the Saudi-Omani Coordination Council at the royal palace in NEOM. (SPA)
Sultan Haitham and King Salman hold talks in NEOM during Saudi Arabia visit
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Royal Saudi Air Force planes put on a show to receive the sultan of Oman in NEOM. (SPA)
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq tours NEOM Center for Knowledge Enrichment, accompanied by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
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Sultan Haitham bin Tariq tours NEOM Center for Knowledge Enrichment, accompanied by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq tours NEOM Center for Knowledge Enrichment, accompanied by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
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Sultan Haitham bin Tariq tours NEOM Center for Knowledge Enrichment, accompanied by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq tours NEOM Center for Knowledge Enrichment, accompanied by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
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Sultan Haitham bin Tariq tours NEOM Center for Knowledge Enrichment, accompanied by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
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Updated 12 July 2021

Sultan Haitham and King Salman hold talks in NEOM during Saudi Arabia visit

Sultan Haitham and King Salman hold talks in NEOM during Saudi Arabia visit
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Sultan Haitham on his arrival at NEOM Bay Airport
  • Two-day visit to the Kingdom to involve wide-ranging talks

RIYADH: Sultan Haitham bin Tariq and King Salman held talks on Sunday in NEOM during the Omani leader's official visit to Saudi Arabia.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Sultan Haitham on his arrival at NEOM Bay Airport.

The king welcomed Sultan Haitham and his delegation, while the sultan expressed his happiness to visit the Kingdom and meet King Salman.

The leaders then held an official session of talks during which they reviewed “the historical and well-established fraternal relations” between their countries, and discussed prospects for joint cooperation in various fields.

The talks were held in the presence of Prince Mohammed and attended by Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif and Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan.

The Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi also attended the meeting.




Saudi Arabia's King Salman receives Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq in NEOM on July 11. (SPA) 

The king then hosted a luncheon in honor of Sultan Haitham and his delegation.

King Salman awarded Sultan Haitham with the Order of King Abdul Aziz whilst the sultan awarded the king with the Order of Al-Said, the highest order of Oman.




King Salman awarded Sultan Haitham with the Order of King Abdul Aziz whilst the sultan awarded the king with the Order of Al-Said, the highest order of Oman. (SPA)

The king and sultan witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on establishing the Saudi-Omani Coordination Council.




An MoU is signed to establish the Saudi-Omani Coordination Council at the royal palace in NEOM. (SPA)

Immediately after Sultan Haitham disembarked the plane, the Saudi Hawks aerobatic team gave an air show in which the colors of the Omani flag were painted in the sky, and the Saudi artillery fired 21 rounds to welcome his arrival.




Royal Saudi Air Force planes put on a show to receive the sultan of Oman in NEOM. (SPA)

An official reception ceremony was held where the national anthems of the two countries were played.

The sultan’s visit “to the Kingdom and his meeting with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques establishes a new milestone in the historic and deep rooted Saudi-Omani relationship, which will deepen cooperation and create prosperity for both peoples,” said Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman. 




Sultan Haitham is being accompanied by senior ministers and diplomats. (ONA)

The leader of Oman began his journey from the sultanate to Saudi Arabia earlier on Sunday for his two-day visit to the Kingdom at the invitation of King Salman for wide-ranging talks.

“The visit comes within the framework of strengthening the historical and fraternal relations between the leaderships of the two countries,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said. “It also aims to expand the prospects of joint cooperation and ways to develop them in various fields for the interest and steady progress of the peoples of the two countries.”

SPA added that the visit is intended to “strengthen the deep historical bonds” between the two countries, “and to explore new areas of cooperation — particularly in the fields of trade, infrastructure and development.”

Sultan Haitham is being accompanied by senior ministers and diplomats, including Deputy Prime Minister for Defense Affairs Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik Al-Said, Interior Minister Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal Al-Busaidi.

During his visit, Prince Mohammed bin Salman accompanied Sultan Haitham on a tour of the NEOM Center for Knowledge Enrichment, where they reviewed the latest developments related to the NEOM project and its sectors.
Sultan Haitham was also briefed during the tour on developments of other major projects, including AlUla, Qiddiya, Amaala and the Red Sea.




Sultan Haitham bin Tariq tours NEOM Center for Knowledge Enrichment, accompanied by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal said Sultan Haitham’s visit to the Kingdom was of great importance as it was his first official visit.

He added that the historical bilateral relations have been and still are based on mutual respect, serving common interests, constructive cooperation in addressing Arab and Islamic issues, and dealing with regional and international issues in order to achieve international peace and security.

He highlighted the level of growth in economic and trade relations between the two countries, saying that the volume of trade exchange amounted to about SR10.6 billion ($2.8 billion) in 2019, compared to SR9.37 billion in 2018.

Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih said the number of Saudi investors companies, institutions and individuals investing in Oman had reached 1,235, and the number of Omani companies in the Kingdom reached 320 by the end of the second quarter of the year.

He added that Saudi investments in the sultanate amounted to nearly SR24 billion, and that there are a number of leading and promising Saudi companies interested in investing in various vital sectors in Oman, including petrochemicals, health care, renewable energy, business services, food, transport and storage, urban development and others.
He said the integration between the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and Oman’s Vision 2040 will create several promising investment opportunities in a number of sectors.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said the visit would raise the level of coordination and partnership in various fields and strengthen bilateral and joint economic cooperation.

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On Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Middle East Green Initiative that was announced in March, Al-Jubeir said: “Sultan Haitham bin Tariq expressed Oman’s support for all the efforts made by the Kingdom in this regard, which came during his discussion with the crown prince on the environmental challenges facing the region and their economic, social and health impacts.”

Al-Jubeir also said that the Kingdom and Oman worked successfully to address the coronavirus pandemic through joint work, cooperation and coordination via the GCC’s Health Council, and this had a great impact in controlling the spread of the virus and limiting its repercussions.

GCC secretary-general Nayef Al-Hajraf, said the visit is an embodiment of the historical and solid ties that bind the two countries, and comes to enhance the common hopes and aspirations of the two peoples.

He said the visit “reflects the exceptional relations between them.”

He said the visit would consolidate the depth of the deep-rooted relations between the two countries.


Curtain set to rise on new era for Saudi performing arts

Curtain set to rise on new era for Saudi performing arts
Updated 27 sec ago

Curtain set to rise on new era for Saudi performing arts

Curtain set to rise on new era for Saudi performing arts
  • The new body will provide an umbrella organization for performers while promoting new talent and expertise

JEDDAH: The curtain is set to rise on a new era for Saudi performing arts with the establishment of a dedicated theater association.

As part of the Kingdom’s cultural transformation, the new body will provide an umbrella organization for performers while also attracting and promoting new talent and expertise.

Saudi Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmed Al-Rajhi said the association would bring together professionals from the worlds of theater, folk arts, circus, stand-up comedy, and dance.

Headed by Saudi actor Nasser Al-Qasabi, the association’s board of directors will include academic researcher Sami Al-Jamaan, actors Rashid Al-Shamrani, Sami Al-Zahrani, and Fatima Al-Banawi, director Khaled Al-Baz, actor and playwright Yasser Madkhali, writer Fahd Al-Hoshani, kinetic arts performer Roaa Al-Sahhaf, comedian Yasser Bakr, and Saudi ballerina Samira Alkhamis.

Performing arts has been a part of human culture down the ages and was even used as a way to inform people about the negative impact of social practices.

However, although well-represented in the West, only recently have theatrical shows and their performers been supported in the Kingdom by official bodies such as the Ministry of Culture’s Theater and Performing Arts Commission, set up under the National Strategy for Culture framework. 

In a tweet, association president, Al-Qasabi said: “I am honored to work with my colleagues in the new association to overcome difficulties and advance this lofty profession. In a few months, the work of the association will be launched, and we look forward to your participation in a new creative journey.”

Performing arts are considered to have benefits on a personal, social, and community level, with live theater helping to encourage social dialogue, highlight issues, and provide an outlet for society to find solutions to problems.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Ministry of Culture has been behind a number of significant initiatives and organizational developments that have taken place in the Saudi theater sector this year.

• These have included the establishment of the National Theater, and subsequently the Theater and Performing Arts Commission, and partnership projects with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to improve professionalism in the sector.

Mohammed Al-Subaih, director of the Jeddah-based Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, described the establishment of the new association as “a most welcome move” that would offer a strong voice for performers in Saudi Arabia.

He told Arab News: “It will definitely contribute to the work of actors and performers and also bring up the level of work of Saudi theater.”

Saudi actor Abdullah Al-Sinani said: “(The association is) a wonderful step that reinforces our permanent ambition toward the status of Saudi theatrical superlatives. I wish the association and its members success in enriching the local theatrical movement.”

In a tweet, Wael Al-Harbi said: “I was honored to be chosen as a founding member of the first association for theater and performing arts.”

And Sultan Al-Bazie, chief executive officer of the Theater and Performing Arts Commission, said: “We expect the association to be an active element in the development of the sector.”

The Ministry of Culture has been behind a number of significant initiatives and organizational developments that have taken place in the Saudi theater sector this year.

These have included the establishment of the National Theater, and subsequently the Theater and Performing Arts Commission, and partnership projects with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to improve professionalism in the sector.

In 2016, the General Entertainment Authority was formed, followed by the Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission last year. The current registration of the Cinema Society will represent the first specialized civil body of its kind in the Kingdom concerned with the film industry.


Saudi air defenses destroy Houthi drones targeting Abha airport, Najran

Saudi air defenses destroy Houthi drones targeting Abha airport, Najran
Updated 27 October 2021

Saudi air defenses destroy Houthi drones targeting Abha airport, Najran

Saudi air defenses destroy Houthi drones targeting Abha airport, Najran

RIYADH: Saudi air defenses destroyed explosive drones by Yemen’s Houthi militia targeting Abha airport and Najran, both located in southern Saudi Arabia.
The militia has continued to target the Kingdom on a near daily basis, often selecting civilian targets in the south of the country.
Houthi attempts to target civilians has been labeled as war crimes by the Kingdom. 
The militia has attacked civilian infrastructure in the past including the international airports in Abha and Jazan.
The Arab coalition has been supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government regain full control of the country after the Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, in 2014.
In March, Saudi Arabia announced a roadmap called the Riyadh Initiative to halt fighting in Yemen and reopen Sanaa airport, as well as continuing talks to find a solution to the conflict. The proposal was seen as a welcome step internationally, but has been rejected by Houthi leadership.
Fighting in Marib province has claimed thousands of lives, among both government and Houthi forces. The resource-rich region has been heavily contested as the militia seek to strengthen their control of northern Yemen.
Saudi relief agency, KSrelief, has poured billions of dollars worth of aid into Yemen and has hundreds of projects focusing on food and health.
In July, The World Food Programme welcomed Saudi contributions to the fund saying humanitarian action in Yemen could not be sustained without it.


Who’s Who: Hassan Al-Shawi, director at Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Survey and Geospatial Information

Who’s Who: Hassan Al-Shawi, director at Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Survey and Geospatial Information
Updated 38 min 55 sec ago

Who’s Who: Hassan Al-Shawi, director at Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Survey and Geospatial Information

Who’s Who: Hassan Al-Shawi, director at Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Survey and Geospatial Information

Hassan Al-Shawi has been director of the licensing and permits department at the General Authority for Survey and Geospatial Information since January 2021. He has also been a member of the geospatial data governance team since September 2019.
Before joining the authority, he was a manager at the department of photogrammetry and aerial survey from March 2020 until January 2021. He prepared the rules and conditions for issuing permits for photogrammetry and aerial surveys, panoramic photography, similar technologies and marine hydrographic surveys and their guidelines.
He was a manager of the technical affairs department at the General Administration of Map Production from October 2020 until January 2021, a secretariat member of the National Geospatial Center from October 2019 until August 2020, and was a member of the development team at the General Authority for Survey and Geospatial Information from September 2019 to February 2020.
Before that, he was a surveying engineer in the General Administration of Map Production at the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs from January 2019 to September 2019, and project manager at Aerial Imaging Saudi Arabia Co. Ltd. from August 2018 until June 2019.
He was also a surveyor at Badan Agricultural & Contracting Co. Ltd from December 2017 until June 2019, and a surveyor at Al Fozan Trading & General Construction Co. from April to October in 2015.
He specializes in strategies, policies and rules governing the survey and geospatial information sector, stimulating investment, raising spending efficiency, monitoring and supervision, and creating, producing and analyzing geospatial data.
Al-Shawi has more than seven years’ experience and knowledge in implementing strategies, programs and organizational projects to improve the national geospatial infrastructure.
He has experience dealing with diverse systems that contribute to raising the quality of life in the economic, social, environmental and strategic aspects of the transition to digital twinning, smart cities, ecological balances and harmony between the components of the national data infrastructure. He has also managed operational projects of photogrammetry and aerial and ground surveys.
He is a member of several advisory and executive committees and has represented the General Authority for Survey and Geospatial Information at the Council of Ministers.
Al-Shawi holds a bachelor’s degree in surveying engineering. He is completing a master’s degree at King Saud University in geospatial information systems.


Saudi-French relationship rich, long-standing and based on trust, says envoy

Saudi-French relationship rich, long-standing and based on trust, says envoy
Updated 27 October 2021

Saudi-French relationship rich, long-standing and based on trust, says envoy

Saudi-French relationship rich, long-standing and based on trust, says envoy

The deep relationship between France and Saudi Arabia is rich, long-standing and based on trust, Ludovic Pouille, the French ambassador to the Kingdom, said on Tuesday. The nations have forged partnerships at all levels based on mutual interests and a common view of international issues, he added. “We feel the energy in all our partnerships that revive French-Saudi cooperation in all fields included in the Saudi Vision 2030,” Pouille said. On the opening day of the fifth Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, the ambassador said the event has become a benchmark for assessing the quality of other investment forums worldwide. He added that its international scale has contributed to the opening up and promotion of the Saudi economy to a global audience of international investors in a bid to achieve the objectives Saudi Vision 2030.


Saudi authorities foil port drug-smuggling bid

Saudi authorities foil port drug-smuggling bid
Updated 26 October 2021

Saudi authorities foil port drug-smuggling bid

Saudi authorities foil port drug-smuggling bid

RIYADH: Saudi authorities have foiled an attempt to smuggle 5,246,000 amphetamine tablets through Jeddah’s Islamic Port.

Maj. Raed Al-Najidi, spokesperson for the Saudi General Directorate of Narcotics Control, said the pills had been hidden inside crates of grapes intended for distribution throughout the Kingdom.

A Syrian and two Jordanians were arrested in connection with the incident.

The drugs seizure was carried out as part of a coordinated operation between the directorate and the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority.

Saudi border patrols in Jazan, Najran, and Asir recently thwarted attempts to sneak more than one ton of cannabis and 66 tons of qat into the Kingdom.

And in May, Saudi authorities foiled a plot to smuggle almost 1,000 kilograms of hashish into the country through its southern borders. Twenty-four people — 18 Ethiopians, four Yemenis, and two Saudis — were arrested.