WASHINGTON D.C.: Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said on Friday that Iran was accelerating its nuclear activities and putting the region in “a very dangerous place” amid efforts to bring Tehran back into a 2015 nuclear deal.
The prince gave a wide ranging news conference in Washington on regional developments during his visit to the US, where he met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.
Talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been “cordial” but had not made substantial progress, he said.
"I think we are in a very dangerous place. The fact that we continue to see acceleration of those activities ... leads to the devaluation of the JCPOA," he said, using the initials of the agreement formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who took office in August, has so far refused to resume the indirect talks in Vienna.
Prince Faisal also said the international community “needed to put much more pressure” on the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to accept Saudi Arabia's ceasefire proposal.
At the news conference, the prince also discussed the political crisis in Lebanon, where he said the events of the past two days showed the need for “real serious change” from the country's leaders. Tensions over a probe into last year's massive blast in Beirut burst into the worst street violence in more than a decade on Thursday.
In Afghanistan, bin Farhan said, the Taliban rulers should take the “path of national reconciliation” and bring together all elements of Afghan society, echoing calls by Western leaders for an inclusive government in the country where a US-backed government collapsed in August as American and other foreign forces were withdrawing.
He also said the Kingdom was “committed to a balanced energy market, a balanced oil market,” and said Saudi Arabia was managing challenges to the global energy market posed by the COVID-19 pandemic “in a way that provides stability and serves the interests of producers and consumers.”
Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands
Up to 70% off on fashion, home accessories, cosmetics
3m items from 1,500 firms on display until Oct. 14
Updated 10 sec ago
JEDDAH: The Saudi General Entertainment Authority on Wednesday announced the launch of “Outlet 2022” shopping festival, the first of its kind in the Kingdom.
According to the organizers, the two-week outdoor festival, which will kick off on Saturday, will offer exclusive discounts of up to 70 percent on fashion, home accessories, and cosmetic products designed by international experts. The event’s galleries will have a Greek-inspired design.
On his Twitter account, Turki Al-Sheikh, GEA chairman, said the event in Riyadh is a pioneering initiative.
“We’ll soon have the ‘Outlet Festival,’ the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia. The festival will bring together the most famous brands in the world to be sold at reduced prices and discounts. A different thing in Riyadh,” Al-Sheikh said in his tweet.
The festival will be held in Al-Rehab neighborhood, west of the Saudi capital, and will include places to eat and events for children.
Farah Ahmed, who lives in the neighborhood, told Arab News that she has been observing the construction of the outlet. “It’s impressive how quickly the GEA built the space. They are working day and night to make it happen.”
Entry to the festival is free, and will include more than three million discounted items of 1,500 international brands.
“I’m so excited about the festival, especially (since) I haven’t been able to travel or shop this summer, yet I feel that two weeks is not enough. I hope the GEA extends it further,” she added.
Doors will be open daily from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets can be booked through the Ticket MX App and website, and VIP and VVIP tickets can be booked through the Parky App and website.
MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres
Updated 8 min 4 sec ago
RIYADH: President of the Board of Grievances, and of the Administrative Judiciary Council, Sheikh Khaled Al-Youssef, recently signed a memorandum of understanding between the board and the US Case Western Reserve University in research and training.
The terms of the memorandum included training and development of judicial and administrative cadres and exchanging experiences and research in the administrative and organizational fields, to benefit from the CWRU’s expertise as one of the most prestigious international universities in the field of law and administration.
A seminar, “Synergies between the Board of Grievances in Saudi Arabia and CWRU School of Law in the US,” was also held, during which Al-Youssef presented a working paper, highlighting the Board of Grievances’ achievements in completing the digital transformation of all litigation procedures.
The working paper focused on highlighting aspects of cooperation between the two sides under the signed MoU.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Saudi Chamber recently hosted a meeting between Saudi businesspeople and a delegation from the World Affairs Councils of America to discuss cooperation between the two sides to support Saudi-US relations.
The Saudi side acquainted the US delegation with the top programs and initiatives of the Saudi Vision 2030, in addition to the mega projects that are being developed in Qiddiya and the Red Sea, among others, and the developments witnessed in the educational, tourism, technological, digital, artificial intelligence, women, youth and SMEs sectors.
Saudi Arabia participates in UNESCO cultural conference
Updated 12 min 51 sec ago
MEXICO: Unequal access to new technologies, illicit trafficking and threats to cultural heritage were among the issues on the agenda for international culture ministers who met Wednesday in Mexico City for the World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development, or MONDIACULT.
Representatives of around 160 UNESCO member states are participating in the three-day conference, which seeks to reaffirm the global commitment to contemporary challenges facing multicultural societies and to formulate a forward-looking vision for cultural policies.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan headed the Kingdom’s delegation to MONDIACULT 2022.
The Saudi minister also headed the regional consultations for the Arab region, representing Saudi Arabia.
The consultations focused on four main objectives: identifying national and regional trends of cultural policies in countries, identifying and analyzing challenges and opportunities for cultural policies throughout the region, supporting the listing of culture in the regional trends agenda, and identifying priorities that can contribute to the final statement of MONDIACULT 2022.
The goals of the final declaration to be adopted on Friday include guaranteeing artists’ rights and regulating distribution platforms, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said.
Another objective is to ensure culture is included in international discussions on climate change, notably through traditional and Indigenous knowledge systems.
“Our cultural heritage is threatened very directly by global warming,” Azoulay said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that culture is vital for public health, according to conference coordinator Pablo Raphael.
“No one would have been able to survive the confinement and stress…without books, music and cinema,” he said.
The health crisis also laid bare technological inequalities between different communities, Mexican Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto said.
One of the meeting’s objectives is to find ways to guarantee that artists have access to technologies to share their work.
The final declaration is expected to include a call to recognize culture as a “global public good” that benefits all of the world’s citizens.
Saudi Arabia offers new educational visas serving students from 160 countries
Updated 21 min 1 sec ago
MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia announced it had recently relaxed rules for foreign students, introducing long and short-term educational visas.
The educational visas target male and female students, researchers, and academics for higher education to attract distinguished talents and raise the quality of the education and sector, presenting the Kingdom as an attractive educational destination.
The Ministry of Education pointed out that this scheme is divided into short-term visas for educational programs of up to a year and long-term visas for programs of more than a year.
It also noted that the advantages of the visa scheme are to serve students from 160 countries, register data in nine languages, link applications with the relevant authorities, and facilitate the procedures for enrolling in universities in the Kingdom.
The holders of long and short-term educational visas are exempt from the statutory requirement related to providing a sponsor in the Kingdom.
Shoura Council member Dr. Sultana Al-Badawi told Arab News that the educational visa is one of the myriads of achievements of the Kingdom.
“It achieves one of the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 … to be an open country for everyone, whether for work, tourism or performing religious rituals,” said Al-Badawi.
She noted that any student in the world meeting the conditions for an educational visa can now apply for an one to benefit from the Kingdom’s numerous advantages.
“We will have short and long-term visas for educational purposes, dealing with various academic and research aspects, innovation, training, teaching, study, and others, enabling students to benefit from studying in universities and advanced Saudi educational institutions,” she added.
“I am certain that the coming period will witness large (numbers of) applications for educational visas from different countries given the Kingdom’s great global stature, reflected in its economy and the flexibility of its systems to achieve the requirements of a good life, on top of which are security and safety.”
Experts discuss latest updates on their industry’s contribution to Vision 2030
Updated 37 min 36 sec ago
DAMMAM: To coincide with World Maritime Day, the third Saudi Maritime Congress began on Sept. 28 at the Dhahran Expo.
On day one of the two-day conference, registration lines snaked across the building and into the parking lot, as visitors waited to enter what the organizers called “the Kingdom’s largest and most important global maritime event.”
Organizers said that the turnout was record-breaking in comparison to earlier events.
The space was opened in a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Rumaih Al-Rumaih, vice minister of transport and logistic services, Omar Hariri, president of the Saudi Ports Authority, and the undersecretary of the Eastern Province governorate, Khalid Al-Batal.
The event offered visitors the chance to tour the vast exhibition space. Dedicated booths provided businesses with the chance to initiate dialogue, pass out brochures and inform visitors of their company’s mission. This provided an organic networking option for people to exchange ideas and business cards.
The event, held under the patronage of Prince Ahmed bin Fahd bin Salman, deputy governor of the Eastern Province, featured a Keynote session, “Vision 2030: An update on progress and opportunity for growth,” during which panelists discussed the latest updates on their industry’s contribution to Vision 2030.
Ahmed Alsubaey, CEO of Bahri, the transportation and logistics company and the national carrier of Saudi Arabia, said: “Guided by KSA Vision 2030, we are committed to making the Kingdom the epicenter for international trade. To achieve this, currently our key focus areas include supporting KSA’s aspiration to reach the top 25 in the Logistics Performance Index and be one of the top 15 global economies.”
There were also several panels and talks that explored present and future challenges for the logistics sector globally — but with an emphasis on Saudi Arabia.
Expert moderator Eithne Treanor of E Treanor Media was on hand, as was Jasmin Fichte of Fichte & Co. Legal. Topics explored included: How the industry fits into Vision 2030, and why companies are embracing technology while enabling trade and enhancing port standards. The topic of supply-chain efficiency and ports and logistics infrastructure in the region was also addressed.
On day two, talks focused on decarbonization and the fuel revolution to 2050, and on developing and training the maritime workforce. The forum offered the chance for people from all sectors of the industry to meet, brainstorm and update knowledge.
One of the key highlights was the virtual opening remarks by Kitack Lim, secretary general of the International Maritime Organization. Lim expressed his interest in trying to collectively tackle climate change and the challenges, and the opportunities, that come with automation and digitization.
“Shipping’s ability to transport large quantities of goods over vast distances in a cost-efficient manner is irrefutable, and the COVID pandemic and current geopolitical challenges have only served to increase the world’s awareness of its reliance on shipping and of seafarers’ invaluable role in global trade,” Lim said.
“I would like to express my appreciation to Saudi Arabia for the positive disposition to the aims and objectives of the IMO and for the constructive input to the work of the organization,” he said.
“I would also like to highlight the generous support for capacity-building in developing countries, such as through the IMO CARES (Coordinated Actions to Reduce Emissions from Shipping) initiative; funding to raise awareness of biofouling management and specifically to involve women across maritime industries and administrations; and thirdly, co-financing support for the GloLitter Project to tackle marine plastic litter.”
Chairman of Seatrade Maritime Chris Hayman echoed other speakers when he said: “Saudi Arabia is a vital contributor to the growth of the global maritime industry. Its strategic location makes it an ideal trade hub as it connects the eastern and western parts of the globe . . . Through a strategically planned agenda, and the participation of several leading maritime organizations, Saudi Maritime Congress has further paved the way for the country’s success.”
The congress also hosted strategic signings for industry collaboration between the Saudi Ports Authority and leading maritime companies in the region, including Bahri, International Maritime Industries, Saudi Accreditation Center, King Abdulaziz University, Tabadul, MBL, PCMS, Giza Arabia and Globe.