Saudi, UK foreign ministers discuss security ties and regional issues

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets with his UK counterpart Liz Truss in Riyadh on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (SPA)
1 / 2
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets with his UK counterpart Liz Truss in Riyadh on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets with his UK counterpart Liz Truss in Riyadh on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (SPA)
2 / 2
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets with his UK counterpart Liz Truss in Riyadh on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (SPA)
Short Url
Updated 20 October 2021

Saudi, UK foreign ministers discuss security ties and regional issues

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets with his UK counterpart Liz Truss in Riyadh on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (SPA)
  • Liz Truss is on a Gulf tour aimed at boosting economic and security ties
  • They discussed Yemen, Iran, and the wider Middle East region 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Wednesday held talks with his British counterpart, Liz Truss, to discuss Yemen, Iran, and the wider Middle East region.
Truss arrived in the Saudi capital earlier in the day as part of a Gulf tour aimed at boosting economic and security ties. The trip followed a free trade agreement the UK began with the Gulf Cooperation Council as part of its deals to develop trade after leaving the European Union.
The two sides discussed the Kingdom’s efforts and initiatives to reach a political solution to the conflict in Yemen in a way that supports development and stability for the Yemeni people, the Saudi foreign ministry said.
They also discussed the most prominent developments regarding the Iranian nuclear deal and the ongoing negotiations in Vienna.

Tehran has been holding up negotiations aimed at reviving a landmark 2015 accord that scales back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief since before Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in as president in August. Iran has stopped honoring some of its commitments and increased its uranium enrichment, which sparked concern from the UN nuclear watchdog agency and the international community.
During the meeting, Prince Faisal and Truss “reviewed the strong and historical Saudi-British relations, and opportunities to strengthen them in all fields,” the foreign ministry said.
They also discussed Saudi-British efforts to lay the foundations for peace, security, and stability in the Middle East and the world. They also exchanged views on several issues of common interest.
“An honor to meet my Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Riyadh today to discuss working together on infrastructure in Africa and Asia, security, and an even stronger UK-Saudi trade relationship,” Truss said in a tweet following the meeting.
Saudi Ambassador to UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar also attended the meeting.

 


Saudis take a trip back to their childhood days at Jeddah Season’s Rasha Rizk concert

Rasha Rizk performed to celebrate the grand opening of Anime Village, one of the zones in this year’s Jeddah Season. (Supplied)
Rasha Rizk performed to celebrate the grand opening of Anime Village, one of the zones in this year’s Jeddah Season. (Supplied)
Updated 24 May 2022

Saudis take a trip back to their childhood days at Jeddah Season’s Rasha Rizk concert

Rasha Rizk performed to celebrate the grand opening of Anime Village, one of the zones in this year’s Jeddah Season. (Supplied)
  • Rasha Rizk is voice of childhood dreams that lives in memories of three generations

JEDDAH: Rasha Rizk, the voice of childhood innocence, hopes, and dreams that lives in the memories of three generations, performed in Jeddah to celebrate the grand opening of Anime Village, one of the zones in this year’s Jeddah Season.

Syrian chanteuse Rizk is best known for performing Arabic versions of anime and cartoon theme songs and is credited with over 100 tracks, including “Doraemon,” “Gundam,” “Detective Conan,” “Captain Tsubasa,” “One Piece,” “Offside,” and “D.I.C.E.”

After three nights of filling the air of Anime Village at City Walk, Rizk held a meet-and-greet event at the SuperDome area on Sunday.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Rasha Rizk started the event with the Arabic version of the ‘Hunter X Hunter’ theme song.

• The singer ended the hour-long session with snippets from two of her widely loved songs: ‘Remi’s Anti Al-Aman’ and ‘Anastasia’s Ah lo fo Alahlam.’

• Most of those attending grew up in the 1980s, 1990s, and noughties. Now adults, they brought their children along to meet their anime-singing idol.

Before coming on stage, a variety of anime theme songs performed by her rang through the venue, awakening the inner child in every adult and re-igniting the flame of happy and innocent days from times past.

“Rasha is (one of) my unforgettable childhood memories. She taught me all about hope, strength, and happiness,” said 23-year-old Asma Alsaggaf. “I will introduce her to the coming generations, including my children, their children, and their children.”

“She (Rizk) is my entire childhood as all the childhood songs that I grew up listening to are mostly sung by her,” said 29-year-old Fatma Abdurahman. “I feel like I’m above the clouds after meeting her because I’ve been dreaming about this moment forever.”

Rizk started the event with the Arabic version of the “Hunter X Hunter” theme song. She then began welcoming and talking to fans of all ages.

“Honestly, I first listened to Rasha during my teenage years and immediately fell in love with her voice,” said 22-year-old Read Sindhi. “I’m thrilled with the fact that I met her.”

The singer ended the hour-long session with snippets from two of her widely loved songs: “Remi’s Anti Al-Aman” and “Anastasia’s Ah lo fo Alahlam.”

Most of those attending grew up in the 1980s, 1990s, and noughties. Now adults, they brought their children along to meet their anime-singing idol.

“I will allow the new generations to get to know Rasha to know how kind she is and listen to her songs because every track has a moral lesson,” said 24-year-old Raigah Zain.

Rizk told Arab News that she was thrilled and delighted to meet the people who had grown up listening to her and giving back the love she had received through the years.

“Meeting people and receiving this much love,” was what Rizk said she would remember most about the Jeddah events. “Seeing the audience singing every word and letter along with me is the best thing I could ask for. It feels like seeing my own children growing before my eyes.”

Rizk said she hoped to see more local anime works representing different Arab cultures and traditions go global. “I support every cultural project that sends a beautiful image to the world about Arabs.”

Besides singing anime and cartoon theme tracks, Rizk has released three albums, performed at opera houses and concerts around the world, played roles in musicals and movies, and was the voice of Anastasia in the animation movie.

She works with the cartoon channel “Spacetoon,” which shows dubbed animation and cartoons. She lent her voice to the Saudi animated movie “The Journey,” which was released in theaters last year.

 


PNU joins King Fahd National Library catalog

The agreement was signed by Rabiah Al-Barrak and Othman Mohammed Al-Asmari. (SPA)
The agreement was signed by Rabiah Al-Barrak and Othman Mohammed Al-Asmari. (SPA)
Updated 52 min 51 sec ago

PNU joins King Fahd National Library catalog

The agreement was signed by Rabiah Al-Barrak and Othman Mohammed Al-Asmari. (SPA)
  • In February, the library joined the International Federation of Libraries and Institutions for 2022

RIYADH: Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University has signed an agreement to join the Saudi Unified Catalog of the King Fahd National Library.
This development ensures that intellectual resources can be easily accessed from one database, which will benefit the nation’s researchers.
The agreement was signed by university representative Rabiah Al-Barrak and Othman Mohammed Al-Asmari, director of the catalog project.
The library aims to build a national reference to standardize technical practices. It also seeks to develop information and knowledge projects, and to facilitate coordination between institutions in Saudi Arabia.
In February, the library joined the International Federation of Libraries and Institutions for 2022. The federation consists of 1,600 members from 150 countries around the world.
Dr. Mansour bin Abdullah Al-Zamil, secretary of the KFNL, pointed out that joining the federation is the culmination of the library’s efforts in strengthening international cooperation, which would not have been possible without the continuous support from the Saudi leadership. AN Riyadh
Al-Zamil stressed that by joining the federation, the library will be able to share knowledge, experiences, standards and methods of work and keep pace with global developments, in addition to actively participating in meetings, seminars, workshops and conferences.

 


Saudi education minister meets with UK counterpart

Saudi Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh. (SPA)
Updated 24 May 2022

Saudi education minister meets with UK counterpart

Saudi Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh. (SPA)
  • The meeting discussed ways of enhancing opportunities of educational, academic and research cooperation between the two countries

LONDON: The Saudi Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh met with British Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi on the sidelines of the Education World Forum 2022 in London.

Al-Sheikh also met with the UK prime minister’s special representative to Saudi Arabia for education, Steve Smith.

The minister is currently on an official visit to London to take part in the forum, running from May 22-25.

During the meeting, the two sides reviewed ways of enhancing the cooperation between the two countries in the fields of education and science, as well as the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques Program on Scholarship, according to the recent strategy launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The meeting also discussed ways of enhancing opportunities of educational, academic and research cooperation between the two countries and developing educational curricula, including teaching the Arabic language through the internet and training Saudi doctors.

The meeting was attended by Salih Al-Gesoomi, undersecretary at the Saudi Ministry for International Cooperation, Ohood Al-Fares, undersecretary for public education; and Dr. Mohamed El-Mugbel, undersecretary for educational programs, as well as the cultural attache at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in the UK, Amal Fattani.


UN official applauds Saudi Green Initiative aimed at addressing climate change effects

UN official applauds Saudi Green Initiative aimed at addressing climate change effects
The UN resident coordinator in Saudi Arabia, Nathalie Fustier, addresses participants at Riyadh Blue Talk. (AN photo by Ali M Al
Updated 24 May 2022

UN official applauds Saudi Green Initiative aimed at addressing climate change effects

UN official applauds Saudi Green Initiative aimed at addressing climate change effects
  • UNRC applauds Saudi Green Initiative aimed at addressing devastating effects of climate change
  • The environment is a key priority for the UN globally and in the Kingdom

RIYADH: The UN resident coordinator in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday praised the Kingdom for stepping up its commitment to the environment by launching initiatives aimed at addressing the devastating effects of climate change.

In her opening remarks at Riyadh Blue Talk, an event organized by the UNRC office and the embassies of Portugal and Kenya to raise awareness of oceans ahead of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference to be held in Lisbon next month, Nathalie Fustier said:

“In recent years, Saudi Arabia has stepped up its commitment to the environment and launched last year the Middle East and the Saudi Green Initiatives aimed at addressing some of the devastating effects of climate change. Recently, the Saudi government announced the establishment of the Red Sea Authority, a new body to protect the coral reefs and sea turtles in the Red Sea.

“Saudi Arabia has more than 2,000 km of coastline, the largest in the region, with 30 percent of the Kingdom’s population living within 100 km of a coastline. This enormous coastline is home to diverse marine ecosystems and the basis for the future blue economy of the Kingdom.

“Considering the valuable contributions and efforts that Saudi Arabia has made to the conservation of marine environment at national, regional, and global levels, we are glad to gather stakeholders from government, private sector, civil society, academia, regional and international organizations to exchange knowledge and solutions and build partnerships to solve pressing challenges.”

The environment is a priority for the UN and the Kingdom. The UN in Saudi Arabia supports the Kingdom in its progress toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Vision 2030, she added.

“We are working on a five-year development cooperation framework with the government which has a strong focus on ‘planet.’ We have also established a dedicated Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Advisory Working Group within the UNCT (UN Country Team) to enhance internal UN coordination and improve support to the government in the field of (the) environment.”

The UN secretary-general firmly believed that solutions were possible and the current trends could be reversed to bring considerable improvements to the environment, she said.

“With this optimism in mind, I look forward to learning more and hope that the discussions here will inform the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon and create new ways of working towards an effective solution to better preserve our oceans.”

Speaking at Riyadh Blue Talk, Dr. Osama Faqeeha, Saudi Arabia's deputy minister for environment, water, and agriculture said: “Saudi Vision 2030 plays a central role (in) coming out with a deep conviction that economic development and prosperity cannot be complete without environmental protection and social development."

In 2016, the Environment Ministry approved a national strategy that included a comprehensive assessment of all environmental challenges and opportunities and an intensified focus on environmental protection.

That was followed by a complete restructuring of institutions working in the environment sector, resulting in the National Center for Environmental Compliance.

It also resulted in the National Center for Waste Management to accelerate work in the Kingdom toward a circular economy, maximizing recycling, minimizing waste generation, maximizing utilization of waste, and reducing waste diversion to landfills.

The National Center to Combat Desertification addresses national challenges related to vegetation cover. Saudi Arabia also has a National Center for Wildlife and a National Center for Metrology to tackle climate and environmental issues.

Peter Thomson, the UN secretary-general's special envoy for the ocean, said: “(The) Ocean’s health is vital to us all. Just consider the fact that over 50 percent of the planet’s oxygen is produced in the ocean. That is why my daily mantra is, ‘No healthy planet without a healthy ocean.’ And the ocean’s health is measurably in decline.

“We can stop the decline of the ocean’s health in 2022 and we made a great start with the consensual agreement at UNEA (UN Environment Assembly) in Nairobi in February to begin work on a binding global treaty to end plastic pollution.

“We must continue this positive momentum by ending harmful fisheries subsidies at the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Geneva, by adopting the 30 by 30 target at the Biodiversity COP in Kunming, and when we gather in Sharm El-Sheikh in November for COP27, by moving the climate finance needle decisively in the direction of the Sustainable Blue Economy.

“2022’s highlight opportunity will be the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, in support of SDG14’s implementation. There, we will launch a great fleet of science-based solutions, heavily powered by innovation and partnerships.”

Riyadh Blue Talk held two panel discussions.

One was about managing, protecting, conserving, and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems. It was moderated by Portuguese ambassador Nuno Mathias. The other was about increasing scientific knowledge and developing research capacity and transfer of marine technology. This was moderated by the Kenyan ambassador Peter Nicholas Ogego.

Riyadh Blue Talk is part of a global action initiative to raise ocean awareness.


Saudi foreign minister reiterates Kingdom’s position on Israel

Saudi Arabian FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan reiterated the kingdom’s stance regarding normalization with Israel. (AN Photo)
Saudi Arabian FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan reiterated the kingdom’s stance regarding normalization with Israel. (AN Photo)
Updated 24 May 2022

Saudi foreign minister reiterates Kingdom’s position on Israel

Saudi Arabian FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan reiterated the kingdom’s stance regarding normalization with Israel. (AN Photo)
  • Normalization comes as an end result of a path, Prince Faisal tells Davos audience

DAVOS: Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan reiterated the Kingdom’s stance regarding normalization with Israel at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday that there is no change despite recent unconfirmed media reports suggesting otherwise.

“I’ve addressed that several times in the past and nothing has changed in how we view the subject. I think we have always seen normalisation as the end result, but the end result of a path,” Prince Faisal told at a Davos panel titled “A New Security Architecture in the Middle East.”

“We always envisioned that there will be full normalisation with Israel, and I’ve said before that a full normalisation between us and Israel, between the region and Israel, will bring immense benefits - we won’t be able to reap those benefits unless we address the issue of Palestine,” he added in response to a question about recent unconfirmed media reports involving a US brokered deal involving Egypt and Israel. 

For his part, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi chimed in as well and said “The key issue that we should be looking at here is the absolute no political horizon for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

“That is killing hope, that is allowing the enrichment of despair and empowering radicalization on all sides and that’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos. (AN Photo)

The murder of Al Jazeera’s veteran news anchor, Shireen Abu Akleh, in Palestine at the hands of Israeli defence forces was also brought up as the panel called for a thorough investigation.

“Thats one among many, many cases since the beginning of the year over 42 Palestinians have been killed in clashes that have erupted across the occupied Palestinian Territories,” Safadi said.

When asked about ties with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Prince Faisal said they need to find a way toward pushing forward the political process that has been stalled for a long time, and they need to find a way to address the refugee crisis.

“Its easy for someone talking from 10,000, 4,000, 5,000 miles away, to look at it from a different perspective than we in the region,” Jordan’s FM said.

“The question is not ‘normalize or not normalize’, the question is ‘do we continue with status quo politics?’ Which means the crisis continues to deepen, the suffering its causing continues to effect more people..”

“We believe that we should look at the interconnectedness of everything in the region, with Syria we should accept the fact that the crisis cannot continue and we have to solve it.”

With regards to normalising ties with regional crisis points and threats, the topic of dialogue with Iran was brought up as well.

“Our hands are stretched out, we are trying to send the message that going into a new era of cooperation in the region can deliver benefits for all of us,” he told a World Economic Forum panel, adding that “that does need a decision in Iran to sign onto that vision of a much more prosperous, cooperative future.”

“We continue to encourage our neighbors in Iran to lean into what can be a very, very important….see change in our region,” he said.

While the GCC is in discussions with Iran, the government two months ago claimed a missile attack on the Kurdish capital Erbil in Iraq stating it was targeting an Israeli “strategic centre of conspiracy.”

Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said that “we must look at the security of the region as a whole.”