Plight of Palestinians still a key focus of Saudi foreign policy, says envoy

Plight of Palestinians still a key focus of Saudi foreign policy, says envoy
Abdallah Al-Mouallimi reiterated, to the UN General Assembly, Riyadh’s rejection and denunciation of the continuing confiscation of Palestinian homes and land by Israel. (AP Photo)
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Updated 02 December 2021

Plight of Palestinians still a key focus of Saudi foreign policy, says envoy

Plight of Palestinians still a key focus of Saudi foreign policy, says envoy
  • Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, was addressing a General Assembly meeting on the Palestinian question
  • ‘Israel’s unilateral measures will lead to a disruption of security and stability, particularly in Palestine but also in the wider Middle East,’ he said

NEW YORK: The Palestinian issue will remain a major focus of Saudi Arabian foreign policy until Palestinians regain their rights and succeed in establishing a state of their own with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN said.

Abdallah Al-Mouallimi also reiterated Riyadh’s rejection and denunciation of the continuing confiscation of Palestinian homes and land by Israel, along with its violation of the sanctity of the Temple Mount and attempts to obliterate its Arab and Islamic identity.

“These aggressive Israeli measures will undermine the chances of peace,” Al-Mouallimi told the UN General Assembly in New York late on Wednesday, during a plenary meeting to discuss the Palestinian question and the situation in the wider Middle East.

“The policy of settlement building and colonial expansion carried out by the occupying Israeli authorities on Palestinian land is liable to destroy the possibility of peaceful coexistence,” he said.

“Israel’s unilateral measures will lead to a disruption of security and stability, particularly in Palestine but also in the wider Middle East.”

The plenary session took place days after the 74th anniversary of resolution 181, which was passed by the General Assembly on Nov. 29, 1947. It called for the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, with the city of Jerusalem a separate entity to be governed by an international regime.

“More than 75 years have passed since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945,” and for more than 70 years the issue of Palestine has been on its agenda, Al-Mouallimi said. Saudi Arabia’s historical position of support for “the inalienable and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including (their) right to establish their independent state, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, (in line with) the relevant Security Council resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative” remains unchanged, he added.

The Saudi envoy once again stressed the need for the international community to live up to its responsibilities and call on Israel to end its occupation of Arab land in Palestine, the Golan and Lebanon.

“It is unfortunate that the Israeli occupation authorities continue to violate the rights of the Palestinian people, and practice the most heinous forms of crimes, (including the use of) excessive force against a defenseless people,” Al-Mouallimi said.

He described Israel’s settlement expansions as “a clear violation and disregard for the international community” and called on that global community to protect the Palestinian people.

Al-Mouallimi thanked the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for its work, which he said is conducted “despite the dangers and difficult conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a result of the stifling measures by the occupation authorities.”

He urged UN member states to work together and provide the necessary support for the agency “to carry out its humanitarian work in the occupied territory.”

The Saudi envoy also thanked Ambassador Cheikh Niang, the Senegalese chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, for its latest report on Palestine.

He assured him of the Kingdom’s backing for the report and called on member states to support and adopt a resolution drafted by Dakar, titled “Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine.”


Saudia to launch direct flights from Paris to AlUla

Saudia to launch direct flights from Paris to AlUla
Updated 11 sec ago

Saudia to launch direct flights from Paris to AlUla

Saudia to launch direct flights from Paris to AlUla

DUBAI: National carrier Saudi Airlines (Saudia) is inaugurating on Jan. 27 a direct flight from Paris to the historic oasis of AlUla as the Kingdom seeks more avenues to promote the UNESCO heritage site.

The new air route provides a unique opportunity for French travellers and travellers from neighboring countries to be among the first explorers to visit this extraordinary region, a statement said.

Regular flights will depart from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport every Sunday from Jan. 30 until Mar. 27 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that would be deployed would land at AlUla after five hours, it added.

Phillip Jones, Chief Destination Management and Marketing Officer said: “The French are intrepid travellers, always keen to be the first to experience the new. We … hope that many Europeans will take the opportunity to visit our heritage sites and perhaps take in some of our winter events as the flights will run till March 27.”

The winter events season at AlUla features four major festivals on offer until the end of March: Winter at Tantora, AlUla Arts, AlUla Skies and AlUla Wellness.

“This is our first international direct flight to AlUla and we believe one of many as more of our guests around the world are showing an eagerness to explore our country’s history and culture,” Hazem Sonbol, Passenger Sales Vice President of Saudia, said in the statement.

Gérard Mestrallet, Executive President of AFALULA, meanwhile said: “Since the intergovernmental agreement signed by Saudi Arabia and France in April 2018 on AlUla sustainable development, the collaboration between the Saudi and French economic and cultural ecosystems, led by the Royal Commission for AlUla and AFALULA, has proven to be increasingly intense and fruitful.

“Following the access, since September 2019, to tourist visas for Saudi Arabia, the opening of a direct air route from Paris will bolster the attractiveness of this unique cultural destination.”


Thai PM arrives in Saudi Arabia in visit to build ties

Thai PM arrives in Saudi Arabia in visit to build ties
Updated 25 January 2022

Thai PM arrives in Saudi Arabia in visit to build ties

Thai PM arrives in Saudi Arabia in visit to build ties

RIYADH: Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has started an official two-day visit to Saudi Arabia after arriving on Tuesday in Riyadh.

The visit by the prime minister comes in response to an invitation extended by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the state-run SPA news agency. 

Upon arrival at the King Khalid International Airport, Chan-ocha was received by the deputy emir of Riyadh, Prince Mohamed bin Abdel Rahman.


Stunning French soprano enthralls Jeddah audience

Clara Barbier Serrano performed arias by composers such as Purcell, Handel, Mozart and Puccini. Her journey into opera began 10 years ago when she was 16 years old. (Photos/ Hayy Jameel)
Clara Barbier Serrano performed arias by composers such as Purcell, Handel, Mozart and Puccini. Her journey into opera began 10 years ago when she was 16 years old. (Photos/ Hayy Jameel)
Updated 24 January 2022

Stunning French soprano enthralls Jeddah audience

Clara Barbier Serrano performed arias by composers such as Purcell, Handel, Mozart and Puccini. Her journey into opera began 10 years ago when she was 16 years old. (Photos/ Hayy Jameel)
  • Clara Barbier Serrano performs arias taking audience on a special journey through European history
  • To be in this place in this Maraya concert hall was just incredible, because it’s beautiful; it’s so magical how we can bring this music to the whole world, and then people will somehow connect to it

JEDDAH: The first recipient of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation-Community Jameel Scholarship, French soprano Clara Barbier Serrano, thrilled a Jeddah audience with her stunning performance on the Hayy Jameel stage on Jan. 22.

Serrano performed arias by composers such as Purcell, Handel, Mozart and Puccini, taking the Jeddawi audience on a special journey through European history from the 17th to the 20th centuries, via Italian opera, Mozart and finishing with French songs, accompanied by a pianist to complete a beautiful, intimate recital.
This event is considered the first classical music performance at Hayy Jameel.
In an exclusive interview at Hayy Jameel, Serrano told Arab News that she was lucky to receive the scholarship as it created chances for her, including the opportunity to perform next to Bocelli at different locations throughout the world.
“I had my first performance next to Bocelli after I received the Bocelli-Jameel scholarship, it is really always a pleasure to sing next to him,” she said.
“Now I feel more at ease when we’re on the stage together. I’m more relaxed than before because I know him a little bit. There is very nice energy that he gives on stage.”
The talented young singer performed the day before with Bocelli at one of the Kingdom’s prominent cultural destinations, the award-winning Maraya in AlUla.
“To be in this place in this Maraya concert hall was just incredible, because it’s beautiful; it’s so magical how we can bring this music to the whole world, and then people will somehow connect to it,” she said.
As a child, Serrano said that she did not know much about opera. “My family also didn’t listen to classical music, I was not particularly into it. I was listening more to jazz and things like that.”
Serrano’s journey into opera began 10 years ago when she was 16 years old. “I played the violin as a kid, and I took so many musical classes, singing in the choir, and playing the violin, I got more and more interested in the voice and then my teachers would tell me, you have a nice voice you should think solo, and that’s how I got interested in opera or more in lyrical singing.”
“At the time, I hadn’t seen many operas in my life. And it’s a very particular form of art actually. However, this interest in the voice just led me to practice this kind of singing,” she said.
Serrano said that when an opera is performed on stage a great narrative combination happens. “When we are on stage, it is like a story and a plot, it is like a theater piece being performed in a music style. The technique and the way we use our body to make the sound are very emotional. You have to take people with you in something very personal.”
Serrano received the Andrea Bocelli Foundation-Community Jameel Scholarship in 2020; she was rewarded with a two-year diploma in opera and a chance for her to be fully immersed in the opera world.
“I have been studying opera classical singing for six years, including my four years of bachelor in art and music in Germany, and now I am doing a special kind of postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music in London,” she said.
Serrano performed with Bocelli in the 2020 “Believe in Christmas” concert at the Teatro Regio di Parma, at the annual Concerto di Natale in Assisi in 2020, and in 2021 at the Teatro di Silenzio in Bocelli’s Tuscan hometown of Lajatico.
The opera scholarship is open to students from around the world. Community Jameel, which supports the scholarship, and Art Jameel, which runs Hayy Jameel, are sister organizations founded by the Jameel family of Saudi Arabia.
The Andrea Bocelli Foundation and Community Jameel scholarship were established in 2019, with the aim of supporting up-and-coming singers to study opera at the Royal College of Music in London. The second Bocelli-Jameel Scholar was awarded to Egyptian talent Laura Mekhail in 2021.


Saudi Arabia and Romania sign defense cooperation agreement

Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense for Executive Affairs Khalid Al-Bayari and Romanian State Secretary and Chief of the Department for Defense Policy, Planning and International Relations Simona Cojocaru sign the agreement. (SPA)
Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense for Executive Affairs Khalid Al-Bayari and Romanian State Secretary and Chief of the Department for Defense Policy, Planning and International Relations Simona Cojocaru sign the agreement. (SPA)
Updated 25 January 2022

Saudi Arabia and Romania sign defense cooperation agreement

Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense for Executive Affairs Khalid Al-Bayari and Romanian State Secretary and Chief of the Department for Defense Policy, Planning and International Relations Simona Cojocaru sign the agreement. (SPA)

RIYADH: The Saudi and Romanian governments signed an agreement for cooperation in the defense field, state-run SPA news agency reported on Monday.
The agreement covered a number of defense fields between the two countries, most notably training, exchanging expertise, technologies, developing communications systems, medical services, military history, archives, publications and museums, among others.
“The agreement comes within the commitment of the two governments to promote and encourage international peace and stability,” the statement said.
The deal was signed by Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense for Executive Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Hussein Al-Bayari and Romanian State Secretary and Chief of the Department for Defense Policy, Planning and International Relations Simona Cojocaru.


Internal Audit Conference to start today in Riyadh

The conference will be held under the patronage of Hussam Al-Anqari. (SPA)
The conference will be held under the patronage of Hussam Al-Anqari. (SPA)
Updated 25 January 2022

Internal Audit Conference to start today in Riyadh

The conference will be held under the patronage of Hussam Al-Anqari. (SPA)
  • The conference will host 30 local and international leaders and experts specialized in internal auditing and control systems

RIYADH: The activities of the 8th annual internal audit conference starts in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Organized by the Saudi Institute of Internal Auditors, the conference will be held under the slogan “The Future of Internal Audit,” under the patronage of Hussam Al-Anqari the president of the General Auditing Bureau and chairman of the board of directors of Institute of Internal Auditors.

The two-day conference aims to review the developments of the internal audit profession and control systems globally, chart the future of the profession according to worldwide developments and enhance the characteristics of flexible leadership for the profession in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.

The conference will host 30 local and international leaders and experts specialized in internal auditing and control systems, in addition to a number of representatives of international organizations and companies, led by the president and CEO of the International Institute of Internal Auditors , Anthony Pugliese.

The conference will include dialogue sessions, presentations and specialized workshops, discussing the new trends in internal auditing and risk tools in leading control systems in enterprises, as well as role of governance in crisis management and business continuity and growing demand for internal auditing in the Kingdom.