President Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia signals new era in French-Saudi cooperation

President Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia signals new era in French-Saudi cooperation
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with French President Emmanuel Macron in Jeddah (SPA)
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Updated 05 December 2021

President Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia signals new era in French-Saudi cooperation

President Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia signals new era in French-Saudi cooperation
  • Wide-ranging joint statement and slew of agreements testify to a growing Saudi-French bilateral partnership
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Macron held telephone meeting with Lebanon PM Najib Mikati

JEDDAH: A joint statement covering a wide range of issues and the signing of a slew of agreements were the highlights of a visit to Saudi Arabia by French President Emmanuel Macron during the final leg of a two-day Gulf tour.

The agreements related to economic cooperation were announced by Saudi and French companies on Saturday while Macron held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The crown prince met Macron at Al-Salam Palace, where they discussed bilateral cooperation and held a telephone call with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The three countries agreed to work together to support comprehensive reforms necessary in Lebanon, according to official reports, which added that Saudi Arabia and France emphasized their keen desire to see security and stability prevail in the country.




French President Emmanuel Macron met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the president continued his multi-country tour of the Gulf. (SPA)

“The two sides stressed … that reforms should include the sectors of finance, energy, combating corruption and border control. The two sides also agreed to work with Lebanon to ensure the implementation of these measures,” the joint statement, carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), said.

“They also emphasized the need to limit arms to legitimate institutions of the state, and that Lebanon should not be a launching pad for any terrorist acts that destabilize the security and stability of the region, or a source of drug trafficking.

“They also … agreed to establish a Saudi-French mechanism for humanitarian assistance that ensures complete transparency, and expressed their determination to find appropriate mechanisms in cooperation with friendly countries and allies to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people.”




Saudi Arabia and France have committed to enhancing cultural cooperation and exchange across a broad range of cultural fields. (SPA)

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “the two sides reiterated their support for achieving peace in the Middle East, and the importance of reaching a comprehensive settlement … to be based on the two-state solution, the relevant legitimate resolutions and Arab Peace Initiative in a way that ensures the right of the Palestinian people to establish their state on 1967 borders with East Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital, calling, in this context, for an end to the Israeli settlement policy that threatens the two-state solution.”

With regard to Iran, the joint statement said: “The two sides expressed their deep concern over the development of the Iranian nuclear program and the lack of cooperation and transparency with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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$4.37bn French direct investment in KSA economy.

“France stressed its determination not to allow Iran to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon. They also agreed on the need to confront Iran's destabilizing activities in the region, including the use and transfer of drones and ballistic missiles that led to attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Addressing the Yemen crisis, the statement said “France affirmed its full support for the Saudi peace initiative that was presented on March 22, 2021, and condemned the ballistic missile and drone attacks launched by Houthi militia and affirmed its historical commitment to preserving the security of the Kingdom.”

In other developments on Saturday, Dr. Mohammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, CEO of the Saudi Space Commission, and Philippe Baptiste, CEO of the French National Center for Space Studies, signed a joint cooperation agreement in the field of the peaceful use of outer space, according to the SPA.




The Saudi Arabia, France and Lebanon agreed to work together to support comprehensive reforms necessary in the mediterranean country. (SPA)

The agreement “aims to provide a framework for cooperation in space activities in the peaceful uses of space, facilitate the exchange of information and technologies, contribute to capacity building and competencies, organize mutual visits and meetings, hold training courses and specialized workshops, as well as the joint cooperation to develop a mechanism for space-based climate monitoring.”

The SPA also reported that a memorandum of understanding was signed on Saturday that cements cultural relations between Saudi Arabia and France. “Coming only weeks after Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Farhan Al-Saud met with his French counterpart, Dr. Roselyn Bachelot, in Paris, the MoU is the latest example of strengthening cultural ties between the two countries,” the report said.

It added: “Under the five-year agreement, Saudi Arabia and France have committed to enhancing cultural cooperation and exchange across a broad range of cultural fields, including architecture, audiovisual production, design, film, heritage, literature, performing arts and visual arts.




The crown prince met the French president at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)

“In addition, the MoU will facilitate the two countries to explore cultural regulations and policies. There will also be opportunities to increase the participation of Saudi and French artists in residency exchange programs and strengthen cooperation between artists and cultural institutions in both countries.”

The SPA said that a separate agreement to enhance tourism cooperation between the two countries was co-signed by Ahmed Al-Khateeb, the Saudi tourism minister, and Franck Riester, the French minister delegate for foreign trade and economic attractiveness.

It quoted Al-Khateeb as saying: "France, through its knowledge and experience, will help the Kingdom in developing its tourism activity to attract investments with a cost of $810 billion, which will provide the country with tourism opportunities outside the Hajj season. The Kingdom is expected to have new investment opportunities with a cost of $6 trillion by 2030, and this is a matter of excitement.”


Empowerment of women in Saudi museums sector in spotlight at open discussion forum

Empowerment of women in Saudi museums sector in spotlight at open discussion forum
Updated 27 January 2022

Empowerment of women in Saudi museums sector in spotlight at open discussion forum

Empowerment of women in Saudi museums sector in spotlight at open discussion forum
  • The event, hosted by the Kingdom’s Museum Commission, explored ways in which the role of women could be enhanced in the sector

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Museum Commission hosted an open discussion on Wednesday about the empowerment women in the museums sector.

The event, at the National Museum in Riyadh, was moderated by Maha bint Amer Al-Shukhil, a faculty member at Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, and the participants included Stefano Carboni, the CEO of the commission.

The topics addressed during the discussion included the roles and work of Saudi women, creating change in the Museums Commission, and the need to develop job opportunities for women in the museums field.

Participants also discussed how to foster cooperation between universities and the Museums Commission, the role and importance of museums in society, encouraging and highlighting efforts by women in the field, providing training and volunteering opportunities in the commission, and giving women more opportunities to work in the museums sector.

Carboni said that the objectives of the commission include providing advisory services, providing specialized courses and programs on museum management, offering opportunities to learn about specialized establishments in the sector, and working to develop communication skills between museums and visitors.

On the sidelines of the session, Hind Al-Turki, the head of the history department at Princess Nourah University, spoke about the necessity of offering field-training opportunities for female students specializing in the museums sector, to improve their knowledge and provide practical experience, and to present programs and workshops.

The commission said that the session was part of its efforts to communicate with the public and promote dialogue with workers in the sector to identify their needs and aspirations, and work to achieve them, based on the authority’s responsibility for developing and enhancing the museums sector in the Kingdom, and supporting and empowering its employees.
 


KSrelief, UNICEF sign agreement to provide basic health services for mothers and children in Yemen

KSrelief, UNICEF sign agreement to provide basic health services for mothers and children in Yemen
Updated 27 January 2022

KSrelief, UNICEF sign agreement to provide basic health services for mothers and children in Yemen

KSrelief, UNICEF sign agreement to provide basic health services for mothers and children in Yemen

RIYADH: The Saudi-based King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center signed a cooperation agreement with UNICEF to provide basic health services for mothers and newborns, according to the humanitarian response plan for Yemen, with a value of $10 million.
KSrelief supervisor general Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore signed the agreement, Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The agreement stipulates providing free basic health services for obstetrics and gynaecology emergency and care services, increasing the preparedness of the Yemeni health sector with medical equipment for newborns, localizing the sustainability of providing health services for mothers and children, and training 156 midwives for emergency cases to obstetric care and emergency care for newborns. The agreement is expected to benefit 43,533 individuals in several Yemeni governorates.
It is part of the humanitarian and aid projects implemented by Saudi Arabia, through KSrelief, in partnership with UNICEF to develop the Yemeni health sector and increase care services offered to children and mothers in all Yemeni governorates.

 


DiplomaticQuarter: Indian Embassy in Riyadh celebrates 73rd Republic Day

DiplomaticQuarter: Indian Embassy in Riyadh celebrates 73rd Republic Day
Updated 27 January 2022

DiplomaticQuarter: Indian Embassy in Riyadh celebrates 73rd Republic Day

DiplomaticQuarter: Indian Embassy in Riyadh celebrates 73rd Republic Day

RIYADH: The Embassy of India in Riyadh celebrated the 73rd Republic Day with great fervor to honor the historic date of Jan. 26, 1950, when India’s constitution came into effect and the country became a republic.

The celebration began in the morning with a flag-hoisting ceremony on the embassy premises, where Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia Dr. Ausaf Sayeed unfurled the national flag of India.

Sayeed extended greetings to all the attendees at the function and to all Indians residing in Saudi Arabia.

“On this joyous occasion of the 73rd Republic Day of India, I would like to extend my warm greetings and felicitations to all Indian nationals, persons of Indian origin, and friends of India in the Kingdom,” envoy tweeted.

He also talked of the growing ties of India and Saudi Arabia. He said that since independence, India’s relationship with the Kingdom has evolved into a multifaceted and mutually beneficial strategic partnership encompassing several key areas, including defense and security cooperation, investment, healthcare, technology, energy and food security.

The envoy also read out the message of the President of India, Ramnath Kovind, on the occasion, which read: “My heartiest greetings to all of you, in India and abroad, on the 73rd Republic Day! It is an occasion to celebrate what is common to us all, our Indian-ness. It was on this day in 1950 that this sacred essence of us all assumed a formal shape. That day, India was established as the largest democratic republic and ‘we the people’ put into effect a constitution that is an inspired document of our collective vision. It is this spirit of unity and of being one nation which is celebrated every year as Republic Day.”

This was followed by cultural performances given by the students of Indian schools in Riyadh.

The event was attended by members of the Indian community based in the Kingdom.

The celebration holds greater significance for Indians across the world as India is celebrating its 75th year of independence. India gained its independence on Aug. 15, 1947. This celebration also coincides with 75 years of diplomatic relations between India and Saudi Arabia.


King Salman appoints new board to help SAIP become regional IP hub

King Salman appoints new board to help SAIP become regional IP hub
Updated 27 January 2022

King Salman appoints new board to help SAIP become regional IP hub

King Salman appoints new board to help SAIP become regional IP hub

RIYADH: King Salman has appointed several executives and government vice ministers to the board of the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property to help it become a globally recognized IP hub for the Middle East and North Africa.

The appointments include Osama bin Abdulaziz Al-Zamil, deputy minister of industry and mineral resources; Haitham Abdulrahman Al-Ohali, vice minister of communications and information technology; Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, deputy minister of culture; Deemah bint Yahya Al-Yahya, secretary-general of the Digital Cooperation Organization; and Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al-Samari, CEO of the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority.

Board Chairman Mohammed bin Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh and CEO Abdulaziz Al-Suwailem expressed their gratitude and appreciation to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their support.

They also wished success to the board members as the authority seeks to establish itself as a focal point for intellectual property in the MENA region by the time the Saudi Vision 2030 is wholly implemented.

Al-Sheikh is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Saudi Arabia’s representative to the World Bank in Washington. In 2013 he was appointed chairman of the Saudi Capital Market Authority and two years later named as a state minister.

HIGHLIGHT

The main tasks of SAIP include developing a national IP strategy, proposing and developing relevant regulations and laws, and registering, granting and protecting IP rights. It also raises awareness of intellectual property, provides information to the public, represents Saudi Arabia at international and regional IP organizations, grants licenses for IP activities, and comments on relevant international agreements.

Al-Suwailem, who has served as an adviser to the World Intellectual Property Organization and UNESCO, is experienced in IP rights at the local and international level. He is also a former vice president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

The main tasks of SAIP include developing a national IP strategy, proposing and developing relevant regulations and laws, and registering, granting and protecting IP rights. It also raises awareness of intellectual property, provides information to the public, represents Saudi Arabia at international and regional IP organizations, grants licenses for IP activities, and comments on relevant international agreements.

Recently, SAIP signed a memorandum of understanding with the Korean Intellectual Property Office, in the presence of the Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the Saudi-Korean Investment Forum in Riyadh.

The agreement enhances the strategic partnership between South Korea and Saudi Arabia, and will involve the secondment of Korean IP experts to Riyadh.

SAIP spokesman Yasser Hakami told Arab News that the MoU laid out the framework, projects, timeline and procedures for the cooperative activities.


King Salman Royal Reserve unveils digital identity

King Salman Royal Reserve unveils digital identity
Updated 27 January 2022

King Salman Royal Reserve unveils digital identity

King Salman Royal Reserve unveils digital identity
  • Campaign aims to boost awareness, outreach ahead of Vision 2030 goal

RIYADH: King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve, the largest reserve in the Middle East and North Africa, unveiled its digital identity on its website and Twitter account to foster awareness and boost its outreach.

The campaign showcased the vision, mission and goals of the reserve, along with more than 235 plant species, such as tamarisk, calligonum and common poppy.

Besides historical treasures dating back more than 12,000 years from the ancient period to the Islamic age, the sites of Jubbah and Kalwa within KSRNR are full of old stories and legends, which the KSRNR hopes to preserve.

The reserve is characterized by its enormous size, and serves as a resting site for migrating birds.

The new digital campaign pointed to the future vision for KSRNR, as well as its ecotourism and recreational goals in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

Spelling out the plans, a senior official at the reserve said that the KSRNR “seeks to reintroduce species, resettle wildlife, restore natural wealth, increase vegetation cover, maintain cultural heritage and provide job opportunities for the local community.”

As part of the digital reveal, Abdullah bin Qadhan, director of partnerships and external communication at KSRNR, discussed the reserve’s strategic objectives and its latest initiative to develop vegetation cover.

HIGHLIGHT

Established in 2018, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve is spread across 130,700 square kilometers of land, stretching toward the Northern Borders region. It incorporates three existing natural reserves: Harrat Al-Harrah Conservation, Al-Tubaiq Natural Reserve and Al-Khanfah Wildlife Sanctuary.

“Qadhan shared details of the ‘We Spread It for a Green Tomorrow’ campaign in the Tabuk region, in which drones were used,” the reserve tweeted.

“There is an activation of the career opportunities in the region by employing young Saudi cadres, and we are working with universities to qualify final year students. There are training programs that end with employment for them,” Qadhan said.

“We signed a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Investment to develop feasibility studies for attractions and market them to local and international investors,” he added.

“Our goal is to be a distinguished tourist destination in the Arabian Peninsula, and we seek to enable the private sector to invest in the natural reserve.”

KSRNR was established in 2018 as a result of a royal decree to create a Council of Royal Reserves, which is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The reserve is spread across 130,700 square kilometers of land, stretching toward the Northern Borders region. It incorporates three existing natural reserves: Harrat Al-Harrah Conservation, Al-Tubaiq Natural Reserve and Al-Khanfah Wildlife Sanctuary.