Saudi Arabia and Oman commit to closer cooperation as first land crossing opens

Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq receives Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Muscat. (SPA)
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Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq receives Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Muscat. (SPA)
Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq receives Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Muscat. (SPA)
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Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq receives Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Muscat. (SPA)
Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq receives Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Muscat. (SPA)
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Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq receives Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Muscat. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman traveled to Oman on a two-day visit as part of an official Gulf tour. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman traveled to Oman on a two-day visit as part of an official Gulf tour. (SPA)
Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq receives Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Muscat. (SPA)
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Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq receives Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Muscat. (SPA)
The road runs from Al-Batha road intersection near the capital, Riyadh, to the Empty Quarter crossing on the Saudi-Omani border. (SPA)
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The road runs from Al-Batha road intersection near the capital, Riyadh, to the Empty Quarter crossing on the Saudi-Omani border. (SPA)
The road runs from Al-Batha road intersection near the capital, Riyadh, to the Empty Quarter crossing on the Saudi-Omani border. (SPA)
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The road runs from Al-Batha road intersection near the capital, Riyadh, to the Empty Quarter crossing on the Saudi-Omani border. (SPA)
The road runs from Al-Batha road intersection near the capital, Riyadh, to the Empty Quarter crossing on the Saudi-Omani border. (SPA)
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The road runs from Al-Batha road intersection near the capital, Riyadh, to the Empty Quarter crossing on the Saudi-Omani border. (SPA)
The road runs from Al-Batha road intersection near the capital, Riyadh, to the Empty Quarter crossing on the Saudi-Omani border. (SPA)
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The road runs from Al-Batha road intersection near the capital, Riyadh, to the Empty Quarter crossing on the Saudi-Omani border. (SPA)
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Updated 09 December 2021

Saudi Arabia and Oman commit to closer cooperation as first land crossing opens

Saudi Arabia and Oman commit to closer cooperation as first land crossing opens
  • The Kingdom and the sultanate agreed to cooperate in the field of energy and climate change
  • The two sides also agreed to work to coordinate their positions on regional and international issues

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Oman announced on Tuesday the opening of the first land crossing between the two Gulf neighbors.
“The 725 kilometer Saudi-Omani road...will contribute to the smooth movement of citizens of the two countries and the integration of supply chains,” a joint statement released following an official visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.
The road runs from Al-Batha road intersection near the capital, Riyadh, to the Empty Quarter crossing on the Saudi-Omani border, costing over SR1.9 billion ($506 million).
The project to link the two countries, implemented by the Ministry of Transport and Logistics, is considered an engineering marvel given the difficult terrain and harsh climate in the Empty Quarter. It is also considered one of the ministry’s most important projects due to the role it plays in promoting trade exchange between the two countries, and facilitating the movement of pilgrims and tourists.

The opening of the road also completes the Kingdom’s direct links with all the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and is expected to contribute to increasing the volume of trade exchange between the two countries, which exceeded SR10 billion last year.
Meanwhile, Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq and Prince Mohammed held talks in Muscat, where they reviewed prospects for joint cooperation and ways of developing them in various fields. They praised the cooperation and coordination achieved in the political, economic, military and security fields so far.
The two sides also praised the efforts of the OPEC+ countries, led by the Kingdom and with Oman’s participation, which led to the stability and balance of oil markets. They also stressed the importance of continuing this cooperation and called on member countries to adhere to the OPEC+ agreement.

Saudi Arabia and Oman agreed to cooperate in the field of energy and climate change and to work jointly within the framework of the Middle East Green Initiative regionally and globally.
“The two sides agreed to increase the facilities that contribute to the smooth flow of intra-regional trade and enhance cooperation in the field of food security,” the statement said.
During the visit, memoranda of understanding were signed in the fields of tourism, radio and television, news exchange, and audio-visual and print media. Several leading Saudi and Omani companies also signed a number of agreements.
On regional and international issues, the two sides agreed to work to coordinate their positions in a manner that serves their interests and enhances security and stability, and affirmed their support for all efforts aimed at achieving peace in the Middle East.

They called for the need to reach a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that guarantees the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
On Yemen, the two sides agreed to continue their efforts to find a comprehensive political solution to the crisis and end the human suffering of the Yemeni people.
The Kingdom and the sultanate also welcomed the success of the recent elections in Iraq, and hoped the new Iraqi government will continue to work for the security, stability and development of the country.
The two sides also welcomed the agreements reached by the parties to the transitional phase in Sudan, and affirmed their continued support for security and stability in the north African country, and prosperity for its people, the statement added.
They also called for the need to implement comprehensive reforms in Lebanon to ensure it overcomes its crises and does not become a launching pad for any terrorist or criminal acts that destabilize regional security and stability.

Saudi Arabia and Oman also called for the need to reach political solutions to the Syrian and Libyan crises, and to support relief efforts and security and stability in Afghanistan so it does not become a safe haven for terrorists and extremists.
Oman praised the Kingdom for calling an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, which will be held in Pakistan on Dec. 19.
They also stressed the need to “cooperate and seriously and effectively deal with Iran’s nuclear and missile program with all its components and repercussions, in a way that contributes to achieving regional and international security and stability.” They emphasized the principles of good neighborliness, respect for UN resolutions, and sparing the region from all destabilizing activities.


Sultan Haitham awarded the crown prince the Oman Civil Order of the first degree – one of the highest Omani honors – during their official talks at Al-Alam Palace in Muscat. The distinction is awarded to kings, heads of state, crown princes and heads of government whose countries have distinguished relations with Oman.
The crown prince sent a cable to Sultan Haitham following the visit, thanking him for the warm reception and hospitality he and his accompanying delegation received, Saudi Press Agency reported.
“The discussions we had with Your Majesty confirmed the strength of the brotherly relations between our two countries, and the common desire to deepen cooperation between them in all fields,” he said, “which aims to achieve the interests of the two countries and enhance regional security and stability.”
The crown prince’s two-day visit to Oman came following directives from King Salman to strengthen the close relations between the two countries, as part of a Gulf tour that also includes visits to the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.


Saudi leaders send condolences to Jordan king over passing of Queen Rania’s father

Updated 6 sec ago

Saudi leaders send condolences to Jordan king over passing of Queen Rania’s father

Saudi leaders send condolences to Jordan king over passing of Queen Rania’s father

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a cable of condolences and sympathy to Jordan’s King Abdullah II on the death of Queen Rania’s father who passed away on Friday, Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.
The king said: “We have learned of the death of the father of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, doctor Faisal Sedki Al-Yassin, and as we send to Your Majesty and the family of the deceased our deepest and most sincere condolences.”
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent King Abdullah a similar cable of condolences and sympathy.


Saudi digital artist merges famous figures with KSA’s landscapes

Titan from Japanese anime ‘Attack on Titan’ behind mountains of Al-Shafa road, Taif. (Supplied)
Titan from Japanese anime ‘Attack on Titan’ behind mountains of Al-Shafa road, Taif. (Supplied)
Updated 28 May 2022

Saudi digital artist merges famous figures with KSA’s landscapes

Titan from Japanese anime ‘Attack on Titan’ behind mountains of Al-Shafa road, Taif. (Supplied)
  • One of his preferred locations is Jeddah’s historical quarter, but the graphic designer said that he can let his imagination run wild in any location he explores

JEDDAH: Imagine seeing Disney’s Princess Aurora in historic Jeddah, one of the titans from the Japanese anime “Attack on Titan” lurking behind the mountains of Taif’s famous Al-Shafa road, or international figures appearing in old alleyways. These are just some of the products of Hazem Al-Ahdal’s wild imagination.

I took a picture of the view in front of me, and merged characters and turned them into reality, says Hazem Al-Ahdal

The 26-year-old photographer and graphic designer draws inspiration from both visual art and cinematography, merging images of global figures and cartoon characters into landscape photographs and then using his graphic design skills to create realistic artworks.

HIGHLIGHT

Historic Jeddah, the Jeddah waterfront, and cities such as Madinah, Taif, NEOM and Tabuk have all been used by Al-Ahdal as locations for his images, while natural landscapes, abandoned places and random streets also feature in the final works.

Historic Jeddah, the Jeddah waterfront, and cities such as Madinah, Taif, NEOM and Tabuk have all been used by Al-Ahdal as locations for his images, while natural landscapes, abandoned places and random streets also feature in the final works.

Russian Countess Anastasia de Torby, left, in an old market in Tabuk. Princess Diana at an open Maq’ad in Historic Jeddah.

Al-Ahdal said that he has been interested in the visual arts since childhood.

“Because of this passion, I decided to start my own art world and realize it,” he told Arab News.

His personal favorite artwork imagines Countess Anastasia Mikhailovna de Torby, elder daughter of Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia, in an old market in Tabuk.

“This is my favorite because of the integration of Western and Arab civilization in one work. Because of this work, other ideas began to come,” said Al-Ahdal.

“I love anything vintage or related to history. I loved her classical attire and thought it would suit the vision I had for the photograph,” he said, referring to the 20th-century Russian countess.

Al-Ahdal said that he chooses characters from a host of international figures or cartoons based on the site of the photograph, “and so the integration process begins.”

One of his preferred locations is Jeddah’s historical quarter, but the graphic designer said that he can let his imagination run wild in any location he explores.

“Of course, there are stories with many works of art, including when I was drinking coffee in one of the cafes and I was in front of an empty chair. My fantasies began with characters who may be sitting in front of me,” he said.

“I took a picture of the view in front of me, and merged characters and turned them into reality.”

Al-Ahdal converts his digital art into posters and even fashion items.

“I have no limits in art. I participated in many exhibitions with realistic works and paintings, I even participated in the field of fashion and I’m planning on participating in more projects,” he said

Al-Ahdal said that he loves ’90s movies for their content. “The best old classic works from the ’90s and before — these films contain stories and lessons in life,” he said.

“One of my favorite TV shows is the sitcom ‘Friends’ and one of my favorite distinctive films is the Italian film La vita e bella (Life is Beautiful),” he added.


Saudi Misk Art Institute celebrates work of Fahad Hajailan, Amina Agueznay

Fahad Hajailan was known for his embodiment of women in most of his works, and he is known for his abstract art. (Supplied)
Fahad Hajailan was known for his embodiment of women in most of his works, and he is known for his abstract art. (Supplied)
Updated 28 May 2022

Saudi Misk Art Institute celebrates work of Fahad Hajailan, Amina Agueznay

Fahad Hajailan was known for his embodiment of women in most of his works, and he is known for his abstract art. (Supplied)
  • The Misk institute invited Agueznay to have her first exhibition in Riyadh, where visitors enjoyed the distinctive shapes created from wool and other elements

RIYADH: The Misk Art Institute celebrated the launch of its fifth and sixth Art Library book series, highlighting the work of the late Saudi artist Fahad Hajailan and Moroccan artist Amina Agueznay.

It featured a selection of their influential and seminal works alongside articles from local and international art critics and curators.

Accompanying the launch were two exhibitions of artists’ works discussed in the Art Library books.

Hajailan's book “Poetry in Color" carries a group of paintings that embody his figurative and abstract style and his poetic use of color.

Amina Agueznay’s art combines modern construction techniques and traditional weaving and breaks down barriers between art and crafts.

He was known for his embodiment of women and abstract art, geometric shapes, and colored spaces.

The Misk institute invited Agueznay to have her first exhibition in Riyadh, where visitors enjoyed the distinctive shapes created from wool and other elements.

Agueznay is an artist, jewelry designer, and architect based in Casablanca.  

“I've been into art since I was a child since my mother has been an artist as well,” she told Arab News. “I worked as an architect in the US, and I returned to Morocco to design jewelry and collaborate with other artists to make jewelry. I liked the synergy and exchange I learned from them. Likewise, they learn from me.

HIGHLIGHT

The event featured a selection of their influential and seminal works alongside articles from local and international art critics and curators. Accompanying the launch were two exhibitions of artists’ works discussed in the Art Library books.

“Then I started working on company projects to accompany artisans for different kinds of crafts to modernize their products for commercial purposes. I loved it because it enabled me to discover more of the areas of Morocco, where they have many different crafts and wool art.”

Agueznay's agency said she started working with female artisans and became interested in wool as an artistic element through rug weavers, which is how her inspiration for using threads began.

She had a workshop at the exhibition where she taught visitors to work with wool to create special pieces of art.

Al-Hujailan was known for his embodiment of women in most of his works, and he is known for his abstract art, geometric shapes, and colored spaces.

“What's cool about the workshop is that the theme was weaving, but it's about how you write stories with the wool. So, I brought the wool from Morrocco, and now the visitors are doing incredible things with it,” she said.

Her book “Unmuted Narratives” explores her artwork, which combines modern construction techniques and traditional weaving to break down the barriers between art and crafts.

“The book that was written about my art enabled me to see a large body of my work and my progress, which is great for an artist. And I'm ready to move on and evolve more in the art world, so I'm grateful for Misk Art Institute for this,” Agueznay said.

The Art Library series, which ends on Aug. 15, was launched to enrich local creative content. The event constitutes the core of the institute's goals and represents its focus on instilling a culture of awareness and encouraging more documentation in the Saudi art and culture sector.


International afforestation technology event to be held in Riyadh

International afforestation technology event to be held in Riyadh
The Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative aim to plant 10 billion trees. (SPA)
Updated 28 May 2022

International afforestation technology event to be held in Riyadh

International afforestation technology event to be held in Riyadh
  • Experts to discuss environmental, climate, sustainability, investment issues

RIYADH: The International Exhibition and Forum on Afforestation Technologies begins in Riyadh on Sunday under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It is organized by the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification and being held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, in coordination with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.

Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadley said the National Environment Strategy was a roadmap to realizing the aspirations of the Saudi Vision 2030 regarding the protection and development of the environment.

Talal S. Al-Rasheed, a consultant at Gulf Energy for Environmental Consultation.

He highlighted the crown prince’s efforts to promote vegetation cover locally, regionally, and internationally through ambitious plans including the Saudi Green Initiative, the Middle East Green Initiative, the Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation, and the International Coral Reef Initiative.

HIGHLIGHT

It covers topics such as nurseries, seeds, afforestation and technologies, land rehabilitation and desertification, irrigation technologies, forest management and development, water sources and technologies, environmental solutions in plant carbon storage, pest control, and agricultural waste management.

The last two initiatives were included in the declaration of environment ministers during Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20 in 2020.

Last October, the crown prince announced two initiatives worth SR39 billion ($10.39 billion) to combat climate change, to which Saudi Arabia will contribute about 15 percent of the entire cost.

The Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative aim to plant 10 billion trees.

Nearly 150 different activities will be offered at the International Exhibition and Forum on Afforestation Technologies, with participation from international and local agencies, the government, the commercial sector, and environmental nonprofit groups.

Around 90 experts on environmental, climate, sustainability and investment issues from around 20 countries and global organizations will also attend.

There will be 19 dialogue sessions, workshops, over 50 scientific papers, and approximately 80 exhibitors showcasing their goods, ideas, and innovations.

These represent the most recent technological successes in combating desertification and minimizing its impact, developing and protecting vegetation cover, and the most recent advances in experimentation, research, and scientific studies.

The exhibition covers topics such as nurseries, seeds, afforestation and technologies, land rehabilitation and desertification, irrigation technologies, forest management and development, water sources and technologies, environmental solutions in plant carbon storage, pest control, and agricultural waste management.

The National Center for the Development of Vegetation Cover and Combating Desertification works to protect and control vegetation cover sites throughout the Kingdom, rehabilitate degraded ones, detect encroachment, combat deforestation, and supervise the management and investment of pasture lands, forests, and national parks, which promotes sustainable environmental development and contributes to achieving the objectives of the Saudi Green Initiative.

Experts told Arab News that these investments were critical for meeting global targets for environmental protection, climate change control, and mitigating the effects of greenhouse emissions.

Dr. Amal Aldaej, an international relations and strategic partnership adviser, said the Saudi Green Initiative was considered to be the biggest initiative for accelerating the Kingdom’s path toward a healthy, clean and green future.

“The initiative will also help in reducing carbon emissions and sandstorms, combating desertification and land degradation, as well as lowering the temperature (it) will also help in restoring the degraded ecosystems across the country and improve the natural capital,” she said.

She added that the Saudi Green Initiative would connect communities to a higher-level policy and technical and financial assistance that would have a great impact socially and economically.

She stressed that regional alliances would play a crucial role in coping with climate change and global warming challenges. Through regional alliances and joint efforts to redress climate change, adaptation and mitigation could play a vital role in investing and ensuring sustainability.

Aldaej pointed out that there was a strong link between climate change and sustainable development through regional alliances. Poor and developing countries, particularly least-developed countries, would be among those most adversely affected and least able to cope with the anticipated shocks to their social, economic, and natural systems which would lead to cross-border climatic issues.

“Climate change and global warming issues can affect the countries of the region and can lead toward other regions as well. The sustainable goals can only be achieved through regional alliances by investing and ensuring sustainability through joint efforts.”

Environmental activist Talal S. Al-Rasheed emphasized the “importance of activating the role of community organizations” in achieving this.

Al-Rasheed, a consultant at Gulf Energy for Environmental Consultations, said the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative highlighted the importance of land conservation and the Kingdom’s leadership position in contributing to global goals.

Saudi Arabia faces numerous environmental issues, including high temperatures of 52 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country and a lack of rain, which threatens water security and increases sandstorms and their detrimental economic impact.

Al-Rasheed said the ministry prioritized community participation in cultivating local plants to raise environmental awareness.

 


Symposium reviews fatwa in Two Holy Mosques, projects to improve visitor experience

Symposium reviews fatwa in Two Holy Mosques. (SPA)
Symposium reviews fatwa in Two Holy Mosques. (SPA)
Updated 27 May 2022

Symposium reviews fatwa in Two Holy Mosques, projects to improve visitor experience

Symposium reviews fatwa in Two Holy Mosques. (SPA)
  • Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais said the symposium had been the first of its kind held by the government agency and aimed to implement programs related to the fatwa of the general presidency

MAKKAH: Officials of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques recently reviewed initiatives designed to improve the visitor experience of worshippers.

The outcomes of a symposium, titled “Fatwa at the Two Holy Mosques and its Impact on Facilitating Procedures for Visitors,” have received the approval of the Saudi leadership.

Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais

Projects discussed at the scientific symposium are set to be launched at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and translated into 10 languages including English, French, Russian, Farsi, Turkish, Urdu, Chinese, Bengali, and Hausa.

Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, head of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said the symposium had been the first of its kind held by the government agency and aimed to implement programs related to the fatwa of the general presidency, the fatwa in the Two Holy Mosques, and efforts to make it easier for visitors to access the Grand Mosque, and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

HIGHLIGHT

Projects discussed at the scientific symposium are set to be launched at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and translated into 10 languages including English, French, Russian, Farsi, Turkish, Urdu, Chinese, Bengali, and Hausa.

He pointed out that the symposium had highlighted the continued support of the country’s leadership in backing the development and administration of the holy sites, the empowerment of women, and the introduction of technology such as the use of robots and electronic platforms.

Abdulwahab Al-Rasini, adviser to the general presidency, undersecretary for governance, legal, and development affairs, and supervisor of scientific and guiding affairs, said the body, together with members of the scientific committee for research and iftar, had an important role to play.

Maher Al-Zahrani, deputy president for exhibitions and museums, said that renovation work carried out at the Two Holy Mosques was being put under the spotlight through an exhibition.