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.


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.


Saudi Arabia assumes presidency of GCC Commercial Arbitration Center

Saudi Arabia assumes presidency of GCC Commercial Arbitration Center
Updated 25 January 2022

Saudi Arabia assumes presidency of GCC Commercial Arbitration Center

Saudi Arabia assumes presidency of GCC Commercial Arbitration Center
  • Saudi Arabia takes over the presidency from Bahrain

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has assumed the presidency of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Commercial Arbitration Center and will be headed by the Kingdom’s representative Fahd bin Ali Al-Omari, Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.
Saudi Arabia takes over the presidency from Bahrain following a decision made during a board of directors meeting in December.
Tariq Yousef Al-Shammari, the center’s secretary-general, said that Al-Omari is regarded as one of the most prominent legal figures in the Kingdom, and holds a leading position in the Federation of Saudi Chambers.
He also served as vice chairman of the disciplinary committee in the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and participated in several research projects on economic systems.
Bahrain’s representative and former president, Sami Zainal, praised the GCC’s accomplishments over the past year and the efforts made by the General Secretariat to achieve the center’s strategic objectives.
Oman’s Ali bin Salem Al Kasbi assumed the position of vice president.


Cirque du Soleil to debut major international shows in Saudi Arabia

Cirque du Soleil to debut major international shows in Saudi Arabia
Updated 24 January 2022

Cirque du Soleil to debut major international shows in Saudi Arabia

Cirque du Soleil to debut major international shows in Saudi Arabia
  • The Kingdom will host a brand new Cirque du Soleil resident show unique to Saudi Arabia
  • The deal also says the two parties will establish a regional Cirque du Soleil academy and office

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture has signed an agreement with the Canadian entertainment group Cirque du Soleil to enable it to put on its renowned creative performances in the Kingdom.
The agreement was signed by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, minister of culture and chairman of the Theater and Performing Arts Authority, and Gabriel de Alba, co-chairman of Cirque du Soleil, at a meeting held in New York City.
The agreement will see Cirque du Soleil present a number of award-winning circus shows for the first time in the Kingdom, including touring shows such as “The Illusionist,” “Now You See Me,” “Paw Patrol Live,” “Race to Rescue,” “Trolls Live,” and the Blue Man Group’s world tour. The Kingdom will also host a brand new Cirque du Soleil resident show unique to Saudi Arabia.
The agreement also says the two parties will establish a regional Cirque du Soleil academy and office, to provide a curriculum of high standards led by the best global circus experts. Students from all over the Kingdom and abroad will have the opportunity to hone their performance skills through the circus’ international school exchange and artist-in-residence programs, and will also be awarded internationally recognized certificates.

Cirque du Soleil has presented six shows in Saudi Arabia since 2018, the last of which was the “Messi 10” show, which was held in November during the Riyadh Season and shed light on the life of the famous Argentine footballer Lionel Messi.
The agreement comes with the performing arts witnessing greater development in the Kingdom, especially after the establishment of the Theater and Performing Arts Authority, which announced its strategy to further improve the sector last year.
The plan includes better infrastructure for theater and performing arts, providing job opportunities, building partnerships, and providing educational and training opportunities for about 4,500 playwrights and more than 4,000 trainees by 2030.