‘We oppose violence against any sovereign country,’ Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard tells Arab News

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Updated 27 March 2022

‘We oppose violence against any sovereign country,’ Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard tells Arab News

‘We oppose violence against any sovereign country,’ Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard tells Arab News
  • Mexico’s top diplomat condemns invasion of Ukraine, but opposes use of sanctions in conflicts
  • He looks forward to stronger economic ties between Mexico and Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Mexico opposes any kind of violence against a sovereign country, be it the invasion of Ukraine or missile attacks targeting Saudi Arabia, the country’s top diplomat has said.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign affairs secretary, made the point forcefully during an exclusive interview with Arab News in Riyadh after arriving on Wednesday on the first stop of a four-country tour that will also take him to Qatar, the UAE and India.

The visit comes as Saudi Arabia and Mexico prepare to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Both countries are major energy producers, but there is a lot more to the relationship than just hydrocarbons. Both are diversifying their economies, investing in the knowledge economy and developing agendas for climate action.

At the outset of the interview, Ebrard made Mexico’s position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict clear. “We condemn the invasion, because this is an invasion by one country of another,” he said.

“Mexico suffered, as you probably know, four invasions during its history. So, we understand clearly what we are talking about when one country invades another. We condemn this (way) of solving political differences.”

However, in the context of the Russian invasion, Ebrard cast doubt on the effectiveness of economic sanctions as a panacea.

“We have a very strong position against sanctions, because usually it doesn’t work, as in the case of Cuba,” he said, referring to the US trade embargo, believed to the longest sanctions regime in modern history.




Noor Nugali, Arab News Assistant Editor in Chief, with Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign affairs secretary. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)

“They have maintained a blockade for 60 years now. It doesn’t work. Only the people suffer. As far as Mexican foreign policy is concerned, we are against sanctions. Not only in this (Cuban) case, but always.”

Commenting on the discussions this week between Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, on the situation in Ukraine, as well as diplomatic efforts to end the crisis, Ebrard said that any mediation attempt is worth trying.

After calls with the leaders of Ukraine and Russia on March 3, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had said Saudi Arabia was ready to exert all efforts to mediate between the warring parties.

“If Saudi Arabia can reach some kind of agreement, we are going to be very happy to hear about that,” Ebrard said. “The political solution is the only one, because the other (solution), violence, is only going to create huge suffering for society.”

At a time of global energy shortages and soaring geopolitical tensions, Saudi oil facilities, as well as population centers, are being targeted by Yemen’s Houthi militia. How does Mexico view the situation?

“We are against any use of violence as I mentioned. It is the same case with these kinds of attacks on Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“So, we need to support Saudi Arabia and its case for respect for its integrity and the (security of) its people. We condemn such kinds of violence against this country.”

As for Houthi terror attacks on civilian areas, he reiterated the Mexican government’s condemnation. “We did it in the past and are doing it right now. We are against those kinds of attacks and that kind of violence, any kind of political violence.”

Elaborating on the issue, Ebrard said: “In our constitution, (we support peaceful) resolution of conflicts. We support the UN and we are against violence. We learned from our history that violence is a bad idea.

“We suffered four invasions from France, the US and Spain before. So, we learned that it’s the worst thing to do.”

Moving on to Saudi-Mexico bilateral relations, Ebrard said he foresees a bright future. “Bilateral relations will be at a higher level. We are not superpowers, but we are part of G20, who are the biggest economies of the world,” he said.

“So, we can really work together in order to improve the world and to improve our relations for the benefit of our peoples. We have 70 years without differences, which is quite unique. It is quite a good relationship right now.”

Ebrard said as the Saudi-Mexico economic relationship, anchored in trade and investments, becomes deeper and stronger, there will be practical benefits.

“Increase of tourism and development in Mexico and Saudi Arabia (benefits) both together. Increase in investment, means more opportunity for the people,” he said.

Ebrard said the Kingdom and Mexico have similar policy priorities, especially in the field of knowledge. “We have similarities. (We both want to) increase tourism and accelerate development.

“So, we have similar priorities, we are working on the same issues. So, why not join efforts, to benefit other people, for instance, to have new vaccines or medicine, solutions or pharmaceutical ideas (become reality) in the short term? Why not? We are going to try to do it.”

Asked about his views on Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform strategy, Ebrard described it as “a very interesting and very advanced” idea.

“The reforms are very interesting. And you are advancing very fast,” he said. “This is the impression that we have from Mexico. The reforms, the new vision, are an inspiration for all countries. I recognize that this is a very important initiative.”

Ebrard said that he was impressed by a visit to King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh. “They have 60 facilities. It is amazing. And I think more than 2,000 researchers,” he said. “So, they showed us several very interesting projects. We are going to follow up this conversation for joint efforts.”

He expressed satisfaction with a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund. “They gave a presentation to representatives of the Mexican private sector, who form the business part of my delegation, on the new developments coming up in Saudi Arabia in the coming years,” he said.

“Then I had a conversation with the foreign affairs minister (Prince Faisal bin Farhan), who is a very smart and good friend of mine.”

During Prince Faisal’s visit to Mexico in November last year, the two had noted the “excellent synergies between Mexico and Saudi Arabia within the G20 and the UN for promoting initiatives that more broadly benefit developing countries.”




Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign affairs secretary. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)

Ebrard said: “We have similar ideas about reforestation, in Mexico and Saudi Arabia. We are promoting ideas about how to recover, in Mexico, tropical forest, and how to expand the green belt.

“This is a concrete expression of the similarities of our ideas on climate action. Then there are similarities in our positions on multilateral organizations, the search for peaceful settlement of disputes around the world, and other issues for which we are promoting solutions.

“We are together not only on the issue of climate action, but also on the transition between the energy of the present and the energy of the future. It is like flying a plane where you are going to change the engine and, at the same time, keep flying. So, few countries understand this. As Saudis and Mexicans, we understand the challenge.”

Ebrard identified tourism and infrastructure as two major fields in which the governments can work together. “We have brought representatives of the private sector as part of the Mexican delegation. We are going to receive private-sector representatives from Saudi Arabia next month,” he said.

He also listed certain sectors that he considers most attractive for investments, especially by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.

“Agriculture, fisheries, automobile industry, the new economy including e-commerce. There are several fields where our priorities converge. So why not try to increase investments and trade between us?”

Ebrard acknowledged that distance posed a challenge to growth of trade and investment, as also the absence of a direct air route between Saudi Arabia and Mexico. “You should be able to take a flight from here and arrive in Mexico City,” he said.

“This is going to be an objective for the next six months or something. It’s going to be very important.”

As a final note, Ebrard said: “We are going to follow up this conversation (we had with our Saudi counterparts) in order to see results and answers in the short term. A conversation that influences ideas and culture is the first step to change the world.”


Saudi man killed in Tunisia by his brother-in-law 

Saudi man killed in Tunisia by his brother-in-law 
Updated 17 August 2022

Saudi man killed in Tunisia by his brother-in-law 

Saudi man killed in Tunisia by his brother-in-law 
  • The embassy expressed its full confidence in the Tunisian judiciary

RIYADH: A Saudi man was killed by his Tunisian wife’s brother in Bizerte, Tunisia, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Wednesday, citing a statement from the Saudi embassy in Tunis.

The statement said: “The embassy would like to clarify that it has followed up on the details of the tragic incident since its occurrence with the concerned authorities in Tunisia,” adding that the case is now with Tunisia courts.

The embassy expressed its full confidence in the Tunisian judiciary.

It also said that it has completed all the necessary procedures with the authorities, and the body of the deceased had been returned to the Kingdom.

The embassy extended condolences to the family of the deceased.
 


Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz

Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz
Updated 17 August 2022

Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz

Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call on Tuesday from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
During the call, they reviewed aspects of bilateral relations between the Kingdom and Germany, opportunities for joint cooperation between the two countries, and ways to develop them.
They also discussed the latest regional and international developments and efforts exerted to achieve peace and stability, in addition to reviewing the most prominent issues of common interest.


Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection

Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection

Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection
  • Ready-to-wear Saudi fashion label launches “SEASON V”

RIYADH: Ready-to-wear Saudi luxury label Hindamme launched its new collection, “SEASON V,” that explores relationships to families, communities, and the Earth.

The brand, established by designer Mohammed Khoja, became well known for successfully fusing Eastern and Western cultures through modern, opulent apparel in forward-thinking, creative designs.

“Autobiographical in its spirit, the brand’s latest offering investigates the deeper and more meaningful connections in life,” said Khoja.

“What inspired this collection is bringing together the community and building new connections and reconnecting with nature. It has a very positive theme, and the reason why I wanted to create it was because I felt it was therapeutic for myself, and also the need to focus on our planet,” he added.

Through its aesthetic, “SEASON V” applies the science of color theory, with pieces that feature mood-inducing gradients as well as futuristic and nature-inspired motifs in fabrics like velvet, nylon, and satin. A joyful ode to new beginnings, “SEASON V” reflects themes of resilience, aspiration, and gratitude.

“Every time I wear the bomber jacket from (the) ‘SEASON V’ collection, people stop me and ask me where did I get it from, which is rewarding for me. The jacket has an attractive lavender color with the calligraphy of the Arabic word for ‘Earth’ on the back,” Khoja said.

HIGHLIGHT

Through its aesthetic, ‘SEASON V’ applies the science of color theory, with pieces that feature mood- inducing gradients as well as futuristic and nature-inspired motifs in fabrics like velvet, nylon, and satin. A joyful ode to new beginnings, ‘SEASON V’ reflects themes of resilience, aspiration, and gratitude.

Indeed, much of the collection reflects the designer’s love of calligraphy, with the Arabic ‘Earth’ motif applied in embossed, padded embroideries throughout several items.

“SEASON V” also introduces a specially commissioned collaboration with Kyoto-based Japanese artist Ikegami Yorikyuki, that features prints of a mural entitled “A Certain Planet” in several pieces throughout the collection.

The most recent editorial lookbook of “SEASON V” also brought together a number of Middle Eastern multi-disciplinary artists to produce a collection of prints that reflect an NFT-inspired universe that honors nature and denotes both our current connection to, and disconnection from it.

“I collaborated with a number of Arab creatives. I really look up to producing a series of artistic photography as an editorial for the new collection. It was beautiful, in a sense, as it produced a diverse fusion of art, photography and fashion within these visuals,” said Khoja.

About naming the collection “SEASON V” Khoja told Arab News: “From the beginning of establishing my brand, I decided to do drops, as what they refer to in the fashion world, rather than follow a season, and I felt like the easiest way to document each season was by giving it a number, and in this case, it was in Roman format, but I also do smaller collections between each season.”

In each of its collections, Hindamme, which in the old Arabic dialect means “to possess perfect harmony,” frequently combines different genres.

Khoja spoke about the importance of connecting young Saudi designers to investors for support, putting Saudi fashion brands in malls and showrooms.

Through Hindamme, Khoja has been a trailblazer in influencing and advancing Saudi Arabia’s fashion and cultural landscape with his “East meets West” philosophy.

He launched Hindamme in 2016, incorporating patterns like “Al-Qatt Al-Aseeri” from his native land and highlighting frequently ignored elements of heritage to a new audience in a contemporary and forward-thinking format.

He was inspired by reflecting elements of his everyday life and larger cultural and social themes through his designs.

Many of his pieces have also won recognition on a global scale and are now part of permanent collections at a number of museums.


Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees

Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees

Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s embassy in the UK held a ceremony on Tuesday to honor a number of employees who have ended their work term at the mission in the capital, London.
The Kingdom’s ambassador to Britain, Prince Khalid bin Bandar, expressed his thanks and appreciation to the employees for their effort and dedication in serving their religion, king and country, wishing them more success in their endeavors inside and outside the Kingdom, in the interest of the nation in various fields.


Saudi Arabia’s regions provide healthcare to thousands of patients

Saudi healthcare sector provided medical services to thousands of patients. (SPA)
Saudi healthcare sector provided medical services to thousands of patients. (SPA)
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi Arabia’s regions provide healthcare to thousands of patients

Saudi healthcare sector provided medical services to thousands of patients. (SPA)
  • In Riyadh, the emergency departments and outpatient clinics of Dawadmi General Hospital provided their services to around 86,434 people

JEDDAH: Clinics and hospitals in the Kingdom’s central and eastern regions provided medical services to thousands of patients in the first half of 2022, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

In Buraidah, the blood clinic at the Prince Sultan Cardiac Center in Qassim helped more than 1,870 people.

The services included medical consultations, guiding patients on how to get medicines from the pharmacy, and delivering patient medication to homes in cooperation with Saudi Post.

It also held a virtual clinic through the Anat app to help healthcare officials interview patients remotely, follow up on their appointments, or get them tested by the nearest healthcare center without the patient visiting the center.

In Riyadh, the emergency departments and outpatient clinics of Dawadmi General Hospital provided their services to around 86,434 people. It performed 836 surgeries, 17,073 radiological examinations, and 366,469 laboratory tests.

Hafr Al-Batin Central Hospital, represented by the Cardiac Surgery and Catheterization Unit, performed 39 successful cardiac catheterization operations during July.  

Hafr Al-Batin Health Affairs said seven emergency cases of high-risk heart attacks were treated.

An advanced and complex cardiac catheterization was carried out on a patient suffering from chronic obstruction in the coronary arteries using the CTO technique, in addition to three cardiac catheterizations for patients suffering from coronary artery blockage using the internal imaging technique by intravascular ultrasound.

Hafr Al-Batin Central Hospital provided services to 237 beneficiaries last year. It also dealt with 150 emergency cases, 80 diagnostic and therapeutic cases, four implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, and seven electrocardiography.