US President Joe Biden to visit Saudi Arabia next month

US President Joe Biden to visit Saudi Arabia next month
US President Joe Biden has been invited to visit Saudi Arabia by King Salman. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 June 2022

US President Joe Biden to visit Saudi Arabia next month

US President Joe Biden to visit Saudi Arabia next month
  • The US president will meet with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
  • Biden will also attend a joint GCC summit during his stay

RIYADH: The White House and Saudi officials ended weeks of speculation on Tuesday by confirming that US President Joe Biden will visit Saudi Arabia on July 15 and 16 at the invitation of King Salman.

Biden will meet the king and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and attend a summit of the six GCC states plus Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington welcomed the presidential visit, which it said would “enhance the historic and strategic partnership” between Saudi Arabia and the US. “At a time of global challenges related to the global economy, health, climate and international conflict, the partnership between our two countries is as critical as ever to the promotion of peace, prosperity and stability around the world,” the embassy said.

Issues on the agenda for talks in the Kingdom include support for the UN-brokered truce in Yemen, which has led to the most peaceful period there since war began seven years ago. “He will also discuss means for expanding regional economic and security cooperation, including new and promising infrastructure and climate initiatives, as well as deterring threats from Iran, advancing human rights, and ensuring global energy and food security,” the White House said.

A senior US official said the crown prince’s role in helping secure an extension of the truce in Yemen was an example of what he said was a need for the US to engage with Saudi Arabia as way to help bring peace and security to the region.

The US leader will begin his regional tour on July 13 in Israel at a fraught time for Naftali Bennett’s fragile coalition. The Israeli prime minister is trying to avert another election and the potential return to power of Benjamin Netanyahu, while Israel shares Saudi concerns over advances in Iran’s nuclear program.

In Israel, Biden will take part in a virtual meeting of the I2-U2, an economic forum established last year that comprises Israel, India, the UAE and the US.

He will also visit the occupied West Bank “to consult with the Palestinian Authority and to reiterate his strong support for a two-state solution, with equal measures of security, freedom, and opportunity for the Palestinian people,” the White House said.

The Saudi political analyst Dr Hamadan Al-Shehri  told Arab News: “Biden will face some difficulties during his talks in Saudi Arabia as a result of his lax policies toward many issues, foremost of which is his commitment to the security of his allies, the reluctance to meet their needs for weapons, his sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan, his ‘softness’ in dealing with the Iranian nuclear file, and other stances.

“Observers here believe that the shift in the US administration’s policy began after months of meetings in Riyadh between Biden’s top advisers Brett McGurk and Amos Hochstein on the one hand, and Saudi officials on the other hand, including the Saudi crown prince.

“The Biden administration is facing increasing criticism for its handling of the current oil crisis and its inability to stop the rise in gasoline prices, which have exceeded $5 a gallon for the first time in the history of the US.”

Dan Shapiro, who was US ambassador to Israel when Biden was vice president, said the president’s visit to Saudi Arabia came as China increasingly looked to Gulf Arab nations that mostly rebuffed US efforts to isolate Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

“President Biden has concluded correctly that the US has more strategic interests that would be served by stabilizing the US-Saudi relationship,” said Shapiro, who is now at the Atlantic Council.


Saudi citizens displaced by Hurricane Ian safely evacuated 

Saudi citizens displaced by Hurricane Ian safely evacuated 
Updated 30 September 2022

Saudi citizens displaced by Hurricane Ian safely evacuated 

Saudi citizens displaced by Hurricane Ian safely evacuated 

Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States, spoke on Friday with Shafi bin Bijad Al-Otaibi, the Consul General in Houston, to check on the progress of the evacuation of Saudi citizens displaced by Hurricane Ian. 
Princess Reema was briefed on the service and care provided to the Saudi citizens, state agency SPA reported. 
The ambassador thanked the embassy and consulate staff for their efforts, and urged them to provide comfort to citizens until the crisis was over.
Hurricane Ian, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the US, swamped southwest Florida on Wednesday, flooding streets and buildings and leaving nearly 2 million homes and businesses without power.
US President Joe Biden said the hurricane may be responsible for “substantial loss of life” and could end up being the deadliest storm in Florida history.
The death toll had climbed to 12 by Thursday night, according to local reports.
Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday morning and is expected to approach the coast of South Carolina on Friday.


IAEA elects Saudi Arabia as member of board of governors until 2024

IAEA elects Saudi Arabia as member of board of governors until 2024
Updated 30 September 2022

IAEA elects Saudi Arabia as member of board of governors until 2024

IAEA elects Saudi Arabia as member of board of governors until 2024

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has been elected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday to become a member of the agency’s Board of Governors until 2024.
Saudi Arabia received the majority of votes from its geographical group, which includes countries of the Middle East and South Asia, state agency SPA reported.
The announcement was made during the IAEA’s 66th General Conference held from Sept. 26 - 30 in Vienna.
The 35-member Board of Governors is viewed as one of the most important decision-making groups in the energy agency, especially when addressing critical issues.
This includes the safeguards file, which is the IAEA’s responsibility to verify the peaceful activities of state parties in relation to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.


Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy

Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy
Updated 30 September 2022

Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy

Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host a conference in Riyadh that will explore the convergence of  science and philosophy.

The meeting, in its second edition, is being organized by the Kingdm’s Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission and will take place from Dec. 1-3 at King Fahd National Library in the Saudi capital.

The theme of "Knowledge and Exploration: Space, Time, and Humanity" has been chosen to enable a convergence of science and philosophy, organizers said on Thursday.

Philosophers, scientists,  and artists will be in attendance to discuss the topics such as the modern spaces of existence, the status of contemporary science, and justice and ethics in exploration. Intellectuals are also expected to discuss the complexities of space diplomacy and climate change and environmental crises, assessing how these issues will shape the future of humanity.

The three-day conference will feature lectures, panel discussions, seminars and workshops. There will be a children’s philosophical space and two parallel activations at the event.

Organizers have also issued a Call for Papers encouraging academics around the world to contribute papers on these and other sub-themes.

Mohamed Hassan Alwan, CEO of the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission said: “Last year’s ground-breaking conference succeeded in putting Saudi Arabia on the global philosophical map and established the Kingdom as a regional centre for philosophical dialogue.

I am delighted to announce the second Riyadh Philosophy Conference, which will bring together a geographically diverse range of leading philosophers, educational institutions, and others, to debate the important issues of our time, and help stimulate inter-cultural, international and inter-disciplinary dialogue.”

Speakers for the event will be announced nearer the date of the conference.


Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands

Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands
Updated 30 September 2022

Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands

Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands
  • Up to 70% off on fashion, home accessories, cosmetics
  • 3m items from 1,500 firms on display until Oct. 14

JEDDAH: The Saudi General Entertainment Authority on Wednesday announced the launch of “Outlet 2022” shopping festival, the first of its kind in the Kingdom.

According to the organizers, the two-week outdoor festival, which will kick off on Saturday, will offer exclusive discounts of up to 70 percent on fashion, home accessories, and cosmetic products designed by international experts. The event’s galleries will have a Greek-inspired design.

On his Twitter account, Turki Al-Sheikh, GEA chairman, said the event in Riyadh is a pioneering initiative.

“We’ll soon have the ‘Outlet Festival,’ the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia. The festival will bring together the most famous brands in the world to be sold at reduced prices and discounts. A different thing in Riyadh,” Al-Sheikh said in his tweet.

The festival will be held in Al-Rehab neighborhood, west of the Saudi capital, and will include places to eat and events for children.

Farah Ahmed, who lives in the neighborhood, told Arab News that she has been observing the construction of the outlet. “It’s impressive how quickly the GEA built the space. They are working day and night to make it happen.” 

Entry to the festival is free, and will include more than three million discounted items of 1,500 international brands.

“I’m so excited about the festival, especially (since) I haven’t been able to travel or shop this summer, yet I feel that two weeks is not enough. I hope the GEA extends it further,” she added. 

Doors will be open daily from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets can be booked through the Ticket MX App and website, and VIP and VVIP tickets can be booked through the Parky App and website.


MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres

MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres
Updated 30 September 2022

MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres

MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres

RIYADH: President of the Board of Grievances, and of the Administrative Judiciary Council, Sheikh Khaled Al-Youssef, recently signed a memorandum of understanding between the board and the US Case Western Reserve University in research and training.

The terms of the memorandum included training and development of judicial and administrative cadres and exchanging experiences and research in the administrative and organizational fields, to benefit from the CWRU’s expertise as one of the most prestigious international universities in the field of law and administration.

A seminar, “Synergies between the Board of Grievances in Saudi Arabia and CWRU School of Law in the US,” was also held, during which Al-Youssef presented a working paper, highlighting the Board of Grievances’ achievements in completing the digital transformation of all litigation procedures.

The working paper focused on highlighting aspects of cooperation between the two sides under the signed MoU.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Saudi Chamber recently hosted a meeting between Saudi businesspeople and a delegation from the World Affairs Councils of America to discuss cooperation between the two sides to support Saudi-US relations.

The Saudi side acquainted the US delegation with the top programs and initiatives of the Saudi Vision 2030, in addition to the mega projects that are being developed in Qiddiya and the Red Sea, among others, and the developments witnessed in the educational, tourism, technological, digital, artificial intelligence, women, youth and SMEs sectors.