Biden arrives in Saudi Arabia, holds ‘important discussions’ with king, crown prince

Joe Biden received at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
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Joe Biden received at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Joe Biden received at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
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Joe Biden received at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's King Salman meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
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US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's King Salman meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's King Salman meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
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US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's King Salman meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's King Salman meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
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US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's King Salman meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's King Salman meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
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US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's King Salman meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
US President Joe Biden is welcomed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, upon his arrival from Israel. (AFP)
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US President Joe Biden is welcomed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, upon his arrival from Israel. (AFP)
US President Joe Biden is welcomed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, upon his arrival from Israel. (AFP)
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US President Joe Biden is welcomed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, upon his arrival from Israel. (AFP)
US President Joe Biden is welcomed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, upon his arrival from Israel. (AFP)
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US President Joe Biden is welcomed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, upon his arrival from Israel. (AFP)
US President Joe Biden is welcomed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, upon his arrival from Israel. (AFP)
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US President Joe Biden is welcomed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, upon his arrival from Israel. (AFP)
US President Joe Biden is welcomed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, upon his arrival from Israel. (AFP)
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US President Joe Biden is welcomed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, upon his arrival from Israel. (AFP)
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Updated 16 July 2022

Biden arrives in Saudi Arabia, holds ‘important discussions’ with king, crown prince

Biden arrives in Saudi Arabia, holds ‘important discussions’ with king, crown prince
  • Biden said talked about several issues with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
  • Saudi Arabia’s security needs and global energy issues were discussed

RIYADH: US President Joe Biden arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday, the latest stop on his first Middle East tour as US leader, where he met with the Kingdom’s leadership.

In a speech made from his Jeddah hotel on Friday evening, Biden said he had held “important discussions” with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

He praised the role the Kingdom played in the “stabilization” of Yemen and its support of a UN-brokered ceasefire, adding: “I agreed with the Saudi leadership to deepen and extend it.”

Biden announced that peacekeeping forces in Tiran and Sanafir will leave their positions, which he said would contribute to the development of the islands for investments and tourism.




Biden delivers a statement to reporters at the Waldorf Astoria Jeddah Qasr Al-Sharq hotel, after meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (AP)

He added that Saudi Arabia’s security needs and global energy issues were also discussed, including cooperation on clean energy initiatives.

Biden arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah on the third day of a four-day swing through the Middle East, where he was received by Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal and the Saudi ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar.

He then met with the king, where they reviewed the historical relations between Saudi Arabia and the US and ways to strengthen them to serve the interests of the two countries in various fields, the official Saudi Press News Agency reported.

He spent the first two days meeting with Israeli officials and traveled to the West Bank on Friday to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and others before flying to Saudi Arabia.

Biden also met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Al-Salam Palace, where they also discussed aspects of bilateral cooperation in a number of fields, and ways to confront regional and international challenges.

The talks were attended by Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Minister of Sport Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, Saudi ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar, and Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, along with a number of other senior officials.

The meeting was also attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and US envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking.

Biden also will take part in a Saturday gathering of leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — before returning to Washington. The leaders of Mideast neighbors Egypt, Iraq and Jordan are also to attend.




Biden being received at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ahead of their meeting. (SPA)

The Saudi leadership paved the way for Israeli planes to use its airspace by announcing it was lifting restrictions on “all carriers,” a move welcomed by Biden as “historic.”

“Saudi Arabia’s decision can help build momentum toward Israel’s further integration into the region, including with Saudi Arabia,” the US leader said.

Biden’s direct flight is the first by an American president from Israel to Saudi Arabia.

(With AFP and Reuters)


Saudi Arabia sponsors $1bn economic reform in Yemen

Saudi Arabia sponsors $1bn economic reform in Yemen
Updated 28 November 2022

Saudi Arabia sponsors $1bn economic reform in Yemen

Saudi Arabia sponsors $1bn economic reform in Yemen
  • AMF program to improve transparency in banking, financial and private sectors
  • Saudi Arabia has been lead donor to Yemen since 2001

RIYADH: Under the sponsorship of Saudi Arabia, the Arab Monetary Fund has signed a $1 billion agreement with the Yemeni government to revitalize its flagging economy.

The deal, signed in Riyadh, seeks to establish a comprehensive economic, financial and monetary reform program to improve governance and transparency, expand and diversify production and lower unemployment and poverty.

Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan said that the program will develop Yemen’s financial and banking sector, strengthen the role of the private sector and promote long-term economic development. 

The reform priorities for the government include developing public resources, controlling and rationalizing government spending, improving efficiency, and rehabilitating critical infrastructure in electricity, water and transport services. 

Priorities for the financial and banking sectors include developing a supervision system to improve transparency and accountability and bolstering services for small and medium businesses and youths and women in rural areas. It will also seek to boost digitalization and payment method flexibility.

The program says the private sector is a primary driver of sustainable economic growth, and key in paving the way for greater integration into the global economy, the flow of foreign investment, and the strengthening of international partnerships. 

The Yemeni government expressed interest in exploring opportunities for regional and international institutions to collaborate to support Yemeni economic reform. 

The agreement’s sponsorship by Saudi Arabia is an extension of the country's economic support for Yemen. The Kingdom gave the Central Bank of Yemen $1 billion in 2012 and $2 billion in 2018 to cover the import of basic food commodities. 

From 2001 to 2022, Saudi Arabia has led the list of donor countries to Yemen, providing 30 percent of total support.

 


Saudi, Egyptian interior ministers hold talks in Riyadh

Saudi, Egyptian interior ministers hold talks in Riyadh
Updated 27 November 2022

Saudi, Egyptian interior ministers hold talks in Riyadh

Saudi, Egyptian interior ministers hold talks in Riyadh
  • Cooperation agreement signed to combat crime

RIYADH: Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud held talks with his Egyptian counterpart Mahmoud Tawfiq in Riyadh on Sunday, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

They discussed ways to improve security cooperation between their ministries. The talks also saw the signing of a cooperation agreement to combat crime.

Saudi attendees included Deputy Interior Minister Dr. Nasser bin Abdul Aziz Al-Dawood, Interior Ministry Undersecretary Dr. Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al-Faleh, Interior Ministry Undersecretary for Security Affairs Mohammed bin Muhanna Al-Muhanna, and Public Security Director Mohammed Al-Bassami.

Egyptian attendees included Adel Al-Sayed Abdulaziz Jaafar, head of the National Security Agency, and officials from the Interior Ministry.

 


Sustainable development of Saudi island will boost economy

Darin and Tarout is among the most archaeologically significant islands in Eastern Province. (SPA)
Darin and Tarout is among the most archaeologically significant islands in Eastern Province. (SPA)
Updated 28 November 2022

Sustainable development of Saudi island will boost economy

Darin and Tarout is among the most archaeologically significant islands in Eastern Province. (SPA)
  • Dr. Saad Dahlawi: 'The Kingdom is witnessing unprecedented economic and developmental growth and following the standards of sustainable development'

RIYADH: Economists and environmentalists say sustainable investment is important for an island north of Dammam allocated billions of riyals for development.

Experts told Arab News that the SR2.64 billion ($703 million) granted to Darin and Tarout island by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last week has much potential to boost the Eastern Province’s economy.

Darin and Tarout is among the most archaeologically significant islands in the region, with evidence of 5,000 years of continuous human habitation and around a dozen heritage sites, including a fortress dating back hundreds of years.

Dr. Saad Dahlawi, Assistant Professor, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (L) and
Fahad Almutlaq, CEO of Sharqia Development Authority.

Officials aim to improve the quality of life for its 120,000 people while preserving its cultural and historical heritage, revitalizing its natural beauty sites and enhancing its tourism economy.

As much as 48 percent of its 32 sq. km area will be dedicated to public parks, waterfronts, roads, and facilities. The island hopes to boost the number of tourists to 1.36 million by 2030 and generate thousands of jobs.

HIGHLIGHT

Officials aim to improve the quality of life for its 120,000 people while preserving its cultural and historical heritage, revitalizing its natural beauty sites and enhancing its tourism economy.

“This project represents the first strategic works and initiatives done by the Eastern Region Development Authority,” said Eastern Province Development Authority CEO Fahad Al-Mutlaq.

He said that work would start next year on a program to gradually improve social and economic conditions after comprehensive studies were completed.

Fadhel Al-Buainain, a member of the Shura Council, said that the island had historical importance.

Fadhel Al-Buainain, member of the Saudi Economists Association and member of the Shoura Council (L) and Abdullah Al-Khuzam, member of the National Program for the Development of Handicrafts.

“Developing Darin Castle and Darin Airport as heritage tourist destinations will enhance the cultural side,” he said. “The establishment of the largest forest on the banks of the Gulf will contribute to enhancing the environmental goals of the Kingdom.

“If eco-hotels are developed in natural areas, this will be an important base for eco-tourism, which will support the economy of the island.”

Al-Buainain, who is also a member of the Saudi Economists Association, said that the development plan would make an important economic contribution to the region.

“Providing small and medium investment and employment opportunities will have an important socio-economic impact,” he said, adding that the development would contribute to achieving the goals of Vision 2030.

Dr. Saad Dahlawi, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health at Imam Abd al-Rahman bin Faisal University, said he believed that the development announcement came at the perfect time.

“The Kingdom is witnessing unprecedented economic and developmental growth and following the standards of sustainable development,” he said.

Dahlawi added however that project leaders needed to assess impacts on the environment and especially on marine life to ensure that endangered species are not put at further risk.

“Such a study would provide decision-makers with a clear picture of how to implement the project sustainably,” he said.

Dahlawi said it was important to follow international environmental standards, as well as the standards and requirements of the National Center for Environmental Compliance, to avoid any damage to the environment.

Abdullah Al-Khuzam, a member of The National Handicraft Development Program, said the intention to turn Darin Airport into a heritage museum “means that a new prosperity period is being written on one of the oldest inhabited islands in the Arabian Gulf.”

He said that the museum and planned art festivals would help present “our ancient culture and civilization to the world.”

 

 


University signs deal to boost Saudi student fitness

University signs deal to boost Saudi student fitness
Updated 27 November 2022

University signs deal to boost Saudi student fitness

University signs deal to boost Saudi student fitness
  • The SFA is the main body responsible for promoting a healthy lifestyle in the Kingdom by providing sports activities

JEDDAH: The Saudi Sports for All Federation has signed a deal with the Arab Open University in Riyadh to cooperate on creating sports programs that will help build a healthy and active society.

Both organizations will also work together to promote sports culture and community sports to build a healthy lifestyle among the AOU’s students.

The federation will use the university’s sports facilities to launch initiatives and sports groups, organize community events and motivate students to take part.

SFA President Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal said the agreement was part of a strategy to work with partners and improve the health of the nation.

“We will also cooperate with the university in research, studies, data and statistics to attract a large number of university students to participate in sports and physical activities. This will help achieve our strategic objectives,” he said.

AOU Rector Ali Al-Shahrani said he was pleased to have signed the agreement.

“We seek to provide an integrated educational environment for our students by launching initiatives, sports events, and community programs within the university’s facilities. This agreement will help promote a sports culture among our students.

“We aim to provide multiple opportunities for people to participate in sports and physical activity in order to promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent diseases.”

The SFA is the main body responsible for promoting a healthy lifestyle in the Kingdom by providing sports activities. Its priorities are education, community, volunteering, fitness and health, campaigns, and promotions for people of all ages.

The AOU operates in nine Arab countries. It was founded in 1996 by Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz as a nonprofit institution and a nontraditional education academic entity. It focuses on scientific, social and cultural subjects.

In 2002, it worked with the Open University in the UK to transform into an integrated institution.

 


Saudi Arabia’s largest e-sports festival kick starts in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia’s largest e-sports festival kick starts in Riyadh
Updated 27 November 2022

Saudi Arabia’s largest e-sports festival kick starts in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia’s largest e-sports festival kick starts in Riyadh
  • RUSH event allows video-game aficionados to experience latest tech

RIYADH: The RUSH festival, the largest event for virtual sports and games, opened at the Riyadh Front on Saturday as part of the Riyadh Season of activities.

Over five days, it will provide gamers with the best-known games and real-life experiences.

They will get the chance to play real games such as “Fortnite,” “FIFA,” and “Valorant.” The event will also bring together the best international teams so that the biggest tournaments and direct qualifiers can be held on the e-sports stage.

Representatives of the 25 E-Sport organization greeted fans at the event’s meet-and-greet booth.

Aoun, the organization’s director of operations, told Arab News: “We have content makers and professional players in all games, and we came to meet the audience here.”

HIGHLIGHT

Over five days, the RUSH festival will provide gamers with the best-known games and real-life experiences. They will get the chance to play real games such as ‘Fortnite,’ ‘FIFA,’ and ‘Valorant.’

The festival aims to provide fun video games, competitions, and challenges through direct tournaments with prizes, and includes live entertainment shows, DJ performances, an augmented reality experience, and a cosplay competition.

The Valar Club booth was promoting e-sports for women.

Malak Al-Qahtani, founder of Valar Club, told Arab News: “Valar Club is the first licensed women’s club from the federation’s electronic sports, and our goal is to help female Saudi players, as they aspire to the world, and help with their training.”

Saudi YouTuber Pika Loli travelled from Jeddah to attend the event.

“This event brings together most of the YouTubers and gamers, and it is a good opportunity to get to know each other, and it will increase our followers and grow the channel on YouTube.”

Some of the cosplayers were dressed as video game characters.

Abdulelah Al-Qahtani said: “Today we are dressed as characters from the ‘Genshin Impact’ game, and I think this is so good that Saudi Arabia brought up a hidden community, like cosplayers and gamers.”

With a focus on the whole of the gaming industry, from console and PC gaming to mobile and e-sports, the RUSH festival aims to give gaming aficionados the opportunity to access and experience the latest tech and the chance to interact with each other in real life, and online.

Tickets for the event are available via https://riyadhseason.sa/event-details-en.html?id=599/en_RUSH.