France’s President Macron welcomes Saudi crown prince to Elysee Palace

France’s President Macron welcomes Saudi crown prince to Elysee Palace
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French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday July 28, 2022. (AP)
France’s President Macron welcomes Saudi crown prince to Elysee Palace
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s accompanying delegation arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Thursday. (AFP)
France’s President Macron welcomes Saudi crown prince to Elysee Palace
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France’s President Macron welcomes Saudi crown prince to Elysee Palace
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Updated 29 July 2022

France’s President Macron welcomes Saudi crown prince to Elysee Palace

France’s President Macron welcomes Saudi crown prince to Elysee Palace
  • Warm handshake at Elysee Palace between prince and president
  • Discussions focus on energy security, regional crises

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Elysée Palace in Paris on Thursday on the second leg of his European tour.

Macron greeted the crown prince with a warm handshake as the two men posed on the red carpet for photographers before going inside to hold talks over a private dinner.

Earlier, a delegation of senior Saudi ministers — led by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Minister of State Musaid Al-Aiban — had arrived at the Elysée for separate talks with their French counterparts.




Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s accompanying delegation arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Thursday. (AFP)

The crown prince’s visit to France follows a trip to Greece earlier in the week, and comes two weeks after he held talks in Saudi Arabia with US President Joe Biden.

The West is keen to reset relations with the Kingdom as it seeks to counter the rising regional influence of Iran, Russia and China.

France and other European countries are also looking to diversify their sources of energy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has led to Moscow cutting gas supplies to Europe.

This visit “falls within an international context that we all know, which is that of Russian aggression against Ukraine, and its repercussions on food and energy security,” a French presidential adviser said.

“It also falls within a regional context characterized by crises and threats that persist in many of the region’s countries.




French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday July 28, 2022. (SPA)

“Therefore, the president will discuss the issue of the European countries’ energy supplies with the crown prince, reiterating our needs in this area. President Macron and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will also tackle the issue of fighting terrorism, which continues to constitute a significant threat in the Middle East with its possible consequences in Europe.

“In addition, the president and the crown prince will discuss the regional crises and the need for security. Of course, the regional crises include the issue of Iran’s nuclear program. However, they also cover the situation in Yemen, Iraq and, of course, Lebanon.”

Former French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette said the crown prince’s visit was of geopolitical significance amid a flurry of diplomatic activity in the Middle East.




French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday July 28, 2022. (SPA)

“This is the crown prince’s first official reception by one of the heads of state of members of the Security Council,” he said.

“It is therefore a meaningful event for the two partners who already know each other and have been able to establish useful links. “In the complicated game that is now being played out in the Middle East, it is a way for them to affirm their desire to be fully in- volved, one on behalf of the lead- ing country of the Arab states of the Gulf and the Middle East, the other representing the most prominent country in the EU.”


Saudi King invites Chinese president to visit Kingdom on Wednesday

Saudi King invites Chinese president to visit Kingdom on Wednesday
Updated 37 min 17 sec ago

Saudi King invites Chinese president to visit Kingdom on Wednesday

Saudi King invites Chinese president to visit Kingdom on Wednesday

King Salman invited President of China Xi Jinping for an official visit to attend the Saudi-Chinese summit held in Saudi Arabia from Dec. 7 to 9, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday. 

The summit will be chaired by King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. It will look at relations between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Arab states with the People's Republic of China,

Discussions are expected to focus on strengthening joint cooperation in economy and development.


Saudi’s aid agency concludes anti-blindness program in Morocco

Saudi’s aid agency concludes anti-blindness program in Morocco
Updated 06 December 2022

Saudi’s aid agency concludes anti-blindness program in Morocco

Saudi’s aid agency concludes anti-blindness program in Morocco
  • KSRelief continued providing medical aid to Syrian refugees residing in Jordan’s Zaatari camp

RIYADH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has concluded an anti-blindness voluntary program in Morocco’s Tiflet.

Under the Saudi Noor Voluntary Program, held in collaboration with the Kingdom’s Al-Basar International Foundation, doctors performed 462 cataract removal operations, examined 5,800 patients and distributed 1,470 glasses.

The program comes as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to help low-income families in the region, according to a statement by state news agency (SPA).

KSRelief continued providing medical aid to Syrian refugees residing in Jordan’s Zaatari camp. The agency’s medical clinics offered consultations to 14,704 refugees during November, said SPA.

The laboratory and radiology departments also received 1,480 people.


Saudi Arabia’s MASAM project clears 1,307 mines in one week in Yemen

Saudi Arabia’s MASAM project clears 1,307 mines in one week in Yemen
Updated 06 December 2022

Saudi Arabia’s MASAM project clears 1,307 mines in one week in Yemen

Saudi Arabia’s MASAM project clears 1,307 mines in one week in Yemen
  • MASAM removed over 375,000 mines from Yemen since its 2018 launch

RIYADH: A total of 1,307 mines planted by the Iran-backed Houthi militia across Yemen were dismantled in one week under King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center’s (KSrelief) Masam project.

The extraction, which took place at the end of November, included 20 anti-personnel mines, 113 anti-tank mines, 1,170 unexploded ordnance, and four explosive devices, state news agency (SPA) reported.

Since its launch in 2018, the landmine clearance project has removed over 375,000 mines from Yemeni lands.

Earlier in June, KSRelief renewed Masam project for a fifth year at a cost of $33.292 million.


Saudi adventurers complete 1,200 km walk to mark UAE National Day

Saudi adventurers complete 1,200 km walk to mark UAE National Day
Updated 05 December 2022

Saudi adventurers complete 1,200 km walk to mark UAE National Day

Saudi adventurers complete 1,200 km walk to mark UAE National Day
  • Naif told Arab News that the walk had been “another accomplishment” after he previously completed more than 4 billion steps, covering 4,000 km on foot, through nine treks taking in NEOM, Makkah, Abha, Madinah, and AlUla

JEDDAH: Two Saudi adventurers have arrived in Abu Dhabi after walking for 30 days to celebrate the 51st UAE National Day.

Thirty-two-year-old Naif Shukri and his nephew Abdul Ellah Shukri, 19, started their trek from Riyadh passing through Al-Ahsa and Al-Hofuf before arriving at the UAE border, a journey of 1,200 kilometers.

Naif told Arab News that the walk had been “another accomplishment” after he previously completed more than 4 billion steps, covering 4,000 km on foot, through nine treks taking in NEOM, Makkah, Abha, Madinah, and AlUla.

He said: “Our journey titled, the Saudi is Emirati and the Emirati is Saudi, has several goals, but the most notable was the participation with Emirati brothers in their UAE National Day. It was a way to express our love and affection to the Emirati people.”

He broadcasted his trip on social media and was amazed by the interaction from Emiratis many of whom were waiting to greet the duo on the UAE border.

On Dec. 1, followers, supporters, and friends gathered at Bani Yas as Naif sent pictures of himself and his nephew holding the Saudi and UAE flag and another showing them arriving in the UAE.

“The Emirati people have been so hospitable and encouraging. The best part of the journey was the warm welcome we received upon our arrival,” he added.

 

 


Film AlUla begins construction of studio complex

Film AlUla begins construction of studio complex
Updated 05 December 2022

Film AlUla begins construction of studio complex

Film AlUla begins construction of studio complex
  • Film AlUla has hosted 694 production days since opening in 2020

JEDDAH: Film AlUla, the film agency of the Royal Commission for AlUla, has started construction on the first phase of its studio complex.

The finished complex will cover around 30,000 square meters and is set to be up and running by the end of next year.

The first phase will include two world-class soundstages, production support buildings, workshops, a pyro/sfx building, a sound recording studio, catering and administration buildings and a 6,500 square meter backlot.

HIGHLIGHT

The first phase will include two world-class soundstages, production support buildings, workshops, a pyro/sfx building, a sound recording studio, catering and administration buildings and a 6,500 square meter backlot. It is located near 12 sq. km of outdoor shooting locations showcasing the beauty and ancient heritage of AlUla, making it the best suitable for on-location filming and set construction.

It is located near 12 sq. km of outdoor shooting locations showcasing the beauty and ancient heritage of AlUla, making it the best suitable for on-location filming and set construction.

“AlUla is a thriving center for arts, culture and heritage. With the film and screen sector of central focus the first phase of this studio complex is carefully planned and part of a much larger program of infrastructure development,” said Charlene Deleon-Jones, executive director of Film AlUla.

“This complex will satisfy the growing demand from regional and international producers to shoot at AlUla, while also supplying an epicenter for our production ecosystem. The studio complex will diversify AlUla’s economy, in line with the objectives of RCU, as we build a home to nurture Saudi talent in the screen sector for generations to come,” he added.

Film AlUla worked with the US-based company Tait to ensure that work in AlUla would be uncluttered and comfortable, including during summer.

The studio complex will be 14 minutes from the Film AlUla Residence, which has 300 rooms, restaurants, recreational facilities and office space for industry professionals, and 20 minutes from AlUla International Airport, which recently opened a hangar for private jets. It lies outside the airport’s flightpath.

Phase two will be announced in the second quarter of 2023.

The project aims to attract local and international productions is bolstered by Saudi Arabia’s offer of a cashback rebate of up to 40 percent for international and local feature films, television series and documentaries.

The studio complex is also meeting rigorous environmental standards. Film AlUla contracted environmental agencies to conduct a 10-month impact assessment on the new location and will build it under continuous environmental monitoring.

Film AlUla has hosted 694 production days since opening in 2020. Movies include Kandahar, directed by Ric Roman Waugh and starring Gerard Butler, which was the first major Hollywood feature to shoot almost entirely in AlUla, and the Iraq war story Cherry, starring Tom Holland and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.

Additionally, Norah was the first Saudi feature film to shoot at AlUla entirely and featured an all-Saudi cast and more than 40 percent Saudi crew.

A number of TV productions have been filmed in AlUla including the British series Expedition with Steve Backshall and Nat Geo documentaries, along with commercials, promotions, photo-shoots and short films.