Helicopters, parades and dancing mark Saudi National Day

Saudi Arabia celebrates 92nd National Day with various entertainment festivals and military parades. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia celebrates 92nd National Day with various entertainment festivals and military parades. (SPA)
Helicopters, parades and dancing mark Saudi National Day
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Artists perform Saudi traditional cultural dances and music at Majid park in Jeddah. (AN photo)
Helicopters, parades and dancing mark Saudi National Day
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Saudi security forces hold military parade marking Saudi National Day. (SPA)
Helicopters, parades and dancing mark Saudi National Day
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Saudi security forces hold military parade marking Saudi National Day. (SPA)
Helicopters, parades and dancing mark Saudi National Day
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Youth can learn and become closer to their heritage and culture during Saudi National Day celebrations. Children pose for a group photo at Majid park in Jeddah. (AN photo)
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Updated 24 September 2022

Helicopters, parades and dancing mark Saudi National Day

Saudi Arabia celebrates 92nd National Day with various entertainment festivals and military parades. (SPA)
  • ‘It always awakens a sense of patriotism,’ local mom says
  • ‘I’m really excited and really enjoying my time here,’ South Korean expat says

JEDDAH/RIYADH: As the sun went down on Friday evening, people gathered at Jeddah Art Promenade to enjoy the Saudi National Day celebrations.

The nation’s dark green-and-white flag could be seen everywhere, and many children were dressed in clothes to match. Some women wore crystals on their faces while others dressed in abayas to complement the theme. Men wore wigs and carried flags.

A parade began as the sun went down and the city cooled, its start announced by a distant thrumming of drums that invited visitors to get to their feet.




People enjoy during an event at Jeddah Art Promenade. (AN photo)

The small band that paraded the length of the Jeddah Waterfront was dressed in mostly white. Graceful dancers led the way, followed by drummers who helped to awaken people’s spirits. In the center was a man walking on stilts and dressed in the classic Saudi attire of a thobe and head wrap, or “igaal.”

“It always awakens a sense of patriotism when I visit events like these happening on National Day,” Mariam Mohammad, 24, told Arab News.

“I dragged my family out of the house today. The crowd and the traffic were what was stopping them but we get just one night of the year to celebrate and I was not going to let it slip away,” she said.

Aitzaz Zayn, a Pakistani expat living in Jeddah, said: “I am not from Saudi Arabia but I still like going out and participating in the celebrations. There is something very beautiful about people coming together and celebrating their country.”

The parade in Jeddah was just one of many events held throughout the day.

Military parade

The Royal Saudi Navy parade took place at Jeddah’s corniche on Friday and large crowds gathered to cheer it on as part of the 92nd Saudi National Day celebrations.

The fun began with an HZ-MS16 helicopter flying over the waterfront as spectators were told all about it via a commentary played through loudspeakers.




Saudi security forces hold military parade marking Saudi National Day. (SPA)

One of the Royal Navy’s most powerful aircraft, the helicopter is designed for use in search and rescue operations as well as having anti-submarine capabilities.

A number of ships designed for surveillance, search and rescue and assistance operations were also on the waterfront for people to see.

Salha Al-Shamrani and her daughter Hind visited the show together and were impressed with what they saw.

“This was such an interesting National Day event this year,” Al-Shamrani told Arab News.




Saudi Arabia marks 92nd National Day with massive airshow. (SPA)

“We learned so much through the live audio and watching the tanks and boats. The kids learned a lot too.

“There’s nothing like the Saudi Royal Navy. My husband is an instructor there, so we are familiar with how rescue operations are carried out,” she added.

Hind also found the event informative.

“It was such a beautiful and rich participation that I learned so much from. The parade was a lot of fun too,” she said.

“We got to see the ships, the tanks, the submarines and the like. I learned about their types and what each one is used for.”

Joy in the park

A spectacular lineup of activities is on offer at Prince Majid Park in Jeddah to mark Saudi National Day.

The fun started on Wednesday and runs through Saturday, with visitors treated to a host of family and community events to celebrate the Kingdom’s culture and diversity. These include folk dances, amazing roaming performances, a musical fountain show, heritage-focused commercial and craft booths, and lots of delicious food.




People enjoy during an event at Jeddah Art Promenade. (AN photo)

Amr Alyamani, assistant site manager, said: “We are trying to enhance the National Day experience for everyone across the weekend. Our goal is to create as much joy and excitement for visitors to be mesmerized by the attractions and the musical fountain being played every 30 minutes.

“The stage performances will also reflect the rich history and will captivate audiences with a memorable performance centered on diversity and togetherness,” he added.

“This year, we aim to signify our national journey by recognizing our past, rejoicing the present and, together, look positively toward our future.”

Alexia Tashbaeva, a coach at the Saudi Arabian Tennis Federation, took part in the celebrations.




Youth can learn and become closer to their heritage and culture during Saudi National Day celebrations. (AN photo)

“We are here in the park to have kids discover the sport. This way we encourage younger generations to come and play with us,” she said.

“As a foreigner, these festivals depict the strength of unity and provide an opportunity to bring people together to share our love for sport with the residents.”

Saeed Baqar, a flute player said: “Celebrating this special national occasion is an affirmation of our role as inspiring and creative artists to showcase traditional Saudi music in a contemporary manner.”

Tickets for the event cost SR30 ($8) and visitors can also pick up National Day memorabilia and dine at the food stalls.

Family fun in Riyadh

Grassy Park in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter hosted lots of National Day activities on Friday, including horse shows, carnival games and giveaways.

Nabil Cho, a South Korean working in the Kingdom, was among those to enjoy all the fun on offer.

“I never expected an event like this to happen on a National Day,” he told Arab News. “This is my first time visiting here and I’m really excited and really enjoying my time here. It’s nice, it’s wonderful.”




People gathered at Majid park in Jeddah during Saudi National Day celebrations. (AN photo)

Cho said he heard about the National Day festivities online and invited some of his South Korean friends and colleagues to join him.

Olivier Pierre, a tourist from France, was in Grassy Park with his wife and friends.

“I think this event is very interesting because I am just discovering the Saudi culture. Today is National Day and I am very interested to know more about the cultural dances and the music, so this is why I am here and it is above my expectations,” he said.

“My wife is also very interested in discovering Saudi culture. She discovered this place in Saudi group events chats.”

As well as the action-filled activities, food stalls and boutiques sold traditional dishes and products for visitors, many of whom dressed in festive outfits.

All of the activities at Grassy Park are open to the public from 5 p.m. until midnight on Saturday.


Saudi finances are in good shape, says central bank’s governor

Saudi finances are in good shape, says central bank’s governor
Updated 16 sec ago

Saudi finances are in good shape, says central bank’s governor

Saudi finances are in good shape, says central bank’s governor
  • The Saudi Central Bank will continue to manage its foreign-exchange reserves based on ‘balanced investment policies,’ Fahad Almubarak added
  • Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said a predicted SR16 billion surplus reflects shrewd past investments by the Kingdom in its oil and gas sector

RIYADH: Monetary conditions in Saudi Arabia are reassuring, thanks to prudent monetary policies, and the country’s banking sector continues to enjoy good levels of liquidity, the governor of the Saudi Central Bank said on Wednesday.

Fahad Almubarak said the bank would continue to manage its foreign-exchange reserves based on “balanced investment policies.”

He added: “Despite the exceptional circumstances in the Kingdom and the world, the Saudi economy … has proven a high ability to withstand shocks. Monetary conditions in the Kingdom are reassuring as a result of the central bank’s prudent monetary policy.”

Almubarak commended the banking sector for “its financial solvency, operational efficiency, good liquidity, and ability to face current challenges.”

His comments followed the approval of the state budget for the coming fiscal year, which forecasts a surplus of SR16 billion ($4.3 billion) and gross domestic product growth of 3.1 percent, the finance ministry said.

During a media briefing in Riyadh on Wednesday, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said the predicted surplus reflects prior investments the Kingdom made in its oil and gas sector, as well as growth in non-oil sectors as officials implement the country’s Vision 2030 agenda for economic diversification.

“We invested a lot of money when people did not,” he said, according to AFP. “We are not celebrating the surplus; for us it’s not really big news, it’s something that we expected. We’ve been working … to curtail our spending, to increase our non-oil revenues.”

He added that “difficult decisions” that were taken are unlikely to be reversed based on a surplus this year and the expected surplus next year.

“The last thing we want is actually to change policies in haste,” he said.

The surplus will be distributed during the first quarter of 2023, with the bulk of it being used to increase the Kingdom’s reserves, Al-Jadaan said. Some will go to the National Development Fund and some “may be” transferred to the sovereign wealth fund, he added. He also said that the 2023 budget forecasts SR259 billion of military spending, according to Reuters.

“We listened to the blessing of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of announcing the budget in the cabinet session, which took into account the rapid growth that the Kingdom has been witnessing and the achievement of many targets under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” he said in comments broadcast on Al-Ekhbariya TV.

(With Reuters and AFP)


Summits in Riyadh reflect Kingdom’s desire to enhance relations with China: Saudi foreign minister

Summits in Riyadh reflect Kingdom’s desire to enhance relations with China: Saudi foreign minister
Updated 08 December 2022

Summits in Riyadh reflect Kingdom’s desire to enhance relations with China: Saudi foreign minister

Summits in Riyadh reflect Kingdom’s desire to enhance relations with China: Saudi foreign minister
  • Speaking as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Riyadh for an official visit, Prince Faisal bin Farhan said bilateral relations are characterized by friendship, trust, cooperation and coordination
  • Xi is expected to attend a Saudi-Chinese summit, the Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development

RIYADH: Three summits due to take place in Riyadh in the coming days reflect the shared determination of the Kingdom, the other Gulf Cooperation Council nations and the wider Arab world to strengthen cooperation and enhance strategic relations with China in pursuit of greater growth and prosperity for all of the countries and their peoples, according to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan.

“The relations between the Kingdom and China are strategic and close in light of the international developments and changes taking place,” he said.

He added that the bilateral relationship is characterized by friendship, mutual trust, cooperation and continuous coordination, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

His comments came as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday evening for a three-day official visit, during which he is expected to attend a Saudi-Chinese summit, the Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development.

Prince Faisal praised the contribution made by a high-level Saudi-Chinese joint committee to the development of relations between the two countries in many fields. He said the bilateral economic relationship is progressing rapidly against the backdrop of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 development and diversification plan and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which offer promising opportunities for cooperation, sustainable development and mutual benefits.

He added that China has ranked as the Kingdom’s top trading partner since 2018, and that the value of bilateral trade in 2021 was SR309 billion ($82.1 billion), an increase of 39 percent compared with the previous year.


Culture can open the door to a ‘green’ future, says Saudi minister

Culture can open the door to a ‘green’ future, says Saudi minister
Updated 08 December 2022

Culture can open the door to a ‘green’ future, says Saudi minister

Culture can open the door to a ‘green’ future, says Saudi minister
  • Prince Badr met with a number of his counterparts on the sidelines of the forum
  • A number of agreements were signed during bilateral meetings to enhance cultural cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization, on Wednesday organized the 23rd Conference of Arab Culture Ministers in the capital, Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The event, which was held under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, minister of culture, and chairman of the National Committee for Education, Culture and Science, was attended by ministers and officials from 20 Arab countries, as well as representatives of the Arab League, and regional and international organizations.

The minister of culture, who is also president of the 23rd session, said: “This year’s session, whose main theme is: ‘Culture and the green future,’ aims to make the cultural sector more sustainable, as we seek to make it the starting point of international efforts involving the cultural sector with its various branches, extending to cover all elements of its value chain.”

He added: “The utilization of culture toward the green future contributes to instilling culture in the global development debate, which receives the full attention of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, through the Kingdom’s participation in global cultural platforms, where the ‘Culture and the green future’ theme conforms to the goals of the Kingdom Vision 2030.”

He said that this, in return, highlights the Kingdom’s support of collective efforts to enhance knowledge, skills and practices related to making the cultural sector more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

During the conference, ministers focused on the role of culture in achieving sustainable development, while working to develop effective sectorial policies that bring added value to collective efforts to move toward a more creative and sustainable future.

Meanwhile, Prince Badr met with his Egyptian counterpart Nevin Al-Kilany on the sidelines of the forum, where the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation in the cultural field.

The memorandum included cultural fields, such as heritage, visual arts, performing arts, literature, books and publishing, Islamic decoration and other creative tracks.

It also included work to enhance the participation of Saudi and Egyptian intellectuals in festivals and cultural events held in the two countries, in addition to joint cooperation in training and qualifying local artistic cadres, and benefiting from experiences in the two countries in the fields of museums, urban heritage and handicraft industries.

Prince Badr praised the strong strategic relations that link the Kingdom with Egypt in all cultural fields. The two parties also discussed cooperation in the field of registering intangible heritage files with UNESCO, and cooperation in the field of exchanging expertise through cultural scholarship programs.

Prince Badr met with the Moroccan Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid where another agreement was signed to enhance cultural cooperation in various fields, including literature, publishing and translation, heritage, architecture and design, museums, theater and performing arts.

The memorandum also included enhancing the participation of Saudi and Moroccan intellectuals in festivals and cultural events held in the two countries, in addition to exchanging expertise in organizations and cultural policies.

He also held similar meetings with the Director-General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Salem Al-Malik, and the Director-General of ALECSO, Mohamed Ould Amar, where they discussed the most prominent current cooperation programs between the organizations and the Kingdom, and memoranda of understanding were signed.

He also met with his Tunisian and Djiboutian counterparts, and the president of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities.


Saudi Arabia, ALECSO sign cultural cooperation agreement 

Saudi Arabia, ALECSO sign cultural cooperation agreement 
Updated 08 December 2022

Saudi Arabia, ALECSO sign cultural cooperation agreement 

Saudi Arabia, ALECSO sign cultural cooperation agreement 

Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan met Director General of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization Mohamed Ould Amar in Riyadh on Wednesday.

The meeting was part of the Saudi minister’s bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the 23rd session of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers, which was held in the Saudi capital and organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with ALECSO.

During the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the ministry and ALECSO to enhance cultural cooperation through a range of items, including registering natural sites and heritage elements in UNESCO lists.
 


Saudi FM attends GCC preparatory session ahead of summit

Saudi FM attends GCC preparatory session ahead of summit
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi FM attends GCC preparatory session ahead of summit

Saudi FM attends GCC preparatory session ahead of summit

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Wednesday participated in the work of the 154th session of the preparatory ministerial council for the 43rd session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which was held at the headquarters of the GCC General Secretariat in Riyadh.
The meeting was chaired by Oman’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, who is also president of the council’s current session, with the participation of Gulf foreign ministers, and GCC Secretary-General Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf.
During the meeting, the ministers discussed ways of enhancing the process of joint cooperation and coordination between the GCC countries, and the developments of the situation in the region.
They also discussed the latest regional and international developments, and the schedule of the work of the Chinese-Gulf Summit for Cooperation and Development that will be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and GCC leaders.