British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia

British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia
Harry St. John Philby
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Updated 30 September 2022

British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia

British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia
  • Explorer’s 1,300 km journey a century ago led to lifelong friendship with Ibn Saud, Kingdom’s first ruler
  • The expedition was launched by the UK’s Princess Anne, and the team includes Philby’s granddaughter

LONDON: An Arabian desert expedition aims to retrace the steps of a famous journey by a British explorer who served as an adviser to the first ruler of Saudi Arabia.

The planned 1,300-km Heart of Arabia coast-to-coast trek across the peninsula was launched by Anne, Princess Royal of the UK, on Wednesday. It was her first public engagement since the death this month of her mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The expedition will honor the undertaking and achievement of adventurer, Arabist and intelligence officer Harry St. John Philby, who traveled from the Gulf coast village of Al-Uqair to Jeddah, on the Red Sea coast, on a mission in support of Ibn Saud, the Kingdom’s first ruler.

The Heart of Arabia journey will set off in November, a century after Philby’s crossing. It is led by veteran British explorer Mark Evans and the team, which will travel by foot and on camels, includes Philby’s Saudi granddaughter, Reem.

After reaching Riyadh they will travel west on the final stage to Jeddah, which is likely to present the greatest challenge because of harsh winds and rough terrain, including sand and loose rock.

Philby was sent to Arabia during the First World War to assist T. E. Lawrence as part of the British efforts to foment an Arab uprising against the Ottoman Empire, which at the time stretched across the Red Sea side of the Arabian Peninsula all the way to Yemen.

His journey led to groundbreaking cartographic and natural discoveries, and resulted in significant changes to the political landscape of the Middle East.

Philby, who would later reside in Riyadh, developed a close relationship with Ibn Saud, who at the time was a significant tribal leader. Philby adopted local dress and customs, and converted to Islam, which helped him play a key role in the events that led to the Arab Revolt and the creation of Saudi Arabia.

Evans said of Philby: “He is considered by many as one of the greatest early explorers of Arabia. He not only set out across uncharted land but took time to record everything he saw.”

Reem Philby said that she is drawn to “the stillness and constant movement of the desert at the same time.”

She added: “Just observing how nature controls everything in harmony and how we are the ones that have to adapt, makes one very humble.”

Princess Anne said: “How did people live in the environment that he crossed? What was different about it? And actually, what’s perhaps even more important in modern terms, is to understand how much has changed compared to what existed before.”

The Arabian landscape has long attracted interested intrepid Britons, including explorer and writer Wilfred Thesiger, who commended the tribes he encountered during his crossing of the Kingdom’s Empty Quarter for their loyalty and generosity.
 

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PMU International Conference in Futures Studies concludes in Alkhobar

PMU International Conference in Futures Studies concludes in Alkhobar
Updated 8 sec ago

PMU International Conference in Futures Studies concludes in Alkhobar

PMU International Conference in Futures Studies concludes in Alkhobar
  • Conference was organized in collaboration with the university’s partner, the World Futures Studies Federation

KHOBAR: The Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd (PMU) campus looked to the future when it hosted its very first International Conference in Futures Studies on Dec. 7-8 at the campus headquarters in Khobar. The conference was organized in collaboration with the university’s partner, the World Futures Studies Federation.

Dr. Faisal Yousif Al-Anezi, vice president of academic affairs at PMU, told Arab News about the importance of the event.

“As the title indicates, ‘live in the future and beyond the now,’ PMU always tries to be proactive in all aspects, in terms of technology, education, research and other solutions or scenarios we can provide for the university — and the region,” Al-Anezi told Arab News.

“Such conferences can enable us to travel to a new era of different majors, to help people to network and come up with the scenarios that help us in the future. Now, things are changing by the minute, so it’s good to be proactive. This will enable us to be ahead of other universities or education agencies,” Al-Anezi added.

The in-person event combined plenary sessions, guest speakers, panels and workshops, and presented award-winning scientific papers. The organizers curated a “living the future” exhibition with artifacts developed both at PMU and externally.

The conference aimed to explore various emerging future-focused topics, challenges and visions. It demonstrates and discusses the diverse, multifaceted approaches, processes, methods and techniques used to imagine and shape a progressive future. Topics ranged from the future of global governance and sustainable growth to the world of transdisciplinary education and transformative social, economic and technological developments in areas such as work, sustainability, health, education and built space.

Over the two days, the campus looked to the future and invited experts, speakers and researchers to come together, network and engage in dialogue and meaningful conversations.

Dr. Patricia Davies, associate professor in the College of Science and Human Studies at PMU, offered insights in two sessions; one which explored the relationship between teacher instructional practices and student understanding in secondary schools in Saudi Arabia and another on a futures approach to student participation in leadership brought on from cases in Saudi Arabia and the UK.

She is one of a dozen experts committed to linking the future to Saudi Arabia and beyond.

Dr. Derek Woodgate, president of The Futures Lab, Inc. known as a “foresight consultancy” specializing in creating future potential for major corporations and institutions, including academia, governments and NGOs, told Arab News about PMU’s landmark participation this year.

“Much of what I’ve been doing in the last few years is really bringing together multimedia futures-based learning and new pedagogical systems. I’m the adviser to the vice president of academic affairs; working with him on the future of PMU but also in developing new programs, particularly transdisciplinary programs, and building up our center for futuristic studies,” Woodgate told Arab News.

He helped create a future skills class, a brand new offering which just started this fall and one that he said was going “very well.”

The center itself, created in 2019, has already established platforms in line with Saudi Vision 2030 plans. It also helps support industry development to aid students in understanding the future — preparing them for future jobs. It covers the skills that are vital to learn in a fast-changing world, with a focus on technology.

“The idea of principle is to ensure that we’re developing students for the future, rather than purely the present,” Woodgate told Arab News.

One of the issues addressed was that many schools appear to avoid teaching students skills for the future.

Dr. Christin Pfeiffer, head of Futures Literacy and Foresight, Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO, gave a keynote speech on the event’s opening day. She has worked in the role since September, but has overseen significant progress in just a few months.

“We were asking ourselves: ‘what is the resource or the real added value of humankind today?’ And it’s not data — because there is no data from the future. It is not gold, it is not oil, it is ‘meaning.’ This is the central part of it. Meaning you can develop only together in a society in a group, in a community, or as global citizens as we are today because we are actually facing challenges — the COVID-19 pandemic is one example, but more urgent even would be the climate crisis,” Pfeiffer told Arab News.

For more information about the conference or the program at PMU, visit the PMU website.


China’s Xi Jinping holds summit with Gulf leaders

China’s Xi Jinping holds summit with Gulf leaders
Updated 16 min 44 sec ago

China’s Xi Jinping holds summit with Gulf leaders

China’s Xi Jinping holds summit with Gulf leaders
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: Establishment of a Gulf-Chinese free trade zone discussed

RIYADH: Chinese President Xi Jinping met Gulf leaders at a summit on Friday after earlier signing a series of agreements with Saudi Arabia.

The leader of the world’s second biggest economy sat down with regional rulers on the third and final day of his trip, only his third journey outside China since the coronavirus pandemic began.

State television showed leaders from the six-country, resource-rich Gulf Cooperation Council – including the Qatari ruler and Bahraini king – arriving at the conference venue in Riyadh on Friday.

“Gulf countries and China can achieve economic and industrial integration,’ Xi told Gulf leaders gathered in Riyadh, and noted that the Gulf Cooperation Council succeeded in overcoming global challenges.

Xi also committed China’s unwavering support for the Gulf countries’ security and assured that the Asian giant will continue to import oil in large quantities from the region.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier addressed the gathering, noting that the summit reflected the common desire to strengthen Gulf-Chinese cooperation.

The Gulf countries are bolstering ties with China as part of part of a strategy diversifying their fossil fuel-reliant economies.

Officials have provided few details about Friday’s agenda, but one potential area is a China-GCC free trade agreement that has been under discussion for nearly two decades.
“China will want to draw the lengthy negotiations to a close, as FTAs with major trading blocs is a matter of prestige for Beijing,” said Robert Mogielnicki of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his earlier noted that the group “discussed the establishment of a Gulf-Chinese free trade zone.”

A breakthrough on the trade pact could help Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest economy, diversify its economy in line with the Vision 2030 reform agenda championed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

– with SPA

 


Saudi Arabia and China to prioritize relations

Saudi Arabia and China to prioritize relations
Updated 09 December 2022

Saudi Arabia and China to prioritize relations

Saudi Arabia and China to prioritize relations
  • Both countries to continue to firmly support each other’s core interests
  • Joint efforts to defend the principle of non-interference in their internal affairs

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and China vowed to prioritize relations as part of their foreign policy and set a model of cooperation and solidarity for developing countries, according to a joint statement released by both parties after the Saudi-Chinese summit.

The two sides reaffirmed they will continue to firmly support each other’s core interests, support each other in maintaining their sovereignty and territorial integrity, and exert joint efforts to defend the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states, rules of international law and basic principles of international relations. The Saudi side reaffirmed its adherence to the one-China principle, state news agency SPA reported.

Moreover, the Chinese side expressed support for the Kingdom in maintaining its security and stability and affirmed its opposition to any actions that would interfere in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and rejects any attacks targeting civilians, civilian facilities, territories and Saudi interests.

The two sides expressed their satisfaction with the progressive stages of bilateral relations during the past three decades.

Moreover, they stressed the importance of continuing joint action in all fields, deepening relations within the framework of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, and reaching new and promising horizons.

The two sides praised the positive and fruitful outcomes of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Kingdom in January 2016, as well as King Salman’s visit to China in March 2017, in addition to the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in February 2019 to China. Visits that contributed to expanding the scope of cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

Regarding bilateral relations, the two sides stressed the importance of continuing to expand Saudi-Chinese relations in their international framework, and setting an example of cooperation, solidarity, and mutual gain for developing countries. The Saudi side congratulated China on the success of convening the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. In addition, the Chinese side congratulated the Kingdom for the great achievements made in the field of national development within the framework of Vision 2030.

The two sides stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation through high-level Saudi-Chinese Joint Committee to achieve common goals, enhancing cooperation between the two countries in all fields, and intensifying communication between the government and private sectors in the two countries to discuss economic, trade and investment opportunities and translate them into tangible partnerships, and enhancing cooperation in areas that aim to elevate the economic and developmental relationship between the two countries to broader horizons.

Regarding energy field, both sides affirmed that their enhancement of cooperation in this field is considered an important strategic partnership.

The two sides commended their oil trade volume and the great foundations of the cooperation due to the Kingdom’s ample oil resources and China’s broad markets.

They also indicated that the development and consolidation of cooperation in the field of oil is in conformity with the common interests of both sides. In addition, they stressed on the importance of stability in the world oil markets.

China welcomed the Kingdom’s role as a supporter of the balance and stability in the world oil markets, and as reliable major exporter of crude oil to China. The two sides agreed to explore the common investment opportunities in petrochemicals sector, develop promising projects in petrochemical conversion techniques, and enhance joint cooperation in a number of fields and projects including electricity, PV energy, wind energy, and other sources of renewable energy.

The two sides also agreed to develop related projects, innovative uses of hydrocarbon resources, energy efficiency, localization of energy sector components and its supply chains, in addition to cooperate in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the development of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence, as well as innovation in energy sector.

The two sides stressed the importance of deepening joint cooperation in regard to “Belt and Road Initiative”, welcoming the related Saudi companies involvement in various energy and investment partnerships within the framework of “Belt and Road Initiative”, enhancing the Kingdom’s location as a regional center for Chinese companies in producing and exporting the products of energy sector, as well as the joint investment in energy projects in the countries of the region and energy consuming countries in Europe and Africa. All of this will contribute in developing Saudi local content, and achieve self-sufficiency for China in the field of petrochemicals through its related investment in the Kingdom.

Regarding climate change, the Chinese side welcomed the Kingdom’s launching of “Saudi Green” and “Middle East Green” initiatives, and expressed its support for all the efforts exerted by the Kingdom in the field of climate change through the application of circular carbon economy approach launched by the Kingdom and approved by the G20 leaders. Both sides emphasized the importance of the principles of the Framework Convention on Climate Change and Paris Agreement, as well as the importance of implementing climate conventions through focusing on emissions rather than sources. The two sides agreed to continue their coordination on energy policies through the use of circular carbon economy as a tool to manage emissions and achieve climate targets.

They also agreed to urge developed countries to take their historic responsibilities seriously, through the fulfillment of their obligations by greatly reducing emissions before the target date, and to tangibly help developing countries through financial, technical, capacity building support.

The two sides commended the growth of intra-trade and investment between their two countries, which embodies the depth and sustainability of their economic relations.

They also affirmed their willingness to increase the volume of non-oil trade, facilitate the Kingdom’s non-oil exports to China, as well as to increase the joint quality investment between the two countries.

The two sides agreed to enhance the work to benefit from the available trade and investment opportunities, intensify the capacity of aircraft carriers, motivate private sectors investment partnerships in both countries, consolidate efforts to create attractive, supportive, and incentive investment environment within the framework of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and “Belt and Road Initiative”, through deepening cooperation in a number of fields including automotive industry, supply chains, logistics, water desalination, infrastructure, manufacturing, mining, and the financial sector.

The Saudi side expressed its aspiration to attract Chinese expertise to participate in the future mega-projects in the Kingdom, in addition to its keenness to enable Saudi investments in the China and overcome the difficulties such investment may face.

The Saudi side also stressed the importance of attracting international Chinese companies to open regional headquarters in the Kingdom, and appreciated the interest of a number of companies in that regard as they are obtaining licenses to establish their regional headquarters in the Kingdom, to ultimately benefit from the exceptional Chinese experiences and capabilities for the benefit of the economies of the two countries.

The two sides expressed their satisfaction with signing “harmonization plan” between the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and the “Belt and Road Initiative”. The two sides agreed on the importance of accelerating the pace of harmonization between their projects in the two countries, employing integrated advantages, and deepening practical cooperation between the two sides so as to obtain mutual benefits and common development.

The two sides also welcomed the signing of 12 agreements and government memoranda of understanding for cooperation in the fields of hydrogen energy, the judiciary field, Chinese language education, housing, direct investment, radio and television, digital economy, economic development, standardization, news coverage, tax administration, and anti-corruption. In addition to the signing of 9 agreements and memoranda of understanding between the government and private sectors, and the signing of 25 agreements and memoranda of understanding between companies in the two countries.

The Chinese side invited the Saudi side to be the guest of honor for the sixth session of the Arab-Chinese Exhibition for the year 2023.

The Chinese side also expressed its keenness to deepen investment cooperation with the Saudi side in digital economy and green development, enhance cooperation in e-commerce, and explore means of joint economic and trade cooperation with Africa.

The Saudi side also welcomed Chinese companies’ investments in the Kingdom, through the mega investment opportunities provided by Vision 2030 in various sectors. On the other hand, the Chinese side welcomed the enhancement of investments of sovereign wealth funds and Saudi industrial capitals in China.

The two sides agreed to encourage building partnerships between investment funds in the two countries.

Regarding financial field, the two sides stressed the importance of joint cooperation to support the success of the “Common Framework for Debt Treatment beyond the scope of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative”, which was endorsed by the G20 leaders at the G20 summit headed by the Kingdom.

The two sides also confirmed the need to coordinate relevant positions in international forums such as G20, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Asian Bank, in order to invest in infrastructure and other areas, in a manner that enhances efforts aimed at increasing the effectiveness and governance of these groups and institutions.

The two sides also confirmed the importance of enhancing cooperation in the field of tax policies, thus contributing to enhancing financial, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

Regarding water and agriculture field, the Saudi side welcomed the establishment of direct partnership between Chinese private sector and Saudi private sector concerning the investment opportunities available in the Kingdom in the fields of desalination plants, drinking water, water transport lines, sewage treatment plants, dams, and the organization of commercial activities between representatives of the private sector in both countries to discuss investment possibilities in the agricultural sector as well as agricultural and food industries, and the development of agricultural investment projects.

Regarding communications and information technology field, the two sides stressed the need to strengthen partnership in areas related to communications, digital economy, innovation and space to achieve a better digital future for the future generations in both countries.

Regarding transportation and logistics field , the two sides stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation and joint action on developing the air and sea transport sectors, modern transport modes and railways, and expediting the completion of studies on the Saudi land bridge project.

The two sides also stressed the importance of strengthening and developing cooperation in the industrial and mining sectors, in a way that serves their common interests.

Regarding the defense and security field, the two sides affirmed their determination to develop cooperation and coordination in defense fields, enhance and raise the level of exchange of information and expertise in the field of combating organized crime, including terrorist crimes, prevent violence and extremism, in addition to enhance cooperation and coordination of efforts and exchange of expertise in the areas of early- warning risk intelligence, security risks assessment and combating cybercrimes, in a way that serves and achieves the common interests of the two countries.

The two sides reaffirmed the rejection and denunciation of terrorism and extremism in all its forms, the refusal to link terrorism to any particular culture, race or religion, the refusal to practice double standards in combating terrorism, and the importance of spreading moderation and tolerance.

The two sides also praised the level of security cooperation between the two friendly countries in the field of combating terrorism and its financing.

The two sides agreed to enhance joint international cooperation to combat cross-border corruption crimes in all its forms, ensure the achievement of common goals related to consolidating the principles of transparency, integrity, communication and effective cooperation between the agencies concerned with combating corruption in the two countries, and benefit from the principles endorsed by the G20 regarding combating corruption and pursuing fugitive criminals and recovering proceeds of crime, and the Riyadh Global Initiative for Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities in the field of investigations of corruption cases, prosecution of perpetrators, and recovery of proceeds of crime.

Regarding health field, the two sides stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation between them in health fields, and raising the level of coordination between them to combat current and future health threats and pandemics.

Regarding cultural field, the two sides discussed ways to enhance cooperation between them within the framework of the historical and cultural relations that unite the two friendly countries, and expressed support and appreciation for many cultural initiatives that express the strength of Saudi-Chinese relations, they also welcomed the launch of the first edition of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Award for Cultural Cooperation between the two countries.

The two sides also stressed the importance of jointly organizing Chinese-Saudi Digital Cultural Year, implementing the memoranda of understanding signed in a number of cultural fields. In addition, the two sides stressed the importance of cooperation in the field of tourism and promotional activities between the two countries, exploring tourism potentials that both countries have, and promoting joint action in sustainable tourism sectors for the benefit of the tourism sector and its development.

The Chinese side announced endorsing the Kingdom as an outbound tourist destination for the Chinese tourist groups.

Regarding sports field, the two sides stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation and partnership in sports programs and activities between the two countries.

Regarding education field, the two sides welcomed the raising the level of scientific and educational cooperation between the two countries. They commended the progress achieved in cooperation between them in this field, agreed on continuing to encourage direct communication between universities and academic, scientific and research institutions in the two countries, to promote cooperation in the areas of digital education and teaching Arabic and Chinese languages in schools, universities and educational institutions in the two countries.

The two sides stressed the importance of cooperation and enhancing the level of partnerships and sharing experiences and information in various areas of work and human resources in order to achieve their mutual interests.

Regarding media field, the two sides agreed to strengthen the existing media cooperation between the two countries, discuss opportunities for its development in the areas of radio, television, news agencies and the press, and exchange experiences and media visits in order to promote the development of joint media action.

The Chinese side commended the efforts exerted by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in serving Chinese pilgrims, and its cooperation in organizing Chinese Hajj campaigns and facilitating the performance of Hajj and Umrah for Chinese pilgrims.

Regarding regional and international matters, the two sides welcomed the holding of the first China-GCC summit, and the first Arab-Chinese summit in the Kingdom in the city of Riyadh on Friday Dec. 9, and expressed their aspiration for the two summits to achieve their desired goals to serve the Gulf and Arab-Chinese relations.

They also stressed that holding China-GCC summit and Arab-Chinese summit is of particular importance in light of the current international situations , and affirmed their support for “China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era” initiative.

Furthermore, they commended the important role of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in promoting collective cooperation between China and Arab countries, and expressed their willingness to participate in building and developing the Forum. They also stressed the importance of joint action to strengthen strategic partnership relations between the GCC States and China, conclude a free trade agreement between the GCC and China, and work towards holding GCC-China Meeting of Ministers of Economy and Trade 6 + 1 between GCC and China.

The two sides reaffirmed their determination to continue coordinating and intensifying efforts to maintain international peace and security, continue their coordination in the relevant organizations, call for constructive dialogue in order to achieve the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the fundamental principles of international relations.

They stressed that the situations of the region are related to security and stability in the world , and that working towards peace and prosperity in the region is in conformity with the common interest of international community. They also agreed on the importance of finding peaceful and political solutions to the region’s urgent issues through dialogue and consultation based on respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the States of the region.

The Chinese side commended the Kingdom’s positive contributions and outstanding support for the promotion of regional and international peace and stability. The Saudi side commended the efforts and initiatives of the People’s Republic of China to achieve security and stability in the Middle East. The two sides also agreed on the importance of strengthening their cooperation and partnership in order to support stability and development in the African continent.

The Saudi side expressed its support for Global Development Initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping and looked forward to participating in cooperation within the framework of the Initiative, thereby contributing to accelerating the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Saudi side also expressed its appreciation for the Global Security Initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The two sides also discussed the most prominent global economic challenges, and the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the People’s Republic of China in supporting international efforts to address these challenges. They also stressed the importance of joint action to advance comprehensive global development for the benefit of all, and the importance of stabilizing global energy markets and food supply of wheat and grains to all countries without any disruption, as well as maintaining oversupply and stable prices.

Regarding political issues:

The two sides affirmed their full support for efforts to reach a political solution to the Yemeni crisis.

The Chinese side commended the Kingdom’s initiative to end the war in Yemen and its numerous efforts and initiatives aimed at encouraging dialogue between Yemeni parties.

The two sides also stressed the importance of supporting the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council to enable it to perform its functions and reach a political solution to the Yemeni crisis in accordance with the Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanisms, the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue, and Security Council Resolution No. 2216 (2015). They also stressed the importance of the Houthis’ commitment to a truce, cooperation with the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, and serious engagement with initiatives and efforts for peace in order to reach a permanent and comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis. The Chinese side valued the Kingdom’s humanitarian relief and development aid to the Yemeni people through King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre together with the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen.

Regarding Iran:

The two sides agreed on the need to strengthen joint cooperation to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

The two sides also called on Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, maintain the non-proliferation regime, and emphasize respect for the principles of good-neighborliness and non-interference in internal affairs of states.

Regarding Palestine:

The two sides discussed the developments in the Palestinian cause, and stressed the need to intensify efforts to achieve a comprehensive and just settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and find a real horizon for resuming serious and effective negotiations in order to achieve peace in accordance with the principle of two-state solution, the relevant international legitimacy resolutions, and Arab Peace Initiative, in a way that guarantees the rights of Palestinian people to establish their independent state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Regarding Syria:

The two sides stressed the need to intensify efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis that preserves Syria’s unity and territorial integrity, restores its security and ends terrorism, and creates the necessary conditions for the voluntary return of refugees.

They also affirmed their continued support for the efforts of the United Nations and its Special Envoy for Syria.

Regarding Lebanon:

The two sides affirmed their concern for the security, stability, and unity of the Lebanese territories.

They also stressed the importance of carrying out the necessary reforms, dialogue and consultation to ensure that Lebanon overcomes its crisis, in order to avoid being the starting point for any terrorist acts, becoming incubators for terrorist organizations and groups that destabilize the security and stability of the region, or to be a source or crossing point for drug smuggling.

Regarding Iraq:

The two sides affirmed their continuation in providing support to the Republic of Iraq, and welcomed the formation of the new Iraqi government, wishing for it success in achieving the aspirations of the Iraqi people for security, stability, and development.

Regarding Afghanistan:

The two sides stressed the importance of supporting efforts that would achieve security and stability in Afghanistan, ensuring that Afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorist and extremist groups.

They also stressed the importance of strengthening humanitarian efforts exerted by the international community to stop the ongoing deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, and to deliver humanitarian aid to the Afghan people.

Regarding Ukraine:

The two sides stressed the importance of resolving the conflict by peaceful means, and exerting all possible efforts to reduce escalation in a way that contributes to restoring security and stability, and limits the negative consequences of this crisis.

The Chinese side pointed out its six- point initiative regarding the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, its provision of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and its call for preventing a large-scale humanitarian crisis.

The Chinese side expressed its appreciation for the humanitarian and political efforts made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and the release of a number of prisoners of war of different nationalities.

The Chinese side also praised the additional humanitarian aid package which the Kingdom recently provided to Ukraine in the amount of 400 million US dollars, which will contribute in alleviating the suffering of the Ukrainian people.

In conclusion, the Chinese President expressed his gratitude and appreciation for King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and their warm reception and hospitality accorded to President Xi and the accompanying delegation.

President Xi invited the King Salman to visit China at a mutually convenient time, and the Saudi king accepted the invitation. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wished the Chinese president and the people of China best wishes, good health, and happiness in addition to further progress and advancement.


Saudi Arabia warns global humanitarian crisis will escalate in 2023

Saudi Arabia warns global humanitarian crisis will escalate in 2023
Updated 09 December 2022

Saudi Arabia warns global humanitarian crisis will escalate in 2023

Saudi Arabia warns global humanitarian crisis will escalate in 2023
  • Area worst affected by the escalating crisis will be the Horn of Africa, the Sahel region, the Great Lakes, Haiti and Ukraine

NEW YORK: Humanitarian needs will increase worldwide in the year ahead, Saudi aid experts warn, requiring solidarity among the international community and the continued support of donors within the UN, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

Aqil Al-Ghamdi, the assistant supervisor general director for planning and development at the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, also known as KSRelief, said the areas worst affected by the escalating crisis will be the Horn of Africa, the Sahel region, the Great Lakes, Haiti and Ukraine.

Their situations will get worse because of factors such as economic disparity, climate change, food shortages, rising prices of fuel and fertilizer, the COVID-19 pandemic, ebola and cholera outbreaks, all of which will have crippling effects on the humanitarian situation.

He was speaking at a high-level meeting of the donor support group for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in New York on Wednesday.

Al-Ghamdi, who chaired the meeting, said the OCHA will have to confront greater challenges in 2023, which will require a united response and the continued support of the group. He gave details of the OCHA’s strategic plan for the period 2023 to 2026, and the office’s budget for coming year. He praised the progress it has made, especially with regard to setting priorities and establishing a budget steering committee to help allocate resources based on levels of need.

Joyce Msuya, OCHA’s assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and deputy emergency relief coordinator, said the office appreciates the offers by members of the donor group to mobilize their support, especially in terms of funding, in light of the economic conditions that most countries are experiencing and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. She stressed the office’s efforts to use available resources efficiently.

Julie Billings, head of strategic planning, budgeting and finance at the OCHA, discussed the office’s 2023 budget and some of the steps it is taking. She said it constantly evaluates its bureaus around the world to establish financial needs, and reduces the support to areas in which the humanitarian situation has improved so that the funding can be transferred to address priority needs elsewhere.

Al-Ghamdi, the head of the donor group and the Kingdom’s representative on it, thanked the OCHA representatives and the members of the donor group for attending the two-day meeting and their valuable contributions. He invited them to the fourth meeting of the high-level group, which is scheduled to take place in Riyadh in February, alongside the Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum.


Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Saturday

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Saturday
Updated 09 December 2022

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Saturday

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Saturday

RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia on Thursday called on the public to exercise caution over the coming days as weather warnings have been issued in several regions across the Kingdom.

The General Directorate of Civil Defense chances of thunderstorms have been forecast on Friday and Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The authority warned of moderate to heavy rains and active winds in the capital Riyadh, Hail, Qassim and the Eastern Province. It also warned some areas may experience flooding.

It also said the regions of Al-Jouf, and the Northern Borders Province will be affected by moderate rains, while thunderclouds accompanied by active winds are expected to continue to form in Asir, Jazan, and Al-Baha.

The warnings were issued based on data received from the National Center of Meteorology.

The civil defense called on everyone to be wary of the severe conditions, to stay away from places that could flood and electricity poles, and to abide by the civil defense’s instructions and updates announced through media and social media outlets.