GCC Supreme Council lauds Saudi convening of summits, looks forward to strengthening cooperation with China

Special GCC Supreme Council lauds Saudi convening of summits, looks forward to strengthening cooperation with China
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Updated 09 December 2022

GCC Supreme Council lauds Saudi convening of summits, looks forward to strengthening cooperation with China

GCC Supreme Council lauds Saudi convening of summits, looks forward to strengthening cooperation with China
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman assumed presidency of Friday’s meeting of 43rd session
  • He announced the Kingdom’s intention to present second phase of Vision 2030 reform plan

RIYADH: On the sidelines of summits in Riyadh on Friday with the visiting president of China, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman presided over the meeting of the 43rd session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation on behalf of King Salman.

Lauding Saudi Arabia’s convening of the Riyadh GCC-China Summit for Cooperation and Development and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, the Supreme Council said it was looking forward to their contribution to strengthening cooperation and the strategic partnership with China.

Among those in attendance were Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sharqi, the ruler of Fujairah, as representative of UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed; King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain; Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani; Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al-Said, deputy prime minister of Oman; and Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, secretary-general of the GCC.

During the summit, the Supreme Council reaffirmed its support for the sovereignty of Palestinians over all Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.

Condemning Israel’s continued settlement-building on occupied Palestinian lands, the council urged the international community to intervene and stop the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. 




Supreme Council reaffirmed its support for the sovereignty of Palestinians over all Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since June 1967. (SPA)

It cautioned that attempts to impose Israeli sovereignty on Palestinian people was a clear violation of international law.

“Our countries reiterate the need for a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian cause in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative, in a way that guarantees the Palestinian people’s rights with Al-Quds as its capital,” the Saudi crown prince said, referring to East Jerusalem.

He also reiterated the Kingdom’s full support for international efforts aimed at arriving at a comprehensive political solution in Yemen.

The Supreme Council stressed that future negotiations with Iran over the nuclear issue must address Tehran’s attempts at destabilizing the region and its sponsorship of terrorism and sectarian militias.

Saudi Arabia emphasized the need for Iran to abide by international principles and charters, fulfill its nuclear obligations, cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and maintain the principle of good neighborliness.

The Saudi crown prince took the opportunity to announce the Kingdom’s intention to launch the second phase of Vision 2030.




Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, secretary-general of the GCC. (Supplied)

“In light of the significant developments over the past seven years, resulting from the implementation of the GCC’s ambitious development and economic transformation plans, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia intends to present a second phase of the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud,” he said.

“The vision contributed towards strengthening the strategic role of the Gulf Cooperation Council, regionally and globally, accelerating the council’s progress in the economic, social, security, military and political fields — including the appointment of military commanders to the unified military command of the Gulf Police.”

Affirming that the GCC countries will remain a safe and reliable source to provide the world with its “green energy” needs, the crown prince highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts in launching the Saudi Green Initiative, the Middle East Green Initiative, the concept of a circular carbon economy, and other programs aimed at developing sustainable energy sources.

Underscoring the need for sustainable development, the crown prince said: “The Kingdom believes that hydrocarbon energy sources will remain an important resource to meet the needs of the world for the coming decades.”

He added: “Aware of the importance of sustainable development and preserving the environment for future generations, we continue joint action to address climate change and strive to reduce and address its impact.”

The Saudi crown prince congratulated Sultan Haitham bin Tariq on Oman’s assumption of the presidency of the 43rd session of the Supreme Council.

He also paid tribute to the late UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan’s outstanding role and his efforts to enhance the work of the Supreme Council.

The Saudi crown prince congratulated Sheikh Tamim for his success in hosting the ongoing football FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

At the outset of his speech, the crown prince warmly welcoming the GCC representatives to Saudi Arabia, asking them to consider the Kingdom as their “second country.”

He added: “We ask the Almighty Allah to help us continue with the march of goodness and cooperation and to promote the GCC’s joint action toward steady development and prosperity.”

In the final communique issued at the end of Friday’s session, the Supreme Council thanked the crown prince for assuming the presidency of the meeting, and expressed its appreciation for the “keenness and interest mentioned in his opening speech to activate the march of cooperation among GCC countries.”

It also expressed its “deep appreciation and gratitude for the great and sincere efforts” of King Salman and the Saudi government during the Kingdom’s “presidency of the 42nd session and the important steps and achievements that were achieved.”


Three women go solo with artwork at Jeddah’s Athr Gallery

Three women go solo with artwork at Jeddah’s Athr Gallery
Updated 8 sec ago

Three women go solo with artwork at Jeddah’s Athr Gallery

Three women go solo with artwork at Jeddah’s Athr Gallery
  • Event comes as part of the inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale 2023 at the Western Hajj Terminal in Jeddah

JEDDAH: The Athr Gallery is showcasing three independently curated solo shows, sponsored by the Cultural Development Fund, until April.

The work of two Saudi nationals, Daniah Al-Saleh, Asma Bahmim, and one Kuwaiti national, Farah Behbehani, is being featured at the gallery.  

Al-Saleh’s show is titled “Keep Smiling,” which addresses the use of non-verbal symbols in modern communication in an increasingly digitized world.  “Our method of communication might have changed from a clay tablet to a smart tablet or smartphone. It seems that we as a society have accepted emojis as part of our daily life,” she told Arab News.

The work of two Saudi nationals, Daniah Al-Saleh, Asma Bahmim, and one Kuwaiti national, Farah Behbehani, is being featured at the gallery, which will be displayed until April. (Photo/Adnan Salem Mahdali)

“We have collectively evolved by using a digital version of hieroglyphics in the form of pictographic codes and emoticons that offers the recipient insights on the possible mood of the sender.

“It addresses the context of emojis and ubiquitousness and the usage of the pop culture and its usage of emojis in everyday text, everyday communication. In here, I’m questioning the use of emojis. Is it a sort of mask, is it sort of proxy for our emotion or mental state? Or does it really help in exploring our emotion and relating to the other — communicating better messages? I leave the answers to the viewer,” she said.

Bahmim’s work, titled “Fantasia: A World Between Reality and Imagination” is also attention-grabbing.

The work of two Saudi nationals, Daniah Al-Saleh, Asma Bahmim, and one Kuwaiti national, Farah Behbehani, is being featured at the gallery, which will be displayed until April. (Photo/Adnan Salem Mahdali)

Her work encapsulates the essence of the Islamic Arts Biennale spirit. She uses animals to generate fictional dialogues and highlights the importance of the tradition of storytelling.

“Fantasia was definitely a passion project for me. The medium and technicalities of it serve an essential role in the message I wanted to bring out, which was a culmination of a lifetime of exposure and research in storytelling,” Bahmim said of her solo show at ATHR.

“I wanted to bring to life the daydreams that crossed my mind going through a story in a book. I wanted the viewer to be lost in the fantasies, not just in the story but the backstory of the elements of these stories,” she told Arab News.

Farah Behbehani has been using Islamic cultural forms and Arabic words as inspiration. (Photo/Adnan Salem Mahdali)

Behbehani’s elegant work, transcending time and space, is aptly titled “And Make Me Light,” inspired by words that she has masterfully re-interpreted.

“The concept of the show is returning back to light through spirituality. One of my biggest works is based on a dua (prayer).”

“Basically for this entire poetic verse, I took the words of this verse and I incorporated it into the geometry design; each word has been transformed in square Kufic calligraphy to fit within the geometry of this work,” she told Arab News as her young son stood by, his eyes alight with pride.

Visitor appreciating Asma Bahmim’s Fantasia. (Photo/Adnan Salem Mahdali)

Behbehani has been using Islamic cultural forms and Arabic words as inspiration for decades.

Using Qur’anic verses, poetry and prose, her intricate calligraphic designs are enveloped into each of the seven administration buildings at Kuwait University.

The buildings served as “stoic structures” for her art as “an ephemeral play of light and shadow through a maze of letters that draw upon references from Islamic literature.”

The work of two Saudi nationals, Daniah Al-Saleh, Asma Bahmim, and one Kuwaiti national, Farah Behbehani, is being featured at the gallery, which will be displayed until April. (Photo/Adnan Salem Mahdali)

Behbehani’s exhibitions and shows are displayed both in the MENA region and worldwide. She is the author of the 2009 book “The Conference of the Birds,” based on the 12th-century Sufi allegorical poem. Her book interpreted the classic text through illustrations in Jali Diwani script.

Behbehani is also participating in the Islamic Arts Biennale this month with her “Path of Light” three-paneled kinetic piece, which was inspired by a poetic verse from writer Ahmed Shawi’s tribute to Prophet Muhammad.

The opening of the three solo shows comes as part of the inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale 2023 at the Western Hajj Terminal in Jeddah.

Athr gallery issued this statement exclusively for Arab News: “Our relationship with the Diriyah Biennale Foundation has been strong since the inception of the foundation and its first edition in 2021.

“Many artists have been showcased at the biennale, with artists such as Ahmed Mater being in both editions. In the current edition (Islamic Arts Biennale 2023), we have seven artists featured, again highlighting the diversity of our roster and their practices.”

“We have aligned with DBF to be included on their schedule and to have the openings of our exhibitions to coincide with the opening program of the biennale as a way to reinforce the importance of a holistic approach to supporting the arts.

“Athr has been established since 2009, and we are now glad that newly established entities like DBF and their activities amplify the efforts of the private sector.”

For more information on hours of operation and to book an appointment, visit Athr’s social media channels and the Diriyah Biennale page.

 


Saudi Arabia’s Ithra Art Prize 2023 open for submissions with $100,000 up for grabs

The prize ‘reaffirms Ithra’s commitment to developing the creative industries in Saudi Arabia.’. (Supplied)
The prize ‘reaffirms Ithra’s commitment to developing the creative industries in Saudi Arabia.’. (Supplied)
Updated 2 min 48 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s Ithra Art Prize 2023 open for submissions with $100,000 up for grabs

The prize ‘reaffirms Ithra’s commitment to developing the creative industries in Saudi Arabia.’. (Supplied)
  • Award created by King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture now in its fifth edition
  • Artists from across Arab world have until April 1 to submit entries

DHAHRAN: Arab artists around the world are being invited to submit their proposals for the fifth edition of the Ithra Art Prize and the chance to win $100,000 to bring their idea to life.

Created by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra, the competition is open to contemporary artists and art collectives from the 22 member nations of the Arab league.

Those are: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen. Non-native artists who have lived in one of these countries for at least 10 years are also eligible to apply.

The call for entries opened on Tuesday and closes on April 1. The winner will be announced on May 15 and the successful artwork will be unveiled in June as part of Ithra’s fifth anniversary celebrations. It will later become part of the center’s permanent art collection.

FASTFACTS

• Award created by King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture now in its fifth edition.

• Artists from across Arab world have until April 1 to submit entries.

Launched in 2017, the Ithra is one of the most prominent art grants in the world. All of the entries are considered and judged by a global panel of experts, comprising artists, curators, academics and art historians.

The first three editions of the prize were organized alongside Art Dubai, while last year’s winning entry was unveiled in collaboration with the Diriyah Biennale Foundation at the Kingdom’s inaugural biennale.

“The Ithra Art Prize reaffirms Ithra’s commitment to developing the creative industries in the Kingdom, the region and the wider world,” said Farah Abushullaih, head of museum at Ithra.

“As one of the largest art grants internationally, we support artists from and based in the Arab world to develop important and meaningful work.

“The Ithra Art Prize aims to inspire creative thought, broaden cultural horizons and enable talent while empowering the art ecosystem,” she added.

Past winners include UAE-based Ayman Zedani, whose spatial installation “Mem” took the inaugural prize, while London-based Daniah Al-Saleh won in 2019 with “Sawtam,” a digital, audio-visual presentation based on the phonemes of the Arabic language.

The third edition was won by Saudi-based Fahad bin Naif for his “Rakhm” installation, while Berlin-based Tunisian-Ukrainian artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke won in 2022 with “E Pluribus Unum — A Modern Fossil,” which takes a reflective look at the effects of the pandemic on the travel industry and how humanity measures progress and economic growth.

More information about Ithra and the competition is available via www.ithra.com.

 


Employment forum draws huge crowds in Tabuk

Thousands of Saudi graduates participated in the forum. (SPA)
Thousands of Saudi graduates participated in the forum. (SPA)
Updated 4 min 26 sec ago

Employment forum draws huge crowds in Tabuk

Thousands of Saudi graduates participated in the forum. (SPA)
  • The forum was in line with Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Program and Vision 2030

TABUK: More than 15,000 graduates took part in a three-day employment forum at Tabuk University, which ended on Thursday.
The event, which attracted support from local and international companies, provided a platform for graduates in a range of disciplines from across the Kingdom to meet and talk with prospective employers.
The first of its kind for the university, the forum was in line with the country’s National Transformation Program and Vision 2030, and also sought to raise key issues about the environment and working practices.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s job numbers witnessed their strongest growth rate since January 2018, as non-oil companies witnessed a sharp expansion in business activity driven by robust market demand and business intake, according to a report.

 


Jazan governor tours Al-Shaqiq Center in Al-Darb

Prince Mohammed bin Nasser visits in Al-Darb governorate. (Supplied)
Prince Mohammed bin Nasser visits in Al-Darb governorate. (Supplied)
Updated 4 min 43 sec ago

Jazan governor tours Al-Shaqiq Center in Al-Darb

Prince Mohammed bin Nasser visits in Al-Darb governorate. (Supplied)
  • The governor visited investment opportunities in the tourism and entertainment fields

AL-SHAQIQ: Jazan Governor Prince Mohammed bin Nasser visited Al-Shaqiq Center in Al-Darb governorate to see new developments in its tourism and service industries.  

He visited the busy Northern Corniche of Al-Shaqiq beach and went over the municipal services for tourists and walkers.  

The governor visited investment opportunities in the tourism and entertainment fields, and inspected paintings at the corniche while being advised by Al-Shaqiq’s Mayor, Eng. Nasser Ateef.

 


US Mission expands interview waiver program for Saudis on tourist visa

US Mission expands interview waiver program for Saudis on tourist visa
Updated 03 February 2023

US Mission expands interview waiver program for Saudis on tourist visa

US Mission expands interview waiver program for Saudis on tourist visa
  • The US Mission to Saudi Arabia has resumed immigrant visa and nonimmigrant visa processing for all categories
  • Travelers can schedule appointments for the range of visa categories on-line

RIYADH: The US diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia have announced an expansion of the waiver program for Saudi nationals from attending personal interviews to obtain US tourist visas.
“Good news for Saudi citizens: We are pleased to announce the expansion of the Tourist Visa Renewal Interview Waiver Program to include certain applicants who are 40 years of age or older or 17 years of age or younger,” tweeted the US Embassy in Riyadh.
Sharing more information on exemption eligibility, it said the US Mission to Saudi Arabia has resumed immigrant visa and nonimmigrant visa processing for all categories.
Travelers can schedule appointments for the range of visa categories on-line.
“While the Embassy and Consulates General aim to process cases as soon as practicable, backlogs developed during the COVID pandemic and limited capacity due to COVID-19 mitigation measures will result in longer wait times for appointments. If you have an urgent matter and need to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/sa to request an emergency appointment,” said a statement on the US Embassy website.
“We understand that many nonimmigrant visa applicants paid a visa application fee (known as the MRV fee) and are still waiting to schedule a visa interview. The US Mission will extend the validity of this MRV fee until Sept. 30, 2023, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule an appointment as a result of the suspension of routine visa services an opportunity to schedule an appointment with the already paid fee,” it added.
The consular sections of the US Embassy in Riyadh and the consulate generals in Jeddah and Dhahran are responsible for providing visa services to those seeking to enter the US for a temporary period and for those wishing to take up indefinite or permanent residence in the US.
The US missions last January exempted Saudi nationals aged 50 and above from attending personal interviews to obtain tourist visas, saying: “The US Embassy and Consulate General are happy to announce that interview waivers are now available for Saudi citizens at least 50 years old renewing a tourist visa.
“The new interview waiver program will ease the visa process for thousands of Saudi citizens who qualify as well as free up visa appointments for many others at a time when international travel is beginning to return to normal levels,” it said, adding: “It is a sign of the importance and strength of the ties between the US and Saudi Arabia.”
Welcoming the announcement, Dr. Osama Ghanem Al-Obaidy, a professor of law at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh, told Arab News: “This waiver expansion announced by the US Embassy will further promote Saudi-US relations and make it easier to get a US tourist visa for those qualifying for such an exemption.”