EU delegation celebrates Europe Day in Saudi Arabia with fervor

EU delegation celebrates Europe Day in Saudi Arabia with fervor
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EU delegation celebrate Europe Month in Riyadh. (AN/Huda Bashatah)
EU delegation celebrates Europe Day in Saudi Arabia with fervor
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EU delegation celebrate Europe Month in Riyadh. (AN/Huda Bashatah)
EU delegation celebrates Europe Day in Saudi Arabia with fervor
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EU delegation celebrate Europe Month in Riyadh. (AN/Huda Bashatah)
EU delegation celebrates Europe Day in Saudi Arabia with fervor
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EU delegation celebrate Europe Month in Riyadh. (AN/Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 10 May 2023
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EU delegation celebrates Europe Day in Saudi Arabia with fervor

EU delegation celebrates Europe Day in Saudi Arabia with fervor
  • Date is celebrated on May 9 in all member states to commemorate the founding date in 1950
  • The trading body is the Kingdom’s second-largest trading partner, accounting for 14.8 percent of trade

RIYADH: The EU and the Gulf states are on course for stronger relations as the trading body in Saudi Arabia celebrates one more year of successful cooperation, said Patrick Simonnet, the EU ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Simonnet said in a video message: “On behalf of the EU I would like to extend warm greetings on the occasion of Europe Day.
“As we celebrate the values of peace, democracy and unity that binds us together in Europe, we also recognize the importance of fostering strong partnership and cooperation with our global friends, partners and allies. Today we also celebrate one more year of successful cooperation in building ties with the Gulf.
“In this regard we appreciate the long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman, which have grown stronger over the years. through mutual respect and shared interest.
“To build on this we aim to further enhance political and security cooperation, mutual trade and investment, cooperation on energy and climate, and increased traveling and exchanges in education and culture between Europe and the Gulf.
“Today also marks the start of a series of month-long cultural events organized by the EU delegation and our member states in Riyadh.”
Europe Day is celebrated on May 9 in all EU member states to commemorate the founding date of May 9, 1950, when French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presented his proposal for a European organization, a new form of political cooperation and a trade group that now includes 448 million people speaking 24 languages.
This agreement, according to Schuman, was intended to make war between European nations unthinkable. The “Schuman Declaration” is therefore considered to be the birth certificate of the EU.
The day and month aim to strengthen further the sense of European identity. It symbolizes the will to overcome conflicts, promote peace and encourage solidarity and mutual understanding between people.
The EU delegation was officially created in 2004. With the Treaty of Lisbon and the establishment of a unified diplomatic service, it is now an embassy, a representative of the EU officially speaking on behalf of the member states when unanimous agreements in policy areas are signed.
This allows the EU’s official representative to discuss and deal mainly with political relations, economic and trade cooperation, energy, climate change, cultural cooperation, security, space, and above all to be a focal point for consular matters.
The EU and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed very close bilateral relations for several decades in strategic areas and sectors, including trade and investment, culture and politics.
The EU is Saudi Arabia’s second-largest trading partner, accounting for 14.8 percent of the Kingdom’s trade (China is the largest with 18.7 percent). Saudi Arabia is the EU’s 17th-largest trading partner for goods, with total trade of €40 billion ($43.8 billion).
The EU is also the world’s largest single market, a leader in research and innovation, a major player in security, and a key player on global challenges such as climate change and digitization.
An EU-Gulf Cooperation Council dialogue initiative on economic diversification was launched in 2018. The objective is to promote trade, investment and economic affairs through related policy analysis, dialogue and cooperation between the EU and the GCC at regional and national levels.
This initiative seeks to support policy dialogue, organize business forums and exchange technical expertise to assist the Kingdom in its economic diversification strategy integrated in Vision 2030.
In order to promote cultural diversity, youth creativity, exchange and multiculturalism, the EU proposes, as it does every year, a varied and attractive range of cultural activities.
One example is the organization, for the first time, of the European Food Festival by the EU Delegation in Riyadh, in cooperation with the embassies of the EU member states, the Saudi Culinary Arts Commission and the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh.
In order to create a cross-cultural interaction in the Gulf region, the EU strategy for the Gulf aims at closer cultural cooperation, youth and student mobility, as well as strengthening and broadening the cooperation and exchanges in higher education.
The EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network was established in 2010 and is funded by the EU to foster closer cooperation between the EU and GCC countries on clean energy policies and technologies. The network has proved to be an excellent tool to strengthen the dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Saudi Arabia in energy matters.
 


KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs
Updated 27 February 2024
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KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

RIYADH: Officials from Saudi Arabia’s aid agency, KSrelief, and the UN held talks on their respective volunteer programs in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Ali bin Saad Al-Qarni, director of volunteer programs at KSrelief, met with Niels Knudsen, who is the external communications chief for the UN Volunteers program. There were several UN officials present at the meeting.

Al-Qarni said KSrelief has 597 volunteer projects running in 40 countries across the world, which cover health, education, and vocational training.

The projects have benefited more than 1.5 million people.

Al-Qarni also highlighted KSrelief’s efforts in developing the skills of volunteers and humanitarian workers in needy countries around the globe.

Knudsen and Al-Qarni held discussions on future areas of cooperation.


Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart
Updated 27 February 2024
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Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

RIYADH: An official Saudi source denied on Monday allegations circulating on social media platforms regarding a meeting between Majid Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce, and an Israeli occupation official, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The same source said in a statement carried by SPA that the video circulated was while Al-Qasabi was standing with his Nigerian counterpart, prior to the opening of the thirteenth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Abu Dhabi.

“The individual shook (the Saudi minister’s) hand and then was introduced, without (Al-Qasabi’s) prior knowledge,” the source told SPA.

This was followed by Israeli media reports claiming that the two discussed peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel, with one Israeli outlet running a picture of the two under the heading: “Israeli minister and Saudi counterpart shake hands and discuss ‘making history together.’”

The source also affirmed to SPA Saudi Arabia’s firm position on the Palestinian issue and its steadfast support for the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression.


King Salman given award for services to Arab security

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
Updated 26 February 2024
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King Salman given award for services to Arab security

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
  • The award was received by the Kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud
  • Interior minister said the council is keen to achieve stability and development in the Arab world

RIYADH: King Salman was given the Prince Naif Award for Arab Security on Monday for his services to the security of the Arab community, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Arab Interior Ministers Council conferred the award and it was received by the Kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud in Tunis during a council meeting.  

The minister said the meeting was being held at a time when the Palestinian people are experiencing an unstable security situation which has caused the suffering of thousands of children, women, and the elderly. 

He said that the council, since its inception, is keen to achieve security for Arabs and bring about stability and development.

Prince Abdulaziz said the world is witnessing developments in cyber crime, the misuse of artificial intelligence, and advanced drug trafficking methods. 

These developments have “created fertile ground for the spread of multiple types of organized crime,” armed organizations, and terrorist groups which requires developing plans to invest in infrastructure and support development, education, and capacity building to confront these threats. 

He added that Arab coordination to deal with these threats is important in order to mitigate the possible negative repercussions from such threats. 


Saudi crown prince receives chairman of Russia’s State Duma

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin in Riyadh.
Updated 26 February 2024
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Saudi crown prince receives chairman of Russia’s State Duma

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin in Riyadh.
  • During the reception, the crown prince and Vyacheslav Volodin discussed the friendly relations between their countries

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received the chairman of Russia’s State Duma in Riyadh on Monday.

During the reception, the crown prince and Vyacheslav Volodin discussed the friendly relations between the Kingdom and Russia.

They also reviewed prospects for parliamentary cooperation and discussed issues of common interest.


Soulful Arab, French songs mark opening of Francophonie Festival

Soulful Arab, French songs mark opening of Francophonie Festival
Updated 26 February 2024
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Soulful Arab, French songs mark opening of Francophonie Festival

Soulful Arab, French songs mark opening of Francophonie Festival
  • French-Egyptian opera singer Farrah El-Dibany pays tribute to Fayrouz, Dalida and Farid Al-Atrash
  • Month-long event will have events organized by French-speaking nations

JEDDAH: French-Egyptian opera singer Farrah El-Dibany opened the Francophonie Festival on Sunday here with soulful tributes to Arab legends including Fayrouz, Dalida and Farid Al-Atrash.

Dressed in white and gold attire, reminiscent of the clothing of the ancient Egyptians, El-Dibany, accompanied by Mina Barsoum on piano, Ahmed Boustaji on oud, and Aymen Attitallah on percussion, took the audience on a musical journey transcending borders and cultures.

El-Dibany’s repertoire included iconic French tunes such as “Je suis malade” and Arabic classics.

Diplomats, French expats, and cultural enthusiasts from Saudi Arabia and France attended the launch event. (Supplied)

El-Dibany said: “I am so thankful for being here in Jeddah for the first time,” encapsulating the spirit of cultural exchange and collaboration that defines the Francophonie Festival.

Prior to the performance, the French consul-general in Jeddah, Mohammed Nehad, spoke about the festival’s significance.

FASTFACTS

● The Francophonie Festival’s aim is to promote French and foster education, cultural and business ties with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.

● For the opening performance, Farrah El-Dibany was accompanied by Mina Barsoum on piano, Ahmed Boustaji on oud, and Aymen Attitallah on percussion.

● The launch event was attended by diplomats, French expatriates, and cultural enthusiasts, as well as Saudi Arabian officials and citizens.

He said the aim was to promote French and foster education, cultural and business ties with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.

“Through this festival, we aim to bring people together … francophone itself is a great example for cultural exchange,” he told Arab News.

The launch event was attended by diplomats, French expatriates, and cultural enthusiasts, as well as Saudi Arabia officials and citizens.

Cultural exchange and education are the main purposes of the festival in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

Among those in attendance was Larry Lamartiniere, the director of Alliance Francaise in Jeddah, who lauded El-Dibany’s performance as a fitting inauguration of the month-long Mois de la Francophonie 2024 in Saudi Arabia.

He told Arab News: “During March, the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise Saudi Arabia alongside other French-speaking countries and partners will organize events celebrating the rich diversity of francophone cultures.”

Established in 1970, the month is aimed at promoting cultural ties and human development across French-speaking nations worldwide. In Saudi Arabia, the festival acts as a platform for cultural exchange and education.

Cultural exchange and education are the main purposes of the festival in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

Several upcoming events include Benjamin Piat performing at NougCafe on Feb. 28, and the French University Graduates’ Night on March 27.

The Alliance Francaise will host a children’s workshop on Feb. 29, featuring culinary and visual arts programs. This will take place alongside a screening of the 2022 French film “Divertimento” that is the story of twin teenage sisters who dream of forming their own orchestra and making classical music available to everyone.

Senegal’s consulate will have discussions and cultural exchanges, the Francophonie Village will have a celebration of food, clothing and folk dance; and there will also be films shown at various schools, consulates and French clubs.