Germany’s Scholz welcomes Saudi-led Ukraine summit, calls for more diplomatic efforts

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday welcomed a recent Saudi-led summit on a peace settlement to end the fighting in Ukraine. (AFP)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday welcomed a recent Saudi-led summit on a peace settlement to end the fighting in Ukraine. (AFP)
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Updated 13 August 2023
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Germany’s Scholz welcomes Saudi-led Ukraine summit, calls for more diplomatic efforts

Germany’s Scholz welcomes Saudi-led Ukraine summit, calls for more diplomatic efforts
  • Scholz called the talks in the Kingdom, held at the level of foreign policy advisers, “very special”

FRANKFURT: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday welcomed a recent Saudi-led summit on a peace settlement to end the fighting in Ukraine, and called for further diplomatic efforts.
Representatives from more than 40 countries including China, Germany, India and the US took part in last weekend’s gathering in Jeddah.
“It makes sense for us to continue these talks, because they increase the pressure on Russia to realize that it has taken the wrong path and that it must withdraw its troops and make peace possible,” Scholz said in his annual summer interview with German broadcaster ZDF.
Similar international talks to discuss a path toward peace also took place in Copenhagen in June.
Scholz called the talks in Denmark and Saudi Arabia, held at the level of foreign policy advisers, “very special.”
He continued: “They are very important and they are really only the beginning.”
Ukraine on Monday said it had been “satisfied” with the Saudi summit during which Kyiv sought to drum up support for its 10-point peace plan, including the full withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.
Moscow meanwhile said a peace settlement was only possible if Kyiv put down its arms.
More than a year after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine launched a highly anticipated counteroffensive in June after stockpiling Western weapons. But it has struggled to make headway in the face of stiff Russian resistance.
Kyiv has repeatedly asked Berlin for long-range Taurus cruise missiles to boost its efforts, but Germany has so far resisted amid concerns the weapons could reach Russian territory and widen the conflict.
Scholz reiterated in the interview that Germany was now the second-biggest supplier of military assistance to Ukraine after the United States.
But on the issue of sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine, the chancellor remained vague.
“As in the past, we will always review every single decision very carefully, what is possible, what makes sense, what can be our contribution,” Scholz said.


Saudi officials reveal details of highly-anticipated ‘Zarqa Al-Yamama’ opera

Saudi officials reveal details of highly-anticipated ‘Zarqa Al-Yamama’ opera
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Saudi officials reveal details of highly-anticipated ‘Zarqa Al-Yamama’ opera

Saudi officials reveal details of highly-anticipated ‘Zarqa Al-Yamama’ opera

RIYADH: Saudi officials on Thursday revealed details of performances of “Zarqa Al-Yamama,” the first Saudi opera and the largest to be performed in the Arabic language.
The opera opens on April 25 and will run until May 4 at the King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh, the Theater and Performing Arts Commission announced at a press conference.
Sultan Al-Bazei, the CEO of the commission, said: “The ‘Zarqa Al-Yamama’ opera represents a new phase for Saudi culture, in which the most famous stories of our narrative and cultural heritage are embodied on the theater stages with qualitative works according to the highest international standards.”
He added that the new production is the result of years of work, and all its details were developed with great care and hard work.


He expressed appreciation for the follow-up and attention given by Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, who is also the chairman of the board of directors of the Theater and Performing Arts Commission.
Prince Badr announced the launch of the opera on Feb. 16 at a ceremony in London, which was attended by the Saudi and international creatives participating in the opera’s production.
Al-Bazei said that “Zarqaa Al-Yamama” derives its story, spirit and language from the cultures of the Arabian Peninsula.
The opera “in some way embodies a bloody tragedy, depicting ancient history and at the same time symbolizing the sorrows of the contemporary man in the world, without being devoid of the specter of hope that heralds a bright and prosperous tomorrow,” Al-Bazei explained.
He added that the first Saudi opera will include prominent names in the Saudi music scene, most notably the author of the text, Saleh Zamanan, and the participation of a number of Saudi artists in the show.
Al-Bazei said the Dresden Sinfoniker Orchestra will perform the musical pieces of the opera, and the Czech Philharmonic Choir will accompany the events of the story with distinctive vocals, while Swiss director Daniele Finzi Pasca will undertake the task of directing all the details of the opera.
International operatic composer Lee Bradshaw put together the tunes for this epic story, drawing inspiration from some traditional elements to create a contemporary framework.
The commission announced during the press conference the main partners are the Roshan Group and the King Fahd Cultural Center.
It also honored other official partners including Banque Saudi Fransi, Saudi Signs Media and Genesis Motor, and sponsors including Nova and Spirit of Saudi Arabia, and hospitality partners Bateel and Ramada by Wyndham.
Through the opera, the Theater and Performing Arts Commission aims to strengthen the Saudi cultural sector, highlight national talent, and reproduce and revive famous works and stories inherited from the Arabian Peninsula in a contemporary and creative form.
It also aims to enhance international cultural exchange, as one of the goals of the National Strategy for Culture derived from the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.


Saudi Arabia expresses regret over failure on Palestine’s bid for UN membership

Saudi Arabia expresses regret over failure on Palestine’s bid for UN membership
Updated 19 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia expresses regret over failure on Palestine’s bid for UN membership

Saudi Arabia expresses regret over failure on Palestine’s bid for UN membership
  • Kingdom reaffirms its support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination
  • Jordan also expresses ‘sincere sorrow’ on the Security Council’s inability to approve the resolution

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia expressed its regret for at the failure of United Nations Security Council adopting a resolution accepting full membership of Palestine in the UN.

In an official statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on social media platform X, the Kingdom said the ‘failure to adopt the resolution allows for the Israeli occupation to continue its violations if international law without deterrence and will not bring the desired peace closer.”


The ministry renewed the Kingdom’s call for the international community assume its responsibility towards stopping the Israeli occupation’s attacks on civilians in Gaza.

The Kingdom also reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and establishing their Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant international resolutions.

Jordan also expressed its ‘sincere sorrow’ on the Security Council’s inability to approve a resolution that would have admitted Palestine as a full member of the UN due to the US veto power.

In a statement, the country’s foreign affairs ministry reaffirmed “that the international community is in favor of the two-state solution, which Israel is undermining.

“The Security Council must recognize the Palestinian state in order to stop Israel from depriving the Palestinian people of their right to freedom and their own state,” state news agency Petra reported.

“Recognizing the Palestinian state and its full membership is a necessary step to impose a just peace that ends the occupation, ends the conflict, and fulfills the right of all the peoples of the region to live in security and stability,” ministry spokesperson Sufian Qudah said.

“Jordan demands that all nations acknowledge the State of Palestine on the lines of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as a prerequisite to achieving regional peace and security.”

Qatar, in a statement issued by its foreign affairs ministry, also expressed its “deep regret at the failure of the Security Council to adopt a draft resolution accepting full membership of the State of Palestine in the United Nations.”

 

 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation also expressed deep regret over the Security Council’s failure “to fulfill its responsibilities towards granting full membership to the State of Palestine in the United Nations, at a time when the Palestinian people are facing the harshest forms of aggression, persecution and genocide.

The organization, in a statement, affirmed that the “use of the United States’ veto right contravenes the provisions of the United Nations Charter, which allows membership for all states accepting the obligations therein, and continues to hinder the Palestinian people from obtaining their legitimate rights, thus perpetuating the historical injustice suffered by the Palestinian people over the past 75 years,” Qatar News Agency reported.

OIC also affirmed Palestine’s legitimate right to embody its political and legal status within the United Nations, “considering this as an overdue entitlement for decades based on the political, legal, historical, and natural rights of the Palestinian people in their land, as confirmed by relevant United Nations resolutions.”


Italian Embassy celebrates blossoming ties with Saudi Arabia on first ‘Made in Italy Day’

Italian Embassy celebrates blossoming ties with Saudi Arabia on first ‘Made in Italy Day’
Updated 19 April 2024
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Italian Embassy celebrates blossoming ties with Saudi Arabia on first ‘Made in Italy Day’

Italian Embassy celebrates blossoming ties with Saudi Arabia on first ‘Made in Italy Day’
  • Mission marks event with opening of new visa application center, exhibition space
  • Facility will be used to promote ‘quality, variety and creativity’ of Italian goods, official says

RIYADH: The Italian Embassy in Riyadh on Tuesday celebrated the inaugural “Made in Italy Day” with the opening of a new visa application center and exhibition space.

Giuliano Fragnito, the deputy head of the mission, told Arab News the event provided an opportunity to showcase Italian expertise in a variety of fields, including the fashion, design, automotive and space industries.

“Today we are celebrating ‘Made in Italy Day,’ which is a day that celebrates the creativity, innovation and the territories of Italy and Italy’s products,” he said.

The date was chosen to mark the anniversary of the birth of Leonardo da Vinci on April 15, 1452.

Fragnito said the new exhibition space, called Casa Italia, would be used to promote Italy from a “commercial, cultural and scientific point of view,” with the opening event being a celebration of its contribution to the space industry, titled “Italian Space Way.”

The event was fitting as Italy and Saudi Arabia were close partners in the sector, with the Italian Space Agency and Saudi Space Commission signing an agreement in 2022 to work more closely together, he said.

The wider purpose of Tuesday’s celebrations was to highlight the growing relationship between Italy and the Kingdom in a range of fields, Fragnito said.

“Saudi Arabia is a key partner of Italy and the bilateral relationship is growing at a very fast pace … first of all from a political point of view but also the trade sector, scientific cooperation, academic cooperation and cultural cooperation.”

Italian exports to Saudi Arabia grew by 20 percent last year and Rome was keen to take the relationship between the two countries “to the next level,” he said.

“The Saudi market is more and more conscious and appreciates the quality, the variety and the creativity of the Italian products.

“Saudi Arabia is a key partner of Italy and it is very important to celebrate ‘Made in Italy Day’ in Saudi Arabia, which is a very important market for Italian exports.”

The new visa application center, which is co-managed by technology services companies AlmaViva and VFS Global, is located at Gate 2 of Loclizer Mall in Riyadh. Similar services are also available in Jeddah and Dammam.


Saudi authorities thwart attempt to smuggle Captagon pills

Saudi authorities thwart attempt to smuggle Captagon pills
Updated 19 April 2024
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Saudi authorities thwart attempt to smuggle Captagon pills

Saudi authorities thwart attempt to smuggle Captagon pills

RIYADH: The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority has thwarted an attempt to smuggle 1,006,518 Captagon pills at Duba Port, northwest of the Kingdom.

The pills were found hidden in a shipment labeled “pepper and guava” coming into the Kingdom through the port. After the seizure was completed, coordination was made with the General Directorate of Narcotics Control to ensure the arrest of the expected recipient of the seized items inside the Kingdom, and he was arrested.

Authorities said they are committed to tightening Customs control of the Kingdom’s imports and exports, stressing that they will stay vigilant to fight smuggling attempts to ensure the security of the society.

Saudi authorities have recently made several drug-related arrests and confiscations in operations across the Kingdom. Border Guard land patrols in the Jazan region thwarted an attempt to smuggle 120 kg of qat. The patrols also foiled an attempt to smuggle 170 kg of qat in Al-Ardah governorate of the same region.


Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority begins archaeological survey

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority begins archaeological survey
Updated 18 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority begins archaeological survey

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority begins archaeological survey
  • Study will look at the reserve in depth and conduct archaeological studies to help it achieve its strategic objectives

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority on Thursday announced it had launched a comprehensive preliminary archaeological survey.

The study — which was announced on April 18, World Heritage Day — will look at the reserve in depth and conduct archaeological studies to help it achieve its strategic objectives, while working toward targets for the year 2030 for the Kingdom’s royal reserves.

The study is being done in partnership with King Saud University and in cooperation with the Heritage Commission. It is being led by a team of experts and specialized national competencies, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

It will be conducted using two methods: the first via satellite, and the second, based on what is known as the “comprehensive archaeological survey,” by visiting the discovered sites, while preparing a detailed report for each site visited.

The survey involves producing studies on the old environment; work on rehabilitating archaeological and historic sites; and an attempt to label suitable sites as tourist attractions. It will also include developing a plan to preserve existing and discovered sites.

The King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve is one of the seven reserves established by royal decree. It holds governmental membership in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and is managed by an independent body headed by the Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif.