DiplomaticQuarter: Indian ambassador full of praise after tour of Buraidah Date Festival

DiplomaticQuarter: Indian ambassador full of praise after tour of Buraidah Date Festival
Indian envoy Suhel Ajaz Khan tries dates at the Buraidah festival. (Supplied)
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Updated 23 August 2023
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DiplomaticQuarter: Indian ambassador full of praise after tour of Buraidah Date Festival

DiplomaticQuarter: Indian ambassador full of praise after tour of Buraidah Date Festival
  • Suhel Ajaz Khan said that the event’s ‘distinguished events, programs and activities add value … highlighting the rich Saudi cultural heritage’
  • He also visited the Heritage Pavilion at the festival, which he said ‘represents the region’s long-standing history, culture, heritage and civilization’

RIYADH: India’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Suhel Ajaz Khan, toured the Buraidah Date Festival on Tuesday, where he learned about the annual event and the activities that take place there.

“I visited the Buraidah Date Festival, which is the largest date festival in the world, and was briefed on the auction yard, the accompanying activities and events, the buying and selling transactions, as well as the quantities of dates coming to the market,” the envoy told Arab News.

“I also visited the Heritage Pavilion and was welcomed by locals and children with great enthusiasm. The pavilion represents the region’s long-standing history, culture, heritage and civilization. The scores of activities pertaining to agriculture, handicrafts and poetry presentations were beautifully displayed.”

Khan praised the event, which is organized by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture’s branch in Qassim, for its range of events, programs, traditional activities, and presentations about local heritage and handicrafts.

He added: “The festival, with the diversity of dates, provides an ideal economic environment for the date farmers and traders, as well as buyers. The festival’s distinguished events, programs and activities add value to the (event), highlighting the rich Saudi cultural heritage.”

The ambassador also visited Al-Qassim Chamber of Commerce, where he discussed with the secretary-general of the organization, Mohammed Abdulkarim Al-Hanaya, and other officials ways to further enhance business engagements with the Qassim region and other matters of mutual interest.

Sri Lanka’s ambassador, Pakeer Mohideen Amza was similarly full of praise for Buraidah Date Festival and its activities when he paid a similar visit to the event last Saturday

The festival offers visitors the chance to participate in more than 35 activities and experiences for families and people of all ages, men and women alike. More than 50 date-growing family businesses are taking part in this year’s event, and a host of craftswomen and female entrepreneurs are also taking part.

Organizers said one of the aims of the event, which ends on Friday, is to support local producers of foods and handicrafts, in recognition of their contributions to efforts to promote products from the Kingdom and preserve the nation’s culture. It also seeks to showcase modern agricultural techniques and facilitate the exchange of expertise related to date cultivation and the production of derivative products, they added.

The festival also provides more than 4,000 positions for seasonal workers, in keeping with the goals of the Kingdom’s leadership to localize jobs and create opportunities for Saudis.


Saudi deputy FM participates in Sudan peace efforts meeting 

Saudi deputy FM participates in Sudan peace efforts meeting 
Updated 25 July 2024
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Saudi deputy FM participates in Sudan peace efforts meeting 

Saudi deputy FM participates in Sudan peace efforts meeting 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed Al-Khuraiji participated on Wednesday in the Second Consultative Meeting Enhancing Coordination of Peace Initiatives and Efforts in Sudan, the Saudi Press Agency said.

During the meeting held in Djibouti, he reiterated the Kingdom’s continued efforts to resolve the Sudanese crisis, and its welcome and openness to international efforts and initiatives aimed at achieving peace in Sudan.

Al-Khuraiji said that the US and the Kingdom facilitated talks between the Sudanese parties in Jeddah, resulting in signing of the Jeddah Declaration to protect civilians in Sudan.

He expressed Saudi Arabia’s keenness on the return of security and stability to Sudan and urging the Sudanese parties to give priority to wisdom and self-restraint, and to show flexibility and respond to positive and humanitarian initiatives.


The Place: Mount Daka, Shams Al-Assil offer rare views of nature and Red Sea

The Place: Mount Daka, Shams Al-Assil offer rare views of nature and Red Sea
Updated 25 July 2024
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The Place: Mount Daka, Shams Al-Assil offer rare views of nature and Red Sea

The Place: Mount Daka, Shams Al-Assil offer rare views of nature and Red Sea
  • Taif region is major attraction for tourists as it has some of Kingdom’s most diverse flora and fauna

TAIF: In Saudi Arabia’s Makkah province, Mount Daka and Shams Al-Assil provide rare views of the sparkling Red Sea and the Taif region’s diverse flora and fauna.

At more than 2,560 meters above sea level, Mount Daka, located in the heart of Ash Shafa, can be seen from Shams Al-Assil.

Local and international tourists often head up the mountain to experience the view.

At more than 2,560 meters above sea level, Mount Daka is one of the destinations that nature-lovers seek to reach to experience its breathtaking nature.  (SPA)

Mount Daka’s environment is replete with wildlife living among its juniper, acacia, sidr and salam trees.

It is a highly sought-after spot in the Sarawat Mountains range because of its natural environment and animals including rock hyraxes, ibex, rabbits, and Arabian leopards.

Rain and fog may form over it, and its flowers and aromatic plants are a haven for swarms of honey-producing bees.

At more than 2,560 meters above sea level, Mount Daka is one of the destinations that nature-lovers seek to reach to experience its breathtaking nature.  (SPA)

Coastal mangrove-growing program in Saudi on track

Coastal mangrove-growing program in Saudi on track
Updated 25 July 2024
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Coastal mangrove-growing program in Saudi on track

Coastal mangrove-growing program in Saudi on track
  • 13m mangrove seedlings planted since launch a year ago
  • Plan for 100m trees along Red Sea, Arabian Gulf by 2030

RIYADH: The Kingdom is on track to reach its target of planting 100 million mangrove trees by 2030, in line with the Saudi Green Initiative and Vision 2030 plan.

Some 13 million mangrove seedlings have been planted since the launch of the ambitious coastal forest-cover program a year ago, the Saudi Press Agency stated recently, quoting a progress report from the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification.

Mangroves work in concert with coral reefs and seagrass beds to keep coastal zones healthy, say marine scientists. (SPA)

Most of the projects reported by the NCVC are currently being carried out along the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast, with Jazan province topping the list at 5.5 million seedlings. Makkah province followed with 2.4 million, Madinah 2 million, Tabuk 1.5 million, and Asir 1 million.

Along the Arabian Gulf coast, the Eastern Province has planted 500,000 seedlings, according to the report.

However, before the formal launch of the project along the Arabian Gulf, the center noted that 700,000 seedlings had already been planted. This included 200,000 on Ras Abu Ali Island in Jubail governorate, and 500,000 in Al-Wajh governorate.

“The project includes fencing and caring for the seedlings, to protect them from algae and seaweed, and protecting the sites from grazing and encroachment,” the SPA reported.

In addition, the NCVC and the Asir Region Development Authority launched on Wednesday a “Mangrove Restoration” program. This was to mark the UN’s International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, which is held annually on July 26.

Mangrove planting in Asir region's Al-Barak governorate. (SPA)

Campaigners planted 500 mangrove seedlings on the beaches of Al-Barak governorate. Leading the event was Al-Barak Gov. Abdullah bin Ali bin Muhya and Mayor Nasser Saeed Al-Shahrani.

The SPA reported that the intention is to raise awareness about the importance of planting and protecting mangrove forests amidst climate change and global warming.

Mangroves, working in concert with seagrass beds and coral reefs, keep coastal zones healthy, say marine scientists.

They have been found to provide essential habitat for thousands of species, stabilize shorelines, prevent erosion and protect communities from waves and storms.

“An estimated 75 percent of commercially caught fish spend some time in the mangroves or depend on food webs that can be traced back to these coastal forests,” according to the American Museum of Natural History.

Many countries suffering from severe mangrove destruction have continued to record declines in fish stocks.


Saudi electric car consumer base growing as Kingdom aims to become a hub for the technology

Saudi electric car consumer base growing as Kingdom aims to become a hub for the technology
Updated 24 July 2024
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Saudi electric car consumer base growing as Kingdom aims to become a hub for the technology

Saudi electric car consumer base growing as Kingdom aims to become a hub for the technology

RIYADH: Hamed Al-Rafidain, who works in HR, drives a fuel-guzzling 4 X 4, as many in Saudi Arabia do — but his other car is electric.

Al-Rafidain, 39, is part of a small but growing electric vehicle consumer base in the Kingdom, which aims to become a hub for the technology.

“What drove me to buy electric was financial considerations,” said Rafidain, who spends up to SR2,000 ($530) a month on fuel for his off-road vehicle. “Maintenance costs are also lower compared to a conventional vehicle, with no oil changes.”

For a little over $53,300, he bought a BYD mostly for short trips within the capital. Driving outside Riyadh was a “gamble, especially since the infrastructure is still underdeveloped,” Rafidain said.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the PIF, owns 60 percent of electric car maker Lucid and South Korea’s Hyundai plans a factory in the Kingdom. The Saudi brand CEER, launched in 2022, expects to start production in 2025. Eventually Saudi Arabia aims to produce 300,000 electric cars a year.

Meanwhile Chinese giant BYD is expected to dominate the Saudi market, since its global rival Tesla has no dealerships in the Kingdom.
Electric car sales tripled last year to nearly 800 and salesman Hassan Mohammed expects more this year. “More than one car brand has opened its doors in the Kingdom and now offers after-sales service, which has encouraged consumers,” he said.


Saudi leaders offer condolences to Kuwait after passing of Sheikh Jaber Al-Ibrahim Al-Sabah 

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Kuwait after passing of Sheikh Jaber Al-Ibrahim Al-Sabah 
Updated 24 July 2024
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Saudi leaders offer condolences to Kuwait after passing of Sheikh Jaber Al-Ibrahim Al-Sabah 

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Kuwait after passing of Sheikh Jaber Al-Ibrahim Al-Sabah 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent letters of condolences to Kuwait’s Emir Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah over the death of Sheikh Jaber Duaij Al-Ibrahim Al-Sabah, the Saudi Press Agency said Wednesday.

The Crown Prince also sent a separate letter to Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah.

Sheikh Jaber died at the age of 71 and will be buried after Thursday’s Maghrib (Sunset) prayer, Kuwait’s news agency said.