Saudi, Norwegian foreign ministers discuss Gaza crisis, relief efforts

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan holds a phone call from his Norwegian counterpart Espen Barth Eide. (File/Wikipedia/AFP)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan holds a phone call from his Norwegian counterpart Espen Barth Eide. (File/Wikipedia/AFP)
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Updated 24 November 2023
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Saudi, Norwegian foreign ministers discuss Gaza crisis, relief efforts

Saudi, Norwegian foreign ministers discuss Gaza crisis, relief efforts

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Norwegian counterpart Espen Barth Eide, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.

The two ministers discussed the work and efforts of the ministerial committee assigned by the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit and the talks held by the delegation in Beijing, Moscow, London and Paris.

“The two sides also discussed the importance of stopping the dangerous military escalation in Gaza and its surrounding areas, and adhering to any agreement for a humanitarian truce and ceasefire,” the ministry said in a statement.

They also discussed international efforts to introduce humanitarian, relief and medical aid into the besieged Palestinian enclave to prevent the worsening of the humanitarian crisis.

Prince Faisal stressed the Kingdom’s categorical rejection of the forced displacement of residents in Gaza, and the need to find a solution to stop all violations by the Israeli occupation forces and their repeated violations of international law and international humanitarian law.

The top Saudi diplomat also stressed the importance of the international community fulfilling its moral responsibility toward adhering to international legitimacy resolutions, the latest of which was a UN Security Council resolution approved last week, in a way that achieves credibility for international order, maintains international peace and security, and prevents the causes of extremism and violence.

The delegation, which was formed as a “peace committee” at the Joint Arab Islamic Extraordinary Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 11, visited the capitals of UN Security Council permanent members earlier this week to discuss cooperation on the crisis in Israel and Gaza, how to secure the release of all hostages, increase the amount of aid into Gaza, and reach a long-term political solution to the crisis.


Saudi Arabia highlights its environmental and sustainability efforts at Our Ocean Conference

Saudi Arabia highlights its environmental and sustainability efforts at Our Ocean Conference
Updated 12 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia highlights its environmental and sustainability efforts at Our Ocean Conference

Saudi Arabia highlights its environmental and sustainability efforts at Our Ocean Conference
  • The Saudi delegation at the two-day event is led by the CEO of the National Center for Wildlife, Mohammed Qurban
  • During 8 previous events since the conference was launched in 2014, participants announced 2,160 commitments worth $130 billion

RIYADH: Saudi authorities showcased their programs and plans for environmental protection and sustainability initiatives on Tuesday, during the first day of the 9th Our Ocean Conference in Athens.

Delegates at this year’s event, the theme for which is “Our Ocean: An Ocean of Potential,” include representatives of governments and businesses, as well as activists and experts on marine environments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

They are discussing topics such as protected marine areas, sustainable blue economies, maritime security, the relationship between oceans and climate change, sustainable fishing, and ways to combat marine pollution. Other issues to be addressed during the conference include sustainable tourism in coastal areas and on islands, ways to reduce plastic and microplastic pollution in marine environments, green shipping, and the green transition in the Mediterranean.

The Saudi delegation at the two-day event is led by the CEO of the National Center for Wildlife, Mohammed Qurban. The initiatives in the Kingdom highlighted at the conference revolve around ways to protect oceans and other water resources, and the sustainable utilization of marine resources.

“Our participation in the work of this global conference reflects the Kingdom’s keenness to support the efforts and endeavors aimed at achieving Sustainable Development Goals, protecting the seas, oceans and water resources, and the sustainable use of marine resources in a way that reflects the trends of the Kingdom and (its) Vision 2030 (development plan) to support environmental protection efforts,” said Qurban.

He highlighted several key national projects that are underway, including the Saudi Green Initiative, which aims to expand protected areas of the Kingdom to encompass 30 percent of its total land and sea territory, and plant 100 million mangrove trees by 2030.

“The Kingdom remains resolute in its mission to safeguard nature and its invaluable ecological treasures, with a special emphasis on the Red Sea region,” Qurban said. “We stand ready to deploy all necessary resources and efforts toward sustainable conservation endeavors.”

Participation in forums such as the Our Ocean Conference encourages the invaluable sharing of knowledge, a cross-pollination of ideas, and collaborations in the creation of innovative ways to tackle environmental challenges and promote sustainable practices, he added.

During the previous eight events since the conference was launched in 2014 by the US to fill a gap in global ocean governance at the time, participants have announced 2,160 commitments worth $130 billion, organizers said.

Other items on the agenda this year include ways in which oceans will meet the needs of future generations, ways to encourage governments, businesses and other organizations to adopt long-term commitments that have positive effects on oceans, and efforts to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals relating to oceans, seas and marine resources.


Saudi Shoura Council speaker meets king of Jordan in Amman

Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Abdullah Al-Asheikh meets Jordan’s King Abdullah II. (SPA)
Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Abdullah Al-Asheikh meets Jordan’s King Abdullah II. (SPA)
Updated 3 min 35 sec ago
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Saudi Shoura Council speaker meets king of Jordan in Amman

Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Abdullah Al-Asheikh meets Jordan’s King Abdullah II. (SPA)
  • Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh also meets speaker of Jordan’s House of Representatives
  • Sides discuss greater cooperation in parliamentary affairs

RIYADH: The Speaker of Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council, Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh, met Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Tuesday during an official visit to the country.

The meeting, held in the presence of Crown Prince Hussein, discussed “the historical fraternal relations between the two countries, their people and their leaders,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The sides also discussed ways to expand cooperation in various fields, especially parliamentary affairs, and the importance of maintaining their collaboration on issues of common interest.

Al-Asheikh led a delegation to Jordan following an invitation from Ahmed Safadi, speaker of the Jordanian House of Representatives.

In a separate meeting, the two speakers discussed ways to strengthen parliamentary cooperation and enhancing ties in other areas.

Al-Asheikh thanked his hosts for the warm reception and hospitality extended to his delegation.

“This visit comes within the framework of strengthening parliamentary cooperation between the two councils and keeping pace with the aspirations of the leadership of the two countries to strengthen bilateral relations and open new horizons for cooperation in a way that serves the interests of the two countries and their peoples,” he said.

Safadi noted the strong relations between the two countries and the high level of coordination between the Shoura Council and the Jordanian House of Representatives.

He also expressed his appreciation for the support Saudi Arabia had shown Jordan on various regional and international issues.


Young Saudi artist finds beauty in the ordinary

Almasoud’s painting of a man selling ramsi tomatoes, the seasonal heirloom fruits with green ‘shoulders’ found in Qatif.
Almasoud’s painting of a man selling ramsi tomatoes, the seasonal heirloom fruits with green ‘shoulders’ found in Qatif.
Updated 15 min 48 sec ago
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Young Saudi artist finds beauty in the ordinary

Almasoud’s painting of a man selling ramsi tomatoes, the seasonal heirloom fruits with green ‘shoulders’ found in Qatif.
  • Dana Almasoud’s works are inspired by historical Middle Eastern and European art aesthetics

RIYADH: When picking up a pencil or paintbrush to create an artwork, self-taught Saudi artist Dana Almasoud channels her inner child.

“As soon as a child picks up a pencil, they attempt to draw or capture a sense of what they see through their eyes on paper. The majority of them stop at some point in their childhood, for whatever reason,” Almasoud told Arab News.

Almasoud’s painting of a man selling ramsi tomatoes, the seasonal heirloom fruits with green ‘shoulders’ found in Qatif. (Supplied)

“Fortunately, I was one of the few who never did. I had the luxury of a supportive mother who always looked forward to my next scribble.”

While pursuing her undergraduate studies in finance, as a freelance artist Almasoud explores a variety of styles, from fine art to surrealism and fantasy inspired by everyday scenes.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Much of Dana Almasoud’s work is inspired by Islamic historical art, characterized by its symbolism and emphasis on the beauty of spirituality.

• One of her first works inspired by Saudi culture was a commission from a man who wanted a portrait in the orientalist style.

• The artist says her work is an attempt to fill the void that excess simplicity and minimalism has created in recent years.

“The warm morning sun, the singing of the birds, the stoplights and the people. I am surrounded by life and I do my best to pour what I see into my work. What makes us human is how we make things from nothing,” she said.

Almasoud’s painting of a man selling ramsi tomatoes, the seasonal heirloom fruits with green ‘shoulders’ found in Qatif. (Supplied)

Speaking about the “sanctuary” she has created in her room, she said: “It took me years of collecting, arranging and a lot of dedication to get it to how it is now.”

Much of Almasoud’s work is inspired by Islamic historical art, characterized by its symbolism and emphasis on the beauty of spirituality.

As a freelance artist Dana Almasoud explores a variety of styles, from fine art to surrealism and fantasy inspired by everyday scenes. (Instagram/esotericdana)

“In order for me to create things that resemble life, it only makes sense to use colors that already exist in nature,” she said.

“I take a lot of inspiration from historical art, both from Europe and the Middle East, since the pigments they used were extracted from natural sources and were perfectly saturated.”

Almasoud’s painting of a man selling ramsi tomatoes, the seasonal heirloom fruits with green ‘shoulders’ found in Qatif. (Supplied)

She enjoys experimenting with new mediums, but drawing with a pencil is her preferred choice.

“I also do enjoy the occasional challenge of an ink brush, because once it sets its bristles on paper, you cannot go back. When it comes to painting with color (watercolors, acrylics, oils), I still consider myself in the process of learning,” she said.

The warm morning sun, the singing of the birds, the stoplights and the people. I am surrounded by life and I do my best to pour what I see into my work.

Dana Almasoud, Saudi artist

“I also experiment with pyrography, doll making, embroidery, linoleum block printing and, soon, murals.”

Almasoud said one of her first works inspired by Saudi culture was a commission from a man who wanted to look like an orientalist.

Almasoud’s painting of a man selling ramsi tomatoes, the seasonal heirloom fruits with green ‘shoulders’ found in Qatif. (Supplied)

Her most recent painting is of a man selling ramsi tomatoes, the seasonal heirloom fruits with green “shoulders” that are prevalent in Qatif.

“These tomatoes are known for a special flavor and a lot of farmers from various lands tried to grow it themselves, but to no avail. For some reason, these tomatoes only taste special when they grow on that specific piece of land,” Almasoud said.

She said she had been told her work had “a layer of fog, where the edges are never harsh,” which reflects the high levels of humidity in the Eastern Province where she lives.

“I can see the Arabian Gulf from the window of my room. You can imagine the high rates of humidity, which is where I think that layer came from,” she said.

“I will always wonder how this translated into what I draw, but regardless, I do love it.”

Almasoud said her art was an attempt to fill the void that excess simplicity and minimalism has created in recent years.

“My art is an attempt to inspire people back to see the beauty in complexity and the intricacy of the small things in life.”

Speaking about the importance of art in the modern world, she said: “With the increase in the pace of the world, art has become even more important. It gives people and their minds something to hang on to, for them to not lose themselves and their identities in a busy world.”

For more information about the artist visit @esotericdana on Instagram.

 


Saudi Arabia prepares for inaugural Umrah and Ziyarah Forum

Saudi Arabia prepares for inaugural Umrah and Ziyarah Forum
Updated 48 min 47 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia prepares for inaugural Umrah and Ziyarah Forum

Saudi Arabia prepares for inaugural Umrah and Ziyarah Forum
  • Forum to showcase services aimed at enriching experiences of Umrah pilgrims, visitors to Kingdom
  • Event will include dialogue sessions, discussion groups, interactive workshops and an exhibition

RIYADH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is in the final stages of preparation for the launch of the inaugural Umrah and Ziyarah Forum, scheduled to convene in Madinah on Monday, April 22, for three days.
Under the patronage of Prince Salman bin Sultan, the governor of Madinah region, the forum will be held at the King Salman International Convention Center.
Developing Hajj and Umrah services in the Kingdom is a key priority of the Saudi government and an extension of the country’s historic role in serving Muslims and Islam worldwide.
The forum will showcase initiatives and services aimed at enriching the experience of Umrah performers and visitors from within and outside the Kingdom. It is part of achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, aiming to enable a larger number of Umrah performers to visit Makkah and Madinah and have the best experience they can.
The forum is held in partnership with the Pilgrim Experience Program, one of the programs of Vision 2030.
The event will include dialogue sessions, discussion groups, interactive workshops and an exhibition displaying the latest advancements in the sector.
It will feature participation from government officials and private sector stakeholders, including travel agencies, pilgrimage and tourism companies, and innovators spanning the insurance, health care, transportation, and technology industries.
The forum will address opportunities in the Umrah and tourism sectors, and will focus on the quality of projects, services, and products.
Participants in the general sessions and accompanying workshops of the Umrah and Ziyarah Forum will showcase their experiences, services and products. During the forum, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah will announce new opportunities and innovative work domains.
Moreover, several partnerships and agreements will be signed to enhance services in Makkah, Madinah, and various Islamic, historical, archaeological, and other cultural sites.


OIC calls for action amid Gaza crisis at Jordan meeting

OIC calls for action amid Gaza crisis at Jordan meeting
Updated 16 min 20 sec ago
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OIC calls for action amid Gaza crisis at Jordan meeting

OIC calls for action amid Gaza crisis at Jordan meeting
  • The session was held amid serious humanitarian challenges for the Muslim world in the form of natural disasters and crises caused by conflicts and wars, Bakheet said

RIYADH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Tuesday took part in the 37th session of the Islamic Committee of the International Crescent, held virtually in the capital of Jordan, Amman.

The OIC Assistant Secretary-general for Humanitarian, Cultural and Social Affairs Ambassador Tarig Ali Bakheet said the session was happening as Israel continued to escalate acts of genocide against the people of Palestine in Gaza, in clear disregard for international law, human values and divine laws and when its occupation forces were impeding the arrival of aid.

He called for concerted efforts and initiatives across Red Crescent societies in the Muslim world to contain the fallout of the situation in the Gaza Strip.

The session was held amid serious humanitarian challenges for the Muslim world in the form of natural disasters and crises caused by conflicts and wars, Bakheet said.

Effective efforts were required to alleviate the impact and dimensions of these problems, he said.

On behalf of OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha, Bakheet thanked Jordan for hosting the session and all those who had helped to ensure its success.

The session runs until Wednesday, when the activities of the Islamic Committee of the International Crescent will be showcased.