Djibouti committed to working with Saudi Arabia on Red Sea maritime security, fighting terrorism: president

Djibouti committed to working with Saudi Arabia on Red Sea maritime security, fighting terrorism: president
Hundreds of cargo ships and tankers are being rerouted around the southern tip of Africa to avoid Houthi attacks in the Red Sea (AFP)
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Updated 12 February 2024
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Djibouti committed to working with Saudi Arabia on Red Sea maritime security, fighting terrorism: president

Djibouti committed to working with Saudi Arabia on Red Sea maritime security, fighting terrorism: president
  • Guelleh highlighted relations with Saudi Arabia dated back to 1977

RIYADH: Djibouti’s president has pledged his country’s commitment to helping bring about maritime security in the Red Sea, while also fighting terrorism.

Ismail Omar Guelleh noted that the East African nation was cooperating with major powers, including Saudi Arabia, to ensure safe passage for international shipping in the Bab El-Mandeb (the strait that connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden), and the Gulf of Aden.

“It’s crucial to resolve regional crises and work together to keep navigation safe in the Red Sea,” Guelleh told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He said that Djibouti’s strategic position meant it played a vital role in facilitating global trade, adding that his country was cooperating with nations such as the US, France, the UK, and Red Sea coastal states, particularly Saudi Arabia, in combating terrorism and ensuring maritime security.

Guelleh said: “Our focus is on regional and global cooperation to maintain security and smooth navigation in the Red Sea, crucial for international maritime transport.” And he pointed out that Djibouti had “a pivotal role in safeguarding Red Sea security.”

He added: “With balanced relationships and a strong reputation for stability and peacekeeping in a tumultuous region, Djibouti stands as a key player.

“Saudi Arabia, being a fraternal state, holds significant religious, political, and economic influence.

“The two brotherly nations cooperate in various fields, including security, trade, and energy. Undoubtedly, this bilateral cooperation plays a vital role in achieving stability in this critical region.”

On Djibouti’s ties with Saudi Arabia, Guelleh highlighted those relations dated back to 1977 when his country gained independence.

He said: “Cooperation is ongoing across various sectors, including security, military, and business. Since 2008, both countries have signed around 30 agreements covering diverse areas.”

Djibouti, he added, was looking to further strengthen collaboration with Saudi Arabia, “particularly in maritime transport, logistics, and port services, building on our significant progress in port development.”

Guelleh also revealed that moves were underway to develop joint maritime and air transport projects, along with establishing a free zone and warehouses for Saudi exports within Djibouti’s International Free Trade Zone, with the aim of boosting Saudi exports to Africa.

On the crisis in Sudan, he said Djibouti, as a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, was actively working to end the conflict in the North African country, adding that Sudan, also a key IGAD member, was crucial for regional stability.

Guelleh said: “Since the conflict (in Sudan) erupted in April 2023, Djibouti has been urging an immediate ceasefire and negotiations between the parties involved.

“As the current head of the IGAD, Djibouti is working closely with member states and the global community to find a solution to Sudan’s crisis.

“We’ve hosted talks with representatives from all sides of the Sudanese conflict, all expressing a strong desire to end the war due to its severe impact on the country and its people.

“We’re hopeful that our efforts will lead to a lasting ceasefire and solutions to Sudan’s challenges.

“It’s essential to prevent Sudan from descending into civil war, given its significant regional influence. We urge everyone to support international calls for peace in Sudan,” he added.

While Djibouti maintained a neutral policy in the Horn of Africa, it hosted several military bases that helped the country’s efforts to fight terrorism and piracy, Guelleh noted.

On hosting both American and Chinese bases nearby, he said: “We maintain balanced relations with major powers, cooperating or making agreements with any party within the framework of national sovereignty and interests.

“This approach demonstrates that coexistence is possible if there’s a willingness to do so.

“International military bases in Djibouti primarily aim to cooperate in maintaining security in the Red Sea region, the Gulf of Aden, and Africa as a whole.

“Many countries with military bases in Djibouti emphasize protecting their commercial and investment interests,” Guelleh added.


KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries

KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries
Updated 15 April 2024
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KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries

KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries

RIYADH: Saudi charity KSrelief distributed 1,930 food parcels on Saturday to displaced families in Sudan’s Blue Nile state. 
The initiative, part of the group’s food-security support project in Sudan, benefited 12,236 individuals, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The assistance comes within the framework of a series of relief and humanitarian projects implemented by Saudi Arabia through KSrelief to help conflict-hit areas, SPA added.
In Lebanon, KSrelief provided health care services to Syrian refugees and their host community in Arsal town of Baalbek Governorate. 
The Arsal Health Care Center received a total of 3,422 patients and offered 6,128 services from various health sections such as clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, nursing and the community and mental health program. 
In Yemen, KSrelief continues its implementation of the water supply and environmental sanitation projects across several districts. If February, KSrelief pumped 36,207,000 liters of usable water and 3,194,000 liters of potable water into Hajjah Governorate.
Additionally, the center carried out 237 transportation operations to remove waste from displaced camps.
In Saada Governorate, KSrelief pumped 290,000 liters of potable water and another 290,000 liters of usable water, benefiting 30,100 people.


Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with the prime minister of Iraq on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

During their phone call, Prince Mohammed and Mohammed Al-Sudani discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.

They also dissussed the importance of making the necessary efforts to prevent the situation from worsening and ways to spare the region from the risks of escalation, SPA added.


Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday.

During the call, the officials discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.


Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in the Middle East on Sunday with his US counterpart during a phone call.

The call comes after Iran launched a wave of missiles and attack drones against Israel overnight Saturday to Sunday.

Prince Khalid and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also discussed efforts to contain the crisis while upholding international peace and security.

The officials also reviewed their strategic defense partnership and explored ways to further enhance it, the Kingdom’s defense minister said in a post on X. 


Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
  • Ali Alhammadi has been passionate about visual arts since childhood

JEDDAH: Ali Alhammadi, a Saudi 32-year-old visual artist from Aldawadmi in Riyadh, has carved out a remarkable pathway in the world of art since his professional debut in 2017.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the “Saudi renaissance” in line with Vision 2030, prompting him to embark on a creative expedition to express his perceptions through the canvas.

Alhammadi told Arab News that his art philosophy is about breaking invisible limitations and transcending comfort zones, drawing inspiration from the evergreen landscapes he encountered during camping trips with his father in the Riyadh desert.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

“During every spring season, me and my father used to go camping in the outskirts of Riyadh, when the desert turns green for a couple of months, where all the magical inspiration happens.”

Through his landscapes and abstract pieces, Alhammadi delves into his feelings, insecurities and aspirations, painting a narrative that speaks volumes.

“I use my art to express both happiness and sadness, and sometimes I start a painting with an idea in mind, but then I end up with a new one,” he said.

Ali Alhammadi, Saudi artist

One of Alhammadi’s pioneering techniques, “Invisible Limitations,” challenges traditional conceptions and societal norms, symbolizing the potential within, and beyond self-imposed boundaries. He said that his work reflects a realization that limitations are merely illusions.

“Our comfort zone sometimes restricts our ability to be inspired and inspire others. That’s why I decided to paint the Invisible Limitations theme.

“As I matured, I realized that most of these limitations don’t exist ... our limitation is the sky.”

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

Alhammadi’s artistic evolution has been influenced by his participation in prestigious exhibitions such as The Stars Exhibition at the German Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the second Riyadh Season Exhibition.

These platforms not only showcased his talent but also provided a catalyst for his creative development, empowering him to delve deeper into his cultural roots while embracing global influences.

Navigating between diverse cultural landscapes, Alhammadi, based between Liverpool and Riyadh, seamlessly fuses vibrant hues and styles, blending Saudi heritage and international artistic trends.

His experiences abroad have expanded his artistic horizons, inspiring him to create artworks that resonate with a global audience while retaining a distinctive Saudi essence. “Now that I have found my theme and art style, I believe that this phase will take me to different phases in my professional art career,” he said.

Looking toward the future, Alhammadi envisions his artwork evolving to explore the intricacies of human and cultural relationships, going deeper into themes that resonate with universal emotions and experiences. “Human and cultural relationships is something I’m keen on expressing through art,” he said.

His participation in international and local events such as the Founding Day in Liverpool and the National Day in London has not only spotlighted his talent but also enriched his artistic narrative with a tapestry of diverse influences.

For aspiring visual artists embarking on their creative odyssey, Alhammadi offers this advice: “Stay true to your vision, embrace your unique style, and let your art tell your story.”