Saudi vice foreign minister attends reception to mark Africa Day

Update Saudi vice foreign minister attends reception to mark Africa Day
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El-Khereiji was welcomed by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to Saudi Arabia, Diaa Al-Din Bamakhrama, ambassador of Djibouti, and Iyad Tijani, head of the African Group and ambassador of Cameroon. (SPA)
Update Saudi Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed bin Abdulkarim El-Khereiji was among those attending a special event to commemorate Africa Day. (SPA)
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Update Saudi Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed bin Abdulkarim El-Khereiji was among those attending a special event to commemorate Africa Day. (SPA)
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Saudi Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed bin Abdulkarim El-Khereiji was among those attending a special event to commemorate Africa Day. (SPA)
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Updated 28 May 2024
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Saudi vice foreign minister attends reception to mark Africa Day

Saudi vice foreign minister attends reception to mark Africa Day
  • Africa Day, which is celebrated annually on May 25, acknowledges the continent’s role in the fight against colonialism.
  • The party took place at the Palace of Culture in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter on Monday

RIYADH: Saudi Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed bin Abdulkarim El-Khereiji was among those attending a special event to commemorate Africa Day.

The party took place at the Palace of Culture in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter on Monday, reported Saudi Press Agency.

El-Khereiji was welcomed by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to Saudi Arabia, Diaa Al-Din Bamakhrama, ambassador of Djibouti, and Iyad Tijani, head of the African Group and ambassador of Cameroon.

As well as emphasizing the Kingdom’s deep-rooted political and diplomatic relations with African countries and organizations, he highlighted its commitment to developing cooperation and partnerships with African countries in trade and integration, as well as enhancing consultation, coordination and mutual support in international organizations on issues of common interest.

Africa Day, which is celebrated annually on May 25, acknowledges the continent’s role in the fight against colonialism and the progress it has made, as well as reflecting the challenges it faces in a global environment.

The theme for this year’s celebrations is: “Educate an Africa fit for the 21st century: Building a resilient education system for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality and relevant learning in Africa.”

By focusing on education and training, the African countries are highlighting the central and essential role of education in the development process, especially on a continent where young people make up the majority of the population.

As part of the work, the countries expressed hope that the Kingdom, which already grants scholarships to African students, would also facilitate their access to technical and scientific institutions.

As for the festive side of the event, the celebration in Riyadh includes cultural and culinary activities at Grassy Park in the Diplomatic Quarter on May 30-31. African countries will showcase their cultures through performances by dance groups, culinary arts and exhibitions of artefacts, from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Bamakhrama said: “The year 2024 is dedicated to education in Africa and represents a unique opportunity for African countries to proceed achieving the goals of the spectrum once again of education, development and skills, from early childhood to higher education.”

Highlighting the importance of historic ties between the continent and the Kingdom, he added that leaders praised the dialogue that took place at the first Saudi-African Summit in Riyadh last year.

“It is important to recall that this summit has opened new and broad horizons between the Kingdom and the African countries with the aim of strengthening cooperation, improving strategic partnership and enhancing historical ties.”

Tidjani said: “I wish to encourage the Saudi business community and the Gulf-based MNCs to establish strong partnerships and networks with their African counterparts to take advantage of the business-friendly potentials of the continent.”

He praised staff from the African embassies for their support, and thanked the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the reception and hosting the cultural and food exhibition.


Chemical weapons watchdog convenes amidst global tensions

Chemical weapons watchdog convenes amidst global tensions
Updated 11 sec ago
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Chemical weapons watchdog convenes amidst global tensions

Chemical weapons watchdog convenes amidst global tensions

RIYADH: The 106th session of the executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has commenced in The Hague.

Leading the Saudi delegation to the four-day conclave, running from July 9-12, is Ambassador Ziyad bin Maashi Al-Attiyah, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the OPCW.

In his address to the council, Al-Attiyah reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s unwavering commitment to bolstering international cooperation in the prohibition and non-proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction, emphasizing the pivotal role of the OPCW in safeguarding international peace and security.

“The use of chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons, anywhere, by anyone, under any circumstances, is abhorrent and a flagrant violation of both the Chemical Weapons Convention and established principles of international law,” Al-Attiyah declared, echoing the Kingdom’s long-standing position on the issue.

Al-Attiyah stated that the Saudi delegation welcomes the OPCW spokesperson’s statement regarding the situation in Ukraine, issued on May 7. The ambassador that crimes by Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip have been continuing in a systematic manner for nine months since the outbreak of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Al-Attiyah restated condemnation of these crimes, and emphasized the importance of implementing recent UN Security Council resolutions regarding the proposal for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The Saudi ambassador reiterated the Kingdom’s endorsement of Palestine’s request to the OPCW’s technical secretariat for close monitoring of the situation in the occupied territories. He expressed the Saudi delegation’s appreciation for the director general’s response to the appeal, stressing the Kingdom’s confidence in the secretariat’s ability to fulfill its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, particularly in responding to any developments in the Palestinian territories.

Al-Attiyah also lauded the recent decisions by Norway, Spain, Ireland, Slovenia, and Armenia to recognize Palestine as a state, urging the international community to follow suit and recognize Palestine within its 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, so that the Palestinian people can secure their legitimate rights and to realize a comprehensive, just, and enduring peace.

On the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons program, the Saudi envoy welcomed the 27th round of consultations between the OPCW and Damascus. He emphasized the importance of maintaining a renewed spirit of cooperation within a technical framework to resolve all outstanding issues.

“This cooperation will open up new horizons and pathways to resolve all pending issues,” Al-Attiyah stated, urging all parties involved to work together constructively.

The session also saw Saudi Arabia congratulate Algeria on the designation of its National Institute of Forensic Evidence and Criminology as a new OPCW laboratory, marking a significant milestone for the African continent in the field of chemical analysis.

As the global community grapples with emerging threats, including the implications of artificial intelligence in chemical warfare, Al-Attiyah highlighted the need to leverage all existing mechanisms within the OPCW to address these challenges effectively. He welcomed the upcoming conference to be held jointly by Morocco and the OPCW technical secretariat in Rabat. The conference will focus on the role of AI in enhancing the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.


Acclaimed Palestinian oudists Le Trio Joubran perform at Ithra

Acclaimed Palestinian oudists Le Trio Joubran perform at Ithra
Updated 28 min 24 sec ago
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Acclaimed Palestinian oudists Le Trio Joubran perform at Ithra

Acclaimed Palestinian oudists Le Trio Joubran perform at Ithra
  • The majority of the show — like the majority of Le Trio Joubran’s albums — consisted of instrumental pieces

DHAHRAN: On Thursday night, the award-winning Palestinian oud masters — and brothers — Le Trio Joubran, performed at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Ithra, on the first of their two-night run in Dhahran.

Unfortunately, Samir — the eldest brother, who formed the band nearly two decades ago — was unable to join his siblings Wissam and Adnan on stage. But his space in the center of the trio was left untouched, as a visual representation of his presence.

“As you can see, there is a gaping void on stage tonight. Our brother Samir was unable to be with us — despite the greatest efforts from the attentive Ithra and Aramco teams, who are trying until this very moment to get him to join us, so thank you,” Adnan, the youngest of the trio, told the crowd, which almost filled the venue.

“It has now become our responsibility and burden — my brother Wissam and me — to do our best to give you the show you deserve. Usually our brother Samir speaks, but tonight, I’ll ask you to forgive our shortcomings and we hope to give you a good show,” he continued. And they delivered.

The majority of the show — like the majority of Le Trio Joubran’s albums — consisted of instrumental pieces, while a handful were accompanied by Arabic poetry recitals. Joining Wissam and Adnan on stage were percussionist Ruven Ruppik and cellist Valentin Mussou.

Le Trio Joubran bill themselves as the first ever trio of oudists. Hailing from Nazareth, they now divide their time between Palestine and France. Their music often reflects themes of Palestinian identity, as well as the broader human experience. Over the last few decades, their music has been featured in the soundtracks of several films and documentaries, including “The Last Flight” (2009), “Miral” (2010), “Five Broken Cameras” (2011) and “The Messenger of God” (2015).

In 2019, they collaborated with the hugely successful British pop-rock band Coldplay on a song called “Arabesque.”

At the end of their Ithra performance, Adnan spoke again, promising the crowd that they would come back again next year — with Samir. The crowd cheered enthusiastically.

Wissam and Adnan perform again at Ithra on Friday night, July 12.


KSrelief continues health aid work around the globe

KSrelief continues health aid work around the globe
Updated 12 July 2024
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KSrelief continues health aid work around the globe

KSrelief continues health aid work around the globe
  • KSrelief delivered 2,000 healthcare kits to earthquake-affected Syrian refugees
  • In Taiz governorate, Yemen, the agency, through the Prosthetics and Rehabilitation Center Project, has helped 406 people who lost limbs

RIYADH: Saudi aid agency KSrelief continues to carry out health aid work around the world, delivering aid packages and performing medical procedures.

In Taiz governorate, Yemen, the agency, through the Prosthetics and Rehabilitation Center Project, has helped 406 people who lost limbs, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.
The project delivered 1,475 services in total, with 67 percent provided to males and 33 percent to females.

Among the beneficiaries, 11 percent were displaced people, and 89 percent were residents.

The services included the delivery, measurement and maintenance of prosthetic limbs, as well as physical therapy and specialist consultations.

The assistance is part of the ongoing humanitarian projects provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented by KSrelief, to enhance the health sector’s capabilities and alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering.

In Turkiye, the Saudi Sama’a Volunteer Program for Cochlear Implantation and Hearing Rehabilitation has completed work for earthquake victims in Reyhanli.

Also in Turkiye, KSrelief delivered 2,000 healthcare kits to earthquake-affected Syrian refugees in the Islahiye camp in Gaziantep, near Reyhanli. The program ran from June 30 to July 7.

During this time, the volunteer medical team from KSrelief performed cochlear implants to restore hearing and provided auditory rehabilitation therapy sessions for 84 children.

Manwhile, at the dialysis center in Banadir Hospital, Mogadishu, Somalia, 348 patients were treated in May, 163 of whom received 1,051 scheduled hemodialysis sessions and 12 emergency sessions. Outpatient clinic services and medical examinations were provided to 177 patients.

Of the patients, 62 percent were male, 38 percent were female, 2 percent were displaced people and 98 percent were residents.

 


Kingdom records 17% rise in passenger air travel in first half of 2024

Kingdom records 17% rise in passenger air travel in first half of 2024
Updated 12 July 2024
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Kingdom records 17% rise in passenger air travel in first half of 2024

Kingdom records 17% rise in passenger air travel in first half of 2024
  • Flights up 12% and airfreight 41%, says aviation authority
  • Saudi airports and airlines win top global services awards

RIYADH: The Kingdom has recorded a 17 percent rise in passenger air traffic over the first six months of 2024, to 62 million compared to 53 million in the same period last year, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.

There were 446,000 flights, marking a 12 percent increase compared to 399,000 flights during the first six months of 2023, the report said, citing statistics released by the General Authority of Civil Aviation.

Airfreight volume also went up, hitting 606,000 tonnes in the first six months of 2024, a 41 percent jump from 430,000 tonnes in the same period last year, GACA reported.

The Kingdom’s aviation sector has developed considerably over the past six months, including 16 Saudi Arabia airports obtaining the Airports Council International Airport Service Quality accreditation for 2024, the report also said.

Saudi Arabia’s airports are now ranked in the top 50 worldwide, it said, citing the evaluation results announced by Skytrax, the international air transport rating organization.

Three of the Kingdom’s international airports won awards from ratings agencies last year.

Madinah’s Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport was rated the best regional airport in the Middle East during the Skytrax World Airport Awards ceremony in Frankfurt, Germany.

King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah got the highest ratings on the Airports Council International list for 2023.

King Fahd International Airport in Dammam won three of the Saudi Airports Awards for 2023, including for the best facility in the 5 to 15 million passenger category, for the best customs inspection area, and best services for people with disabilities.

Meanwhile, national carrier Saudia won awards for being the most advanced airline in the world, and having the best economy class catering for 2024 in the Skytrax global ranking, the SPA noted.

Flynas was named fourth-best low-cost airline in the world for the second consecutive year and the first in the Middle East for the seventh consecutive year, according to Skytrax.

“All these achievements are part of the initiatives and programs launched by GACA, aiming to contribute to the development of the air transport industry locally, regionally, and internationally, in line with the National Strategy for the Civil Aviation Sector,” the SPA report stated.

“The strategy aims to make the aviation sector in the Kingdom the first in the Middle East by reaching 330 million passengers, increasing air freight capacity to 4.5 million tonnes, and raising air connectivity to reach 250 destinations to and from Saudi airports by 2030,” it added.

During the first half of this year, GACA launched several projects, including the development and expansion of Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah.

In addition, there was an expansion of Al-Ahsa International Airport, a new international departure terminal built at Taif International Airport, and self-driving taxi experience for the first time during the Hajj season.

Also, the first permit was awarded to use drones for cleaning buildings; a testing center for aviation personnel was launched; and the first phase of electronic gates was completed at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.

This year, GACA won two gold awards for Best Customer Service and Best Public Service Center in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region.

In addition, it won a Consumer Protection Association award for excellence in upholding passengers’ rights, and a certificate for flight safety and environmental sustainability.


Saudi Water Authority, World Bank sign cooperation agreement

Saudi Water Authority, World Bank sign cooperation agreement
Updated 11 July 2024
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Saudi Water Authority, World Bank sign cooperation agreement

Saudi Water Authority, World Bank sign cooperation agreement

RIYADH: The Saudi Water Authority, represented by its President Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al-Abdulkarim, signed a cooperation agreement with the World Bank as part of the Saudi Ministry of Finance’s technical cooperation program with the international institution.

The agreement aims to benefit from the authority’s expertise in developing the water sector and from its know-how in managing water resources by reducing operational costs.

It also aims to invest the accumulated research and engineering expertise to enhance water security through knowledge transfer.