No normalization with Israel without Palestinian state, Saudi ambassador to UK says

Saudi Arabia will not normalize ties with Israel at the expense of Palestinian statehood, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the UK said on Thursday. (X/@ChathamHouse)
Saudi Arabia will not normalize ties with Israel at the expense of Palestinian statehood, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the UK said on Thursday. (X/@ChathamHouse)
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Updated 21 June 2024
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No normalization with Israel without Palestinian state, Saudi ambassador to UK says

No normalization with Israel without Palestinian state, Saudi ambassador to UK says
  • Prince Khalid bin Bandar was speaking at Chatham House’s London Conference
  • Said Kingdom’s position on Arab-Israeli conflict has never changed

LONDON: Saudi Arabia will not normalize ties with Israel at the expense of Palestinian statehood, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the UK said on Thursday.

Speaking at Chatham House’s London Conference, Prince Khalid bin Bandar said that normalization remained important to Saudi Arabia and other nations in the region because it would ensure peace, stability and security.
He admitted that “compromises would have to be made” to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, which he said affected the world in a way other conflicts did not.

“If what is happening (in Gaza) keeps happening, we are going to go down a path that is irreversible,” Prince Khalid said. 



“The further we get away from finding a solution, the more people lose hope, the more we’re at that point, it’s going to spread to a regional conflict. It’s important for everyone to recognisze the danger of what lies ahead. The conflict will not remain regional, it will become international very quickly,” he said.

But Prince Khalid said that normalization would be “irrelevant” until the plight of Palestinians was resolved.

“We believe in the creation of a Palestinian state and a solution to the conflict,” he said. “If it was easy, we’d have done it by now but without that, normalization is irrelevant. There is no point having normalization because we would still have conflict and conflict is the problem, not normalization.

“There is no point in discussing everything else until we find a solution. Once we do that, everything is on the table.”

Prince Khalid said that the Kingdom was “one of the most important countries in the region,” which had “leverage” in opening up the Arab and Muslim world to Israel and for it not to play a role in brokering a solution would be “silly.” 



But he added for that to happen, Israel “needs to play ball as well,” adding that the price for finding a solution was an independent Palestinian state.

The ambassador bemoaned how little global coverage the Saudi position on the crisis received, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent Hajj address, in which he reiterated calls for an immediate halt to attacks in Gaza.

“It’s important to recognize our position, which has never changed, despite people never listening to us,” Prince Khalid said.

“The crown prince’s positon, Saudi Arabia’s position, his majesty (King Salman)’s position, the government’s position and the will of almost every Saudi I know is we need a Palestinian state.



“The offer was made in the Arab Peace Initiative; on 1967 borders, a Palestinian state, a two-state solution and everyone lives happily ever after. It goes back to 1982, King Fahd presented the same offer, it has not been taken up, I find it mystifying.

“The crown prince stated very clearly, we need a ceasefire, an irreversible solution for the Palestinians and then there’s peace everywhere, it wasn’t even reported.

“It’s annoying and frustrating for us because the world assumes something totally different and that’s not helping the situation,” he said.


Saudi Arabia working hard to reverse land degradation and desertification, says official

Saudi Arabia working hard to reverse land degradation and desertification, says official
Updated 7 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia working hard to reverse land degradation and desertification, says official

Saudi Arabia working hard to reverse land degradation and desertification, says official
  • Kingdom’s representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says nation has ‘taken up the challenge’ and calls on others to do the same
  • Riyadh will host the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s COP 16 summit in Riyadh in December this year

ROME: Saudi Arabia is working hard to reverse land degradation, and calls on the international community to commit to the battle against desertification, an official from the Kingdom said on Thursday during an event at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters in Rome.

Mohammed Al-Ghamdi, the country’s permanent representative to the FAO, said the Kingdom is committed to the restoration of land through its Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives, one of the aims of which is to rehabilitate 200 million hectares. Riyadh will also host the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s COP 16 summit in Riyadh from Dec. 2 to 13 this year.

“Saudi Arabia has taken up the challenge of avoiding, restoring and reversing the process of land degradation,” Al-Ghamdi said in Rome as he urged global participation at COP 16.

Mohammed Al-Ghamdi, the country’s permanent representative to the FAO, said the Kingdom is committed to the restoration of land through its Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives. (AN Photo)

As the world grapples with increasing degradation of land and the effects this has on food security and climate change, he said the summit in Riyadh offers a critical opportunity for nations to commit to collaborative action and ambitious restoration targets.

Warning of already alarming global levels of land degradation, Zhimin Wu, director of the FAO’s Forestry Division, said a third of agricultural land has already been degraded by human activities.

Raja Omar, an adviser at the National Center for Vegetation Cover in Saudi Arabia, outlined the Kingdom’s comprehensive approach to the restoration of diverse landscapes, from rangelands to mangroves, and stressed the importance of ensuring such efforts are sustainable in the long term.


Princess Nourah University launches academic acceleration scheme

Princess Nourah University launches academic acceleration scheme
Updated 2 min 42 sec ago
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Princess Nourah University launches academic acceleration scheme

Princess Nourah University launches academic acceleration scheme

RIYADH: The Deanship of Admission and Registration at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University launched the Academic Acceleration System for the 2024-2025 academic year targeting secondary education female students admitted to the university. The system aims to accelerate the educational path for female undergraduates according to their abilities and educational excellence, enabling them to graduate sooner.

The system is divided into two tracks. The first consists of academic acceleration to pass the foundation year, a concept designed for women in secondary education admitted to the university.

It enables them to enroll directly in courses from the major they would like to pursue without having to enroll in foundation year courses. The second track consists of a comparison process after passing tests in specialized education, under which the student enrolls in the remaining courses that were not included in the system.

Female students wishing to apply for the academic acceleration system are required to be admitted to the university through one of two tracks, either in the engineering foundation year or the health foundation year, with a composite score rate of no less than 89 percent.
 


Chills and thrills as City Walk horror house opens its doors in Jeddah

Chills and thrills as City Walk horror house opens its doors in Jeddah
Updated 46 min 46 sec ago
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Chills and thrills as City Walk horror house opens its doors in Jeddah

Chills and thrills as City Walk horror house opens its doors in Jeddah
  • Horror House of Raya and Sakina takes visitors back in time to a rural Egyptian village

JEDDAH: A new attraction at City Walk, part of this year’s Jeddah Season, promises to fascinate and terrify in equal measure.

The spine-chilling Horror House of Raya and Skena takes visitors back in time to a rural Egyptian village steeped in evil, horror, and mystery.

Raya and Skena, Egypt’s most infamous serial killers, left a grisly legacy that has fascinated and horrified for over a century.

In late 1919 and throughout 1920, the sisters led a fearsome gang in Alexandria, targeting mainly women, and committing a string of murders and robberies. Their reign of terror sparked widespread panic and left an indelible mark on Egyptian crime history.

The siblings were arrested along with their husbands and other gang members after police found a number of corpses buried beneath one of their houses. They were charged with the murder of 17 people and later sentenced to death.

The horror house experience begins as visitors step into the recreated house of Raya and Skena. As they leave the courtyard, they find themselves transported back in time to a foreboding rural Egyptian village. The atmosphere is thick with a sense of impending doom, as evil forces seem to lurk in every shadowy corner.

Visitors navigate this frightening setting, where they are besieged by wicked presences, leading to a confrontation fraught with danger and confusion. The attention to detail and historical accuracy, combined with modern horror elements, give this experience a magical touch of horror and excitement.

“This was the most thrilling experience of my life,” said Syeda Sarah, a Jeddah resident. “It felt like stepping into a real-life horror story. The atmosphere, the details — everything was spot on.

Raya, above and Sakina, Egypt’s most infamous serial killers, left a grisly legacy that has fascinated and horrified for over a century. (Wikipedia)

“They give you a lamp at the door, which you carry inside as you walk through the dark rooms, encountering horrifying characters in Egyptian attire. The sight of Skena sitting in the corner, screaming, was terrifying. The realism in recreating Egypt is incredible.”

Another resident, Jumana, who visited the attraction with a group of friends, shared a similar sentiment.

“The Horror House of Raya and Skena is truly a unique concept," she said.

“My friends and I were on edge the entire time, and the historical aspect made it even more fascinating. I am from Egypt, and often heard this story from our relatives when we visited.

“This horror house brought those stories to life. There were many unexpected elements, like a fake head falling from the ceiling or a dead body wrapped in a white cloth. The banging of utensils by characters in Egyptian attire was incredibly creepy. It’s a must-visit for anyone coming to City Walk, especially to experience the Cairo zone and this horror house.”

The City Walk attraction has become a must-see for thrill-seekers, offering a blend of fear, fascination, and a sense of stepping into a dark chapter of Egypt’s past.

Visitors can book tickets at the zone or through the Saudi Events app to avoid queues.


Saudi deputy foreign minister discusses Sudan crisis with UN, EU delegates

Saudi deputy foreign minister discusses Sudan crisis with UN, EU delegates
Updated 58 min 5 sec ago
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Saudi deputy foreign minister discusses Sudan crisis with UN, EU delegates

Saudi deputy foreign minister discusses Sudan crisis with UN, EU delegates

DJIBOUTI: Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed Al-Khuraiji met with EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Annette Weber, on the sidelines of the Second Consultative Meeting on Enhancing Coordination of Peace Initiatives and Efforts in Sudan, held in Djibouti.

In separate meetings, he also met with the UN Envoy for Sudan, Ramtane Lamamra, and US Special Envoy for Sudan, Tom Perriello.

During these meetings, they reviewed the latest developments in Sudan, explored ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation, and discussed topics of mutual interest.
 


Fishermen of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province gear up for shrimp season

Fishermen of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province gear up for shrimp season
Updated 58 min 33 sec ago
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Fishermen of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province gear up for shrimp season

Fishermen of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province gear up for shrimp season
  • For the 2024 season, 710 fishing boats have been authorized, including large and small fishing boats

RIYADH: Fishermen in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province are preparing for this year’s shrimp season, which begins on Aug. 1 and lasts six months.

Shrimp fishing will take place along the Arabian Gulf coasts of the Eastern Province, stretching some 1,000 km from Khafji Governorate in the north to Uqair Governorate in the south.

For the 2024 season, 710 fishing boats have been authorized, including large and small fishing boats.

These are distributed as follows: 30 fishing boats at the Manifa port, 20 fishing boats at the Safaniya port, 330 fishing boats at the Jubail port, 160 fishing boats at the Qatif port and 170 fishing boats at the Darin Island port.

The director of the Eastern Province Branch of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Fahd bin Ahmed Al-Hamzi, told the Saudi Press Agency that the ministry is providing top-quality services to the Kingdom’s fishermen.

The ministry has reduced the time required to issue shrimp fishing permits and opened online applications, he added.

The region will also see the development of new fishing ports as part of a ministry project, as well as a scheme to supply and install engines and emergency radios for fishing boats.

Saudi Arabia has affirmed its commitment to protecting sustainable fish stocks and the livelihoods of fishermen, and investing in aquaculture projects.