Save Al-Aqsa from Israel

Save Al-Aqsa from Israel
Updated 06 September 2014

Save Al-Aqsa from Israel

Save Al-Aqsa from Israel

Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, urged UNESCO on Thursday to take effective steps for protecting Masjid Al-Aqsa — the third holiest mosque in the world — from Israeli designs.
Prince Salman made this call during a visit to UNESCO headquarters in Paris before the conclusion of his four-day official visit to France. The crown prince later returned to Jeddah.
“UNESCO should activate all its international resolutions to protect Al-Aqsa and all other valuable cultural antiquities in Palestine from Israeli aggression,” the crown prince said while praising the organization for giving full membership to Palestine.
A final communiqué that was issued at the end of the royal visit emphasized the two countries’ desire to strengthen their defense cooperation.
“France has expressed its willingness to support Saudi Navy with speedboats in order to enhance its maritime capabilities,” the communiqué said, adding that it would back Royal Saudi Air Force with transport and refueling aircraft.
“The two countries also agreed to continue their fruitful cooperation in the field of air defense and development of new capabilities in the field of satellites,” the communiqué stated.
During his visit, Prince Salman held talks with President Francois Hollande, Prime Minister Manuel Valls; Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius and Minister Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian on major regional and international issues and strengthening bilateral cooperation.
In a cable sent to Hollande, Prince Salman said the visit would play a key role in strengthening Saudi-French relations in all fields. “Our talks have reflected the depth of our partnership relations,” he added.
Saudi Arabia and France expressed their grave concern over the ongoing events in the region, including the growing danger of the phenomenon of terrorism and extremism, hailing the call made recently by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to world leaders to accelerate the fight against terrorism and the importance of supporting the International Counterterrorism Center at the United Nations.
The two countries agreed to strengthen cooperation to combat terrorism, “which is a global phenomenon threatening all societies and is not linked to any race or belief.” They denounced the Israeli aggression on Gaza.
Saudi Arabia and France called for a just, comprehensive and lasting Middle East peace settlement on the basis the Arab Peace Initiative and UN resolutions.
The two sides expressed deep concern over the worsening situation in Syria, stressing that the Bashar Assad regime that has lost its legitimacy bears the responsibility for the situation. They called for an urgent peaceful and political settlement to end the Syrian crisis through full implementation of Geneva-1 Resolutions, including formation of a transitional governing body with all the executive powers.
The two sides called for extending humanitarian and relief assistance for the Syrian refugees and encouraging the international community to provide more support for the Syrians.
They expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in Yemen in the light of the acts carried out by the Houthis and their supporters to undermine the political transition process and security situation in the country. The two sides reaffirmed their support for Lebanon’s unity, security and stability through its official institutions.
The two sides recalled the historical visit by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to France in 2007, and the visit of Hollande to the Kingdom last year, which resulted in the consolidation of the strategic partnership between the two countries.
“The two sides expressed satisfaction of the strong relations between Saudi Arabia and France and their progress in political, security, economic, financial, commercial, industrial, educational and cultural fields,” the communiqué said.
They stressed the importance of further strengthening strategic partnership between the two countries and implementation of this partnership in economic cooperation, particularly in finance, economy, trade and joint investments.
“In this regard, there will be a meeting between the Saudi minister of finance and the French foreign minister to complete necessary measures,” the communiqué said.
The two sides expressed their happiness over the success of Haj Exhibition held at the Arab World Institute in Paris, which was inaugurated by Hollande on June 22. They also agreed to enhance cooperation in the fields of culture and art, including organization of cultural events in both countries.
Referring to Iraq, the two sides welcomed the consensus of the Iraqis and appointment of the new prime minister, president and speaker, stressing the need to form a government of national unity that represents all Iraqi people. The two sides affirmed importance of preserving Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Riyadh and Paris called upon Iran to cooperate entirely with the group of 5 +1 on the Iranian nuclear file. This cooperation could resolve the Iranian file within framework of long-term agreement ensuring peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, leading to a significant contribution of the international efforts to make the Middle East free zone of weapons of mass destruction.
Prince Salman expressed his thanks and appreciation to President Hollande, Prime Minister Valls and the French government and people for the warm reception and hospitality they accorded to him and the accompanying delegation.
Meanwhile, Prince Salman received at his residence in Paris the President of French Council for Islamic Religion and head of Paris Grand Mosque Dalil Abu Bakr and a number of the council’s members.
The crown prince reiterated Saudi Arabia’s support for Islamic associations in various countries. He also noted the Kingdom’s efforts in the service of pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah.
Prince Salman also met with Saudi scholarship students pursuing their higher studies in French universities and urged them to excel in education.


Meet Shihana Alazzaz, the PIF executive making Saudi women proud

Meet Shihana Alazzaz, the PIF executive making Saudi women proud
Updated 25 January 2021

Meet Shihana Alazzaz, the PIF executive making Saudi women proud

Meet Shihana Alazzaz, the PIF executive making Saudi women proud
  • At 16 Shihana Alazzaz fought in the courts for her family's inheritance
  • She says she hopes her success can be seen by other women as motivation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s stance on women and their place in society remains firmly under the spotlight – with many questioning if anything has changed - that’s despite the countless female engineers, managers and boardroom directors that the Kingdom so proudly boasts of.

Still not convinced?

Then consider Shihana Alazzaz, the general counsel and Secretary-General to the board at the Public Investment Fund PIF – you might recognize her.

She was the woman sitting across from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as he addressed a historic meeting on Sunday night.

Women’s status in Saudi society has been on the up since the launch of Vision 2030 in 2016, enabling them to pursue professions and positions of power they had only previously dreamt of – and Alazzaz’s story acts as a beacon of this achievement.

Impressed by her  credentials, many took to social media to voice their appreciation of her presence at the otherwise male-dominated table.

Twitter user @ibrahimaljallal described her as “An excellent model for Saudi women. Her competitiveness at work is the same as any man.”

Alazzaz first joined PIF as the head of transactions in the legal division in 2017.

She is now a member of the management committee at PIF, as well as other executive committees in the fund.

Alazzaz also chairs and serves on several boards and board committees of PIF portfolio companies. 

Her rise to success was not an easy one.

Her father’s death in 2002 saw her in the Saudi courts at just 16-years-old where - filled with grief – she fought for her family’s inheritance.

Armed with a handwritten note by her father, she fought long and hard to fulfill her father’s final wishes - that their guardian be her mother’s brother.

Despite her hardships, she refused to be a victim, instead choosing to chase her goals, pursue her education and make her life a success.

With her mother’s support she travelled to the UK, where she achieved her bachelor’s degree in law at Durham University.

Years later in 2019 the Kingdom’s guardianship laws saw a major overhaul as part of the ongoing Vision 2030.

The changes allowed Saudi women over 21 to be allowed to apply for passports and travel freely without the permission of a male guardian.

Other changes issued in the decrees permitted women to register a marriage, divorce, or child’s birth and to be issued official family documents – and most relevantly to Alazzaz – women were equally allowed to be their children’s guardian.

Alazzaz continued with her studies and achieved her license to practice law at the Supreme Court of New York and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Justice.

This in itself was major achievement as women lawyers were only allowed to be granted a license to practice from 2013 by the Ministry of Justice.

Non-conformity seems to have run in her family.

Her father, Saleh Alazzaz, chose an equally unconventional career path for a Saudi, as a photographer and author – both fields previously deemed taboo in the Kingdom - having dropped out of college where he was studying engineering.

He was diagnosed with cancer when he was 40-years-old – previously seen as a healthy man - his illness shocked the family – his death 18 months later left them devastated.

Saleh was celebrated for originality, his keen eye and passion - some of his most acclaimed pieces were conceived when he was ill.

Prior to joining PIF, Alazzaz was a practicing lawyer for nine years at various international law firms where she gained exposure to legal advisory services, transactions, and litigation across multiple sectors.

She has received recognition for her work locally, regionally and internationally.

She made Forbes Middle East’s 100 Most Powerful Women of 2020, and received multiple awards including Finance Monthly Deal Maker Awards 2016, and the Women in Business Law award presented by the International Financial Law Review (IFLR).

In an interview with KRCL RadioActive in 2017 Shihana said, “My role is to ensure that I’m not the only one. And to ensure that I encourage a lot of other females to pursue this convoluted path.”

 “I think we’ve accomplished quite a lot in a very short period of time,” she added.