War on extremism: Saudi Arabia joins White House talks

Updated 23 February 2015

War on extremism: Saudi Arabia joins White House talks

The Kingdom is at the forefront of global efforts to eradicate terrorism, senior Saudi officials told a recent meeting at the White House on countering extremism.
Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah led the Kingdom’s delegation at the talks.
Addressing US and international officials, he said that Saudi Arabia is determined to fight extremism in all its forms.
He highlighted Saudi Arabia’s keenness and commitment to supporting global efforts against extremism and terrorism, and fight whatever party standing behind it in the name of religion, said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah. The Kingdom has always deplored extremism, which distorts the image of Islam.
The prince stressed that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman upholds the Kingdom's longstanding campaign against extremism and terrorism.
The US summit has gained special significance as it comes within a series of international and regional meetings that analyze the phenomena of extremism from all aspects, its roots and causes.
Participants hope to come out with a unified vision on ways of countering extremist violence on political, military, security, intelligence, economic and social levels.
“We must seriously move to fight such thoughts and their funding channels,” the prince said.
According to Prince Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia has taken several measures to fight and enacted a number of regulations to counter extremist thoughts.
He pointed out that the first international summit to fight terrorism was held in Riyadh in 2005, where the Kingdom called for the setting up of a UN center to fight extremism.
In September 2011, Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to set up the center under the auspices of the UN and supported it with $110 million.
The Kingdom also supported the establishment of The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna.


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 8 min 21 sec ago

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne madeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Madeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne madeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.