Saudi, Gulf diplomats evacuated via sea

Updated 29 March 2015

Saudi, Gulf diplomats evacuated via sea

Two warships from Aden arrived safely at the King Faisal Naval Base on Saturday morning. The ships carried 86 diplomats from the Saudi Embassy in Yemen, the Saudi Consulate in Aden, and a number of envoys from friendly countries.
Naval aviation forces and maritime special security units participated in the evacuation off the port of Aden. The action was taken according to prepared plans and there were no hiccups.
According to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), ships of the Saudi Arabian Royal Navy carried out the special operation in order to evacuate embassy and consulate employees as well as a number of diplomatic personnel from friendly countries.
The evacuation process was initiated on Wednesday morning, with the participation of “Al-Dammam” and “Yanbu,” both ships of the Western Fleet.
Evacuees were received by Western Region Commander Maj. Gen. Saad bin Ali Al-Qarni, Western Fleet Commander Adm. Saeed bin Mohamed Al-Zahrani, as well as the consul of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif instructed Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to make special arrangements for the evacuation of stranded Pakistanis. The national carrier arranged for two planes to depart for Yemen after receiving clearance from the Pakistani Embassy in Sanaa.
Shah Faisal, first secretary in Riyadh at the Pakistan Embassy, said: “Our embassy in Sanaa is functional and fully coordinating with the authorities on evacuation plans.”
When asked that if there is plan to evacuate Pakistani nationals through the Kingdom, he replied that there is no such plan in consideration and PIA will evacuate them from Yemeni cities.
The Indian government also plans to evacuate an estimated 3,500 stranded workers in Yemen via Djibouti, on the southern side of the Gulf of Aden, and has sent two ships for this purpose.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised its nationals against all travel plans to Yemen and advised British citizens to immediately leave the country.
Nicola Woodget, spokesperson of the British Embassy in Riyadh, said: “The British Embassy in Sanaa has suspended operations since Feb. 11. We do not have details about individual travel plans, but continue to urge them to follow our travel advice.” The Malaysian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that its citizens living in war-ravaged Yemen will be evacuated as soon as possible.

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

  • “I was transported into a completely different world”: Jay Kay

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”