World leaders laud Saudi king’s decision to elevate Mohammed bin Salman

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's appointment was welcomed by world leaders on Wednesday, including British Prime Minister Theresa May. (SPA)
Updated 22 June 2017

World leaders laud Saudi king’s decision to elevate Mohammed bin Salman

RIYADH: World leaders have sent their congratulations to King Salman and newly appointed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The newly announced Crown Prince Mohammed, who also serves as defense minister and oversees a vast economic portfolio, had previously been second in line to the throne.

BRITAIN: Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I am pleased to welcome the appointment of Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the crown prince and deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia... Britain remains a firm supporter of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious reform agenda Vision 2030... I look forward to working with (Crown) Prince Mohammed bin Salman to deepen our close bilateral ties in the years ahead, building on the constructive meetings we had in Saudi Arabia earlier this year.”

ITALY: In a letter congratulating Mohammed bin Salman, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said: “This choice is a recognition of the great effort you have made throughout the years to enhance the importance and centrality of your country’s role in achieving delicate balances for the region. I am confident that you will show more ability to guide the process of development and transformation in the Kingdom through a better understanding of the ambitions and aspirations of the Saudi people.”

EGYPT: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi congratulated the new crown prince who expressed his thanks to El-Sisi, wishing the president and people of Egypt further progress and prosperity.

UAE: President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan sent congratulatory messages to the new crown prince.
KUWAIT: Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah sent a cable of congratulations to King Salman over the elevation of Mohammed bin Salman to the position of crown prince.

QATAR: Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani sent a cable to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “wishing him success... for the good of the Kingdom under the wise leadership of King Salman ... and for more progress for brotherly relations between the two countries.”

YEMEN: President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, in his congratulatory cable, wished the new crown prince all the best in serving his country and achieving further progress and prosperity.

BAHRAIN: King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa congratulated King Salman on the appointment of Mohammed bin Salman as the crown prince and deputy premier. King Hamad sent a congratulatory cable to the new crown prince, wishing him success. Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa also sent similar cables to King Salman and the new crown prince.

OMAN: Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said congratulated Mohammed bin Salman over his elevation.

JORDAN: King Abdallah congratulated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and wished him success in serving his country under the leadership of King Salman.

TUNISIA: President Beji Caid Essebsi, in his congratulatory message to the new crown prince, voiced a desire to see relations further strengthened in the interests of the two countries.
PALESTINE: President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated King Salman for choosing Mohammed bin Salman as his new crown prince.

LEBANON: Prime Minister Saad Hariri congratulated the king over the elevation of Mohammed bin Salman as the crown prince.

PAKISTAN: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his appointment. He said he has great confidence in the Kingdom’s prospects under the leadership of the new crown prince. Sharif said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are bound together by a common faith, shared values and joint aspirations for the future of the Ummah.

DJIBOUTI: President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti congratulated King Salman for appointing Mohammed bin Salman as the Kingdom’s new crown prince.


Laughter wins out on Riyadh’s ‘beautiful night for comedy’

Updated 22 min 20 sec ago

Laughter wins out on Riyadh’s ‘beautiful night for comedy’

  • Eddie Griffin says he had loved performing in the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Riyadh Comedy Nights festival ended amid laughter and a standing ovation as US actor and comedian Eddie Griffin signed off on his first visit to Saudi Arabia with a signature performance that took gentle aim at subjects ranging from the Kingdom’s wealth to recent social changes.

The final night of the six-day festival, held at the Bakir Al-Sheddi stage on Riyadh Boulevard on Saturday, featured local comedians, an improv group and a main performance by Griffin, who had the audience on its feet with his lighthearted observations on Saudi culture and life in the Kingdom.

Host Shakir Al-Shareef, best known for his special on Comedy Central, kicked off the show with a 15-minute warmup set during which he recalled his childhood in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s and showcased his signature self-deprecating humor.

“I look like Shaquille O’Neal, but I’m the size of his shoe,” he joked.
Al-Shareef was followed by, in his own words, “the rudest nice person I’ve ever met,” Saudi comedienne Lama Alfard. Alfard, the first Saudi female stand-up comic and a member of the Stand Up Comedy Tour, voiced her delight at performing in her hometown.

She poked fun at her social anxiety, struggles with weight loss and the way that Vision 2030 was making her parents “cooler.”
“My parents are actually proud now that I’m a comedian. When I enter the room, they say hi to me,” she joked.

HIGHLIGHT

The biggest laugh of the night came from a piece of dark humor, when the sound of fireworks on the boulevard appeared to startle Eddie Griffin.

She also delivered an hilarious impression of meeting her nutritionist, telling people she was going to give up trying to lose weight.

“I’m a comedian, the fatter the funnier. I’ll be fine,” she said to loud applause.

Following Alfard was the Improv Team from Dhahran, who engaged the audience in improv games before the main event.

Eddie Griffin arrived on stage to wild applause and his jokes, poking gentle fun at Saudi culture, soon had the audience laughing.

The US comic joked about the apparent wealth he had seen in the Kingdom, saying that “even the brokest Saudi got a Mercedes. Y’all got some money.”

I’m a comedian, the fatter the funnier. I’ll be fine.

Lama Alfard, Saudi comedienne

He also made lighthearted fun of recent changes in Saudi society, especially in the area of women’s rights. “It’s beautiful to see the ladies tonight ... and that’s all I’m gonna say,” he said amid laughter from the crowd.

However, the biggest laugh of the night came from a piece of dark humor, when the sound of fireworks on the boulevard appeared to startle him. Pretending to run away, Griffin said that the sound was giving him “flashbacks.” Backstage, the comedian told Arab News that he had loved performing in the Kingdom.

“I feel great about coming to Saudi Arabia. This was wonderful, a beautiful night for comedy, and I hope I can come back and do it all again,” he said.

Alfard told Arab News that she had been performing comedy since 2011 and was happy to finally be able to perform in her hometown.
“I felt alive, I was so happy to go back on stage. The audience was great, and I hope I can do more. I also hope I can encourage other girls to go onstage as well. I’m here if anyone needs help,” she said. Al-Shareef had a few words of advice for Saudis who wanted to follow him into comedy as well.
“Stop listening to your mother and follow your dreams,” he said.