US commitment to Saudi Arabia remains ‘clear and unshakeable,’ says diplomat

In this photo, US Charge d’Affaires to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Martina Strong speaks during an interview with Arab News in Riyadh. (Supplied)
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Updated 08 February 2021
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US commitment to Saudi Arabia remains ‘clear and unshakeable,’ says diplomat

  • Martina Strong talked to Arab News about decades-long partnership

RIYADH: The US commitment to Saudi Arabia remains clear and unshakeable, the country’s charge d’affaires, Martina Strong, has said.

“Our commitment to Saudi Arabia just as we have over decades remains unshakeable and remains clear,” she told Arab News. “We are very clear-eyed about the threats that Saudi Arabia faces and not just Saudi Arabia, because obviously there are several countries here that are part of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) that have been facing some of the deteriorating security situations.” 

She made the remarks on the day that another ballistic missile was launched toward the Kingdom. More than 400 ballistic missiles have been launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militia toward Saudi Arabia in the past few years.

Strong was looking forward to working with the Saudi leadership to ensure that those “areas of instability were addressed, those threats were addressed, and we continue to work together for the prosperity and security of our citizens.”

More than 70,000 Americans live and work in Saudi Arabia, and one area she focused on a lot was the US nationals who called the Kingdom their home. “I want to make sure, just like your leadership wants to make sure, that our citizens are secure.”

She said that President Joe Biden had made it “very clear” that the US remained committed to the long-standing security partnership that it had enjoyed with Saudi Arabia for decades.

“It is really what’s key here and beyond our longstanding security ties and cooperation. We have been very closely consulting with Saudi Arabia on all of the developments that you have mentioned, our engagement in Yemen which we also hope will lead to a political settlement and stability in the south of Saudi Arabia.”

On Sunday Biden announced the appointment of a new special envoy for Yemen, Timothy Lenderking, who used to have Strong’s job in Riyadh. 

HIGHLIGHT

Martina Strong made the remarks on the day that another ballistic missile was launched toward the Kingdom. More than 400 ballistic missiles have been launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militia toward Saudi Arabia in the past few years.

“It’s great to see him both be selected for this role, but also have him lead this renewed effort,” she said. “There is a lot of focus on this conflict, it was one of the areas that the president highlighted specifically in his (foreign policy) speech, and we certainly look forward with our Saudi partners to a very quick and speedy resolution to the conflict and hopefully, I would like to say in the months ahead so that we don’t have to look to the conflict continuing much longer.”

The diplomat added that working together with Saudi Arabia would make the region stable, would make the Kingdom more secure, and would “certainly” make the US more secure.

“In this regard, I always highlight our counterterrorism cooperation which again has been absolutely critical to both of our countries and to the region.”

She said that, in terms of economic cooperation, the pandemic had not dampened business between the two countries. “Despite the pandemic and despite the economic downturn in the Kingdom, in the US and around the world, the interest from US companies has really not diminished, quite the opposite.”

She explained that US companies were always looking to countries like the Kingdom that were reforming and trying to make the business environment more transparent and easier.

“They (US companies) have been coming to us asking what is happening in Saudi Arabia, how the economic picture is looking.”

She gave an example of the ongoing economic cooperation between the two countries, saying that a number of outreach events had been planned with Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Princess Reema bint Bandar. 

“We had to transform those into virtual events,” said Strong. “There is a great deal of interest, and I think that the interest comes both from the positive experience that our companies have had here over the decades (of) our partnership but also, as I have said, from this new energy and the creative spirit that is encompassed in Vision 2030.”

Strong attended the Future Investment Initiative two weeks ago and described it as “a great opportunity” for her to see what was on the minds of all the leaders the event brought together. 

“It illustrated some of the key areas where US companies are engaged in Saudi Arabia. I think this thing of rebirth and renewal is so critical now for all of us as we look ahead toward hopefully a near-term end to the pandemic.”


Djibouti PM receives Saudi deputy foreign minister

Djibouti’s Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed receives Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji on Thursday. (SPA)
Updated 25 July 2024
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Djibouti PM receives Saudi deputy foreign minister

  • During the meeting with Mohamed, Al-Khuraiji reviewed relations between Djibouti and Saudi Arabia
  • Topics of common interest were also discussed

RIYADH: Djibouti’s Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed received the Kingdom’s Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji on Thursday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the meeting, the officials reviewed relations between the two countries and discussed topics of common interest.

Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji meets with Djibouti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mahmoud Ali Youssef on Thursday. (SPA)Caption

Al-Khuraiji was also received by Djibouti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mahmoud Ali Youssef on Thursday.

The minister is in the country to attend the second consultative meeting on enhancing the coordination of peace initiatives and efforts in Sudan.

Al-Khuraiji later met with Minister of State at the UAE Foreign Ministry Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al-Nahyan on the sidelines of the meeting. 

Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji meets with Minister of State at the UAE Foreign Ministry Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al-Nahyan. (SPA)

 


Chinese Embassy celebrates 97th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army

Updated 25 July 2024
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Chinese Embassy celebrates 97th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army

RIYADH: The Chinese Embassy in Saudi Arabia hosted a reception on Wednesday in Riyadh’s Cultural Palace to mark the 97th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.

“We would like to use this opportunity to celebrate not only our history, but also the history of military and security cooperation between Saudi Arabia and China,” said Zhu Je, the armed defense attache at the Chinese Embassy.

In an interview with Arab News, Zhu recalled Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman’s June visit to Beijing, where he met his Chinese counterpart, Dong Jun.

Zhu described the meeting between the two ministers as “a milestone in the new era.”

He told Arab News: “This is the first time that he visited China to meet with the Chinese minister of defense and also the vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.

“The ministers decided to continue to deepen bilateral cooperation in defense and military areas, strengthen strategic communication between the leaderships, and to elevate the relationship to a higher level.”

The defense attache highlighted the importance of the meeting, in which Prince Khalid and his Chinese counterpart reviewed Saudi-Chinese relations and ways to strengthen ties.

The People’s Liberation Army anniversary reception welcomed defense officials and ambassadors based in the Kingdom.

Chinese Ambassador Chang Hua hosted the event alongside Zhu and welcomed guests to the reception.

Zhu delivered the opening remarks and highlighted the “strategic friendly cooperation” between the Kingdom and China’s defense ministries.

“China firmly supports Saudi Arabia to strengthen its strategic capacities for safeguarding its national security, and resolutely opposes any external interference in the Kingdom’s internal affairs,” he said.

China aims to “facilitate the reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the unity between Palestinian parties, to support Saudi Arabia’s efforts to maintain stability, restore peace and protect civilians in the region and in the world,” he added.

Zhu thanked the Kingdom for its support, saying: “I once again express our sincerest gratitude and respects to the leaders, government, armed forces, security forces and people of Saudi Arabia.”

He also praised the Saudi ministries of defense, interior and National Guard, as well as his embassy colleagues.


KSrelief celebrates Youth Skills Day at Jordan’s Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees

Updated 25 July 2024
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KSrelief celebrates Youth Skills Day at Jordan’s Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees

RIYADH: Saudi aid agency KSrelief’s Center for Community Service celebrated International Youth Skills Day at the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

The center held a special ceremony for the occasion, including various activities highlighting the skills of young people in the community and an awareness lecture to encourage women to develop their talents and capabilities, join training courses, and work with organizations to acquire new skills and experiences.


KSrelief provides shelter kits for thousands of displaced in Sudan

Updated 25 July 2024
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KSrelief provides shelter kits for thousands of displaced in Sudan

  • There were 400 shelter bags delivered in Blue Nile state, benefiting 2,300 people, and 590 were delivered in the Northern State, helping 3,240 individuals

RIYADH: Saudi aid agency KSrelief has distributed nearly 1,000 shelter kits across Sudan to families most in need, the Saudi Press Agency reported late Wednesday.
There were 400 shelter bags delivered in Blue Nile state, benefiting 2,300 people, and 590 were delivered in the Northern State, helping 3,240 individuals.
The assistance is part of the humanitarian and relief efforts provided by Saudi Arabia through KSrelief to support countries and people in need worldwide.


Saudi maths students scoop 10 awards at international competition

Updated 25 July 2024
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Saudi maths students scoop 10 awards at international competition

  • Mawhiba Secretary-General Amal Al-Hazaa said the victory was a source of pride for the entire nation

RIYADH: Saudi maths students scooped 10 awards, fending off strong competition from 38 countries, in the 36th annual Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad, the Saudi Press Agency reported late Wednesday.

The Saudi team, represented by the King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) and the Education Ministry, won two silver medals, five bronze, and three certificates of commendation against 345 other students.

Youssef Bakheet from the educational directorate of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, and Muath Al-Qahtani from the Eastern Province, received the silver medals.

The bronze medals were awarded to Mohammed Al-Ghamdi and Ilyas Al-Faraj from the Eastern Province, Ahmed Al-Shahri from Riyadh, Fatima Bouali from Al-Ahsa and Ahmed Khalawi from Jeddah.

The certificates of commendation were awarded to Mohammed Hafez and Abdul Salam Al-Salmi from Madinah, as well as Youssef Khalawi from Jeddah.

Mawhiba Secretary-General Amal Al-Hazaa said the victory was a source of pride for the entire nation.

The participation at APMO was part of the Mawhiba program for international Olympiads, which is held in strategic partnership with the Education Ministry.

It is one of 20 programs and initiatives that offer advanced curricula and enrichment programs provided annually by Mawhiba and the ministry for talented students.