Saudi FM calls for peaceful solutions to multiple world crises

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Furhan Al-Saud addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, at United Nations headquarters. (AP)
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Updated 24 September 2023
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Saudi FM calls for peaceful solutions to multiple world crises

  • Prince Faisal bin Farhan discusses Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Sudan, Palestine
  • Foreign minister praises Saudi-Iranian rapprochement, calls for global action against Islamophobia

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister called for peaceful solutions to multiple world crises during his address to the 78th UN General Assembly in New York on Saturday.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan stressed the importance of human rights to Saudi Arabia, saying: “Our country has enacted a number of laws, and has also amended existing laws, in order to promote the dignity of the citizen and protect livelihoods and decent living while ensuring protection for all.”

He reaffirmed the Kingdom’s support for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “that allows the Palestinian people to have an independent state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Prince Faisal also called for solutions to the conflicts and crises in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Sudan.

“The Kingdom affirms its keenness on the security and stability of the Republic of Yemen and supports all efforts aimed at resolving the crisis in Yemen, and alleviating the human suffering of the Yemeni people,” he said.

He called for de-escalation in Sudan, saying Saudi Arabia hosted ceasefire talks between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in Jeddah earlier this year with the participation of the US.

“Saudi Arabia is working actively to protect civilians and to guarantee delivery of aid to the population,” he said.

“We have, since the beginning of the crisis, constantly taken humanitarian action by conducting evacuation operations by sea of thousands of Sudanese and citizens of neighboring and brotherly countries.”

King Salman has also launched an initiative to raise funds for the Sudanese people, and decreed $100 million in humanitarian assistance to the country through the Saudi aid agency KSrelief, Prince Faisal said.

Prince Faisal said Saudi Arabia supports calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces in Libya.  

“The Kingdom stresses the importance of achieving security and stability in Libya ensuring its sovereignty independence and territorial integrity and stopping interference in its internal affairs,” he said.

Further demonstrating the Kingdom’s important role as a global mediator, Prince Faisal mentioned Saudi efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine, including inviting the country to attend the Arab League Summit in Jeddah in May, and hosting an international summit on the war in August.

The latter meeting saw the attendance of over 40 countries, including many that had not specifically condemned Russia.

Prince Faisal also praised the resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran “based on mutual respect for sovereignty, independence, security and non-interference.”

The two countries resumed diplomatic ties in April after seven years of strained relations, as part of a deal brokered by China during a meeting in Beijing between the Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers.

Prince Faisal also called on the international community to take action against Islamophobia. “The world must show firmness and determination when it comes to supporting or sponsoring terrorism or extremism,” he said.

“We must reject all forms of attacks against sacred values, and the propagation of hate and Islamophobia under any pretext, and prevent incidents such as the burning of the Holy Qur’an.

“We warn against the gravity of these acts, which jeopardize mutual respect and understanding between peoples, and which hinder international efforts towards tolerance, moderation and rejection of extremism.”

On the subject of climate change, Prince Faisal reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to reducing emissions and “a gradual and responsible transition towards clean energy systems with low emissions using all available sources of energy to ensure sustainability.”

He said: “We know this is a massive challenge, and we’d like to consolidate our leading role throughout the world when it comes to sustainability.”

He added that the Kingdom has launched the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative in order to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He said the Kingdom is using the circular economy approach towards carbon neutrality and has doubled its contributions to this goal, adding that efforts are under way to promote better governance of water resources.

On the issue of global energy supply, he said Saudi Arabia is striving to meet the needs of consumers and producers on a global level while working with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

“We’ll focus on prospects for a future focused on technology and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will be an excellent opportunity to promote projects with universal impact that can foster cooperation to find solutions through innovation, inclusiveness, and sustainability.” 

He also stressed "the importance of efforts to achieve the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons.”

Prince Faisal noted that Saudi Arabia has submitted its bid to host the World Expo 2030 under the title “The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow.”

“We also have an ambitious policy towards the future,” he said.  

He concluded by thanking all countries that have supported the Kingdom’s World Expo bid, and conveyed to the world “our message, values and principles in a spirit of partnership and respect to lay the groundwork for a better future for humanity.”


Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

Updated 22 February 2024
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Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

HAIL: Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Hail region, took part in a Zubaida Trail caravan on Thursday to mark Founding Day celebrations.

The caravan, overseen by the Heritage Commission and organized by the Caravans Trails Association, began its journey from the historic city of Fayd to Sumaira’ Province.

Prince Faisal honored the sponsors and partners, and along with hikers, horseback riders, camel riders and cyclists, took part in the caravan journey.

Along the route, the deputy governor spoke to groups taking part in the event, including Saudis and foreigners in the Kingdom.

Prince Faisal praised the government’s support for the heritage sector, and commended the dedication of all parties involved in the caravan program.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Obeida, general supervisor of the Zubaida Trail, praised the support given to the initiative by the Saudi leadership, as well as the Hail governor and his deputy.

He said that the scheme aims to revitalize the ancient route, which is one of many in Saudi Arabia dating back over 1,000 years.

Al-Obeida highlighted the importance of community involvement in sustaining and developing the trail route for economic, cultural and tourism purposes.
 


Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

Updated 22 February 2024
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Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

AL-ULA: Fourteen Arabian oryxes and 40 Arabian sand gazelles have been released into the Gharameel nature reserve by the the National Center for Wildlife.

The conservation effort at Gharameel, located 60 km north of AlUla, took place with cooperation from the Royal Commission for AlUla.

The reserve features unique biodiversity throughout its rock and sand formations, and hillsides.

Resettlement of endangered native species is a key target of the center, as well as restoring biodiversity and environmental balance as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Animal reintroduction also promotes the RCU’s plan to activate six nature reserves while regenerating AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage.

The formations of rocky pillars in the area were created through wind and rain erosion over thousands of years.

AlUla is also a popular stargazing destination for tourists from around the world.
 


Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

RIYADH: The honeybee breeding program — spearheaded by the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program “Saudi Reef” in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture — is poised to make a substantial impact on bee populations.

A select group of model beekeepers has achieved an impressive 200 percent increase in productivity by implementing the program.

According to the “Saudi Reef” program, the surge in production is attributed to a strategic focus on expanding queen bee rearing within the breeding and propagation program.

Additionally, the adoption of innovative production techniques and best practices, including hive management and organic beekeeping, has played a key role.

These practices have been documented in a booklet distributed to beekeepers and have yielded significant production boosts in several model farms established by the project.

Expanding on its success, the program plans to roll out projects for “bee queen breeding and nuclei production” across eight centers spanning regions such as Jazan, Najran, Asir, Baha, Makkah, Madinah, Hail and Tabuk.

Each center is expected to produce 5,000 queen bees annually, characterized by purity and high-production specifications.

This will enable beekeepers to expand queen bee breeding and bee colonies while preserving favorable genetic traits for enhanced production and resilience against diseases and environmental factors.

The honeybee development and honey production sector is a key focus of the “Saudi Reef” program. Since its inception, the program has had significant increases in production, enhancing the income and living standards of its beneficiaries.

To increase food security and agricultural self-sufficiency, Saudi Arabia unveiled an ambitious initiative in August last year to produce more than 7,500 tons of honey annually as part of the Saudi Reef.


Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

Updated 22 February 2024
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Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

  • Saudi employees trained at top schools bringing skills back to the Kingdom

MAKKAH: The Makkah Expo for Hotels and Restaurants, held at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Exhibition Center, ended on Wednesday evening.

The exhibition’s fifth edition was inaugurated by Vice Chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce Mustafa Rajab and involved officials, business owners and company representatives.

A large number of companies and institutions representing the hotel and culinary sectors, specialized in serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors, attended the three-day exhibition, which was held in collaboration with the Unit for Exhibition Organization.

Abdullah Haneef, the acting secretary-general of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce, told Arab News: “The exhibition provided an opportunity to access the best practices in the hotel and restaurant sectors, as it brought together a select group of people specialized in this field in Makkah, a pioneer in the hotel sector field attracting large numbers of visitors from around the world.”

He added that industry officials exchanged business ideas and showcased modern tools and technology, food products and hotel and restaurant supplies, and took part in several accompanying events.

Haneef added: “The exhibition offers an opportunity for investors, interested parties, specialized companies and experts in the hotel and restaurant sector from inside and outside the Kingdom, to display their products to investors and interested individuals and exchange expertise, as well as engage in commercial deals between exhibitors, participants and individuals interested in the hotel and restaurant sector.”

The exhibition also hosted a salon for culinary arts and live cooking demonstrations.

Khalid Al-Ghamdi, an investor in the hotel sector, said that the Saudi industry has begun a strong post-pandemic recovery, and is fulfilling its role in serving visitors.

He added that intensive training programs Saudi employees are undertaking in top international hotel schools are helping them apply their knowledge back in the Kingdom.

Al-Ghamdi said that the restaurant sector is facing significant challenges but also opportunities, including smart digital solutions.

Makkah is one of the most significant and holiest places worldwide, drawing millions of Muslims for religious rituals such as Hajj and Umrah, he added.

The city should therefore focus on enhancing future innovation plans and smart marketing to make the hospitality sector a top performer, through innovative solutions and major investment, he said.


Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

  • Ministers reviewed latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met on Thursday with his French counterpart Stephane Segournet on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

They discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

They also reviewed the latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Kingdom’s Ambassador to Brazil Faisal Ghulam and Walid Al-Smail, assistant director general of the Saudi foreign minister’s office, were also present at the meeting.