Middle East

Young Saudi medical volunteers step up to treat Mecca pilgrims

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia and France share ancient diplomatic relations dating back to 1839, and the first French diplomatic post was opened on the Arabian Peninsula.

Relations prospered over time and ultimately covered all aspects of bilateral cooperation on trade, culture, education and political agreements.

Celebrating Bastille Day, Arab News Enfrancé met with French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ludovic Puille, to discuss the global strategic partnership between the Kingdom and France and the ambassador’s aspirations in the country.

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman will welcome French President Emmanuel Macron in Jeddah on December 4, 2021. Saudi Arabia and France share a historical relationship dating back to 1839. (AFP)

Regarding cultural cooperation between the two countries, the ambassador told Arab News: , Especially tourism, culture and heritage. “

The aforementioned visit took Franco’s relationship with Saudi Arabia to another level. In the meantime, a symbolic bilateral agreement was born on the development of interconnected city centers and cultural tourism institutions around the Alura region and the Madain Salenabatea archaeological site.

We want to promote the excellence and know-how of our institution to Saudi Arabia, especially when it comes to event production, presentations of artists and their work, training, and the establishment of art schools.

Ludovic PouilleFrench Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

“Archaeology is a major historical player in this cooperation. In 2002, the first excavation of Franco Saudi Arabia, led by French archaeologist Laila Nehme, was launched in Hegra. This year, 20 of this cooperation. Celebrating the Anniversary. This cooperation has expanded with more than 16 Franco Saudi archaeological missions in the Kingdom. A complex dedicated to the contemporary art of Al Ula.

The ambassador is proud to open the Alliance Francaise branch in Alura in November 2021 and believes that Saudi Arabia and the French-speaking community will come together.

Already deeply rooted cultural and artistic cooperation is constantly evolving and blooming. In June 2022, I witnessed the first edition of a music festival in Ad Diriyah hosted by the French Embassy in Saudi Arabia.

“Similarly, the Mohammed Abd concert in Paris on July 22nd will be an opportunity to introduce traditional Saudi songs to the French people,” he said, and these events are intercultural. He added that it would promote people’s intimacy and cross-cultural dialogue to be a bridge.

“France is a pioneer in several areas, including film, music, culinary arts, video games, and performing arts,” says Pouille. “We want to promote the excellence and know-how of our institution to Saudi Arabia, especially when it comes to event production, presentations of artists and their work, training, and the establishment of art schools. I have.”

Despite being a big part of the cultural program, the growth of Franco Saudi relations is not limited to that. Sports cooperation between France and Saudi Arabia is developing rapidly.

The French ambassador does not hide his enthusiastic support for the Al Hilal Saudi football club. He told Arab News that in recent years several agreements have been signed between the Ministry of Sport of Saudi Arabia and various French organizations, especially the French Football Federation, the National Institute of Sport Performance and the French Handball Federation.

Several soccer training centers for young people in Saudi Arabia have been developed in the Kingdom in collaboration with FFF, but they are not the only ones. “French athletes who specialize in organizing sports competitions have been excellent in the Saudi Arabian scene in recent years,” Pouille said.

“The first thing that comes to mind is the Rally Dakar, organized by the Amaury Sports Organization in Saudi Arabia since 2020. This is the flagship event of our sports cooperation. ASO is also Arabia’s in 2020 cycling. Launched other major events with Saudi Arabian authorities, including the first tour, the Dakar Rally in the eastern provinces, the Alura Eco Trail and the Riad Marathon. As a sports nation and organizer of international events such as the 2024 Paris Olympics. , France has a lot of experience. “

At the economic level, Saudi Arabia and France have always had a privileged relationship, which was boosted after President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the Kingdom in 2017.

“France’s investment in Saudi Arabia reached about $ 3 billion in 2020, primarily in the energy sector, while Saudi Arabia invested about $ 600 million in France, primarily in hotels and real estate,” said Pouille. Stated.

On the trade front, the French ambassador said that 2021 trade in goods between France and Saudi Arabia reached $ 6 billion, up 25% year-on-year, reflecting the strength of bilateral trade relations. France ranks 8th in Saudi Arabia’s supplier rankings, maintaining a market share of approximately 3.4% of Saudi Arabia’s total imports.

Pouille said he was very optimistic when asked where he was seeing this cooperation in five years.

“Saudi Arabia has launched a series of Giga projects. Many development projects in the areas of tourism and entertainment, art and culture in NEOM, AlUla, Red Sea project, Qiddiya, AMALA, Diriyah, and the capital and other regions. “Renewable energy, new technology, innovation,” he said.

“Thanks to the partnership signed at the Business Forum beside the visit of Saudi Arabian companies, especially President Emmanuel Macron, French companies already exist in these sectors, which are very promising in the coming years. The sky is our limit. “

Saudi Arabia has a lively and dynamic French community, many of which are executives working in large groups in France and abroad in the energy, defense, transportation and tourism sectors. According to the ambassador, as of July 2022, the kingdom is home to 5,600 registered French. There are 2,500 in Riyadh, 600 in the eastern provinces (Dammam, Al Khobar, Jubail) and 2,500 in Jeddah, Medina and Mecca.

“It’s really nice to see more and more compatriots choosing to come to Saudi Arabia, thanks to the many economic and cultural projects being developed as part of Vision 2030,” Pouille said. rice field.

He added that the French community in Saudi Arabia enjoys excellent quality of life with excellent services in a safe environment, especially digital and access to increasingly diverse leisure activities. ..

For Puille, three prestigious French international schools in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar and a network of five alliance francaise in the country enhance the charm of the kingdom for French and French-speaking families.

“Access to a high level of medical infrastructure is a plus, and the French community especially appreciates the strict control of the pandemic by the Saudi authorities,” he said.

At the end of the interview, the ambassador seized the opportunity to wish readers a happy National Foundation Day. More and more tourists and Saudi Arabian investors will visit France. “

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2121956/saudi-arabia Young Saudi medical volunteers step up to treat Mecca pilgrims

Back to top button