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Change is coming to Saudi Arabia

As the country opens up like never before, the long-standing ties between the Kingdom and US look set to grow

Gulf News

Seldom in human history have countries peacefully and voluntarily embarked upon a resolute course correction to recalibrate a national economy and expand societal norms — without compromising on religious sensibilities.

Yet, that is precisely what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is attempting to do.

For decades, the Kingdom lived according to social and cultural norms that went unchallenged, thus inhibiting its progress.

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But the leaders of Saudi Arabia have set a new course that aims to transform Saudi economy and society, and unlock its untapped potential.

Two years ago, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, working under the guidance of King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, launched Vision 2030, a comprehensive plan for economic diversification as well as social and cultural reform.


Mohammad Bin SalmanTwo years ago, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, working under the guidance of King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, launched Vision 2030, a comprehensive plan for economic diversification as well as social and cultural reform."

— Khalid Bin Salman is Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States



Young and dynamic, the crown prince — Saudi Arabia’s chief reform architect — understands the country’s largest demographic group, namely the Saudi youth. Our old course was not sustainable, and change is now under way in virtually every aspect of society. 

We are expanding women’s rights, improving services for Muslim pilgrims and investing in megaprojects across various industries.

Reforms, promoting Saudi culture

We are opening our country to tourism, creating a domestic entertainment industry, and promoting Saudi heritage and culture.

Saudi Arabia's 300kph train to roll out commercial operations this year, says official. - SPA

 


And we are also restructuring our health care and education systems.

These are but a few of the reforms that have already been launched.

The United States will have a chance to acquaint itself with these reforms during Mohammad’s first official visit to the United States as the Crown Prince.

His visit is intended to reinforce Saudi Arabia’s already strong partnership with the US, building on the 2017 Riyadh summit, which elevated our countries’ relationship.

But, the crown prince will be visiting America not just to talk politics; he is also there to talk business, specifically the bilateral investment opportunities made possible by his diversification strategy.

 Young and dynamic, the crown prince — Saudi Arabia’s chief reform architect — understands the country’s largest demographic group, namely the Saudi youth. Our old course was not sustainable, and change is now under way in virtually every aspect of society.

The crown prince’s multi-city tour will lay the ground for King Salman’s visit to the US later this year.

Mohammad is one of Saudi Arabia’s top politicians, so he will come to Washington to meet officials from the administration of US President Donald Trump, as well as congressional members from both sides of the aisle, which will fortify the long-standing relationship between our two countries.

The historic relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US stretches back decades, nurtured and safeguarded by both Democrats and Republicans.

It was born in the aftermath of the Second World War, sustained during the Cold War and reinforced during Operation Desert Storm.

Intelligence sharing

Our security cooperation includes shared efforts against terrorism, including intelligence sharing and joint counterterrorism ventures such as the Global Center for Countering Extremist Ideology, or Etidal. 

On the educational front, thousands of Saudi students have studied in the US over the decades. Economically, Saudi businessmen have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in America, across various industries including technology, real estate and infrastructure.

 We are opening our country to tourism, creating a domestic entertainment industry, and promoting Saudi heritage and culture. And we are also restructuring our health care and education systems.

As we do with every presidential administration, we are focused on maintaining our close working relationship. The Trump administration has made tremendous achievements.

President Trump’s decisions, particularly in the area of fighting extremism and pushing back the malicious influence of Iran, are having an effect. Saudi Arabia’s leaders and the Trump administration continue to build and strengthen the framework of a bilateral relationship that facilitates inter-agency cooperation.

More multidimensional

We now see new chances for revitalising the long-standing Saudi-US alliance.

The crown prince will highlight this during his trip — especially in the area of business and investment opportunities — and expand the efforts that King Salman and President Trump initiated last year in Riyadh.

The relationship today is stronger, deeper and more multidimensional than ever, and it extends beyond the Oval Office, the halls of Congress, military bases and trading floors.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is reforming, and our dynamism will take the Saudi-US relationship to new heights.

Both sides should seize the moment.

We must take the opportunity to recommit ourselves to a cemented alliance with a proud legacy, but one that also looks to the future, sparks prosperity, unlocks the full potential of all Saudis and helps to stabilise a crucial region and the world.

— Washington Post

Khalid Bin Salman is Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States.

 

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