Bangladesh becomes member state of Digital Cooperation Organization at UNGA

Bangladesh becomes member state of Digital Cooperation Organization at UNGA
Bangladesh becomes member state of Digital Cooperation Organization at UNGA

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: US broadcaster Fox News is running a two-day special on Saudi Arabia’s transformation, featuring an exclusive interview with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, airing on Thursday.

The channel’s veteran broadcaster, Bret Baier, is in Saudi Arabia, where he has been given “unprecedented access” to several top officials to discuss oil, social reforms, economic diversification, and relations with the US.



“This country is one of the world’s largest oil producers, the origin of Islam, the world’s largest sand desert, the world’s largest oasis, the world’s largest airport,” Baier said in a promo for the channel’s special coverage.

“Politically, it is one of the most important places on the planet, as a cultural center for Arabs and Muslims, and its pivotal strategic location. “Over the next two nights, we will bring you an exclusive, behind the scenes look at the Kingdom, to show you what it’s about, its beauty, its uniqueness, and its increasingly important role in world affairs.”

Over the course of its programming, Fox News speaks to Jerry Inzerillo, group CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, about one of the Kingdom’s most exciting heritage tourism destinations.

Baier also meets with Saudi Arabia’s ministers for tourism, economy, energy and sport to explore how the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 social reform and economic diversification agenda is moving the country away from its reliance on oil production and expanding into whole new industries.

“We have to be sharp, we have to be ready, I tell my team, we need to do the impossible,” Faisal Al-Ibrahim, minister of economy and planning, told Baier in a segment about the transformation.

“Vision 2030 is about unlocking potential. That’s the main objective of Vision 2030. It’s a blueprint of where we want to be and how we will get there.

“It’s designed to address our long term economic challenges and risks through three things; diversifying the economy, empowering the youth of the Kingdom, and building institutions that can help carry this beyond 2030.

“It helps Saudi Arabia play a bigger role connecting the world, positioned where we are today. This is an asset we need to leverage and it’s about connecting energy, it’s about connecting data, connecting goods and services, connecting people, all for the betterment of the world at large.

“Every day is a blank canvas with the Saudi youth. They’re painting pictures that we’ve never imagined could be possible more than seven years ago. So, this is just the beginning. We’re about to see more and more potential being unlocked and we’re very adamant to make this transformation count.”

Commenting on the crown prince’s leadership, Al-Ibrahim said it comes from a desire to improve the lives of Saudi citizens.

“His leadership style comes from the ownership of the cause,” he said.

“He wants Saudi Arabia to be the best version of itself. He wants Saudi Arabia to be a global player that helps improve the world, a global change agent. He wants Saudi people and people residing in Saudi to live the best lives and to be able to contribute the most to this economy but also the global economy at large.”

One of the most exciting developments in the Kingdom is the growth of the tourism industry. Long closed to the outside world, only religious pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah were permitted to visit Saudi Arabia.

Now, thanks to the launch of tourism e-visas and massive investment in new leisure, entertainment and hospitality mega-projects, the Kingdom is well placed to become a global destination.

“Tourism is at the forefront of Vision 2030,” Ahmed Al-Khatib, minister of tourism, told Baier. “We’re unlocking this sector. We have doubled in (the number of tourists) the last two years and we will double in the next two years.

“We revised our targets. We revised it up to 150 million visitors, domestic and international. Seventy million visitors, international, by 2030. We will achieve 30 million this year out of the 70 million international visitors, and this is before the (opening) of Red Sea Global, NEOM, Qiddiya and Diriyah.”

BIO: Bret Baier

* Bret Baier is an American anchor and journalist.

* He was born in Rumson, New Jersey, and graduated from DePauw University in 1992 with a degree in political science and English.

* Baier joined Fox News in 1998 and served as the network’s Chief White House Correspondent during the presidency of George W. Bush.

* He covered some of the most important events in recent US history, such as the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

* He is best known for being the chief political correspondent for Fox and for hosting “Special Report with Bret Baier,” a nightly news and political analysis program on Fox News.

* Baier has interviewed some of the most important political figures in recent years, including former US presidents Donald (2023), Barack Obama (2016), and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (2022).

* Baier has received numerous awards for his journalism, including Kenneth Y. Tomlinson Award for Outstanding Journalism and the Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism.

* He has also authored several books, including “Special Heart: A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage, and Love” and “To Rescue the Republic.”

Commenting on “The Line” — a completely new reimagining of urban living in NEOM in the Kingdom’s northwest — Al-Khatib confirmed that construction has commenced and that it is “1,000 percent, it’s going to happen.”

“We have an advantage. We are building a new city and it is easier to build something from scratch rather than to transform something. Today, if you want to transform a big city like London or Paris or New York, it’s very difficult because the city was built over many, many decades.

“It (The Line) will be the example of the future city where any one would love to live and experience how future living will look. “We are running very, very fast to catch up with him (the crown prince), honestly, and to deliver his vision.”

On the matter of Saudi Arabia’s decision as part of OPEC+ to reduce oil production at a time when global oil prices were already high owing to the war in Ukraine, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Kingdom’s minister of energy, told Baier the move was designed to stabilize oil markets, not to profiteer.

“We are not price driven, we are more or less stability driven,” said Prince Abdulaziz.

“We are not siding with anybody. We are siding with our own national interests. We’re trying to protect our economy. There is huge ambition and we need to secure that ambition.”

He added: “What we’re doing has nothing to do with prices. What we’re doing is making sure that we reduce the volatility of the market.”

The Fox News program dealt with more than just economics. Baier also spoke with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the minister of sport, who highlighted the Kingdom’s success in establishing women’s teams and leagues.

“All the clubs now have women football teams. We even have a national team. Our official national team got into the FIFA ranking where four or five months ago, there wasn’t a women’s team,” said Prince Abdulaziz.

“So now we’re in the ranking of FIFA, they’re playing a lot of competitions, a lot of friendlies to make sure that they climb up the ranking.We have a target for them to climb. But two years ago or three years ago, there wasn’t a national team. And now we have a league as well.”

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