Interviews

Abdullah Muteb Alrasheed: The EU is our key partner

Published: 8. 10. 2021
Author: Luboš Palata
Photo: Photo Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is transforming into a modern, developed country thanks to the reformative efforts of its court. It considers the European Union to be a key international partner. As part of the fight against global warming, the Kingdom is working on the construction of new large-scale green energy solutions, including the largest solar power plant in the world.

Your Excellency, Saudi Arabia has a very bold plan of modernization that it set out to achieve by the year 2030. What is it based on?

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (the King of Saudi Arabia), and His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, are aware of the ever-quickening pace at which the world around us is changing. Taking into account these rapid changes and the geographical location of the Kingdom, which connects the lands of the East and the West, HRH the Crown Prince launched the Vision 2030 program. Its goal is to include the Kingdom among the developed countries of the world and fulfill its people's aspirations. Vision 2030 has set three major goals.

First: Establish the foundations for a vibrant society that will ensure prosperity and quality of life for its citizens. Build a secure environment, which is an innate need of all people. Offer education to its citizens, helping them rise intellectually. And provide all the healthcare options its people may need.

Second: Create an environment in which a diversified economy will provide working opportunities to all Saudi people, develop their capabilities and attract more international investors. In addition to improving business conditions.

hird: Apply the principles of justice, equality, and responsibility at all levels, ensure that there is an independent judicial system, strengthening the role of the responsible citizen, and develop the government system to make sure it fulfills all obligations towards its citizens.

What are your views on the efforts of the European Union to limit the effects of global warming? A part of those efforts is the lowering of oil consumption in EU countries. Is this an opportunity for Saudi Arabia or do you see it as more of a threat?

The international community is going to great lengths, including hosting worldwide conferences, in order to protect the planet from the damage that an ecological catastrophe could bring about. The European Union is a part of these efforts. The Union's efforts in this regard are commendable, especially the plan to reduce emissions by 55% by the year 2030. As for our involvement in reducing the effects of global warming, Saudi Arabia has started two key initiatives – the Green Kingdom Initiative and the Green Middle East Initiative. They both reflect the Kingdom's intentions to protect the planet, help curb desertification, and plant millions of trees. His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has indicated that Saudi Arabia will work hard to be at the forefront of ecological efforts, based on its responsibility as a key player in the oil trade. The Kingdom has been investing in green energy and diversifying its sources of income for many years. It initiated the National Renewable Energy Program. The largest solar power plant in the world is currently under construction in the central parts of our country, thanks to the vision of the Kingdom and HRH King Salman's activity in the field of renewable energy. Besides this one, there are other green energy projects, Sakaka and Dumat al-Jandal, which should provide around 3670 megawatts of power and bring electricity to over 600 000 households. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7 million tons.

The European Union is Saudi Arabia's main economic partner. What can the Union do to improve political relations with your country?

The Saudi kingdom has many successful partnerships all across the world, most notably the partnership with the European Union. This partnership will evolve into the future if mutual understanding between cultures and consultation on all international issues are achieved, in addition to unifying efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation, and weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles. As well as imposing deterrent sanctions on countries that work to destabilize the Middle East. It must be emphasized that the Palestinian people's access to their legitimate and internationally recognized rights will have a profound impact on the stability of the region, and it is the responsibility of the international community to achieve this.

Do people in Saudi Arabia know Czech products? Where do you see opportunities for Czech exporters?

The trade exchange between our two countries, the Kingdom and the Czech Republic, has developed favorably in recent years, and both parties have a desire to nurture it further. We are working on bolstering mutual cooperation and trade relations.

The Saudi kingdom opened up to international tourism not too long ago. Let's hope that the Covid pandemic will soon be over, tourism will flow again, and it will be possible to come visit your country. What shouldn't a visitor miss in Saudi Arabia?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has great potential in terms of tourism. Aside from Mecca and Medina, which every Muslim yearns to visit, there are countless archeological sites, attracting tourists from all over the world. The Arabian peninsula was home to many ancient civilizations, whose traces can be seen to this day. The Kingdom boasts a diverse terrain, overlooking the Red Sea, with its charming coral reefs, as well as the Arabian Gulf, which is a lush source of pearls and precious stones.

How do you like it here in Czechia?  What  would you say is its most alluring quality?

It is easy to fall in love with the Czech Republic, thanks to its natural wonders as well as beautiful historical sights. I feel very good here, owing to good relations and cooperation with both the local offices as well as the people.

Abdullah Muteb Alrasheed (born 1960) is the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Czech Republic.

He graduated in political science from prestigious Saudi universities – the King Saud University and the Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies – and he undertook several courses in the United States and the European Union, at Oxford among others.

He has worked in many countries during his diplomatic career – the US, Spain, and Ukraine.

He is married and has no children. According to him, he and his wife have taken a liking to the Czech Republic in the short time that they have been here. The traditional Czech dish they liked the most out of the ones they have tried so far was the potato salad.

#His hobbies are sports, traveling and reading. Besides Arabic and English, he also speaks Spanish.

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