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Salman in Europe - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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When a person like Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz visits European countries, the matter requires a closer look. Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz is an important symbol in Saudi politics. The Saudis are proud of him and hold him in high esteem. He is more than just the governor of their capital city; rather he is an example of someone who is constantly in contact with his people and is an example of real administration and careful planning. He is a man who believed in the importance of communicating with the world. He did not send his son to space in order to be the first ambassador of the Arab and Islamic world there but in fact launched the first Saudi media system in the world, thus opening up a channel of communication in a contemporary manner. He also launched a series of international exhibitions that toured the world and conveyed Saudi Arabia’s civilized message to the world, as people hardly knew anything about the country.

Prince Salman recently visited Norway, a pivotal state in northern Europe and its “Viking” leadership that toured the world and dealt wisely with the cartoon crisis that defamed our Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] unlike other states. Norway has a clear influence on the culture of peace, as it led the Oslo Accords between the Palestinians and Israel and has always been first to rally peacekeeping forces around the world. Therefore, Saudi Arabia’s presence in a state like Norway was significant, and this presence was further consolidated by the official inauguration of a Saudi embassy in that country.

The next stop after Norway was Germany, home to Europe’s largest and most important economy and the world’s second largest. Today, in view of the global financial crisis taking the European market by storm, Germany stands out as the real leader of the European continent and the centre of gravity after the decline of French and British influence. The exceptional standing and reputation of its products and services has given the German economy a truly distinguished status, and its exceptional position is evident in its international status and its status in the Arab world and the Saudi markets.

Germany was at the centre of the 9/11 storm, as it was there that the Hamburg cell led by Muhammad Ata was based as well as a number of extremist schools [of thought], and this had a [negative] impact on Saudi-German relations for some time. However, Saudi diplomacy was able to reduce Germany’s concerns. Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz’s visit to Germany took place just days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Jeddah and met with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, highlighting the importance of relations between the two countries.

The economic, cultural, political and moral message of Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz’s visit to Europe is strongly required in order to rebuild trust instead of [increasing] suspicion and destruction. It was striking to see the prince with other leaders on their own ground extending the hand of cooperation at a time when Israeli soldiers were wreaking havoc and killing innocent civilians in the open sea. The world cannot help but compare between a man of peace and such cowards.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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