Saudi National Day

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia celebrates its 80th National Day, marking the unification of the country by late King Abdulaziz in 1932.

Both Saudis and expatriates are all geared up to celebrate the event all over the Kingdom. A variety of events have been planned to mark the event.

On the occasion of the National Day, Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, congratulated King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques; Crown Prince Sultan, Deputy Premier, Defense and Aviation Minister and inspector general; and the Saudi people.

In his address on Saudi television, Prince Naif spoke of the Kingdom’s accomplishments in various fields and also highlighted the fight against terrorism.

“Despite the world and particularly our region being in turmoil, the Kingdom is proud that, due to the directives of the wise leadership, it has been able to repulse the attacks against this nation’s faith and stability,” he said.

In a statement issued Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said King Abdullah’s leadership on key challenges, from developing the Kingdom’s institutions and economy to establishing an enduring dialogue promoting moderation and tolerance, has put Saudi Arabia and the region on a path toward a stronger, more prosperous, and more secure future.

“On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on your National Day this Sept. 23.”

“We also honor King Abdullah’s steadfast support for the Arab Peace Initiative. This groundbreaking initiative provided a far-sighted vision for comprehensive regional peace when the King first proposed it. As we continue working to support direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the principles enshrined in the Arab Peace Initiative are more important than ever.”

“As we join in celebrating this special day, we reaffirm the commitment of the United States to broaden and deepen our partnership with Saudi Arabia in the years to come. I wish all Saudis a safe and joyous National Day,” the statement said.

James B. Smith, US Ambassador to the Kingdom, said in a statement: “On behalf of the people of the United States of America, I want to congratulate King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of your National Day.”

“For nearly three quarters of a century, the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been strong friends and close allies.”

“On the historic occasion of your National Day, I would like to thank King Abdullah for his continuing leadership to promote economic and political stability in the region.”

In the Eastern Province, more than 650 decorated cars will participate in a car rally which will cover the 60 kilometer distance from King Abdullah Park at Dammam’s Corniche - along Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd Road, Dhahran Highway and King Abdullah Highway - to Al-Khobar’s Corniche. The car procession will start at 3:44 P.M.

Similar events have also been planned elsewhere in the Kingdom.

Expatriates have offered their congratulations to Saudi citizens and expressed eagerness to also take part in the country’s National Day celebrations.

On the occasion of the Kingdom's 80th National Day, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities Prince Sultan bin Salman commended the country's leaders for pursuing a national development policy that has enabled the country to make substantial achievements in all fields.

"The Saudi leadership has set cultural and economic developments as key objectives to be achieved through its sustained support for modern projects, new plans and regulations in line with the rapid developments taking place in the outside world," the prince said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

"During the current era of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, the Kingdom has been witnessing enormous achievements and developments making the Kingdom a model state with additional stress on Islam and original Arab culture," said President General of the Youth Welfare Presidency Prince Sultan bin Fahd. He also described King Abdullah's reign as an era of all-round progress.

Assistant Minister of Culture and Information Prince Turki bin Sultan underscored the significance of the day as a historical, cultural, and humanitarian occasion. He added that the Kingdom's founder King Abdulaziz was a well-accomplished political leader who helped revive Islamic values and applied Islamic Shariah.

The prince said the government led by King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, and Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif has been following the values set by King Abdulaziz.

Chairman of the Shoura Council Abdullah Al-Asheikh said King Abdullah is a pioneering leader of modernization and reforms. He added that the king possesses remarkable qualities.

He also noted that the Kingdom has been striving to preserve fundamental Islamic principles and following the path paved by King Abdulaziz. He added that the king has initiated a culture of dialogue both at home and abroad and has been working to protect human rights in accordance with the law.

"The strategic partnership between our two brotherly countries is deeply rooted in history and the relations have always been cordial and unique," said Pakistan's Ambassador to the Kingdom Umar Khan Alisherzai. "The government and people of Pakistan highly appreciated the generosity and help of the Kingdom during the recent floods. Saudi Arabia has always supported Pakistan in difficult times," he added.

The US also felicitated the Kingdom. "On behalf of the US people and President Barack Obama I offer my congratulations to King Abdullah and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the Kingdom's National Day," said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a statement carried by the SPA.

Clinton commended the king for his efforts to create harmony among people of different religions and efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Saudi flags were selling like hot cakes across the Kingdom on Wednesday. Flags of varying sizes and other types of Saudi memorabilia, such as caps and stickers carrying the national emblem of two swords and a palm tree, have been in great demand.

The items are even being sold at traffic signals for anything between SR5 and SR15.

Car body workshops have also been busy over the last week decorating the cars of young Saudis with the color green and using the Saudi logo.

Many have also been asking to have the back of their cars decorated with the pictures of the Kingdom's leaders.

"The fatherland has the greatest claim over us and so whatever we spend on National Day is an expression of patriotism," said Sami Hijazi, who was busy decorating his car.

Another youth, Jamal Al-Hassan, said he spent SR4,000 decorating his car. Nasser Al-Joaedi said he was proud of the king and the Kingdom and did not know any other way to express his sentiments but by specially decorating his car for the day.

Workers at car workshops said they wait for Saudi National Day, as it is a brilliant time to do business. Muhammad Al-Aynus, who owns a car decoration shop, said he has sold over SR10,000 worth of flags and stickers carrying flags and inscribed with the wordings "Fidaka Ya Watani" (We Sacrifice Ourselves for the Fatherland).

"Our customers are mostly between 20 and 30. They want their cars to be painted fully with the color of the flag, or pictures of the king, the crown prince and the second deputy premier. A full painting takes two or three days and costs between SR1,000 and SR3,000. The stickers range between SR50 and SR200 depending on their size," said Hassan Ahmad, Al-Aynus' assistant.

Director of Traffic Police in Jeddah Brig. Muhammad Al-Qahtani warned that no traffic violation would go unnoticed on Thursday. "Any attempt to block the flow of traffic or any other type of violation, such as painting a car in a way that prevents people from looking in from the outside, will not be tolerated," said Al-Qahtani.

He also warned people against removing car registration plates, covering them with writing, playing loud music and gathering in their cars on streets.

The National Day fever is so intense this year that the day is also being celebrated online. Many young Saudis have changed their Facebook profile pictures and avatars to images with a green Saudi theme. Blackberry users have also been forwarding pictures and messages that suit the occasion.

Meanwhile, traders in Madinah are offering 50 percent discounts on items to celebrate the day. A newspaper publisher has also been offering reduced subscriptions, while communication companies are offering 50 percent reductions in prices.

Special events will be held at Madinah's Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz Sports City and King Fahd Park. There will also be a fireworks display at the city's Equestrian Club.

A special function is also to be held on Thursday evening at the Prince Sultan Civilization Center in Hail with the support of Hail Gov. Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen. The celebrations, which are open to all, will consist of cultural programs, folk dances, art shows and competitions.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has received a number of cables of congratulations on the anniversary of the Kingdom's National Day from President Ilham Heydar Aliyev of the Republic of Azerbaijan; President Barack Obama of the United States of America; President Islam Karimov of the Republic of Uzbekistan; Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; King Albert II of the Kingdom of Belgium; President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of the Republic of Tunisia; President Dr. Alhaji Yahya Jammeh of the Republic of Gambia; President Jacob Zuma of South Africa; President Bashar al-Assad of the Syrian Arab Republic; King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden; Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, and President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has also received a number of cables of congratulations on the anniversary of the Kingdom's National Day from President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea; President General Michel Suleiman of the Republic of Lebanon; Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Commander of September Revolution; President Pal Schmitt of the Republic of Hungary; President Felipe Calderon Ainojosa of the United Mexican States; Chairman Senior General Than Shwe of the State Peace and Development Council of the Union of Myanmar; President Ali Abdullah Saleh of the Republic of Yemen; Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar; Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain; Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar and Prime Minister Viktor Orban of the Republic of Hungary.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has also received a number of cables of congratulations on the anniversary of the Kingdom's National Day from Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi; Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah; Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Heir Apparent of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces in the United Arab Emirates; Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al-Qasimi; Heir Apparent and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah; Sheikh Ahmed bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al- Qassimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.

In reply cables, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques expressed thanks to them, appreciating their good wishes.

A number of Egyptian editors lauded Saudi Arabia's prominent role in defending Arab and Islamic causes and cited its economic, political, cultural, religious and social achievements, including its call for dialogue among followers of different religions, cultures and civilizations.

In editorials to mark the 80th anniversary of the National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which falls on September 23, they forwarded their sincere felicitations to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, and Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, on the anniversary of the National Day.

They said the Kingdom and Egypt were bound with strong ties, particularly during the current era of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak.

The editors lauded the stance of the Kingdom in support of the people of Palestine and praised the facilities the Kingdom was extending to pilgrims and Umrah performers.

They were Mohammed Ali Ibrhaim, Editor-in-chief of Al-Jamhouria newspaper, Majdi Al-Daggag, Editor-in-chief of October magazine, Abdul-Ati Al-Shafee, Chief of the Constitutional Commission for the Saudi Egyptian Association and Dr. Ahmed Yousef Al-Garee, journalist and strategic analyst.

Prince Mishaal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Chief of Allegiance-Pledge Commission, forwarded his sincere felicitations to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on the 80th anniversary of the National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which falls on 23rd of September.

In a speech to TV news to mark the occasion, Prince Mishaal bin Abdulaziz said the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have every right to be proud of this day, thanks to its drawing an end to sedition, tribalism and struggle.

He paid tribute to the founder of the Kingdom, late King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, and his men who martyred for the sake of the country's unification.

He urged the citizens of the Kingdom to prove their true citizenship through lending their support and assistance to the monarch and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, who spared no effort to bring happiness and pleasure to the souls of Saudi nationals.