Emir of Riyadh Prince Khalid Bin Bandar and Deputy Emir Prince Turki Bin Abdullah cut the cake with US Ambassador James B. Smith to celebrate the US national day at a ceremony at the ambassador’s residence in Riyadh on Monday. — SG photo
RIYADH — The US Embassy celebrated their national day Monday at a ceremony that hosted Emir of Riyadh Prince Khalid Bin Bandar and Deputy Emir Prince Turki Bin Abdullah at US Ambassador James B. Smith’s residence.
The US national day, often called Independence Day, is traditionally celebrated on July 4 of every year to mark the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In Saudi Arabia, the embassy celebrates in March, reportedly to take advantage of the weather before summer vacations.
“We are celebrating the 237th anniversary of American independence, but this year we are also celebrating another anniversary, which is the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Smith.
The event’s theme “Discover America” was aimed at celebrating business ties in investment, education, tourism and medicine between the Kingdom and the US.
“[We] welcome you to travel, I can say that because we issued 112,000, five-year, multiple entry visas last year and we will probably beat that number this year,” said Smith. He also said bilateral trade in the Kingdom went from less than $39 billion in 2008 to $74 billion this year and US exports to the Kingdom increased 31 percent in 2012.
“In truth, you cannot have a strong bilateral relationship at the top, unless you have a solid foundation. That foundation is in business, education and medicine,” he continued.
The ambassador commended the value of every Saudi and American businessman, foreign-exchange student, teacher and physician as a brick in the foundation of relations between the two nations.
Mofid H. Deak, press attaché and spokesperson for the US Embassy in Riyadh, said: “It’s a great day for both countries.
“It’s a celebration, really, of the multi-faceted, unique and close relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia over the past 80 years. It’s a relationship that is built on mutual respect, shared values and shared goals.”
Dr. Janet Breslin-Smith, wife of Ambassador Smith, said of the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia: “It’s [a relationship] that we appreciate every day we’re here, because both of our countries have a role in the world. “Saudi Arabia is a leader in this region and we appreciate that leadership.
“It’s a day to really enjoy each other’s company.”