Putin welcomes Saudi delegation at St. Petersburg Cultural Forum

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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin welcomed Saudi Arabia’s participating delegation headed by Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, during the opening of the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum on Thursday.

Prince Badr tweeted a picture of himself with President Putin saying: “We accepted the invitation of our friends in Russia to participate in the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum. It was a great opportunity to further strengthen cultural cooperation and meet with President Vladimir Putin.”

The minister also took to Twitter to share other photos from the forum, including one with his Italian counterpart, minister Alberto Bonisoli.

“It was special to meet you Bonisoli Alberto, Italian minister of culture. We have many opportunities to pursue and a strong future for collaboration,” he said.

Earlier and on the sidelines of the forum, the Saudi minister discussed with Bonisoli areas of joint cooperation between the two countries and means of enhancing Saudi-Italian cultural relations.

For his part, Italy’s Bonisoli said that culture is “a means of communication” for politics, even when serious international crises occur.

“If there are problems between two or more countries, according to their positions, culture is still a way to convey the messages of companies, communities and also politicians, and sometimes to strengthen the core values,” Bonisoli said.

The forum which is in its seventh edition, includes 14 pavilions, starting from museums, circuses, theaters, cinema, literature, tourism, folklore, and others and was launched on Thursday by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister for Sport, Tourism and Cultural Development Olga Golodets and Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky.

It is worth mentioning that Russian archaeologists have shown special interest in the historical monuments in Saudi Arabia, whereas an agreement is currently being prepared by Russia to be signed with the Saudi Ministry of Culture.

The Russian orientalist historian Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky who is the Director of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, confirmed that the museum is working on preparing an agreement to be signed with the Ministry of Culture in Saudi Arabia, on joint excavations in more than one important archaeological site in the Kingdom.

Piotrovsky was part of a Russian delegation that visited Saudi Arabia at the end of October. He held talks with Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr.

Following that meeting, Piotrovsky said” We discussed with the Saudi minister of culture the main criteria for a joint work agreement for Russian archaeologists in joint missions.”

He stressed the interest of Russian archaeologists in excavations in many archaeological sites in the Kingdom, especially referring to the region of Jazan south-west of the Kingdom, and Madain Saleh in the province of Ola, northwest of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi participation in the Cultural Forum drew participants and stakeholders and reflected the wealth and depth of Saudi culture in many different fields.