‘Saudi Arabia will deal firmly with any attempt to destabilize Yemen’

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Saudi soldiers stand guard as workers unload aid from a Saudi air force cargo plane at an airfield in Yemen’s central province of Marib on February 8, 2018. AFP (FILE PHOTO)

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia reiterated on Thursday that any attempt to destabilize Yemen is a threat to the security and stability of the Kingdom and the region, and will not hesitate to deal with it firmly.

In a statement, carried by the Saudi Press Agency, the Kingdom affirmed its firm position that there is no alternative to the legitimate government in Yemen and that it does not accept any attempts to create a ‘new reality’ in Yemen by using force or threat of force.

“The Kingdom will not accept any military escalation or open-sided battles that benefit only the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist militia and other outfits such as Daesh (so-called IS) and Al-Qaeda,” the statement said.

The statement also announced the Kingdom’s readiness to extend a helping hand to those affected by this strife and to contribute to the treatment of the injured to alleviate their pain and suffering, emanating from its historic role of supporting the Yemeni people.

Expressing its regret at the outbreak of sedition among the people in Yemen, the Kingdom stressed the need for full, immediate and unconditional commitment to disengage and ceasefire, and halt any violations or practices affecting the lives of the Yemeni people.

“The Kingdom follows up on the latest developments in Aden and the southern governorates and expresses its complete rejection of the recent escalation and the course of events, and the consequences of such events, and the failure to respond to the Kingdom’s previous call to stop the escalation and move towards dialogue.

“The Kingdom reiterates its earlier positions, which were expressed since the beginning of the crisis, that it is inevitable to restore the camps and the headquarters of the state military and civilian institutions to the legitimate government,” the statement said while calling all parties involved in the conflict and the legitimate government to engage in the Jeddah dialogue immediately and without any delay.

The statement also affirmed the Kingdom’s continued support for the Yemeni legitimate government under the leadership of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and its efforts to preserve the interests of the Yemeni state and its people, as well as the security, stability and territorial integrity of the country.

It also vowed full support to counter the coup of the Houthi terrorist militia and to fight against other terrorist organizations.

 

Source : Saudi Gazette

Saudi Arabia implements end to travel restrictions for Saudi women

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RIYADH — Saudi Arabia has begun allowing adult women to travel without permission and to exercise more control over family matters, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday, following a flurry of royal decrees issued in the beginning of this month.

The regulatory changes stipulated that a Saudi passport should be issued to any citizen who applies for it and that any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel.

They also granted women for the first time the right to register child birth, marriage or divorce and to be issued official family documents and be eligible as a guardian to children who are minors.

“The passports and civil status departments and their branches in all regions of the Kingdom have started to implement the amendments stipulated in the royal decree,” the SPA report said, citing an interior ministry source.

The source stated that those who have any queries about the matter can contact with the competent authorities at the Directorate General of Passports (Jawazat) and the Ministry of Interior Agency for Civil Status through their twitter accounts dedicated to it on the following links (https://twitter.com/AljawazatKSA) and (https://twitter.com/AhwalCare) or telephone number of Jawazat (992) and Civil Status Department (920022133).

Meanwhile, hundreds of Saudi women reportedly crossed into Bahrain on Monday unaccompanied. The number of women who crossed the entry points of the Eastern Province alone has exceeded 1,000 within a few hours. The women have taken advantage of the enforcement of the new regulation through an announcement by the General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) on its website on Monday, Al-Yaum newspaper reported.

The new amendments in the Travel Documents Regulation, which were approved by the Council of Ministers recently, allow a woman to apply for and obtain a passport without requiring the approval of her male guardian. The amendments included granting the same rights to males and females above 21 years of age, and travel permit for custody of minors. According to the amendments, all Saudis under the age of 21 are required to have permission from their guardians for obtaining travel documents. However, three categories of Saudi citizens under the age of 21 have been exempted from this: foreign scholarship students, employees taking part in official trips abroad with a letter of consent from the employer, and those who are married. As for foreign scholarship students, they need to produce a certificate from the Ministry of Education in this regard. In the case of a minor whose father is dead, mother will be the guardian, the amendments stated.

The new historic move is part of expanded social reforms initiated by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, and that also granted women the right to drive last year, as well as study at university, undergo surgery or get a job without male consent.

Many Saudi women took to social media to praise the new liberalization. “The women’s age begins,” one wrote on Twitter. Another expressed her gratitude to the Crown Prince, posting: “Thank you, MBS.” Under the old system, women had to seek permission from their official guardians – usually their father or husband, but sometimes a brother or son – to marry, apply for a passport or leave Saudi Arabia. The new decrees grant every adult citizen, male or female, the right to freely obtain a passport, but did retain some restrictions on the under-21s and the rights of women to request passports for their children. Paternal permission is still required for under-21s without study plans to travel abroad and only the male parent can apply for passports for offspring under 15. Other reforms granted women’s rights to register a marriage, divorce or child’s birth, be issued official family documents and become a child’s official guardian. Requesting passports for adopted children — previously a complex process requiring special permission — has been simplified for adoptive fathers and mothers alike.

 

Source : Saudi Gazette

No MERS case in Haj, claims ministry

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Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — The Ministry of Health has highlighted the measures it took during the Haj season this year to combat the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) caused by coronavirus, effectively preventing any spread of the virus among the pilgrims, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.As a result of the measures adopted, there was not a single case of Coronavirus during this year’s Haj season, the ministry said.

The ministry added that in cooperation with the concerned authorities, it kept camels completely away from Haj zones. Special slaughterhouses were allocated for camels but despite this camels were replaced with other livestock as sacrificial animals in the Haj zones following the issuance of a religious edict (fatwa) in this regard.

The ministry said it carried out intensive work in the health facilities of the Haj zones to detect and quarantine any cases suffering from respiratory diseases similar to Coronavirus.

Furthermore, the ministry’s preparations were in place to move any case that is discovered and registered, out of the Haj zones. Thanks to Allah Almighty, no case was registered, the statement added.

The ministry commended the efforts being exerted by mobile laboratories for diagnosing Coronavirus, using the “partial polymerization technology” in the holy sites.

It has stressed that due to success granted by Allah Almighty, not a single Coronavirus case has been detected among the pilgrims, neither during the Haj nor after it, at all.

The Ministry of Health had earlier announced the success of its health plans as the Haj was free from any incidents affecting public health.

Infection with MERS-CoV can cause severe disease resulting in high mortality. Humans are infected with MERS-CoV from direct or indirect contact with dromedary camels. MERS-CoV has demonstrated the ability to transmit between humans. So far, the observed non-sustained human-to-human transmission has occurred mainly in health care settings.

 

Source : Saudi Gazette

Kingdom does not meddle in affairs of Muslim countries: Emir of Makkah

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Prince Khaled Al-Faisal during the press conference. SPA

MINA – Saudi Arabia does not take advantage of the Islamic gathering in the holy sites to interfere in the affairs of Muslims countries as the concept of Haj is worship only, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, adviser to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was quoted as saying by Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“During the Haj no other issue is discussed and the Kingdom does not have the right to discuss with any Muslim pilgrim — who is coming to this country for worship and to perform one of the pillars of Islam — the economic, political or social conditions in his home country. Our basic task in the Kingdom is to ensure the pilgrims’ comfort, tranquility and peace of mind so that he can devote his time to perform acts of worship, as ordained by Allah Almighty,” said Prince Khaled, who is also Emir of Makkah Region and chairman of the Central Hajj Committee, during a press conference here on Tuesday to mark the end of the Haj.

Prince Al-Khaled thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, for their supervision of the services extended by the authorities to pilgrims, making this year’s Haj a great success.

At the conclusion of the press conference, Prince Al-Khaled was asked about the Saudi-Emirati relations and he replied: “An Emirati is a Saudi and a Saudi is an Emirati.”

The Emir of Makkah said he is proud of every Saudi citizen who has contributed to serving the pilgrims and making this year’s Haj a success and every year, whether in the past or future. These include all the male and female volunteers.

He made special mention of the security staff who spared no effort to serve the pilgrims, including elderly pilgrims, women and children.

He reiterated the Kingdom’s keenness to see all the remaining Muslim countries joining the Makkah Route Initiative (MRI) so that every single Muslim is able to make the most of the initiative during his spiritual journey to the Kingdom. He said that the MRI system has become so efficient that it has reduced waiting time down to just about half an hour whether at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah or any Saudi airport.

Asked about the reason for varying prices for Haj on the basis of nationalities and countries, Prince Al-Khaled said the prices are fixed for each category. If there are any issues with regard to implementation of the agreements between the pilgrim and the Haj establishment, then the pilgrim can write to the Emir of Makkah seeking redress of the grievance because what is of concern to the Kingdom is the pilgrims’ comfort.

Prince Khaled thanked the local and foreign media representatives for attending this great occasion and for their efforts in this year’s Haj season.

He said that the number of pilgrims this year reached 2,489,406 — 1,855,027 from outside Saudi Arabia, and 634,379 from within the Kingdom.

He added that the number of pilgrims who have regular Haj permits has reached 336,000. He noted that the number of pilgrims who violated the Haj permit and entry regulations has reached 298,379, pointing out that their number this year has decreased by 29 percent compared to last year, when they stood at 383,000.

Prince Khaled stressed that the number of personnel providing services to pilgrims from all sectors exceeded 350,000, aside from 35,000 volunteers and 120,000 security personnel, 200,000 from various sectors, and 30,000 health practitioners.

He added that charities have distributed more than 26 million meals, the electric load capacity in Makkah and the holy sites reached 4715 KW, while 41 million cubic meters of water was pumped to Makkah and the holy sites, during this year’s Haj.

The Emir of Makkah said that 2,489,406 pilgrims were transported from Arafat to Muzdalifah in six hours including 360,000 pilgrims using the holy sites train, 100,000 using pedestrian passages and other pilgrims used 20,000 buses.

Speaking on the health sector, Prince Khaled said that health services were provided to more than 500,000 pilgrims. In this regard, some 400 hospitalized pilgrims were able to perform their Haj rites via the medical health caravan. They were transported to Arafat to complete their Haj rites while lying in the ambulances.

Several cases were unconscious, but were able to complete their Haj rituals. Sometime in the near future, God willing, they would see that they have been registered as having completed their pilgrimage.

As many as 173 hospitals, health centers and mobile clinics with a capacity of 5,000 beds were available to serve pilgrims. In addition, 336 open-heart operations and cardiac catheterizations and 2700 different operations were conducted, Prince Khaled said.

In the presence of Prince Badr Bin Sultan, deputy emir of Makkah Province, Prince Khaled distributed the Makkah Emirate New Media Prize to the winners in various categories. The prize highlights the efforts of the Kingdom in serving pilgrims and documents the spiritual journey for the pilgrims.

Asked about the development plans in Mina holy site, Prince Khaled said the matters on which the King, Crown Prince and Saudi government attach great importance is providing services to the pilgrim and Umrah performer and to make their spiritual journey comfortable.

He further said that last year, the Royal Commission for Makkah and the Holy Sites was established under the chairmanship of the Crown Prince. Among its powers and responsibilities is to develop the holy sites and Makkah. He said that the Royal Commission has started studying what has been referred to it by Makkah Region Development Authority (MRDA), municipalities and the services ministries. All of these bodies have referred the studies for developing the holy sites and Makkah to the royal commission.

Prince Khaled confirmed that there was a consensus in the Royal Commission for Makkah and the Holy Sites on the preliminary studies for development projects in the holy sites. The technical and executive studies are being carried out and they have reached their final stages.

The Emir of Makkah added: “We will begin immediately after Haj, God willing, construction of the first model for developing Mina. This includes the residences and camps. This model will be ready by next year to be presented on an experimental basis to see the efficiency of this project and whether it needs some adjustments, additions and deletions. What is important is that development has started.”

Prince Khaled asserted: “The state under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince is determined to transform Makkah and the holy sites into smart cities. This will be achieved, God willing in the next few years.”

As to the latest developments during this year’s Haj compared to last year’s Haj, Prince Khaled said: “Till now we don’t know exactly what has happened and what will happen until the end of the Haj. However, it is our policy at the Central Hajj Committee to discuss during the first week after resuming work the negative aspects that occurred during the Haj, so that we can avoid them in the forthcoming Haj.”

Prince Khaled has stressed that great efforts are being exerted throughout the year, especially before Haj so as to communicate with all the establishments in charge of Haj in the countries that have pilgrims. The objective is to explain all the regulations and the requirements for performing Haj, as required of a Muslim by his religion.

Prince Khaled expressed his hope that the Muslim countries would attach greater importance to this aspect.

Asked about the possibility of increasing the number of pilgrims to 15 million in the forthcoming Haj, Prince Khaled said the total number of pilgrims this year is just three million, including those from within the Kingdom. Therefore, he said he does not think 15 million pilgrims will come next year.

As to the possibility of increasing the number of pilgrims from Indonesia in the coming years, as it is the Islamic country with the biggest population, he said that the quota for each country was decided in an Islamic conference. If the population has increased, likewise the number of pilgrims will increase in line with the decided proportion.

 

Source : Saudi Gazette

Jamrat facility accommodates 300,000 pilgrims per hour

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Pilgrims throw pebbles at the wall that symbolizes the stoning of the Satan as part of their Haj rituals on Monday. — SPA

Saudi Gazette report

MINA — The Jamrat facility in Mina has been designed to accommodate about 300,000 pilgrims per hour and the project has cost SR4.2 billion.

The facility is 950 meters long, 80 meters wide and designed to have 12 stories in the future to accommodate more than five million pilgrims who will be able to smoothly throw pebbles at the wall that symbolizes the stoning of the Satan.

According to a Saudi Press Agency (SPA) report, the project now has five stories, three tunnels, 11 entry points and 12 exits leading to the four directions.

It has six emergency towers linked to the ground floor, the tunnels and the landing field for aircraft.

Meanwhile, as many as 382,091 pilgrims from the Arab countries have performed the Haj this year, according to their tawafa establishment.

The majority of the pilgrims from the Arab countries came from Egypt with 85,663, followed by Iraq with 57,975 pilgrims and the third Algeria with 36,478.

Last on the list of the 18 Arab countries was the Comoros from where 1,242 pilgrims have come.

 

Source : Saudi Gazette

Haj a resounding success, says Interior Ministry

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An overview of illuminated city of tents. — SPA

By Ibrahim Alawi

MAKKAH — The Interior Ministry has described the Haj to be a resounding success with pilgrims moving smoothly between Makkah and the holy sites.

The ministry’s spokesman, Maj.Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, said the security arrangement for the pilgrims was perfect and that there were no reports of untoward incidents as they descended from Arafat, to Muzdalifa and went back again to Mina where they would stay for a day or two.

The spokesman said there were no cases of stampede at the Jamrat.

The pilgrims on Monday began the first day of Tashriq. They continued to throw stones at the Satan, slaughter their sacrificial animals and do Tawaf Al-Ifadah at the Grand Mosque.

“The movement of the pilgrims went by in complete harmony according to the security plan which included monitoring their movements with digital cameras and from air by aircraft,” he said.

The spokesman of the general security in Haj, Brig. Sami Al-Shuwairikh, said as many as 288 fake Haj offices were discovered and the owners will be handed over to the Attorney General before being sent to courts.

He said 40,352 people without Haj permits were sent back and 244,485 cars were also returned from the checkpoints because they did not have licenses to enter into the holy sites.

The spokesman said a total of 7,027 expatriates were found to have violated the Haj rules and regulations and their fingerprints were taken.He added that 130 people, who were found to have provided illegal pilgrims with transport, would be penalized as per the rules.

He said 533,006 people in their Ihrams were sent back from Makkah and prevented from entering the holy sites to do the Haj.

Spokesman of the Presidency of the State Security Maj.Gen. Bassam Attiyah said 50 prisoners in the intelligence prisons were enabled to do the Haj with their families.

“The prisoners have the right to do the Haj under the Shariah rules and regulations,” he added.

Hatim Qadhi, spokesman of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said as many as 15,000 pilgrims who lost their way, including 3,700 in Mina, were guided to their places of accommodation in the city of tents.

He said the majority of the pilgrims who lost their way were in Arafat, including four children. He explained that the pilgrims left their tents to go to the Jabal Al-Rahma (mountain of mercy) but were not be able to go back to their respective tents.

Qadhi said the shuttle buses have transported more than 800,000 pilgrims.

Spokesman of the Civil Defense Lieut.Col. Mohammed Al-Hammadi said there were no deaths or injuries resulting from the rains in Makkah.

He said some pilgrims were rescued by aircraft. “These were, however, extremely few cases,” he added.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Abdulaal, spokesman of the Health Ministry, said there were no epidemic cases so far among the pilgrims.

“During the Haj season we provided curative services to 368,410 pilgrims including 29 open-heart surgeries and 1,949 kidney dialysis,” he said.

Abdulaal said as many as 2,932 pilgrims were confined to hospitals.

 

Source : Saudi Gazette

King Salman arrives in Mina to oversee pilgrim services

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King Salman arrives in Mina to oversee pilgrim services. SPA

MINA — The Custodian of the two holy mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz arrived in Mina, in the holy city of Makkah on Saturday, to supervise the services provided during the Haj pilgrimage.

As Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman is there to oversee the comfort of the pilgrims and “ensure the services provided by the relevant government and private sector bodies meet the needs of the pilgrims and allow them to complete their Haj rituals with ease, tranquility and safety,” according to Saudi Press Agency.

Almost 2.5 million Muslims from all over the world are participating in Haj, one of the largest annual global gatherings.

On Saturday, pilgrims ascended Mount Arafat, the most important aspect of the Haj rituals.

Muslims on Sunday will observe the first day of Eid Al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, which marks the end of the Haj.

King Salman was accompanied by several senior officials, including Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif. SPA

Source : http://saudigazette.com.sa
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