Asir bombing ‘ugly criminal act’

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Updated 08 August 2015
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Asir bombing ‘ugly criminal act’

JEDDAH: Twelve security officers and three employees of the Special Emergency Forces Center in Asir were killed, and another seven were injured in a suicide bombing targeting a mosque for emergency forces during Dhuhr prayers.
Security and emergency teams were immediately dispatched to the site to transport those killed and injured in the blast, which is believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said the bombing took place in the midst of afternoon prayers at the mosque. Among the seven injured, one person is critical.
Al-Turki said initial findings point to the attack being carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest.
Asir Gov. Prince Faisal bin Khaled visited those injured in the incident at Khamis Mushayt Hospital. He ordered the suspension of many activities of the ongoing Abha festival.
The governor earlier inspected the site of the explosion.
Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh condemned the bombing as an “ugly criminal act,” noting that it would only strengthen national unity against terrorism.
Security forces had announced earlier that they had foiled a bombing attempt by Daesh terrorists at the Emergency Forces Mosque in Riyadh during Ramadan.
The Asir mosque attack is the third assault on a mosque in Saudi Arabia this year.
On May 22, a 20-year-old terrorist blew himself up at the Imam Ali bin Abi Talib Mosque in Al-Qadeeh, Qatif, during Friday prayers, killing 21 people and wounding more than 100.
A week later, on May 29, a terrorist wearing women’s clothing as a disguise detonated the explosive belt he was wearing at the entrance of Al-Anoud Mosque when he was stopped by security officers. The blast killed four people.
In both attacks, the Daesh group claimed responsibility.
While the attack in Asir is still being investigated, a little known Daesh-linked group claimed responsibility. However, Al-Turki, told The Associated Press it was too early to confirm whether Daesh or its supporters were behind the attack and that the police were still investigating.
Last month, the Ministry of Interior announced that 431 suspects linked to the Daesh have been arrested in the Kingdom.
A number of Twitter users have linked the recent string of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia to Operation Decisive Storm, which united the region under the Saudi leadership against Houthi attackers.
Using a special hashtag for the bombing of Emergency Forces Mosque in Asir, tweets suggested every achievement of coalition forces in Yemen is followed by a planned bombing in the Kingdom or other coalition countries, such as Bahrain and Kuwait, as an attempt to ease the burden on Houthi terrorists in Yemen.


China's ambassador: Saudi Arabia a 'strategic partner and powerful ally'

Updated 21 February 2019
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China's ambassador: Saudi Arabia a 'strategic partner and powerful ally'

  • The two friendly countries enjoy a complete strategic partnership, Li said.
  • The China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee will meet during the crown prince's visit

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to China heralds a new era in the relationship between the two countries, according to Li Huaxin, the Chinese ambassador to the Kingdom.

“This is an important visit with a series of political exchanges at the highest level,” Li said.

“They are embracing this opportunity to hold a joint, bilateral, high-level committee meeting to guide and coordinate cooperation in all fields,” he said, referring to the China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee established in January 2016. 

The committee met for the first time in August that year in Beijing and again, 12 months later, in Jeddah. 

Li’s comments came as the Saudi crown prince began a visit to China, the Kingdom’s biggest trading partner. The visit is the last leg of an Asia tour seeking to build economic ties, and strengthen social and cultural links.

“The two friendly countries enjoy a complete strategic partnership,” said Li. “Both parties are excited to move forward.”

China has responded enthusiastically to the visit, a recognition of the powerful position the Kingdom holds in the region and globally.

 “Saudi Arabia is a very important country that has a big impact, whether in the region or world,” said Li. “We consider the Kingdom to be a powerful ally in building (China’s Belt and Road initiative) and linking it with the Saudi Vision 2030, while preserving the stability and development of the region and the world.”

Since the crown prince’s launch of Vision 2030 in 2016, many in the Kingdom, including the ambassador, have witnessed the immense change it has brought to the country.

“I have seen, personally, the major developments taking place in Saudi Arabia,” said Li. “While there are changes in its cities and economy, the most important change is in the Saudi people. They are showing their enthusiasm and their abilities, which have grown on a large scale. They are playing a big role in building their country.

“I see a bright future for Saudi Arabia.”

Li highlighted the importance of the evolving strategic partnership between the two countries and their respective strengths, saying: “China is a large country in terms of its economy, and Saudi Arabia in its importance, whether in the Gulf, Arab and Muslim countries or the world. Therefore, direct meetings between the two leaderships are of vital importance.

“Both leaderships are on the same page and their stances on many issues are similar. I have attended many meetings where the two parties confirmed the similarity and conformity of their positions.”

On issues of particular importance to the Arab world, Li noted that China’s stance on Palestine has not changed in decades.

“We have called for a solution for the two sides and the creation of an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty, as well as Israel’s withdrawal from occupied lands, in keeping with UN Security Council resolutions, and the return of Palestinian refugees to their lands.”

Li said that both China and the Kingdom believe in the importance of sovereignty.

“Every country calls for sovereignty free from interference in its internal issues,” he said, adding that each nation has its own rules and social system, which must be respected.

“We both seek to find peaceful solutions to regional and world issues; in that respect we are similar,” he said.

The ambassador said that cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia is based on global principles and international law, and with the five principles of coexistence: Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.

These principles were first set out in a treaty between China and India in 1954.

Responding to the suggestion that some nations might be skeptical or critical of China, the envoy said: “When we discuss these relations with our brothers, we do not care what others think as long as it is good, normal cooperation between two brotherly nations and is based on global principles and law.

“Our cooperation is not aimed at any country, whether in the region or world. Some countries might be annoyed by it, but the forest is vast and the birds are many, and they may chirp as they please.”