Envoy sees Saudi-Lanka ties soaring to greater heights

Updated 12 February 2014
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Envoy sees Saudi-Lanka ties soaring to greater heights

The bilateral relationship between the Kingdom and Sri Lanka would reach new heights in the coming years, observed the island’s senior minister of Urban Development Abdul Hameed Fowzie, who wrapped up a brief visit to the capital on Tuesday.
Fowzie, who came as a special envoy of the island’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa, met Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, on Tuesday. He also had discussions on matters of bilateral interests with the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah on Monday. He also handed a letter to the Crown Prince from his country’s president.
Sri Lankan Ambassador Vadivel Krishnamoorthy was also present during the talks with the Saudi officials.
Describing his talks with the Saudi officials as cordial, Fowzie said that he took the opportunity to thank the Saudi leadership for its extensive help to his country to boost several of its development projects.
He said the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has been instrumental in financing several projects in the island. “The recent construction of the longest bridge in Kinniya stands as a symbol of Saudi-Lankan partnership,” he stressed.
“The 396 meter-long bridge, the longest overpass in the island was constructed with the financial aid of SR440 million from the Saudi government. The new facility has triggered the economic and cultural development envisaged by the government following its defeat of terror in the island,” the minister said adding that Trincomalee is one of the main cities in the eastern province. More than 10,000 people cross the Kinniya lagoon daily between Kinniya and Trincomalee.
He also thanked the Saudi government for deploying his country’s workers in the Kingdom. “The Kingdom is home to 550,000 Sri Lankans. They have earned a good reputation for their hard work and perseverance, and they have contributed a great deal to the nation’s development,” he said, adding that Saudi Arabia is fair to all nationals living in the country.
Fowzie, who also looks after the Umrah and Haj operations in the island, said that Muslims in Sri Lanka are happy and content with the government and it has not laid any restrictions for Makkah-bound pilgrims.
About 7 percent of the 24 million people in Sri Lanka are Muslims. Fowzie counts more than five decades of service to the community in the political arena.


Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience. (SPA)
Updated 20 January 2019
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Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

  • Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government

JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 3,024,272, of which 2,561,541 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry.
There are 399,479 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 277,372 in Makkah and 122,107 in Madinah.
Most pilgrims — 2,288,789 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 257,266 entered by land and 15,486 arrived by sea.
The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (681,392) followed by Indonesia (447,450), India (306,470), Yemen (146,067), Malaysia (142,290), Algeria (92,752), Turkey (86,925), Egypt (85,438), Bangladesh (53,131) and the UAE (62,927).
The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 9,983 Saudis including 8,259 males and 1,724 females.
Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.