No solution to Causeway jam in sight

Updated 28 February 2014

No solution to Causeway jam in sight

The traffic police have not been able to reduce the congestion on the King Fahd Causeway linking Saudi Arabia with Bahrain during holidays and other peak times, a source in the department said Monday.
The source said the traffic department was genuinely concerned about the situation. It has raised the issue with other government agencies.
"Many proposals and suggestions were made to higher authorities to find a radical solution to this problem. If they are approved, they will play a significant role in solving this problem," he said.
Over 239 million commuters have used the causeway since it was opened in 1986 until the end of 2012. In 2012, over 18 million people used the bridge.
He said there is usually traffic congestion on the bridge from about 2 p.m. until 10 p.m.
"During holidays, special events or Eid, the traffic department gets additional police cars to regulate the movement of vehicles on the causeway."
During these peak times, traffic officers issue around 90 fines a day, including 20 for parking violations.
He said that the traffic police also have a problem with illegal taxi drivers transporting people between the two countries. Officers arrest on average six people a day for these violations.
He said the traffic fines issued to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizens are sent to their countries where they have to pay them. An electronic system for fines would soon link all GCC countries, which would help streamline this process, he said.
Arab News reported last month that the Saudi Ministry of Interior is considering a joint border control system with Bahrain to reduce congestion on the causeway. This would entail a traveler stopping only once when entering or exiting both countries.
This came in the wake of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) accusing the Passport Department and the Eastern Province traffic authority of not having sufficient personnel on the bridge to prevent bottlenecks. The traffic police had rejected the accusations and blamed the Passport Department for the delays.
Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Yahya, director general of the Passport Department, said a ministerial team has been studying procedures between the United Arab Emirates and Oman that eased commuting by road between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

Updated 26 April 2018

Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

  • Total relief provided by the Kingdom since the war began now stands at about $1billion
  • Latest package announced by Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir at conference in Brussels

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the people of Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The announcement of the latest aid package was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir on April 25 at an international conference on the future of Syria and the region, held in the Belgian capital Brussels. He pointed out that the meeting comes after the suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, which killed dozens of civilians, including women and children.

“The world is facing a regime allied with terrorist militias who believe that spreading atrocities and committing crimes will bring victory to it, and that war crimes are bearing fruit,” said Al-Jubeir. “In addition to bombing civilians with explosive barrels, the policies of starvation and siege, ethnic and sectarian cleansing, and the demographic change of Syrian cities and towns, its use of chemical weapons have shocked the entire world.”

He said that the only acceptable solution to the Syrian crisis is a peaceful political resolution, and that Saudi Arabia has been working to achieve this since the crisis began, while also working with others to end the continuing human tragedy in the war-torn country.

The Kingdom has played a role in unifying the ranks of the Syrian opposition and encouraging them to speak with one voice, he added. After the Riyadh 1 Conference in 2015, Saudi Arabia hosted the Riyadh 2 conference for the Syrian opposition in November 2017, which succeeded in unifying the factions and establishing a negotiating body to take part in the rounds of talks held since then, earning praise from the United Nations.

The foreign minister also reiterated his country’s support for the efforts of the UN secretary-general’s envoy, Stephan de Mistura, to resume negotiations between all sides of the conflict.

“The Kingdom hopes that the agreements endorsed by the international resolutions on the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to its beneficiaries will be implemented throughout Syria, regardless of their ethnic, religious, sectarian or political affiliations, and calls for the speedy release of detainees and abductees and clarifying the situation of those absent,” said Al-Jubeir. “It also renews its demand to punish individuals and institutions for war crimes and to prevent their impunity.”

He added that the worsening humanitarian crisis affecting refugees inside and outside of Syria should add to the urgency of finding a political solution and resuming the negotiating process as soon as possible.

Since the war began, the Kingdom has taken in about two and a half million Syrians and treats them like its own citizens, Al-Jubeir said, providing them with free health care, work and education. Saudi universities and schools have more than 140,000 Syrian students. He added that Saudi Arabia is also supporting and helping to care for of millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, in coordination with the governments of those countries. The humanitarian assistance provided so far totals about $1 billion.