No solution to Causeway jam in sight

Updated 28 February 2014
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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.


Put pressure on Houthis to comply with Stockholm Agreement, Saudi envoy urges UN 

Updated 24 min 45 sec ago
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Put pressure on Houthis to comply with Stockholm Agreement, Saudi envoy urges UN 

  • Prince Khalid says Houthis have repeatedly violated the agreement signed in Sweden last year
  • Despite the agreement, Houthis have launched drone attacks, shelled Saudi border towns and launched a ballistic missile towards KSA

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the US urged the United Nations on Thursday to take the Houthi militia to task for “reneging on their commitments” under the Stockholm Agreement on Yemen.
“The Stockholm Agreement between Yemeni parties is being violated repeatedly by the Houthis,” Prince Khalid bin Salman said in a series of tweets.
He said the Yemeni government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Saudi-led Coalition that is backing it have been implementing their obligation under the agreement.
Signed last December in Stockholm, Sweden, the agreement is an important first step for sustainable peace and offers hope for millions of Yemenis.
“(But) it takes two sides to make it work, so far, the Iran-backed Houthi militia seems determined to uphold the misery and suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people,” Prince Khalid said.
“Not only did the Houthis refuse to implement the Stockholm agreement, which they signed to, but they also went beyond that and continued their armed assault including drone attacks, the shelling of residential neighborhoods & launching a ballistic missile towards KSA,” he tweeted.
He also pointed to the attack on Jan. 17 that targeted a UN convoy in Yemen's port city of Hodeidah, which was blamed on Houthis.
"The Iran-backed militia displayed its contempt for peace by attempting to target a UN convoy, this is a reminder that we are dealing with a lawless militia that does not care about peace or the fate of millions of Yemenis," the envoy said.
He said the UN should "name the party that failed to uphold basic confidence building measures leading up to the Stockholm agreement, and clearly identify who is responsible for the attack on the armored vehicle that was carrying chief UN monitor Patrick Cammaert."