Umrah cancellation rumors scotched

Updated 20 May 2014
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Umrah cancellation rumors scotched

The Haj Ministry has not received cancellations for Umrah reservations in the wake of the coronavirus, said Abdullah Marghalani, undersecretary at the Haj Ministry and general director of the ministry’s Jeddah branch.
“We take directives solely from the Saudi Health Ministry, the only official body responsible for issuing health advice for the pilgrimage,” he said. “We do not take into account rumors circulating on social networking sites.”
The Health Ministry has reassured residents that the virus has not reached an epidemic stage, he said. This is why the Haj Ministry has not taken precautionary measures so far.
“Wearing a face mask is optional and cannot be forced upon pilgrims,” he said. “We have not had any complaints from foreign governments about any of their pilgrims being infected with the virus.
The virus itself has not affected Umrah pilgrims so far, nor has it had any effect on applications for the Haj and Umrah pilgrimages.”
According to official statistics, there have been 3.8 million Umrah pilgrims since the beginning of the season, a 30 percent increase from the 2.5 million pilgrims performing Umrah this time last year,” said Marghalani. Umrah service providers have also indicated a 30 percent increase in the number of applications this year.


Saudi FM Al-Jubeir: Qatar should pay for US troops in Syria 

Updated 58 min 3 sec ago
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Saudi FM Al-Jubeir: Qatar should pay for US troops in Syria 

  • Saudi FM: 'The (Qatari) regime would fall there in less than a week' if US withdraws its protection - in the form of military base
  • Qatar should pay for the presence of US military forces in Syria said Saudi Arabia's top diplomat

RIYADH: Qatar should pay for the presence of US military forces in Syria, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). 

FM Jubeir’s statement came following comments made by US President Donald Trump during a joint press conference with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macaron.

Jubeir stated that Qatar must send its military forces to Syria “before the American President cancels American protection of Qatar, which hosts a (US) military base on its lands”.

In his statement, the Saudi FM also said that if US does withdraw its protection - in the form of military base - “the (Qatari) regime would fall there in less than a week”.