Ministry denies Haj age restrictions

Updated 18 May 2014
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Ministry denies Haj age restrictions

There has been no official age restriction on Umrah and Haj pilgrims over the age of 65, said Ali Al-Ghamdi, an official at the Haj Ministry.
Advice has been issued to pilgrims above a certain age and to children as part of preventive measures to control the spread of the virus in the Western Province, he said.
“The deadly coronavirus has reduced the number of domestic pilgrims but has had no impact on applications for Haj and Umrah pilgrims coming from abroad,” said Al-Ghamdi.
The Haj Ministry has also not received any inquiries from Haj missions about potential restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus, he said.
Preparations for the upcoming Haj season are in full swing and the process of issuing visas was completed two months ago, Al-Ghamdi said. “The Haj and Interior Ministries are the sole entities authorized to issue advisories on Haj matters.”
Pilgrims arriving from abroad into King Abdulaziz International Airport were not seen wearing face masks, Arab News confirmed. Airport staff also said that hardly anyone was seen wearing face masks on the premises.
“The coronavirus may be a cause for concern for residents within the Kingdom, but not for us,” Abdul Salam Kutty, a pilgrim who recently arrived from Calicut, India, told Arab News.
“We have been reading about the spread of this virus in Jeddah, but this did not deter us from embarking on our pilgrimage,” said Nayeemullah Sharif, another Indian pilgrim who had arrived from Hyderabad.
Samah Al-Ezz, an Egyptian medical practitioner who arrived from Cairo to perform the Umrah, expressed similar views.
“I intend to visit Makkah next week irrespective of the situation,” said Mohammed Sarwar, an Indian expat who lives in Washington D.C.
Airline officials said that business has not been affected and that there have been no flight and hotel cancellations.


FaceOf: Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Wasel, KSA envoy to UN

Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Wasel
Updated 15 min ago
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FaceOf: Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Wasel, KSA envoy to UN

  • Al-Wasel holds a doctorate in political science and international relations. He served as a professor at the King Abdul Aziz Military Academy and at Marshall University in Virginia

Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Wasel has been ambassador of Saudi Arabia at the European headquarters of the UN in Geneva since 2016.

At the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Al-Wasel confirmed Saudi Arabia’s efforts in supporting the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

He expressed his gratitude for the efforts of the commission to report the latest developments of the dire human rights situation in Syria, as well as the suffering of the Syrian people who have been forced to flee their homes by the Syrian regime and pro-Damascus militias.

He pointed out that the report exposed an unprecedented development and acceleration of events throughout various troubled regions in Syria, emphasizing that the growing numbers of more than a million Syrian refugees were evidence of the Syrian regime’s continued attempts to displace its people.

Al-Wasel holds a doctorate in political science and international relations. He served as a professor at the King Abdul Aziz Military Academy and at Marshall University in Virginia.

Al-Wasel joined the diplomatic service in 1999, working in the human rights office in the department of international organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He then worked at the Saudi Embassy in Australia from 2001 to 2007.

Before taking up his post as ambassador to Saudi Arabia in the UN in 2016, Al-Wasel served as the Kingdom’s deputy ambassador to the UK from 2013 for three years. Before that, he served for five years as head of the human rights office of the Saudi delegation to the UN in Geneva.