Saudi-American relations to ‘reach ground-breaking levels,’ says SAPRAC chief

Updated 20 May 2017
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Saudi-American relations to ‘reach ground-breaking levels,’ says SAPRAC chief

JEDDAH: Salman Al-Ansari, president of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), said US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia holds unprecedented strategic significance in strengthening bilateral ties, especially given that for the first time in history the Kingdom will be the first country visited by a sitting US president while on their duties abroad.
Al-Ansari told Arab News in an exclusive interview that for the US to afford any country this distinction constitutes a positive step in relations with one of its most trusted allies.
Trump’s visit also carries unique significance as it is not merely a visit to the Kingdom, but to the heart of the Arab and Muslim worlds, Al-Ansari said.
“It’s clear that the current US administration finds Saudi Arabia’s ability to unite the entire Arab and Muslim worlds against terrorism invaluable to America’s efforts to address the region’s challenges,” he said, adding that he expects US-Saudi trade to “reach ground-breaking levels.”
The Kingdom is poised to “bring in the latest in US technology and know how, allowing American companies to help Saudi Arabia with its ambitious infrastructure plans,” he said.
“The Kingdom will also massively increase its investments in the US, which may create upwards of 1 million American jobs. The sky is the limit, as US-Saudi relations are on the cusp of moving into a new era of mutual security, stability and economic prosperity.”


Forum held for projects on better serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims

Prince Saud bin Abdullah, center, with Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat, left, and Dr. Osamah Tayyeb at the Makkah Cultural Forum on Monday. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 37 min 28 sec ago
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Forum held for projects on better serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims

  • Mashat said Jeddah was the gate to Makkah and the first destination to the holy sites
  • Hajj and Umrah Ministry’s main role is to arrange all Hajj and Umrah works and coordinate with all participating government bodies

JEDDAH: Under the patronage of the Governor of Jeddah, Prince Mishaal bin Majed, the Hajj and Umrah Ministry organized an explicative forum on Monday for the Jeddah Prize for Creativity 1440H, under the title “Developing our cities for Hajj and Umrah.” The prize comes as part of the third Makkah Cultural Forum, under the slogan “How to set an example.”
The meeting, which was held at the Hilton Hotel, was attended by Deputy Governor of Jeddah Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi; Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat; the chairman of the prize advisory committee Dr. Osamah Tayyeb, along with senior officials.
Prince Saud bin Abdullah said all the projects and ideas that the meeting proposed about Hajj and Umrah will be of great importance to the Jeddah governor.
He added that the governorate sought the submission of integrated projects to provide an incorporated industry with a positive impact on the service of pilgrims going to the holy sites through Jeddah.

Rich in knowledge
In his speech, Mashat said Jeddah was the gate to Makkah and the first destination to the holy sites. “Pilgrims feel comfortable when they arrive in Jeddah on their way to the sacred places. Jeddah combines originality, modernity and cultures in a city that is also rich in knowledge.
“A city like this should stick in the memories of pilgrims rather than just being a transit station and this comes in compliance with Vision 2030,” he said.
He added that the model for Hajj and Umrah, which was developed by the prize committee this year, is about the initiatives undertaken by individuals and governmental and nongovernmental entities to improve his ministry’s performance and services targeting pilgrims and Umrah performers.
“This branch of the prize can help generate ideas and initiatives to help us better serve pilgrims in order to ease the process of performing their rituals. The ideas can also help us continually develop our services to meet the pilgrims’ expectations.
“Moreover, they can support us to leave a shining mental image with pilgrims about Saudi Arabia,” he added.
Initiative
Although the Hajj and Umrah Ministry’s main role is to arrange all Hajj and Umrah works and coordinate with all participating government bodies, the ministry never hesitates to adopt any initiative that can help improve its performance.
“Through such initiatives, we are hopeful that we can enrich the experience of pilgrims to the two holy sites,” Mashat told Arab News.
He added that one of their tasks is to facilitate pilgrims’ entry procedures, and not only to work on the guests of Allah’s comfort but also try to make their visit to Saudi Arabia an unforgettable experience.
Mashat said his ministry’s interest in utilizing digital platforms has added much, not only to the Hajj and Umrah Ministry but also to all ministries and entities serving the pilgrims.
He added that they receive pilgrims as guests to the country who should be offered the best possible generosity and magnanimity.