Saudi security, service sectors intensify Hajj efforts

A helicopter on patrol to maintain the security and safety of Hajj pilgrims in Makkah. (SPA)
Updated 24 August 2017
0

Saudi security, service sectors intensify Hajj efforts

MADINAH: The security and service sectors involved in serving pilgrims in Madinah have intensified their efforts to provide the best services possible for visitors of the Prophet’s Mosque.
More than 750,000 pilgrims reached the city up to Tuesday. All general security branches are participating in the implementation of the security plan for the Hajj season. Security forces in Madinah are receiving pilgrims coming by land and directing them to their accommodation.
Security forces responsible for the Prophet’s Mosque organize entrance and exit day and night, and pilgrims’ movement in the mosque, its courtyards and on its roofs, in coordination with the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Prophet’s Mosque and other relevant bodies.
New security posts have been established in various locations in Madinah to provide better services and security for pilgrims.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Prophet’s Mosque provides services to pilgrims in the pre-Hajj season by caring for worshippers and visitors and meeting their needs in the mosque.
During the last period of the pre-Hajj season, Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Airport in Madinah received more than 1,700 flights carrying more than 600,000 pilgrims from different nationalities.
The airport operates at a similar pace in the post-Hajj season, in preparation for the departure of pilgrims to their home countries.
Passport personnel at the airport facilitate their arrival procedures as fast as possible.
The General Administration for Water Services in Madinah maintains a constant supply of water, and more than 6,000 medical staff are on hand to serve pilgrims.
Moreover, there are 700 patrols working around the clock to maintain the safety of all pilgrims, said the commander of security patrols, Col. Mohammed Al-Suhaimi.
The head of traffic in Makkah, Col. Bassem Al-Badri, said more than 3,000 vehicles were impounded on charges of smuggling pilgrims.
“We have secret traffic patrols on the four squares of Makkah to catch pilgrim-smuggling,” he said, adding that the roads toward the areas around Al-Haram are closed for half an hour during each prayer to maintain pilgrims’ safety and control the flow of vehicles.
Assistant commander of Hajj security forces for traffic affairs, Maj. Gen. Khaled Al-Dabbayb, said: “We can track the movement of vehicles and deal with any breakdowns.”
Security forces are working to facilitate the movement of patients, people with special needs and families of martyrs, he added.
The assistant commander of Hajj security forces for security affairs, Maj. Gen. Munir Al-Jabreen, said 29 police stations are maintaining pilgrims’ safety.

Plan in place against rioting at Grand Mosque
There is a plan in place to deal with any riots at the Grand Mosque, security commanders said.
The head of the Security and Control Command Center in Hajj, Maj. Gen. Hassan Al-Zahrani, said the center is fitted with a TV observation system that operates round the clock and has 5,900 state-of-the-art cameras. Drones will be used around the mosque to help implement security plans, he added.
The commander of the forces responsible for security at the mosque, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Al-Ahmadi, said the tawaf (circling) area has been expanded to increase the number of pilgrims this year.

— With input from Tariq Al-Thagafi.


Saudi reforms encourage investment in Kingdom: Davos panel

Updated 18 min 20 sec ago
0

Saudi reforms encourage investment in Kingdom: Davos panel

  • Morgan Stanley’s CEO James Gorman welcomed the social reforms, calling them essential progress to provide the backbone for the economic reforms
  • Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri said to attract investors into Saudi Arabia needed to improve its infrastructure

The recent reforms in the Kingdom have been the drive behind foreign investment in the country, a panel debate on the “Next Steps for Saudi Arabia” at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos said Thursday.

Chairperson of the board of directors of the Saudi Stock Exchange, Sarah Al-Suhaimi said WEF reports reflected the positive changes in Saudi Arabia that had improved the country’s ranking in terms of investment.

“We have worked on developing the financial system of the capital market,” Al-Suhaimi told the panel, adding that in 2018 Saudi Arabia joined the FTSE Emerging Index which provides investors with a comprehensive means of measuring the performance

Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri said to attract investors into Saudi Arabia needed to improve its infrastructure, which he says the Kingdom had been working on. This includes the 68 initiatives that were introduced last year to help the private sector.

Al-Tuwaijri also said unemployment rates had been kept steady over the past two years, while more women had entered the workforce, which he said played an important role in diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy.

Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan said that since the “significant economic and social reform,” the GDP of Saudi Arabia grew 2.3 percent in 2018.

In 2019 Saudi Arabia announced a $295 billion budget, which Al-Jadaan says with help the growth of the economy and create more jobs.

“We are determined to reduce the deficit from 19 percent to 5 percent,” he said.

Morgan Stanley’s CEO James Gorman welcomed the social reforms, calling them essential progress to provide the backbone for the economic reforms.

Meanwhile, French oil major Total’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said that Total was investing heavily in Saudi Arabia and that a petrol network in be established soon in the Kingdom.

When pressed by journalists on the Jamal Khashoggi case – the journalist who was killed in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul last year – Al-Jadaan said that Saudi Arabia was taking serious measures to hold those involved accountable.

Prosecutors in Saudi Arabia have said they will seek the death penalty for five defendants accused the murder of the journalist Khashoggi.

“We are absolutely sad about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. Everyone in Saudi Arabia is sad. It goes against our beliefs and morals,” Al-Jadaan said, adding that the government has restructured the intelligence service as a result of the incident.