Dialogue best way to promote peace, security: Saudi Shoura chief

Abdullah Al-Asheikh
Updated 17 October 2017
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Dialogue best way to promote peace, security: Saudi Shoura chief

ST. PETERSBURG: Shoura Council President Abdullah Al-Asheikh said that the Kingdom, under the leadership of King Salman, believes in dialogue as an effective means to achieve security, peace and prosperity.
Al-Asheikh delivered his speech at the 137th International Parliamentary Union (IPU) assembly in Saint Petersburg, Russia, under the theme “Promoting Cultural Pluralism and Peace Through Inter-Faith and Inter-Ethnic Dialogue.”
Al-Asheikh said the Kingdom is seeking to spread a culture of dialogue locally, regionally and internationally, in order to reinforce and promote coexistence, respect, and global peace.
He highlighted the Kingdom’s great efforts espoused by the King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue, including periodic meetings to discuss local issues.
The establishment of the King Salman Center for International Peace in Malaysia and the King Salman Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Austria are a result of the Kingdom’s strong belief in the human capacity to make the world a more peaceful place, he said.
He called for concerted international efforts to fight terrorism, issue more laws and regulations against terrorist attacks, fight the terrorist mindset and its financing sources, and create a list of all terrorist organizations and states that support them.
“The Kingdom has never missed a chance to fight terrorism. It even organized the Arab-Islamic-American Summit focusing on ways to eliminate terrorism, and established the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal) in Riyadh,” he said.
Concerning local and international issues, Al-Asheikh confirmed that the Palestinian cause remains one of the Kingdom’s priorities. He called for just and comprehensive peace in Palestine in accordance with international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
On the war in Yemen, he stressed that the Kingdom is aware of the suffering of the Yemeni people caused by Houthi militias.
The Kingdom will not waver in its determination to stand beside the Yemeni people, he said. The aid the Kingdom has provided to Yemen in the past few years has reached more than $8 billion allocated through the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid and UN organizations, he added.
Al-Asheikh also said that the Kingdom supports a political solution in Syria.
King Salman also allocated $15 million to help the Rohingya people fleeing Myanmar, and communicated with the Bangladesh government to reopen border crossings for them.
The UAE requested the inclusion of an emergency item in the assembly sessions: The Rohingya humanitarian crisis.
At the 137th IPU Assembly in St. Petersburg, a new president will be elected for a three-year term. The candidates are: Gabriela Cuevas Barron from Mexico and Ivonne Passada from Uruguay.
The IPU has more than 171 Parliament members from around the world and works through an executive committee and four permanent committees: Peace and international security; sustainable development; finance and trade; democracy and human rights; and UN affairs.


Saudi women at the wheel: the first 24 hours

Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena getting ready to driver her car as Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving iib Saturday midnight. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 24 June 2018
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Saudi women at the wheel: the first 24 hours

  • The General Security has already reported that it will be providing the required provisions for female drivers in Saudi Arabia.
  • Private insurance company Najm, in partnership with the General Department of Traffic, has hired 40 women and trained them to respond to road accidents involving female drivers.

JEDDAH:  Women around the Kingdom have turned the ignition in their cars for the first time on their home soil and hit the roads throughout the country. They have gone on social media to express their joy at this monumental occasion which has officially changed the course of their lives. 

Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena was among the very first women to drive in the Kingdom as soon as the clock struck midnight. 

Women in their cars enthusiastically and wholeheartedly cheered on their fellow female drivers on this memorable night. 

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated, said Almaeena.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urges all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.”

Almaeena highlighted the significance of being a defensive driver. “I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”

On how society is adapting to this major change, Almaeena said: “Tomorrow is the first day, mentally and psychologically it already had that shift. As I mentioned, it’s a paradigm shift. In perception and how they view women, their capabilities — as equal partners. 

“Mentally it’s already there, and physically we will see — as we start — more and more encouragement for both men and women. Even some of the women who weren’t feeling comfortable about driving, it’s going to be encouraging for them, in a live demonstration and evidence that women can do it.” 

As roads around Saudi Arabia have been inhabited by a new breed of drivers, how has this affected the traffic flow in Saudi Arabia?

 “As of 12 a.m., the implementation of the Supreme Court order to enable women to drive and the implementation of traffic regulations to both men and women is officially in effect," said Col. Sami Al-Shwairkh, the official spokesman for General Security in the Kingdom. "The security and traffic status on all roads and areas around the Kingdom have been reported as normal. There have not been any records from our monitoring of any unusual occurrences on the road throughout the Kingdom.” 

To commemorate this occasion, as seen in the pictures circulating on social media, traffic policemen were handing roses to female drivers early on Sunday.

The General Security has already reported that it will be providing the required provisions for female drivers in Saudi Arabia.

Private insurance company Najm, in partnership with the General Department of Traffic, has hired 40 women and trained them to respond to road accidents involving female drivers.

The General Directorate of Traffic has completed all preparations to employ women on the country’s traffic police force.