Saudi national missing in Lebanon; embassy in touch with authorities

Lebanese President Michel Aoun meets with Waleed Bukhari, Charge d' Affaires of the Saudi Embassy in Lebanon, at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, on Friday, November 10, 2017. The Embassy is in touch with Lebanese security authorities to determine the whereabouts of a missing Saudi citizen. (Dalati Nohra/Handout via Reuters)
Updated 11 November 2017

Saudi national missing in Lebanon; embassy in touch with authorities

JEDDAH: The Saudi Embassy in Lebanon is in touch with the Lebanese security authorities to determine the whereabouts of a missing Saudi citizen.

In a statement issued on Friday via the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the embassy said it "is in contact with the Lebanese security authorities at the highest levels in order to release unconditionally the kidnapped Saudi citizen as soon as possible."

The Associated Press quoted Lebanese police officials as saying that search operations are ongoing to find him.

The officials say that Syrian citizen, Ivine Hassan, informed police that her Saudi husband, Ali Shamrawi, had been missing since Thursday night, adding that he went missing north of Beirut. The Saudi man lives in Lebanon.

It was not immediately clear if the kidnapping was related to rising tensions between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia because of last week's resignation of Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri.

Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk was quoted as saying by local media outlets on Friday that the safety of all foreigners was a priority for authorities, adding that the stability of Lebanon was a "red line."

Some local TV stations said Shamrawi's family had received a call from unknown persons demanding a ransom of $1 million in exchange for Shamrawi's release.

Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

Updated 22 min 54 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

  • Total relief provided by the Kingdom since the war began now stands at about $1billion
  • Latest package announced by Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir at conference in Brussels

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the people of Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The announcement of the latest aid package was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir on April 25 at an international conference on the future of Syria and the region, held in the Belgian capital Brussels. He pointed out that the meeting comes after the suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, which killed dozens of civilians, including women and children.

“The world is facing a regime allied with terrorist militias who believe that spreading atrocities and committing crimes will bring victory to it, and that war crimes are bearing fruit,” said Al-Jubeir. “In addition to bombing civilians with explosive barrels, the policies of starvation and siege, ethnic and sectarian cleansing, and the demographic change of Syrian cities and towns, its use of chemical weapons have shocked the entire world.”

He said that the only acceptable solution to the Syrian crisis is a peaceful political resolution, and that Saudi Arabia has been working to achieve this since the crisis began, while also working with others to end the continuing human tragedy in the war-torn country.

The Kingdom has played a role in unifying the ranks of the Syrian opposition and encouraging them to speak with one voice, he added. After the Riyadh 1 Conference in 2015, Saudi Arabia hosted the Riyadh 2 conference for the Syrian opposition in November 2017, which succeeded in unifying the factions and establishing a negotiating body to take part in the rounds of talks held since then, earning praise from the United Nations.

The foreign minister also reiterated his country’s support for the efforts of the UN secretary-general’s envoy, Stephan de Mistura, to resume negotiations between all sides of the conflict.

“The Kingdom hopes that the agreements endorsed by the international resolutions on the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to its beneficiaries will be implemented throughout Syria, regardless of their ethnic, religious, sectarian or political affiliations, and calls for the speedy release of detainees and abductees and clarifying the situation of those absent,” said Al-Jubeir. “It also renews its demand to punish individuals and institutions for war crimes and to prevent their impunity.”

He added that the worsening humanitarian crisis affecting refugees inside and outside of Syria should add to the urgency of finding a political solution and resuming the negotiating process as soon as possible.

Since the war began, the Kingdom has taken in about two and a half million Syrians and treats them like its own citizens, Al-Jubeir said, providing them with free health care, work and education. Saudi universities and schools have more than 140,000 Syrian students. He added that Saudi Arabia is also supporting and helping to care for of millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, in coordination with the governments of those countries. The humanitarian assistance provided so far totals about $1 billion.