Lebanese church leader hails Saudi ‘friendship and support’

Updated 14 November 2017
0

Lebanese church leader hails Saudi ‘friendship and support’

BEIRUT/RIYADH: The unbreakable link between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon was reinforced on Monday when Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, head of the Maronite Church, received a red-carpet welcome on a historic and unprecedented visit to the Kingdom.
On Tuesday, Al-Rahi will meet King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who will host a lunch in his honor. He will also meet the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is in Riyadh.
“The Patriarch represents all the Patriarchs and Christians of the East. He is carrying a message of love and openness to Saudi Arabia, which is now witnessing further openness and positive changes,” Al-Rahi’s spokesman Walid Ghayyad told Arab News in Beirut.
“We thank the Kingdom for inviting the Patriarch on this momentous visit, especially since it complements and activates historical relations between the two countries.
“King Saud bin Abdulaziz visited the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkirki in Mount Lebanon in 1953 and exchanged encouraging messages at the time. So what is happening today is not new, but rather a renewed step that has further aspects in light of the openness of the Kingdom.”
Before leaving Beirut, Al-Rahi said: “The Kingdom has long supported Lebanon … relations between us are based on friendship and brotherhood.”
Al-Rahi heads the Maronite sect, Lebanon’s largest Christian community and the Middle East’s largest Catholic church. He took office in March 2011 and was made a cardinal by Pope Benedict in 2012.
His views on tolerance, moderation and cultural communication have long chimed with those of Saudi Arabia. In April 2011, Al-Rahi pledged “to establish a sincere and complete dialogue” with the Muslim world “and build together a future in common life and cooperation.”
The Lebanese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdul Sattar Issa, said the patriarch’s visit demonstrated the important steps taken by Saudi Arabia to modernize its institutions and to reinforce perceptions of Islam as a religion of moderation.
There are about 300,000 Lebanese expatriates in Saudi Arabia. The patriarch addressed more than 1,500 of them at the Lebanese Embassy on Monday at a community event hosted by the ambassador.
He said he was happy that his countrymen were treated well in the Kingdom and the peoples of the two countries were dealing with each other in a friendly and brotherly manner because of their historical relations.
On his first day in Saudi Arabia, the patriarch also had a private meeting with Saudi Minister of State for Arab Gulf Affairs Thamer Al-Sabhan. After meeting Saad Hariri on Tuesday, he will leave Riyadh in the evening to attend ecclesiastical meetings in Rome.


Saudi envoy highlights Coalition’s support of humanitarian operations in Yemen

Updated 21 September 2018
0

Saudi envoy highlights Coalition’s support of humanitarian operations in Yemen

  • UN official briefd on the plans and projects of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen

JEDDAH: Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, Saudi ambassador to Yemen and executive director of the “Isnad” Center for Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations in Yemen, met on Thursday with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths.

During the meeting, Al-Jaber highlighted Saudi Arabia and the coalition states’ support of humanitarian operations in Yemen in light of violations committed by the Houthi militias.

He also briefed the UN official on the plans and projects of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen, affirming its support in accordance with three references (Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanism, outputs of the national dialogue and Security Council Resolution 2216).

Griffiths highlighted his efforts with the Iran-backed Houthi militias to return to the negotiating table.

Earlier, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsin Saleh met with Griffiths. They discussed the latest developments in the Yemeni arena and efforts for peace there.