Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage chief highlights tourism’s role in maintaining peace

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Prince Sultan bin Salman
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Updated 12 December 2017

Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage chief highlights tourism’s role in maintaining peace

RIYADH: Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) President Prince Sultan bin Salman on Monday iterated that Saudi Arabia’s care for tourism and heritage represents its care for the global human history and heritage in its capacity as the cradle of Islam and as the junction of civilizations throughout the history.
The SCTH chief said this during his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Muscat under the theme “Fostering sustainable tourism development.”
Prince Sultan asserted that led by King Salman, the Kingdom has been experiencing a huge transformation in the tourism sector.
He said the Kingdom is taking several steps like the offering of tourist visas next year and launching different programs to promote tourism. He also highlighted initiatives like “Saudi Arabia: A destination for Muslims” in addition to other mega projects which come within the initiative of “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program for Caring of the Cultural Heritage” and involve several projects including 32 key museums in different parts of the Kingdom as well as the expansion of some existing museums.
The SCTH chief further stressed that tourism, apart from its role as an economic industry sector, undertakes a leading role in enhancing a citizen’s relations with his nation and land, and boosting human knowledge which, he said, is a basis of peace between nations.
The two-day conference which began on Monday at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center is a sequel to the first World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Siem Reap, Cambodia in February 2015. It aims to reflect upon the Siem Reap declaration that pledged to explore the synergies of the tourism and culture sectors to work in harmony for sustainable development.
The conference will address a wide range of topics including governance models, tourism development and protection of cultural heritage, culture and tourism in urban development and creativity, and exploring the cultural landscape in tourism.
Notably, the UN has declared 2017 as “the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development,” thereby offering a unique opportunity to explore and highlight tourism’s potential and help transform the world into a place of prosperity and well-being for all.
The conference will explore various ways to strengthen partnerships between the tourism and culture sectors by enhancing their role in the UN’s agenda for sustainable development, reflecting upon outcomes of the first conference in Siem Reap.

Joint Incidents Assessment Team 'abides by transparency' in Yemen

Updated 8 min 52 sec ago

Joint Incidents Assessment Team 'abides by transparency' in Yemen

  • JIAT spokesman said the team is transparent in the way it announces its results for incidents in Yemen

RIYADH: The spokesman of the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen, legal consultant Mansour Bin Ahmed Al-Mansour, has stressed that the team abides by transparency in announcing the results of engagement in Yemen.

Al-Mansour was speaking on Tuesday at a press conference at King Salman Air Base in Riyadh assessing  incidents. 

The cases included an incident in Malh Town where Human Rights on Yemen stated that on Feb. 18, 2016, during the intensity of combat, a family tried to leave and Coalition Forces targeted the vehicle, causing the death of nine family members and their relatives, injuring three.

JIAT investigations revealed that the target was located 1,600 meters from the coordinate given by the National Commission, and after reviewing the daily mission schedule, JIAT found that there was no air mission on the village of Malh. 

It was also claimed that the Coalition Air Forces on Nov. 10, 2017 targeted the ministry of defense and the fall of a missile on Alsa’adi neighborhood next to the ministry injured 23 civilians. JIAT found that there was a gathering of high-level Houthi leaders inside the building so considered it a legitimate military target. 

On Feb 2, 2018 an airstrike on a target 500 meters away from the warehouse of the UNHCR in Sa’dah city caused damage to the warehouse and injured the guard. JIAT found that the Coalition Air Forces targeted a legitimate military target (a leader from the Houthi armed militia). 

Coalition Forces on March 31, 2015 targeted the national cement factory in Lahj, causing the death of at least 10 people and injuring at least 13 others. JIAT found that the target was 360 meters away from generators and the production line, and was not aimed at the operational infrastructure. JIAT found that the procedures of the coalition in targeting the weapons, ammunition warehouse and AAA inside the factory were in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Al-Mansour announced the findings of investigations into the Radfan water factory north of Lahj governorate. JIAT found that intelligence stated that it was used for weapons storage and as a meeting place for hostile elements and was considered a legitimate military target.

JIAT looked at a High Commissioner for Human Rights report that stated that on Aug. 7, 2016, Coalition Forces carried out two airstrikes on a residential and commercial building in Sana’a, causing the death of 16 civilians including seven children and a woman, and injuring 24 others. JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target the buildings and confirmed that the procedures of the coalition in targeting the truck were in accordance with international humanitarian law. 

Human Rights Watch stated that on Feb. 14, 2016, Coalition Air Forces targeted the Middle East Tailoring and Embroidery Factory in Sana’a city, causing the death of one laborer and injuring three others. 

JIAT found that on Feb. 13, 2016, intelligence received by the Coalition Forces indicated there were meetings of Houthi armed leaders in a hanger in Sana’a that had been used as an embroidery factory before being controlled by the militia.

Regarding reports by international organizations about a civilian boat being attacked by a military ship on March 16, 2017, the boat arrived about 30 nautical miles from Alhudaydah port and was intercepted by a military ship that claimed to belong to the Coalition Forces and opened fire. Passengers signaled that they were civilians but the ship opened fire with a submachine gun, and a helicopter took off from the attacking ship and opened fire, causing the death of 33 people, injuring 29. 

JIAT found Coalition Forces did not target the refugee boat for several reasons, including that the shooting on the boat was horizontal, making it impossible for it to come from a helicopter, and the size of the weapon used showed the marks of small-caliber fire, not medium or large caliber.