High-speed rail takes minister on first Madinah-Makkah journey

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Saudi Transport Minister Nabeel Al-Amoudi and Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo sit in the Haramain high-speed train that links the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah on Sunday. (SPA)
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Updated 01 January 2018
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High-speed rail takes minister on first Madinah-Makkah journey

RIYADH: Dr. Nabil Al-Amoudi, minister of transport and chairman of Saudi Railway Organization and Saudi Railways Company (SAR), on Sunday took the first 450km full journey of the high-speed Haramain train.
The non-stop journey went from Madinah station to Makkah station to examine the readiness of the project before commercial operation of the service.
The head of the public transport authority, President-designate of the Saudi Railway Organization Dr. Rumaih Al-Rumaih, Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo, the chief executive of SAR, Dr. Bashar Al-Malik, and several national leaders working on the project, in addition to experts from the consortium entrusted with the operation of the Holy Mosques high-speed rail, also went on the journey.
Al-Amoudi said that this project is of strategic importance and has attracted global attention, as it is one of the mega public transportation projects linking the two Holy Mosques of Makkah and Madinah.
“In addition to the great benefit of transporting Umrah and Hajj pilgrims and visitors, the project facilitates transportation of citizens and residents in the Kingdom via the Holy Mosques high-speed rail through five stations and at high speed throughout the year,” he added.
Al-Rumaih confirmed that the pilot service journeys for Holy Mosques high-speed rail would start in the coming months.
He also explained that during these pilot service journeys, some passengers would be invited to try the service.
“These journeys will increase gradually until the full commercial operation,” he said, noting that “work is underway to determine the ticket prices to be appropriate and reflect the size of service provided in this project.”
Al-Rumaih added: “The consortium charged with the implementation of the project will run it for the next 12 years.”


Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

Updated 23 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting
  • Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE will participate in a conference next month in Bahrain aimed at encouraging investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as part of US President Donald Trump’s long–awaited Israel–Palestine peace plan. 

The Peace to Prosperity conference, to be hosted on June 25–26 in cooperation with the US, has already been rebuffed by Palestinian officials and business leaders, who want their political demands met by any proposed solution to the conflict.

The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting.

The Saudi minister of economy and planning, Mohammed bin Majid Al–Tuwaijri, will attend, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said Abu Dhabi would also send a delegation.

The Palestinian Authority has boycotted American peace efforts since late 2017, when Trump decided to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the latter as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of US policy.

The Trump administration has sought to enlist support from Arab governments.

But Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands, which include affirming East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, the right of return for refugees, and a freeze on Israeli settlement construction.