Envoy reassures Saudi Arabia over Maldives emergency

Abdullah Hameed
Updated 10 February 2018
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Envoy reassures Saudi Arabia over Maldives emergency

RIYADH: The Maldives’ envoy in Saudi Arabia has sought to ease fears over escalating tensions in the island republic following the declaration of a state of emergency.
Abdullah Hameed, the ambassador to the Kingdom, said that “there is nothing to worry about since everything is normal — there is no curfew and judicial functions continue.”
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s general secretariat expressed grave concerns on Thursday over rising tensions in the Maldives following the declaration of a state of emergency on Monday by the republic’s president, Abdulla Yameen.
“Unfortunately, as usual, almost all reports (about the situation) are not factual and no one seems to be checking the reality on the ground,” Hameed told Arab News.
He said that a “Maldivian minister will visit the Kingdom soon as the special envoy of the president to explain to the Saudi leadership the correct position of the government.”
In 2017, 21,944 Saudis visited the Maldives, a 39.5 percent increase from the previous year. There are also 24 Saudis working as teachers in the island nation, in addition to embassy staff. Saudi Airlines flies to the Maldives twice a week from both Riyadh and Jeddah.
Hameed said the emergency was declared after consultation with the National Security Council over measures to guarantee citizens’ safety and security.
“Many countries across the world have increased internal security in recent years in response to domestic concerns. The Maldives should be seen in this light and is no different in this regard,” he said.
Freedom of movement and speech remained and there was no risk to tourists, Hameed said.
“The state of emergency has no effect on tourist resorts, tourist island and on tourism in general. (It) is an internal governance matter and has no implications for foreign visitors,” he said.
Schools and businesses are operating normally and the judiciary retains its full power.
Hameed said that the state of emergency affected only Male, the republic’s capital.
The Maldives opposition described the declaration of emergency as a “purge”.
Maldives police on Tuesday arrested Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, another Supreme Court judge, administrator of the judicial services commission Hassan Saeed Hussein and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, dramatically escalating the legal battle within the Maldives’ highest court.
Police said the men were arrested for alleged corruption and trying to overthrow the government by issuing illegal orders.


Peace, security and economy top agenda of Saudi Shoura session

The current Shoura Council is composed of 150 members including 30 women members. (SPA)
Updated 15 November 2018
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Peace, security and economy top agenda of Saudi Shoura session

  • Al-Khunaizi said that King Salman’s speech will have “added political and economic significance, and it will lay out the agenda for the rest of the Shoura’s term”

RIYADH: King Salman on Monday will deliver his inaugural address at the Shoura Council, where he will talk about a range of local and regional issues and urge lawmakers to support the government in taking the country forward.
The king’s speech, which will serve as a guideline for Shoura members, will begin the deliberations of the new parliamentary year of the 150-member council.
“The king’s visit to the Shoura is of utmost importance, and his speech will define domestic, regional and foreign policies,” said Hoda Al-Helaissi, a member of the Shoura Council here on Wednesday.
“With the visit of King Salman to the Shoura Council to mark the beginning of the third year of the seventh term, we take a moment to reflect on the past year,” Al-Helaissi said.
She said that “the past year has been a year of challenges and opportunities both within the Kingdom and abroad.”
“Remarkably, as is in our nature, and as exemplified by our leadership, we have remained steadfast in our values and beliefs, committed as a country to the well-being of our citizens, not least as explained in what has now become known as Saudi Arabia’s road-map for the future, Vision 2030,” Al-Helaissi said.
“As the home of the Two Holy Mosques and as an important strategic player in the region, Saudi Arabia has an important role in global politics and we look forward to hearing the king’s speech this coming Monday,” Al-Helaissi said.
Guidelines for addressing local and regional challenges with a special reference to domestic and foreign policies will be spelled out by King Salman, she said.
“Elaborate preparations have been made to receive the king on this occasion,” said Mohammed Al-Khunaizi, another member of the Shoura Council. Al-Khunaizi said that King Salman’s speech will have “added political and economic significance, and it will lay out the agenda for the rest of the Shoura’s term.”
“The occasion marks the beginning of the new year for the council,” said Al-Khunaizi, while forecasting a number of proposals, decisions, draft legislation, treaties and foreign policy matters to be discussed and debated in 2019.
He said that the king’s speech may touch on subjects such as society, security, peace, stability, extremism, economy, financial reforms, regional challenges and foreign policy matters.
Al-Khunaizi noted that the role of women members of the Shoura Council had lent new dimension to the debate and deliberations of the council. He said that the current Shoura Council is composed of 150 members including 30 women members.