Saudi crown prince visits Britain on Wednesday

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Riyadh. (SPA/file)
Updated 05 March 2018
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Saudi crown prince visits Britain on Wednesday

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, deputy premier and defense minister, will embark on a landmark visit to London on Wednesday.
The visit will focus on defense, security and economic ties. The two sides will also review key bilateral and regional issues.
The crown prince “will hold wide-ranging talks with top British officials including Prime Minister Theresa May,” the UK government said in a statement.
British Ambassador Simon Collis told Arab News on Sunday: “The relationship between our two countries is historic and forward-looking, and the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed will establish the platform for this relationship to become even stronger.”
The partnership “helps make both of our countries safer through intelligence sharing, and more prosperous with substantial opportunities for two-way trade,” Collis said.
“This will be the crown prince’s first visit to the UK since his appointment in June 2017, and since the Vision 2030 program of economic and social reforms that provide opportunities for British businesses to help support delivery in areas such as education, entertainment and health care.”
Shoura Council member Mohammed Al-Khunaizi said: “The UK is a major defense partner of the Kingdom. This cooperation, especially in the fields of security and intelligence sharing, makes both countries safer.”
He added: “The visit of Crown Prince Mohammed will be an opportunity to hold consultations candidly and constructively on bilateral and regional issues.”
Al-Khunaizi said: “Britain, a member of the UN Security Council, has been a dependable supplier of arms and defense equipment to Gulf states.”
He spoke of growing relations between Saudi Arabia and the UK regarding education and parliamentary cooperation.
“A British parliamentary delegation led by Leo Docherty, a Conservative MP, visited the Kingdom in September last year and discussed ways to enhance parliamentary cooperation,” Al-Khunaizi said.
Shoura member Hoda Abdulrahman Al-Helaissi said the crown prince’s three-day trip to London “is significant as Saudi-British relations have always been cordial.”
She added: “From holidaying to seeking medical services or trade opportunities, and more importantly benefiting from a first-class education, Britain has always been one of the top destinations for Saudis.”
Dr. Maha Al-Moneef, a consultant at the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, said the visit will “promote further cooperation in numerous fields, contributing to human development, and achieving progress and prosperity for the Saudi people.”
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Qayid, a founding member of the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR), said Vision 2030 “will get a major boost” from the visit, which will add “more defense, security and commercial content to Saudi-British relations.”
Businessman Sadaka Al-Hamdan said: “The Kingdom is the largest trading partner of Britain in the Middle East.”
He added: “Saudi Arabia is a high growth market that offers plenty of opportunities for British companies in different sectors.”
The UK is Saudi Arabia’s second-largest cumulative investor, with about 200 joint ventures worth an estimated $15 billion in total.


Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

Updated 26 May 2019
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Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

  • Umrah trip held as part of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah's “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative 

JEDDAH: Several Muslims with special needs have benefited from a special Umrah pilgrimage organized by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.

According to statement from the ministry, the Umrah trip, was held on the 17th of Ramadan  (May 22) under the “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative in partnership with Sawt Alasm association in Jeddah.

A busload of 20 people with special needs were accompanied by 12 volunteers of Sadiq Almutamir, including sign language interpreters for the deaf pilgrims. 

The first stop was at Kuday area in Makkah, where pilgrims received the special gifts of Sadiq Almutamir, supported by the Establishment of Motawifs of South East Asian Pilgrims. Next was their arrival at the Grand Mosque, wherein the pilgrims performed Umrah, enjoyed Iftar meals, and received souvenirs from Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association. 

Volunteers assisted the pilgrims by communicating with them, providing instructions and directions in addition to sharing their feelings with the support of the sign language interpreters. 

Sadiq Almutamir also accompanied pilgrims during the performance of Umrah, providing wheelchairs for the elderly, sharing breakfast, and learning about their impressions of performing Umrah for their first time. 

Sadiq Almutamir is one of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s initiatives in Makkah’s Cultural Forum. It focuses on promoting the culture of giving and cooperation between the Saudi youth as well as elevating the volunteering services provided to Umrah pilgrims in order to enrich their experiences. It also provides optional tours to visit attractions, monuments, and places contribute to enriching experiences of Mutamirs and immortalizing beautiful memories in the Kingdom.

Launched late last year, the initiative aims to develop the spirit of volunteerism among Muslims and to invest in the youth by engaging young men and women in service and social responsibility.

“It focuses as well on improving the efficiency level of services provided to pilgrims, promoting the culture of volunteering, helping elderly and special needs’ people to perform Umrah rituals, and finally contributing to the realization of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 of reaching 1 million volunteers annually,” ministry statement said.

The trip was held in cooperation with the Western Fleet Transport, in coordination with the undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for pilgrims’ transportation affairs and Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association.