Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Jeddah on Tuesday. SPA
Updated 18 July 2018
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Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

  • The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers
  • China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has expressed his appreciation to scholars who took part in the International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan in Makkah, saying the Kingdom was making efforts to “heal the divisions and differences among the Afghan people.”

Chairing the Cabinet session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday, the king said Saudi Arabia was working toward “unifying the ranks and words of Muslims worldwide.”
He briefed the Cabinet on the results of his recent talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa, on future cooperation between the two countries.
The Cabinet welcomed the final statement by the Makkah conference calling on states, organizations and Islamic elites to play positive roles in achieving security and peace in Afghanistan.
The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers, extinguishing the fire of sedition.”
Muslims worldwide should continue their “firm stand in front of the advocates of violence and extremism in defense of their religion and maintaining the unity of the Islamic world,” it said.
The Cabinet also reviewed a ministerial meeting of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum in Beijing and welcomed a decision by Chinese leader President Xi Jinping to establish an Arab-Chinese strategic partnership.
China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries and “add to the prosperity and economic advancement of all,” it said.
The Cabinet denounced recent suicide attacks on two election gatherings in Pakistan and the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and offered condolences to families of the victims.
In the local arena, the Cabinet extended its appreciation to the king, based on a report by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for pardoning all troops who have taken part in the Saudi Renewal of Hope operation in Yemen of their military and disciplinary penalties for their heroism and sacrifices.
The Cabinet approved a license for the Iraqi Commercial Bank to open a branch in Saudi Arabia and authorized the Minister of Finance to decide on any subsequent requests to open other branches.


Food trucks serve in holy places for first time

Updated 2 min 22 sec ago
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Food trucks serve in holy places for first time

  • About 45 food trucks were given permit to roam the holy places to offer food, drinks and desserts to pilgrims
  • Only Saudi citizens are allowed to work in these food trucks

 

MINA: Food trucks run by Saudi men and women have begun for the first time to serve food and drinks in the holy places.

This was after Deputy Makkah Gov. Prince Abdullah bin Bandar directed the Secretariat of the Holy Capital to allow local entrepreneurs to provide their services inside the holy places during the current Hajj season.

Unlike the old fixed food stalls, about 45 food trucks have begun roaming the holy places to offer food, drinks and desserts to pilgrims. They also serve ice cream to help people cope with the heat, as well as different kinds of sandwiches.

The Secretariat of the Holy Capital confirmed that all food trucks in Arafat comply with health requirements, with every food truck manager carrying health certificates that allow them to carry out their activities.

The Secretariat highlighted that only Saudi citizens are allowed to work in these food trucks.

Afaf Abdul Aziz, one of the women serving hot drinks, said that she was pleased that the governor of Makkah had allowed women to work in the holy places.

She added: “The job is hard but truly fun. I wanted to prove that Saudi women can work in all occupations and contribute to serving pilgrims.”

She said that most of her customers were Saudis or from Arabian Gulf countries, most of whom worked in providing Hajj services.

“I have seen many Saudi women working in hospitals, health care centers, and Tawafa establishments, which makes me content,” she said.

Arif Obaid said that he worked in a food truck and served hot drinks, especially coffee, highlighting that many security men visited his truck for all kinds of coffee, especially Arabic coffee, which is in high demand. “Most of our goods go to charity work targeting pilgrims,” he said.

The Secretariat of the Holy Capital has announced accepting applications from Saudi men and women who wish to practice this activity in the holy places during the current Hajj season according to a set of standards and controls. 

The most important of these is ensuring the safety of nourishments served to pilgrims and that the applicant has a health certificate proving that she/he is free of contagious or infectious diseases.