US welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Khashoggi investigation as ‘step in the right direction’

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Khashoggi investigation was a step in the right direction. (AFP)
Updated 16 November 2018
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US welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Khashoggi investigation as ‘step in the right direction’

  • State department says steps must continue to be taken toward full accountability
  • Arab and Western countries welcomed the steps taken in the investigation

JEDDAH: The United States welcomed the details of Saudi Arabia’s investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi as a “good first step” on Thursday.

The comments came as a host of countries responded positively to a briefing from the Kingdom’s public prosecution that said it had identified 21 suspects in the killing of the Saudi journalist at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

The prosecution on Thursday called for five people to receive the death penalty as it revealed the details of the investigation so far.

“We regard the announcement that they made as a good first step, it's a step in the right direction,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

“It is an initial investigation finding. It is important that those steps continue to be taken toward full accountability.”

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READ MORE:

Full text: Saudi Arabia public prosecution briefing on the Jamal Khashoggi murder investigation

Saudi Arabia FM: Khashoggi murder investigations will continue until all questions are answered

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor seeks death penalty for 5 Khashoggi suspects

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Both Arab and Western countries welcomed the steps taken by the investigation outlined in the briefing.

The Arab League expressed support for the measures taken by the Kingdom.

“The measures are seen as reflecting the great interest of the Kingdom to reach those responsible for committing the murder and take the firm and decisive action against them,” the League’s  Secretariat General said.

The statement also urged Turkey to reciprocate the Kingdom’s approach by providing the evidence in the case and meet Saudi demands to form a joint mechanism for cooperation on the investigation.

The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani said the details of the investigation released on Thursday “confirm the Kingdom’s commitment to completing the necessary procedures in order to continue the investigation away from the politicization sought by some malicious parties.”

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) praised the statement from the Public Prosecution.

“The Saudi prosecution has clearly answered the outstanding questions, charged the responsible parties, identified the roles of those involved in this crime and announced all that with transparency,” OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen said.

Countries in the region were also quick to back the progress made in the case.

The UAE welcomed the findings and the measures taken to hold accountable those behind the murder.

“The measures taken corroborate the fact that Saudi Arabia will remain a state of values, and justice that respects the principles of law and justice,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.

Egypt also praised Saudi measures and called on countries to avoid politicizing the case.

The progress in the investigation “highlighted the seriousness of the Kingdom and its transparency in clarifying the truth,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said.

The Jordanian government stressed the importance of the public prosecution's announcement to charge a number of detainees in the case.

"This announcement is an important step towards achieving justice through the investigations' results," Amman said.

Other governments to issue statements welcoming the Kingdom’s steps included Djibouti and Palestine.

Meanwhile, France's foreign ministry said the investigation was a “step in the right direction.”

Russia said that it sees no reason to doubt Saudi Arabia's ability to deal with the Khashoggi case and that it will not accept the politicization of the case. 


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.