Iran ‘linked to all regional ills’

SOLIDARITY: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman breaks fast with soldiers at the southern border. He went to meet them soon after ending the foreign trip to US and France.
Updated 30 June 2016

Iran ‘linked to all regional ills’

PARIS: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French president have committed their two nations to seeking joint solutions to the crises affecting the Middle East.

This came as Prince Mohammed wrapped up his visit to the country on Wednesday and sent a message to Francois Hollande thanking him for hosting him and holding talks on deepening cooperation on the political, social and economic fronts, SPA reported.
Prince Mohammed had held several meetings on Tuesday in Paris, including a visit to the country’s Parliament, and French Business Council where he briefed members on Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020, the plans to diversify the country’s economy with a focus on investment income.
He also held a meeting with Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO and urged further cooperation in terms of developing education and having more archaeological sites in the Kingdom placed on the World Heritage List.
Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, speaking at a symposium hosted by the French Diplomatic Academy, said Saudi Arabia and France shared views on how to deal with problems in the Middle East, including Syria, Yemen and Libya.
“There is a sectarian problem in our region created and encouraged by Iran after 1979. After the Iranian revolution a revolutionary system was established in Iran that wanted to act as if it were responsible for every Shiite in the world, and as a result we have seen increasing sectarianism in the Middle East. Then the Hezbollah was founded in Lebanon ... Iran is behind the unrest in the region,” he said.
He said that all acts of terrorism and civil wars in the region can be linked to Iran. The country has to change its behavior so that there can be a dialogue. It must stop interfering in the internal affairs of Yemen, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Palestinians, he said.
“Saudi Arabia had no interest in conducting a war in Yemen but we had no choice when there was a militia allied with Hezbollah and Iran fighting there, with forces and ballistic missiles only 30 miles away from our borders. It was crucial for us to act,” he said. There was now hope for a political solution because most of the country was controlled by the government, and to rebuild Yemen, he said.
On Syria, Al-Jubeir said a solution must be found without Bashar Assad because he killed and displaced millions of his own people. This has caused the rise in terrorism in that part of the world, he said.

King Salman to host 1,000 Sudanese pilgrims 

Updated 22 July 2019

King Salman to host 1,000 Sudanese pilgrims 

  • 500 pilgrims are to be selected from the Sudanese army
  • Another 500 to be selected from families of Sudanese soldiers who died while fighting Houthi terrorists in Yemen

RIYADH: King Salman has issued an order to host 1,000 pilgrims from Sudan to perform Hajj, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

According to the directive, the 1,000 pilgrims will perform Hajj within the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah, implemented and supervised by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance.

Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said that of this total, 500 pilgrims would be selected from the Sudanese army and those belonging to the families of Sudanese martyred while participating in the “Determination Storm and Restoring of Hope” operations within the Arab coalition forces supporting the legitimate government in Yemen.

This year, King Salman has ordered the hosting of 1,300 pilgrims from around the world as part of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah.

Earlier, King Salman issued a directive for the hosting of 200 Hajj pilgrims from the families of victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The king also ordered 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims who are family members of martyrs to be hosted while they performed Hajj.  

Al-Asheikh said that the hosting of the families during the Hajj season was part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to “confront and defeat terrorism” in all its forms.

So far, the number of pilgrims who have arrived in the Kingdom since the start of the Hajj season has reached 562,056, according to statistics issued by the Saudi General Directorate of Passports.

Most pilgrims — 547,505 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 8,548 entered by land and 6,003 arrived by sea, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Last year more that 1.75 million pilgrims from abroad performed Hajj, according to figures from the Saudi General Directorate of Passports.