Al-Assiri: Coalition prefers final Yemen settlement to ‘short’ truce

Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Al-Assiri, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition forces fighting rebels in Yemen, gives an interview to AFP at the King Salman airbase in central Riyadh, in this March 16, 2016 photo. (AFP)
Updated 27 September 2016
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Al-Assiri: Coalition prefers final Yemen settlement to ‘short’ truce

RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition fighting in support of Yemen’s government would prefer a broad political settlement to a cease-fire, its spokesman said on Monday.
“I think now it’s not a question of talking about a cease-fire,” Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri told AFP.
Late on Sunday a Houthi rebel leader, Saleh Al-Sammad, proposed a truce on the country’s border with Saudi Arabia in exchange for a halt to Saudi-led airstrikes on his forces.
Al-Assiri said the coalition welcomes “any effort to have a genuine political settlement” under a peace initiative proposed last month by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
This is preferable to a “short cease-fire without any control, without any observation,” he said, adding that “the Saudi border is not and will not be the subject of any discussion.”
Previous truces in the 18-month war collapsed.
After talks in Saudi Arabia with his Gulf counterparts, Kerry outlined a plan which offers the Houthis participation in government in exchange for an end to violence and a surrender of weapons.
The Houthis are allied with soldiers loyal to Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
“If they want to have a cease-fire they know what they have to do,” Al-Assiri said, referring to terms of the Kerry plan which were to be refined under United Nations mediation among the parties.


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.