OIC chief to visit Myanmar soon to address Rohingya concerns

Updated 19 December 2012
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OIC chief to visit Myanmar soon to address Rohingya concerns

Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary-General Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said yesterday that he would soon visit Myanmar as the head of a high-level delegation including OIC foreign ministers as part of efforts to stop the attacks against Rohingya Muslims.
Addressing a press conference, he said the visit came in response to an invitation he received from Myanmar President Thein Sein. “We have not canceled our pre-planned visit to Myanmar but it was postponed due to insecure conditions in the country,” he told Arab News.
Speaking about the upcoming OIC summit in Cairo, he said Syria, Palestine, Myanmar and Islamophobia would figure high on its agenda. “We are now in the process of making necessary preparations to make the summit successful,” the secretary-general said.
An Egyptian Foreign Ministry delegation recently visited OIC headquarters to discuss arrangements for the summit. An OIC team yesterday left for Egypt to discuss technical and logistical aspects of the conference. Ihsanoglu highlighted Egypt’s important role in the Islamic world.
Referring to the situation in Syria, the OIC chief said the crisis has reached its final stage. However, he stressed that the international community should reach an agreement on ceasefire in order to find a political solution for the problem.
“The political solution should reflect the hopes and aspirations of Syrian people, should not repeat the mistake done in Iraq and preserve Syrian state institutions,” the secretary-general said.
Asked about appointing a representative of the Syrian opposition council in the OIC, he said: “We have not yet discussed such a proposal.” However, he pointed out that OIC was keeping in touch with the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and other opposition groups.
Ihsanoglu had met with Ahmed Al-Khateeb, president of the coalition and George Sabra, head of the Syrian National Council, on the sidelines of the Friends of Syria meeting in Marrakech recently. Both leaders had requested OIC’s political and humanitarian support.
“The Marrakech meeting declared its recognition of the National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and this is a big political support reflecting the international community’s confidence in the new leadership,” the OIC chief said.
In a related development, Ihsanoglu disclosed plans to intensify humanitarian activities for Syrian people through a coalition of 30 relief organizations.
“We are now in contact with Turkey to open a humanitarian office in the country to follow the condition of Syrian refugees and coordinate relief work,” the secretary-general said.
Referring to the armed groups in Mali, he said: “We are totally against exploiting Islam for killing and terrorizing people. We have appointed an envoy to deal with Malian crisis.”


KSA will be one of the very best countries for tourism, says Prince Sultan

Updated 40 min 49 sec ago
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KSA will be one of the very best countries for tourism, says Prince Sultan

  • The number of job opportunities is expected to increase to 1.2 million by the year 2020.
  • The Saudi government has allocated SR5 billion to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ program.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will be one of the most attractive countries for tourism because of its location, its unique tourist and historic elements and its hospitable and welcoming people, said Prince Sultan bin Salman.
Prince Sultan, who is president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), told the annual conference of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires that the efforts of the SCTH and its partners in localizing tourist jobs resulted in an increase in the number of direct jobs in the tourism sector from 936,000 in 2016 to 993,000 by the end of 2017. The number of job opportunities is expected to increase to 1.2 million by the year 2020.
He said the contributions of tourism to the national GDP amounted to 3.6 percent, up to 4.9 percent of the national non-oil output, and the revenues of the tourism sector reached SR97.5 billion ($26 billion). Direct jobs in the tourism sector exceeded 994,000, and the proportion of Saudi citizens currently employed in the sector is about 28 percent.
The Saudi government has allocated SR5 billion to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ program, which takes care of the cultural heritage of the Kingdom.
The program includes the establishment of 18 museums in the Kingdom’s regions, the creation of 80 heritage sites and opening them to visitors throughout the Kingdom, the restoration and preparation of 18 villages and traditional towns to receive visitors, and hosting economic and local hospitality activities operated by local people, as well as opening 17 centers for artisans that serve as incubators for the development of their businesses, factories for their production, and outlets for sale.
Prince Sultan also noted that after the SCTH completed the registration of the first four sites on the World Heritage List (Madain Saleh, Al-Tarif district in Jeddah, historic Jeddah, rock inscriptions in Jubba and Shuweis in Hail), it has been working with its partners to complete the registration files of six additional sites. Also, 20 additional important Islamic sites are being rehabilitated and prepared in Makkah and Madinah.
The conference was attended by more than 1,200 prominent investors and key corporate officials in tourism.
The WTTC is the largest gathering of investors and private sector professionals working in tourism around the world.