Italian visa center opens in Riyadh

Updated 03 February 2013
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Italian visa center opens in Riyadh

The Italian Embassy has extended the collection of visa applications and delivery process in Riyadh through their Schengen Visa Application Center (VAC) set up by ETIMAD-VFS Global, the international outsourcing and technology services provider that specializes in handling visa services of diplomatic missions and governments worldwide.
The application center, located on the busy Umm Al Hammam street in the Saudi capital, was opened with great fanfare here recently.
“ETIMAD-VFS Global will be responsible for accepting and processing applications for Italian visas in Riyadh,” said Italian Ambassador Valentino Simonetti, while speaking on this occasion. The new Italian Visa Application Center will be accepting visa applications daily from Saturday to Wednesday (except official holidays), it noted. The center carries out the biometric processes, which is mandatory for applying for a Schengen Visa.
Ambassador Simonetti formally opened the VAC in Riyadh, where Harris Moosa, country manager of VFS-ETIMAD presented a flower bouquet to the envoy in a brief ceremony here recently. Several diplomats and VFS officials including Francesco Musi, head of the consular section of Italian embassy, were also present.
Referring to the process of visa issuance, which has since been simplified, Simonetti said that “the opening of the Italian visa center reflects the progressively growing relations between the Kingdom and Italy.”
The two countries have forged closer ties in different sectors, he added, while referring to the facilities at the VAC. Additionally, there is a dedicated website for easy access of visa information including visa categories, applicable fees and application status and for booking appointments (www.aletimad.com/italy.html).
A dedicated call center is provided for customer support via phone and email. ETIMAD-VFS Global’s professional and several other staffers have been entrusted with the task of handling the visa application process smoothly and courteously. The processed passports delivery is also provided at the center during working hours. “There is optional premium lounge services for affluent applicants, who wish to submit their application in style and luxury,” said an Italian official.
The applicant can also choose from the optional services offered by the ETIMAD-VFS that includes courier delivery, SMS alert and many other services, he added. He pointed out that the VFS Global is a global outsourcing and technology services that manages visa issuance-related administrative and non-judgmental tasks for its client missions. With 775 visa application centers and operations in 87 countries across five continents, VFS Global serves the interests of the diplomatic missions of 41 sovereign governments.
The company has successfully processed millions of visa applications since its inception in 2001. Since 2007 VFS Global, jointly with its local partner M/s Al Etimad Modern Business Solutions Co. (ETIMAD), has been successfully operating visa application centers for diplomatic missions of 11 countries in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar.


Hodeidah offensive: Coalition forces seize weapons supplied by Iran to Houthis

Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki speaks during a press conference in Riyadh. (AN photo by Bashir Saleh)
Updated 20 June 2018
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Hodeidah offensive: Coalition forces seize weapons supplied by Iran to Houthis

  • The arsenal included drones, a sniper rifle, roadside bombs disguised as rocks and even a “drone boat” which had been filled with explosives that failed to detonate.
  • Equipment used to produce and load fuel for rockets that target Saudi Arabia contained Iranian labels.

JEDDAH: Saudi-led coalition officials on Tuesday displayed weapons and explosives supplied by Iran to Houthi militias in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah. 

The arsenal included drones, a sniper rifle, roadside bombs disguised as rocks and even a “drone boat” which had been filled with explosives that failed to detonate.

Equipment used to produce and load fuel for rockets that target Saudi Arabia contained Iranian labels. The weapons were captured on the battlefield in Hodeidah and displayed at a military base in the UAE. 

“Unsurprisingly, there are advanced military components in the Houthi militias’ hands,” said Talal Al-Teneiji, an official at the UAE Foreign Ministry.

“We took time to inspect and disassemble these to figure out the source ... and we can say that these elements are military-grade materials imported from Iran to the Houthi militias.”

As the week-long offensive in Hodeidah intensified on Tuesday, coalition forces consolidated their grip on the city’s airport and there was new fighting on the main coast road leading to the city center, with Apache helicopters providing air support to the coalition. 

“We can hear the sounds of artillery, mortars and sporadic machinegun fire. The Houthis have been using tanks,” one civilian on the coastal strip said. 

“Water has been cut off to many of the areas near the corniche area because the Houthis have dug trenches and closed water pipes.”

At the airport, which the coalition has controlled since Saturday, their forces stormed the main compound and took full command.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said: “We are waiting for the Houthis to realize the sort of military and psychological blow that they got with the airport ... we are giving them time to decide if they want to save the city ... and pull out.”

Oubai Shahbandar, a strategic communications adviser, told Arab News that “without the sea and airport of Hodeidah, the Houthi militia has effectively lost the war.”

They should agree to UN-hosted peace talks and not prolong the fighting. “The tide in this conflict has clearly turned in favor of the Arab coalition and the welfare of the Yemeni people ought to be paramount,” he said.