Saudi envoy returns to Doha as rift ends

Updated 19 November 2014
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Saudi envoy returns to Doha as rift ends

Three leading GCC countries — Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain — have resolved their eight-month-old dispute with another GCC member Qatar on Sunday and decided to send back their ambassadors to Doha.
The move initiated by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has been widely welcomed by foreign diplomats, journalists and scholars in the Kingdom.
The annual GCC summit would now take place on Dec. 9 and 10 in Doha, the GCC said in a statement. The Gulf leaders stated this would see a new phase of relations, which would provide stability as the region faces several economic and political challenges ahead.
“We ask God to protect the GCC states from harm and danger, and to sustain its security, stability and prosperity moving forward,” the statement said. The GCC leaders also urged all members to redouble their efforts to protect the Gulf’s people.
The emergency GCC summit in Riyadh was attended by leaders from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain in addition to Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin and GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani. The king had chaired the proceedings.
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani commended King Abdullah for playing a vital role to end the dispute. He called the king on telephone on Monday and discussed major regional and international developments.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ambassador Osama Nugali said Saudi Ambassador to Qatar Abdullah Al-Aifan has already arrived in Doha to resume duty.
“It’s a positive development that would further strengthen the GCC countries,” South African Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq Jaafar told Arab News. He said the move was welcome because it showed the commitment of the GCC countries to bolster their unity.
Bangladesh Ambassador Mohamed Shahidul Islam described it as a significant development. “The decision will enhance the understanding among the member countries and have a positive impact on global developments.”
Musaed Al-Zayani, a senior Saudi journalist based in Dubai, said it was good news for GCC citizens and others interested in regional and global development.
“The GCC plays a dominant role in social, economic and political development in the region and globally,” he said.
Sri Lankan Ambassador Mohamed Hussein Mohammed said it was an encouraging sign to see the GCC return to its previous strength. “Such united efforts of the GCC countries will ensure peace and security in the region, which will contribute to global peace and prosperity.”
“This is a welcome development because the GCC countries belong to one family. Whatever differences they have must be solved within the family,” said Mohsin Shaikh Al-Hassan, a Saudi author, Islamic scholar and television host.
“It’s good news. There will be more business in the region with the differences patched up. The reconciliation was expected since the concerned countries are bound by one faith which propagates unity and peace,” said Khaldoon Said, a public relations specialist.
Seyed Hamid Mowlana, a prominent expatriate writer in the Kingdom, said: “The expat community welcomes the successful talks to end the Qatar-GCC row. If we remember right this is the first ever difference of opinion to be experienced by the GCC, which has been mended in a friendly and brotherly manner.”


Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

Updated 23 min 56 sec ago
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Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

  • The president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury Shagaf Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey
  • Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back”

CHRISTCHURCH: King Salman’s Hajj offer to host families of those affected by March’s Christchurch terror attacks is “something really special,” said the president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury, Shagaf Khan.
The Saudi king has offered to host and cover the expenses of 200 Hajj pilgrims when they journey to Makkah this year.
Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey. “For some of them, it’ll be a great comfort feeling like they’ve fulfilled the obligations of being a Muslim,” he added.
Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back.”
When asked what the offer would mean for Canterbury’s Muslim community, Khan said it is part of the solidarity and support that has been shown to them since the Christchurch terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 51 people.
“Four months on … people still feel supported and they feel they’re still being remembered,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed Amir, who is working closely with the local community, Saudi Arabia’s Embassy and its Ministry of Islamic Affairs to implement King Salman’s offer, said it will be available for those who had lost family members or been injured in the mosque attacks.
Canterbury’s Muslims are “very appreciative” of the offer, added Amir, who is chairman of the Islamic Scholars Board of New Zealand.
“I’ll say with full confidence that this will be a big relief for the deceased’s families, for the victims, for all those who’ve been injured and affected,” he said.
When asked how the organization of the pilgrimage is going, Amir said “so far, so good,” but added that it has been challenging without official records to track everyone down.
He said it is an honor and a responsibility to help organize the pilgrimage, which he has been helping to plan since the end of Ramadan. “People are very excited about it,” he added.
He said he believed that the king’s offer had been made to help people’s rehabilitation after the terror attacks.
“The community believes he’s going to contribute in building Christchurch and bringing people to a normal life,” Amir added.