KSA gifts 250 tons of dates to Sri Lanka

Updated 13 June 2015
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KSA gifts 250 tons of dates to Sri Lanka

RIYADH: The Kingdom has gifted 250 tons of dates to Sri Lanka for distribution at mosques in the country during the holy month of Ramadan.
Minister of Posts and Islamic Affairs M.H Abdul Haleem has told Arab News from Colombo that he received the consignment from Saudi Ambassador in Colombo Abdulaziz Bin Abdulrahman Al-Jammaz.
He said that this donation was a token of appreciation from the Saudi government. “We are thankful to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and his government for continuing the annual supply of dates to Sri Lankan Muslims.”
The minister said that this year, Sri Lanka got 50 metric tons more than last year. “We are happy the dates offered by King Salman will be consumed by Muslims during iftar (breaking of the fast). Those Muslims will always pray for a long life of King Salman and the prosperity of the Kingdom,” he said.
Around 3,500 mosques are spread throughout the country and eight percent of the island’s 22 million population is Muslim.
The minister said the Kingdom has been helping Sri Lanka in good and bad times. “With Saudi assistance, we have completed a SR 75-million epilepsy and diagnosis hospital in Colombo, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka.”
He said the Saudi Fund For Development (SFD) gave an additional grant of SR11 million for the development of health facilities at the neuro-trauma hospital, which was built with SR40 million worth of Saudi aid in Colombo.
Following the tsunami disaster in Sri Lanka in 2004, the Kingdom immediately sent eight flights loaded with relief material and pledged to construct houses for survivors.
The Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA), which opened an office following the disaster, donated 15 ambulances and sent a large consignment of medicines and medical apparatus to hospitals in the tsunami-affected areas.
It also donated 300,000 sets of school uniforms for children affected by the disaster.
A bridge costing SR 440 million was built in Kinniya with the Saudi aid , the minister said.
Sri Lanka Ambassador Mohamed Hussein Mohamed said: “Saudi Arabia and its leadership will remain in the hearts of Sri Lankan Muslims for the assistance given from time to time for the Muslim community in particular and the country in general.”


Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.