No cut in pilgrim quota from next Haj

Updated 15 September 2015
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No cut in pilgrim quota from next Haj

JEDDAH: Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar said that this Haj season will witness the last reduction in the number of pilgrims following completion of expansion work inside the Grand Mosque.
“Starting from next Haj season, the number of pilgrims will increase to 5 million and then to 30 million in the coming five years,” the minister was quoted as saying to a local publication.
He said all efforts were made to make this year's Haj outstanding and distinguished compared to previous seasons.
“Such efforts include the establishment and operation of a unified electronic system for pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom through which all tasks and functions linked with arrival procedures are executed and documented, such as the contracts and packages of services offered, transport and accommodation, in addition to the names of the pilgrims,” he explained.
He said the Haj Ministry coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to grant or issue Haj visas for any person only through the unified electronic system.
“As for internal pilgrims, the ministry also established an electronic system which allows citizens and residents to file applications requesting permits … through the Haj service provider of his choice, and to select the service segments he wants and pay electronically the value of the services provided.”
He said the process of GCC citizens was through the web portal of the Haj Ministry. “The process realized significant success in controlling their numbers,” he added.
“The application of the electronic path achieved a number of goals for the best interests of worshippers … mainly to control prices of the services offered to enable pilgrims to perform the rituals in the most favorable environment and services, maintaining their rights and the rights of service providers as well,” added the minister.
On the coronavirus issue, the minister said the safety of the guests of God, and ensuring they perform the holy rituals and return to their countries safe and free of any health problems are the top priorities of the leadership of the Kingdom.
“In this regard, the king and the crown prince directed all the parties involved in the Haj operation to provide the best health services and medical care for all pilgrims and visitors. Such a task requires the cooperation and coordination of the relevant bodies, but the biggest burden lies on the shoulders of the Health Ministry which has always harnessed all efforts and capabilities to enforce these royal directives … so that pilgrims can perform the holy rituals with their minds at peace,” said the minister.

He said the Ministry of Health has taken extensive measures to make sure all pilgrims leave the Kingdom free of any possible infection with the virus. In this regard, he added the control and command center at the Ministry of Health extensively follows up on all measures and continues monitoring for any epidemics, ensuring all procedures to combat infection are in place.


DiplomaticQuarter: Friendship to the fore as Koreans celebrate National Foundation Day

The event marks the legendary formation of the first Korean state of Gojoseon in 2333 B.C. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 18 October 2018
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DiplomaticQuarter: Friendship to the fore as Koreans celebrate National Foundation Day

  • The event, on Oct. 15 in the Park Hyatt Lazard’s ballroom, marks the legendary formation of the first Korean state of Gojoseon in 2333 B.C

RIYADH: Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Jeddah Lee Sang-kyoun stressed the importance of the relationship between South Korea and Saudi Arabia as he welcomed guests to a special celebration of Korea’s 4,351st National Foundation Day.

The event, on Oct. 15 in the Park Hyatt Lazard’s ballroom, marks the legendary formation of the first Korean state of Gojoseon in 2333 B.C.

The diplomat and his family warmly welcomed the guests, including Ambassador Jamal Balkhayour, the director general of the Makkah region branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as they arrived at the venue, which was lavishly decorated with flowers and the Korean flag. 

In his opening speech, Lee said: “Korea and Saudi Arabia have shared strong companionship as ‘Rafiq,’ (friends) since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1962.” 

He also emphasized the common values shared by the two countries, and their indispensable partnership and cooperation in a number of sectors, beginning with construction and energy in the early 1970s and developing through the years to now include the likes of renewable and nuclear energy, culture and more.

“Notably, the two countries launched a ministerial-level committee, Saudi-Korea Vision 2030, to bolster bilateral cooperation, focusing on supporting business ventures between the two countries,” Lee added.

He said he hopes to see an expansion of cultural and artistic ties between the nations, while also strengthening “person-to-person” contact between young people and future generations.

“Such cultural and human exchange will be a meaningful step toward fostering the values shared by the two countries — working in collaboration for future success and common goals,” he said.

The consul general explained that strengthening such human bonds will encourage an understanding between people of a kind that can only happen through art, history, academia and scientific exchange, which is why the consulate is establishing a cultural center as a “signature window for cultural exchange.” 

The consulate will also set up a foundation for students to “foster the common grounds in their interests and hopes” through an exchange program for Korean and Saudi youths.

Lee added that 2018 has been an important year for South Korea, with the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in PyeongChang, the Inter-Korean Summit, and the Singapore Summit between North Korea and the US.

As the celebration continued, Korean residents were brimming with pride and excitement as they celebrated their National Foundation Day in the Kingdom, while meeting and mingling with friends from Saudi Arabia and other nations.