Shoura to vote on Saudi-Finnish defense pact

Updated 25 December 2015
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Shoura to vote on Saudi-Finnish defense pact

RIYADH: Shoura Council will vote to approve a defense pact with Finland here on Monday. The Committee on Security Affairs of the Shoura Council will table the draft pact titled "Memorandum of Understanding between Saudi Ministry of Defense and Finnish Ministry of Defense" to be discussed by the members and then voted on the floor of the house.
"The draft MoU between the defense ministries of the two countries was endorsed by the Kingdom and Finland early this year," said Finnish Ambassador Pekka Voutilainen, while commenting on the defense MoU currently tabled in Shoura Council. Voutilainen, however, said that he was not aware of the voting at the Shoura Council.
Referring to the main features and clauses of the MoU, he said that the MoU would further promote cooperation in defense sector and facilitate export of defense materials to the Kingdom. To this end, he noted that some defense materials are exported to the Kingdom even today and the two countries in this case continue to comply with the "export licensing procedures."
The MoU to be discussed by the Shoura Council is a binding framework agreement, which expresses the mutual understanding of the parties. Pertaining only to defense materials cooperation in the case of the Kingdom and Finland, the MoU defines the main principles and administrative provisions concerning cooperation, which have been agreed on.
The Kingdom and Finland are close allies and have reported "expanding economic cooperation," said the Finnish envoy. The two countries also signed an MoU on bilateral political consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland way back in 2007.
Saudi Arabia and Finland signed a framework agreement on economic and technical cooperation in 1976, which is still valid. Finland, a northern European country, has had a strong defense industry with manufacturing facilities and a huge cadre of professional soldiers. Finnish defense expenditure per capita is one of the highest in the European Union.


Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

Updated 19 July 2019
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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.