Joint communiqué reaffirms strong Saudi-French relations

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Updated 07 March 2016

Joint communiqué reaffirms strong Saudi-French relations

JEDDAH: A joint communiqué was signed between Saudi Arabia and France at the end of the official visit to Paris of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif. It was issued on Friday.

According to the communiqué, the text of which was issued by SPA, the two sides expressed satisfaction at the excellent and strong relations between France and the Kingdom and its development at all levels: Political, security, economic, financial, trade and industry, education and culture affairs. They also expressed desire to develop new areas of bilateral cooperation for the promotion of investments and also reaffirmed their commitment to achieve progress in many bilateral projects, during the 3rd session of the Joint Committee to be held in Paris in the month of April, under the chairmanship of the crown prince and the French minister of foreign affairs and international development.
The two sides exchanged views on regional issues of mutual interest and discussed possible ways to strengthen international security and stability. In the spirit of partnership that binding them, in the field of counter-terrorism, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment, within the international coalition against Daesh and lauded all efforts to be made in this area, in order to achieve stability in the region, including the formation of anti-terrorist Islamic Military Alliance.
The two sides expressed willingness to continue and to strengthen bilateral cooperation, which aim at combating causes of extremism, racism and sectarianism, drying up the sources of terrorist financing and the reduction of the phenomenon of violence, in all forms, including the ethnic as well as the religious.
The two sides stressed the importance of reducing violence and extremism through deep action at the political, intellectual, and security levels, and in addition, they discussed latest developments in the Middle East.
With regard to Syria, the two countries stressed the need for a credible political solution, as that is the only way to, permanently, restore peace and to fight terrorism, in full, they also reaffirmed their support for the Supreme Commission of the Opposition and stressed the need for sustainable improvement of the situation, in order to allow resumption of negotiations between the Syrian parties, according to Geneva Statement and the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
In this regard, they stressed the support for the cessation of hostilities, which came into force on Feb. 27, with an emphasis on their keenness to implement it, reminding that the groups which have been named by the Security Council, are the only excluded parties from the truce.
Finally, the two sides stressed the need for free access of free, unlimited and immediate humanitarian aid, according to international law, to help all Syrians.
The two sides also stressed their full support to the Iraqi government in its efforts to find a lasting political solution to the crisis experienced by Iraq, through the adoption of a national reconciliation program, that includes all components of the Iraqi society. They reaffirmed support for the Arab coalition, in Yemen, the legitimate authorities in the country as well as the work done by the special envoy of the UN secretary-general and expressed their grave concern, at the deteriorating humanitarian situation.
The two sides stressed their support for the unity, security and stability of Lebanon through official institutions, particularly the army. They stressed the need to elect a president — as soon as possible — who can gather all parties to enable Lebanon to overcome the crisis, that is currently going on.
On the Palestinian issue, the two countries agreed on the need to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and Saudi Arabia expressed support for the French initiative to hold an international conference on this issue.
The two sides stressed the importance of stability of the situation in the region, which affects the restoration of security and stability in the world and the Middle East, in particular.

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

Updated 06 June 2020

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

MADINAH: Hundreds of thousands of worshippers attended the first Friday prayers to be held at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah since the gatherings were suspended to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The green light for the resumption of the prayer meetings came as part of a plan to gradually reopen the Kingdom’s mosques while ensuring worshippers and visitors adhered to preventive measures.

A ban on access to the Rawdah remained in place and only groups of worshippers numbering up to a maximum of 40 percent of the mosque’s capacity were being allowed entry.

Precautionary measures also included the allocation of specific doors for the entry of worshippers, the installation of thermal cameras, removal of all carpets so that prayers could be performed on the marble, sanitization of the mosque’s floors and courtyards, periodic opening of domes and canopies to ventilate the mosque, and the removal of Zamzam water containers.

The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will be closed after evening prayers and reopened one hour before dawn prayers. Parking lots will operate at 50 percent capacity and a media awareness campaign has been launched to highlight safety procedures at the holy site.

Medical teams have also been stationed at the main entrances to the mosque in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom, worshippers also flocked to perform Friday prayers at mosques amid strict health measures.

On May 31, Saudi authorities reopened all mosques for prayers, except in Makkah, as part of the Kingdom’s plan for a gradual return to normal life.

Last week the minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance said that the country’s mosques were ready to welcome back worshippers, following his field trips to check that necessary preparations had been made.

All worshippers must still maintain a distance of 2 meters between rows, wear masks to enter a mosque, and Friday sermons and prayers have been limited to a maximum of 15 minutes.