Saudi Arabia says Arab summit wants international probe into use of chemical weapons in Syria

Saudi’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir speaks during a news conference after the 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
Updated 16 April 2018

Saudi Arabia says Arab summit wants international probe into use of chemical weapons in Syria

DHAHRAN: Arab League leaders on Sunday condemned the “criminal” use of chemical weapons in Syria and called for an international investigation, the Saudi foreign minister said.
Adel Al-Jubeir was speaking at a news conference after the end of an Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia, which had not mentioned Syria in a statement read out at the close.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have expressed support for the missile launch by the United States, Britain and France on Saturday against three alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria, while Arab states like Iraq and Lebanon have condemned them.
The Syrian government denies using or possessing chemical weapons and said the strikes were an act of aggression.
Meanwhile, at a preliminary meeting in Riyadh on Thursday, Arab ministers focused heavily on blocking the embassy move, unanimously condemning US President DonaldTrump’s decision and moving to block Israel’s bid to secure at seat at the UN Security Council this June.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir however insisted Riyadh would maintain “strong, strategic” ties with Washington.
“There is no contradiction with having very strong strategic ties with the US while telling your friends where their policy should change,” Jubeir said.
“That’s what friends are for.”
“The fact that we have very strong ties with the US over history, and the Trump administration in particular, is a positive factor, not a negative factor in trying to help guide them toward a positive engagement in the Middle East,” Al-Jubeir told reporters after the summit.


Technical glitches on Absher prevent exempt Saudis from traveling abroad

Updated 27 September 2020

Technical glitches on Absher prevent exempt Saudis from traveling abroad

  • On Sept. 13, the Saudi government issued a list of categories of people permitted to travel outside of the Kingdom
  • However, only a few days after the announcement, many students, patients and other exempted residents were unable to apply due to a technical fault on Absher

JEDDAH: Absher, the “one-stop shop” web-portal for Saudi government services, has been experiencing technical glitches that have left many citizens and expats unable to travel, despite them meeting the “exceptional case” categories outlined by the Interior Ministry more than two weeks ago.
Earlier this year and as part of its response to COVID-19, the Saudi government suspended all international flights to and from the Kingdom in a move that has successfully reduced infections across the country.
On Sept. 13, the Saudi government issued a list of categories of people permitted to travel outside of the Kingdom. These include diplomats, humanitarian cases, Saudis who live outside the Kingdom for work or study, among others. To be able to leave the country an eligible individual must apply — with supporting documents — for a permit to the passport authority.
However, only a few days after the announcement, many students, patients and other exempted residents were unable to apply due to a technical fault on Absher.
“The option to request the permit suddenly vanished from the relevant page, so while you could access Absher you just couldn’t submit your request. I tried every day for nearly two weeks,” said a Saudi woman who holds residency in a neighboring country. She added that while there was no announcement, the only information that she read in the local press was that the service was facing technical glitches.
“Yesterday, they announced that Absher was back but said that new requirements were set,” she said. “These include providing a copy of the residency card abroad and proof that an applicant has lived out of the Kingdom for six months every year for the past three years. In addition they requested a copy of my tenancy contract.”
“I spent all day collecting the documents. When I tried to upload the PDF the first time it told me that the file was too big, so I went to find software to reduce the size and when I finally managed to do so, I couldn’t log in as the whole website was down with a message saying that it was either temporarily unavailable or that they were serving someone else,” she said.
Other people, including one Saudi cancer patient who is due to return for treatment in Germany, spoke of the same technical glitches. When Arab News tried to log on to verify earlier today, it was unable to with an automated message that said “currently we are serving others, please try again later.”  The problem seems to have been resolved for some users by 10 pm.