ThePlace: The Farasan Islands in southwestern Saudi Arabia

ThePlace: The Farasan Islands in southwestern Saudi Arabia
The Farasan Island Marine Sanctuary, supervised by the Saudi Wildlife Authority, is home to the Arabian gazelle. (Photo: Getty images)
Updated 03 November 2018

ThePlace: The Farasan Islands in southwestern Saudi Arabia

ThePlace: The Farasan Islands in southwestern Saudi Arabia
  • The Farasan Island Marine Sanctuary, supervised by the Saudi Wildlife Authority, is home to the Arabian gazelle

The Farasan Islands comprise 84 coral islands that form an archipelago in the Red Sea, about 50 kilometers off the shore of Jazan in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Although lacking in vegetation and greenery, the islands are beautiful nonetheless. Originally inhabited by fisherman and pearl divers, they are now a protected area that serves as a natural reserve for Arabian Gazelles.
With its historical sites, remote, unspoiled beaches and rich marine fauna, the Farasan Islands are now a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. In particular, they are often described as a divers’ paradise, as the Red Sea is home to some of the most beautiful aquatic life on the planet, and the islands offer the best diving locations in Saudi Arabia.
For those who prefer to remain on dry land, the islands offer not only a beautiful landscape but also a historically rich site to explore. They contain, for example, beautiful Turkish artifacts carved out of stone, including the doors of mosques and other remnants.
Another reason the islands are so popular with tourists is the weather, which is moderate all year long. The serenity of the peace and quiet, meanwhile, makes it easy for visitors to relax and forget about their normal busy lives in polluted and noisy cities, at least for a while.
The Farasan Island Marine Sanctuary, supervised by the Saudi Wildlife Authority, is home to the Arabian gazelle. The islands are also important breeding sites for seabirds, migratory birds and shorebirds. All the islands are low lying, though the two largest islands have a broken terrain of small hills, gullies and craggy coastal cliffs.
Whether you go diving or snorkeling, or just explore the rich history and wildlife of the islands on foot, you are sure to make some wonderful memories. Other fun activities include boating and fishing, making the islands a must-visit destination for everyone, whatever their interests.


US Yemen envoy Lenderking arrives in Saudi Arabia for talks

During his visit, Tim Lenderking will discuss the growing consequences of the Houthi offensive on Marib. (Screenshot)
During his visit, Tim Lenderking will discuss the growing consequences of the Houthi offensive on Marib. (Screenshot)
Updated 21 min 31 sec ago

US Yemen envoy Lenderking arrives in Saudi Arabia for talks

During his visit, Tim Lenderking will discuss the growing consequences of the Houthi offensive on Marib. (Screenshot)
  • Lenderking will also meet with representatives from the international community and the office of UN Special Envoy for Yemen

RIYADH: The US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

During his visit, he will meet with senior officials from the Saudi and Yemeni governments.

Lenderking will discuss the growing consequences of the Houthi offensive on Marib, which is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis and triggering instability elsewhere in the country.

The special envoy will address the urgent need for efforts to stabilize Yemen’s economy and to facilitate the timely import of fuel to northern Yemen, and the need for the Houthis to end their manipulation of fuel imports and prices inside of Yemen.

Lenderking will also meet with representatives from the international community and the office of UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths to discuss the importance of an inclusive peace process and a rapid appointment of a new UN Envoy. 

“Now is the time to stop the fighting and enable Yemenis to shape a more peaceful, prosperous future for their country,” a US State Department statement said.


Saudi foreign minister meets with Pakistan president, prime minister Khan in Islamabad

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan received Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Islamabad on Tuesday. (SPA)
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan received Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Islamabad on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 34 min 18 sec ago

Saudi foreign minister meets with Pakistan president, prime minister Khan in Islamabad

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan received Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Islamabad on Tuesday. (SPA)
  • The visit is Prince Faisal’s second state visit to Pakistan in a year

RIYADH: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan received Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan at his office at the presidential residence in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, on Tuesday.

Prince Faisal conveyed the greetings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the premier and the government and people of Pakistan, while Khan conveyed his greetings and appreciation to the king, the crown prince, and the government and people of Saudi Arabia.

At the beginning of the reception, the prime minister congratulated the Saudi leaders on the success of this year’s Hajj season, and that they were able to maintain an environment free from the spread of COVID-19 and other epidemic diseases’

Khan praised the precautionary measures taken by the Kingdom during the Hajj pilgrimage to preserve the health and safety of pilgrims.

During the meeting, they reviewed the historical and well-established relations between the two countries and ways to enhance them in all fields, through the Saudi-Pakistani Coordination Council, which aims to enhance effective partnership and intensify coordination on issues of common interest.

The two sides also held talks on the importance of exploring investment and available opportunities related to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, in order to achieve more prosperity for the two countries.

The prime minister lauded the important role of Pakistan’s community in Saudi Arabia in the progress and development of the two countries and underlined that the strong people-to-people linkages helped building solid foundations of cooperation.

Khan, noting the difficulties being faced by Pakistani nationals due to ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions, also underlined the importance of timely measures for facilitation of their return to Saudi Arabia when possible.

During his visit to the Pakistani capital, Prince Faisal also met with President Arif Alvi, who echoed the strong relations between his country and Saudi Arabia.

The visit is Prince Faisal’s second state visit to Pakistan in a year. He was last in Islamabad in December 2020.

The Pakistani foreign office said the Saudi foreign minister was visiting Pakistan on the invitation of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.


Saudi Arabia warns citizens who break COVID-19 travel red list rules of 3-year ban

Saudi Arabia warns citizens who break COVID-19 travel red list rules of 3-year ban
Updated 6 min 40 sec ago

Saudi Arabia warns citizens who break COVID-19 travel red list rules of 3-year ban

Saudi Arabia warns citizens who break COVID-19 travel red list rules of 3-year ban
  • The Kingdom recorded 10 COVID-19 deaths and 1,379 new cases in past 24 hours
  • 3 mosques reopened in 2 regions after being sterilized after 3 people tested positive for COVID-19

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday warned against travel to banned destinations amid the pandemic.

The Interior Ministry said citizens who went to countries on the Kingdom’s ban list would be barred from traveling for three years, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Saudis have been barred from traveling to Indonesia over coronavirus concerns. Those currently in the Asian nation have been told to exercise caution and stay away from areas with high infection rates.

Authorities have also banned travel, without prior permission, to and from the UAE, Ethiopia, and Vietnam over concerns about the spread of more infectious variants.

The Kingdom confirmed 10 new COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,189.

The Ministry of Health confirmed 1,379 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 520,774 people have now contracted the disease. 

Of the total number of cases, 11,136 remain active and 1,419 in critical condition.

According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 273, followed by Makkah with 242, the Eastern Province with 224, Asir recorded 154, and Jazan confirmed 117 cases.

The health ministry also announced that 1,021 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 501,449.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.

Saudi Arabia has so far conducted more than 24.57 million PCR tests, with 109,194 carried out in the past 24 hours.

Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the pandemic outbreak.

Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual. 

Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.

Appointments for both services can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app.

There are 25,317,550 people in the country who have been vaccinated so far, including 1,443,866 who are elderly.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened three mosques in two regions after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after three people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 1,901 within 171 days.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 195 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.18 million.


Saudi FM arrives in Islamabad, discuses with Pakistani counterpart bilateral relations

Saudi FM arrives in Islamabad, discuses with Pakistani counterpart bilateral relations
Updated 36 min 55 sec ago

Saudi FM arrives in Islamabad, discuses with Pakistani counterpart bilateral relations

Saudi FM arrives in Islamabad, discuses with Pakistani counterpart bilateral relations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, arrived in Islamabad on an official visit that Pakistan said provided a ‘timely opportunity’ to deepen bilateral cooperation. 

This will be Prince Faisal’s second state visit to Pakistan in a year. He was last in Islamabad in December 2020.

The foreign office has said the Saudi foreign minister was visiting Pakistan on the invitation of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The visit by the Saudi FM “holds significance” in the backdrop of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Qureshi’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2021, the foreign office said on Twitter, adding:

“It will provide a timely opportunity to review progress in bilateral coop. in line with vision of the leadership of the two countries.”

“The visit of the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia will further strengthen the ongoing positive momentum in high-level contacts and deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields,” the foreign office said in a separate statement, saying Prince Faisal and the Pakistani foreign minister would meet at the Foreign Ministry shortly.

“After the meeting between the two Foreign Ministers, there will be delegation level talks between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. In addition to all aspects of bilateral relations, important regional and global issues will be discussed during the talks,” the foreign office said. “The Saudi Foreign Minister will also meet with senior government officials during his visit.”

Prior to the arrival of the Saudi foreign minister, senior delegation-level talks were held in Pakistan between officials of the two nations.

“Key focus was on Saudi-Pak Supreme Coordination Council, highest level platform to provide strategic direction to bilateral ties,” the foreign office said.

Related


US condemns latest Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, calls for Iran-backed group to return to negotiations

US condemns latest Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, calls for Iran-backed group to return to negotiations
Updated 27 July 2021

US condemns latest Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, calls for Iran-backed group to return to negotiations

US condemns latest Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, calls for Iran-backed group to return to negotiations
  • ‘We condemn the Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia following the calm over Eid Al-Adha’
  • ‘Time to return to negotiations and end the conflict’

DUBAI: The US has condemned the latest Houthi attack against Saudi Arabia as the Iran-backed group targeting the Kingdom’s southern region with a ballistic missile and three explosive-laden drones.

The US State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs also called for the Houthis to cease its military actions and commit to a ceasefire that would end the conflict in Yemen.

“We condemn the Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia following the calm over Eid Al-Adha. The Houthis must stop their destabilizing actions and commit to an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire to help end the Yemen war. Time to return to negotiations and end the conflict,” the US government agency posted on Twitter.

Tim Lenderking, the US special envoy for Yemen, earlier emphasized the importance of resolving the conflict in the war-torn country.

“The US is in this effort to help Yemen truly turn the corner toward peace and security. A ceasefire is only one step. We must continue to build from there,” the envoy said during one of the forums on Middle Eastern security.

Yemeni government troops and allied tribesmen, backed by Arab coalition jets, on Sunday repelled the “biggest and most fierce” Houthi assault of Marib since February.

More than 200 Houthi militants were killed in clashes during recent days or in Arab coalition strikes during recent days, a Yemeni army commander said.