King Salman calls for political solution in Yemen during Shoura Council speech

King Salman calls for political solution in Yemen during Shoura Council speech
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King Salman gave his annual speech at the opening of the third year of the Shoura Council’s seventh session on Monday. (SPA)
King Salman calls for political solution in Yemen during Shoura Council speech
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Updated 20 November 2018

King Salman calls for political solution in Yemen during Shoura Council speech

King Salman calls for political solution in Yemen during Shoura Council speech
  • He expressed his satisfaction over the ongoing development programs being undertaken in line with Vision 2030
  • “The Kingdom was founded on Islamic principles of justice and equality, and we are proud of the efforts of the judiciary and the public prosecution and the performance of the job entrusted to them,” the king said

JEDDAH: King Salman on Monday pledged to continue the Kingdom’s fight against extremism and all forms of terrorism. He also vowed to support the system of social services and sustainable growth for citizens. His annual policy speech at the opening of the third year of the Shoura Council’s seventh session highlighted the Kingdom’s priorities for the coming year and defined the contours of its domestic and foreign policies.
The speech focused on issues such as the war in Yemen, the Palestinian issue, stability in the oil market, countering Iranian interference in the region and job creation for Saudis.  “The Kingdom will maintain its effort to resolve regional crises,” he said.
The king reaffirmed that resolution of the Palestinian issue was on top of the Kingdom’s priorities. “At the 29th Arab Summit, which we called the Jerusalem Summit, we affirmed that the Palestinian cause is our main concern and will remain so until our brothers, the Palestinian people, gain all their legitimate rights, especially the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.
Expressing the Kingdom’s support to reach a political solution in accordance with the UN resolutions, the king said that standing by the Yemeni people in confronting the aggression of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias was “not an option, but a duty.”
“We reaffirm our rejection of the continuous attempts of Houthi militias to impose their will on the Yemeni people, and obstruct the efforts to reach a political solution,” he said.
King Salman deplored the decades-long Iranian interference in the affairs of other countries and the Iranian regime’s support to terrorism in the region. “It is time for this chaos and devastation to stop,” he said. The king also called on the international community to take action to curb the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missiles program and to put an end to its destabilizing activities in the region.
He stressed the need for an urgent political solution to end the turmoil in Syria and to stave off terrorist organizations and foreign meddling in the war-torn country and allow the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. The king expressed his satisfaction over the measures taken to strengthen Saudi-Iraqi ties.
Highlighting the Kingdom’s humanitarian gestures toward friendly countries and allies, he said: “It will work with its partners and friends from around the world to help developing and low-income countries, and enable them to grow their economies.”
He also vowed to work with other oil producers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to ensure oil market stability.
“The Kingdom was founded on Islamic principles of justice and equality, and we are proud of the efforts of the judiciary and the public prosecution and the performance of the job entrusted to them,” the king said.
He also expressed his satisfaction over the ongoing development programs being undertaken in line with Vision 2030.
“We will continue to support plans and programs to reduce unemployment to acceptable levels. We have directed the Council for Economic Affairs and Development to focus on developing human capabilities and preparing the new generation for future jobs.
King Salman also vowed to support the country’s private sector and “to enable it as a partner in the ambitious economic growth journey.”
Commenting on the recent royal tours to different parts of the Kingdom, he said he had directed the crown prince and all ministers to monitor the needs and development priorities of all the regions.
“Social issues are our top priority. The government will continue to support the system of social services and provide targeted support according to the requirements of needy groups, so that they can produce, be economically efficient and get decent livelihoods. We will support civil society institutions to play their role in this regard.”


Saudi passengers flock to airports as foreign travel resumes

Saudi passengers flock to airports as foreign travel resumes
About 385 international flights took off from nine Saudi airports on Monday, including 225 departures from Riyadh, 75 from Jeddah, 66 from Dammam, and 19 from the other airports. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 9 min 23 sec ago

Saudi passengers flock to airports as foreign travel resumes

Saudi passengers flock to airports as foreign travel resumes
  • About 385 flights to international destinations took off from nine airports in the Kingdom on Monday

JEDDAH: The terminals at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah were once again bustling with passengers on Monday, as international travel resumed more than a year after it was suspended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Arrivals and departures resumed at the Kingdom’s air, land and sea ports at 1 a.m., with Saudi citizens who have been vaccinated, or have recovered from the virus within the past six months, free to travel.
As passengers flocked to the airport from early Monday morning, the flow of traffic was well-organized and smooth. Entry to terminals was restricted to people with valid tickets and helpers accompanying disabled travelers.
As part of the latest rules implemented by authorities, Saudis younger than 18 must also provide proof that they have a health insurance policy, approved by the Saudi Central Bank, that will cover the cost of treatment for COVID-19 in other countries.
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation also issued updated travel guidelines, including requirements for the use of the country’s Tawakkalna COVID-19 tracking app. The conditions apply to all travelers, regardless of whether their trip is for leisure, study, work or to receive medical treatment.
About 385 international flights took off from nine Saudi airports on Monday, including 225 departures from Riyadh, 75 from Jeddah, 66 from Dammam, and 19 from the other airports. In addition, about 300 vehicles crossed land borders into Qatar during the morning.
The Kingdom’s national carrier, Saudia, resumed flights to 43 destinations in 30 countries. It said it will operate 178 scheduled flights each week from Jeddah and 153 from Riyadh.

As part of the latest rules implemented by authorities, Saudis younger than 18 must also provide proof that they have a health insurance policy.

Ibrahim Al-Omar, the airline’s director general, said that Saudia has implemented more than 50 precautionary measures throughout all stages of the flight process, and has been ranked among the Top-10 safest airlines in the world by the Airline Passenger Experience Association. He added that since the pandemic began, the airline has operated more than 100,000 flights, transporting more than 10 million passengers.
The destination of the first international flight to depart from Riyadh on Monday was Hyderabad in India, while the first flight of the day from Jeddah was bound for Dhaka in Bangladesh. The first international flight to land in Riyadh on Monday was from Cairo, and the first arrival in Jeddah was from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

INNUMBERS

More than 18,000 people traveled from King Abdulaziz Airport on Monday.

More than 47 flights operated from the Kingdom within 6.

Despite the resumption of international flights, the Saudi Interior Ministry said that a ban remains on direct or indirect travel to 13 countries without prior permission to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The countries this applies to are: Libya, Yemen, Armenia, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Belarus, India, Lebanon, Turkey, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Venezuela.
In addition, the ministry said travelers heading to Bahrain must have received two doses of a vaccine, and children under the age of 18 are not eligible to travel there. Diplomats and individuals accompanying them, air navigation and ship crews, workers in companies that are part of the health supply chain, and truck drivers are exempt from these rules. People who arrived at the King Fahd Causeway, on the border with Bahrain, but did not meet the requirements were turned away on Monday.
Travelers returning to the Kingdom after visiting a foreign country will be required to quarantine at home for seven days. However foreign visitors, including members of diplomatic missions arriving by air from most countries, will no longer need to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Those who are not vaccinated must provide proof of a negative PCR test, issued by an approved laboratory within 72 hours of flying to the Kingdom, otherwise they will not be allowed to board the plane.
With the exception of Saudi citizens, resident expats and GCC citizens, all people arriving in Saudi Arabia must have medical insurance that will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment in outpatient clinics, emergency rooms and hospitals.
On Jan. 29, Saudi authorities postponed the reopening of air, sea and land ports and extended the travel ban from Mar. 31 to May 17. Further information about international travel, including the rules and requirements, is available at www.saudia.com.


Virus rules violators warned as cases decline in Saudi Arabia

Virus rules violators warned as cases decline in Saudi Arabia
Hundreds of individuals were fined for breaking social gathering protocols in different part of Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 43 min 7 sec ago

Virus rules violators warned as cases decline in Saudi Arabia

Virus rules violators warned as cases decline in Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Arabia has administered more than 11.7 million COVID-19 vaccines so far at a rate of 33.5 doses per hundred

JEDDAH: More than 250 individuals were fined for breaking social gathering protocols in the last 24 hours, including 72 women attending a wedding where authorities imposed fines on both guests and the host.
For the fourth day in a row, the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Saudi Arabia remained below 1,000 with a significant rise in recoveries.
A total of 886 new cases of the cases were recorded in the Kingdom on Monday, meaning 433,980 people in Saudi Arabia have now contracted the disease.
In addition, 1,127 new recovered cases were also announced, taking the total number of recoveries to 418,914, meaning the Kingdom’s recovery rate has increased to 96.5 percent, marking a significant decline in the epidemiological curve.
There were 7,892 active cases, 1,377 of them critical, an increase of just one patient in the past 24 hours.

FASTFACTS

• A total of 886 new cases were recorded in the Kingdom on Monday.

• The highest number of cases was recorded in the Riyadh region.

• More than 250 individuals fined for violating health protocols.

The regions with the highest number of infections were Riyadh with 281 cases and Makkah with 250. Twelve new COVID-19 related deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 7,174.
Saudi Arabia has administered more than 11.7 million COVID-19 vaccines so far at a rate of 33.5 doses per hundred. Of the Kingdom’s 34.8 million people, 33.6 percent have now been vaccinated with at least one jab.
On Monday, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs closed nine mosques temporarily in six regions, after cases of COVID-19 were detected among worshipers.
The ministry stated that the total number of mosques that had been closed now amounted to 1,210, with 1,188 subsequently reopened after the completion of disinfection.


GCC national ID not valid for travel

GCC national ID not valid for travel
Travelers must verify the conditions of the destination country and ensure they are met. (SPA)
Updated 54 min 24 sec ago

GCC national ID not valid for travel

GCC national ID not valid for travel
  • King Fahd Causeway Passports raises operational capacity

RIYADH: Using a national ID as a document for traveling to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries remains suspended, a spokesman for the Eastern Province Passports said.

Citizens wishing to travel must verify the conditions of the destination country and ensure they are met, Mualla Al-Otaibi added.
In February last year, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to suspend GCC citizens’ use of national identity cards for travel to and from the Kingdom, coinciding with the onset of precautionary measures to combat COVID-19.
Al-Otaibi said the border points of the Eastern Region Passports had resumed work after the lifting of travel suspensions through all air, land and sea ports on May 17.
“Preventive maintenance work was carried out for all border backup devices and systems,” said Al-Otaibi.
A further 10 lanes have been installed in the departure area, bringing the total number of lanes to 27, with 36 lanes in the arrival area.
King Fahd Causeway Passports increased its operational capacity by 30 percent to facilitate passenger travel.
The spokesman said that meetings and workshops were held with port authorities to ensure speedy and smooth travel, while applying all precautions.
The movement of passengers leaving for Bahrain had decreased sharply since Monday morning, he said. The director general of Saudi Customs at the King Fahd Causeway, Dhaifallah Al-Otaibi, told Arab News they were ready to receive arrivals and departures through the causeway, and to provide customs services to travelers of all categories.
Customs at the causeway linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain strived to enhance customs procedures, he added.

We are ready to receive arrivals and departures through the causeway.

Dhaifallah Al-Otaibi, DG Saudi Customs

He confirmed the continued cooperation and coordination between all parties operating at the border crossing, and that port authorities were all working as one business system to provide the best services.
“Customs (the land link between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain) continues to take precautionary measures, (which are) more intense with the start of travel between the two countries to ensure the maximum levels of safety recommended to protect travelers and arrivals, in addition to protecting the employees of the port,” he added.
Customs at the King Fahd Causeway continued working on freight traffic since the suspension of personal travel between the two countries last year, he said.
Causeway customs statistics said that procedures for about 272,000 trucks entering and leaving the Kingdom had been completed between March 2020 until the end of April 2021, while about 325,000 vehicles had crossed the causeway in both directions since the beginning of this year.


Saudi envoy attends virtual meeting on Palestine

Saudi envoy attends virtual meeting on Palestine
Ambassador Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Muallami, the permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN, attends a meeting of the Arab Group in New York. (SPA)
Updated 23 min 8 sec ago

Saudi envoy attends virtual meeting on Palestine

Saudi envoy attends virtual meeting on Palestine
  • The meeting discussed ways to stop Israeli violations and reviewed strategies to take up the issue in the UN

NEW YORK: Ambassador Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Muallami, the permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN, took part in an online meeting of the Arab Group in New York on Monday to discuss the situation in Palestine.
The meeting discussed ways to stop Israeli violations and reviewed strategies to take up the issue in the UN. The participants of the meeting stressed the need for a coordinated plan of action to urge the UN to make Israel stop committing atrocities against Palestinian civilians.
The meeting also called on the international community to carry out its duties to protect innocent civilians.


Who’s Who: Mishari Almishari, deputy director of the National Information Center

Who’s Who: Mishari Almishari, deputy director of the National Information Center
Mishari Almishari. (Supplied)
Updated 32 min 21 sec ago

Who’s Who: Mishari Almishari, deputy director of the National Information Center

Who’s Who: Mishari Almishari, deputy director of the National Information Center

Mishari Almishari, who was recently awarded the Order of King Abdul Aziz Second Class for his services to the country, has been deputy director of the National Information Center (NIC) since Sept. 2019.
The NIC provides IT solutions and services to Saudi government bodies and has one of the largest IT centers in the Middle East.
It was set up three decades ago as the Computer Center, which became the General Administration of Central Information, changing to the NIC in the 1980s.
Almishari received a bachelor’s degree from King Saud University (KSU) in 2001 and completed his postgraduate studies in the US, receiving a master’s in computer science from the University of Southern California in 2006.
He did a doctorate in computer science at the University of California, Irvine, with his thesis focusing on (online) security and privacy.
During his stay in the US, Almishari worked as a research intern at Xerox Corp. in New York in 2010.
On his return to the Kingdom, he joined KSU in 2013 as an assistant professor. He taught undergraduate courses and conducted research in the areas of security and privacy until 2019.
He was a deanship consultant for over two years and supervised several IT-related projects at KSU between 2013 and 2015.
Almishari was chief information officer at Saudi Customs from 2016 to 2017.
His research papers have been published in scientific journals, while his dissertation on machine learning and security and privacy for the modern web was published in five scientific journals.