Large Lebanese delegation attends Saudi festival

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Culture Prince Badr Farhan met with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and former presidents Amin Gemayel and Fouad Siniora. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 29 December 2018

Large Lebanese delegation attends Saudi festival

  • Lebanese Tourism Minister Avedis Guidanian said: “The participation of Lebanese stars in these festivals is proof of the unity between the two countries”

BEIRUT: The Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, Walid Bukhari, accompanied an official Lebanese delegation to the Kingdom to attend a concert by Lebanese singer Majida El-Roumi at the Winter at Tantora festival in the city of Al-Ula.
The delegation comprised more than 100 political, media, art and social figures, and included former Lebanese President Amine Gemayel.
“Our relations with Saudi Arabia are very broad… When we visit Saudi Arabia we visit our home, due to the strong relationship between the two countries,” he said.
“We are proud of Saudi Arabia’s achievements in terms of openness and presenting its archaeological and historical landmarks, which reflect its rich heritage.”
Former Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said: “The development we see in Saudi Arabia, especially in the cultural field, is similar to us. We must help and encourage such activities, as there are Lebanese citizens in Saudi Arabia and given the cordial ties between the two countries.”
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said: “Cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon will lead to more integration, which in turn will reflect on the economy, politics and many other fields.”
He added: “The relationship between the two countries has always been strong despite some parties’ attempts to sabotage it, which of course is not in the interest of Lebanon or any other Arab country.”
Caretaker Information Minister Melhem Riachi said he looked forward to witnessing the Kingdom’s development in the coming years.
“This will be an additional strength for moderation and Muslim-Christian cooperation,” he added.
Lebanese Tourism Minister Avedis Guidanian said: “The participation of Lebanese stars in these festivals is proof of the unity between the two countries.”
Lebanese Education Minister Marwan Hamade said: “Lebanese people usually visit Saudi Arabia to go to the holy places, while Saudis visit resorts in Lebanon. This time, Lebanese people are heading to Saudi Arabia to explore a city and monuments that are… a central destination in modern civilization.”
He added: “Saudi Arabia will be sending the message that a tourist and cultural season of a new kind will kick off as part of the initiatives of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
Former Lebanese MP Boutros Harb said: “This event emphasizes the historic relationship between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.” The Kingdom’s “great role in supporting Lebanon during crises must be recalled,” he added.
Former Lebanese MP Fares Soueid said this is “an opportunity for Lebanon to support the Kingdom, which is showing the world, which accuses it of being closed, that it is open to everyone.”


Saudi Arabia bans livestock imports from Sudan and Djibouti over RVF fears

Updated 2 min 10 sec ago

Saudi Arabia bans livestock imports from Sudan and Djibouti over RVF fears

  • Sample from one livestock shipment arriving from Djibouti was found positive of Rift Valley fever
  • Livestock imports from Somalia had earlier been banned, says Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has announced a ban on importing livestock from Sudan and Djibouti.

The ministry said the ban is a response to the announcement of World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) concerning documented cases of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Sudan. 

In addition, a sample from one livestock shipment arriving from Djibouti was positive and thus was not cleared.

According to the ministry, Saudi Arabia imported 5 million heads of cattle from Sudan and 700,000 from Djibouti during the last Hijri year, prior to the ban.

The spokesman for the ministry, Abdullah Abalkhail, said that alternative sources include GCC, Jordan, Uruguay, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Georgia, Portugal, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Romania, as well as Chinese Mongolia, Argentine, Brazil and the US.

These countries can hardly compete with African states, said Al-Jadani, due to prices, different weather and customer demand. 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Humaid Al-Jadani, a livestock merchant and a former member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce livestock committee, said 5 ships were about to arrive carrying up to 50,000 heads of cattle when the ban was announced, but were turned back.
  • He said that the Saudi market depends heavily on imports from Africa, specifically Sudan and Djibouti.
  • Prices have risen during the past two days by 30 percent and further rises are expected, said Al-Jadani.
  • Official reports from Sudan say that at least 135 cases of rift valley fever were documented in Sudan, in Kassala, Red Sea and northern Darfur. 

The domestic livestock, he added, covers the demand of a very low percentage of the market and the price of local sheep are very high.

All shipments are examined at their point of arrival and only healthy animals are allowed into the local market.

 

Regulations

The ministry has already banned livestock imports from Somalia.

“The ministry studies each country individually to put health regulations in line with the OIE and we follow up daily reports from the OIE to reduce the spread of the diseases among animals and people,” Abalkhail said.

Humaid Al-Jadani, a livestock merchant and a former member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce livestock committee, said five ships were about to arrive carrying up to 50,000 heads of cattle when the ban was announced, but were turned back.

He said that the Saudi market depends heavily on imports from Africa, specifically Sudan and Djibouti.

According Al-Jadani, prices have risen during the past two days by 30 percent and further rises are expected in the coming period.

The ministry has called on those working in the sector to contact officials on the hotline 8002470000 if they find any suspicious cases.

A fine up to SR1 million ($267,000) will be imposed on any company contravening the ban.

Official reports from Sudan say that at least 135 cases of RVF were documented in Sudan, in Kassala, Red Sea and Northern Darfur. According to the World Health Organization Sudan witnessed a huge RVF outbreak in 2007, while in Saudi Arabia RVF spread back in 2000.

The World Bank noted previously that six zoonotic diseases between 1997 and 2009 have led to a loss of $80 billion.

Officials believe that only through collaboration between various authorities in the health, biology and environment sectors the disease can be controlled.