Saudi aid independent of ‘political, racial and religious differences’

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), speaks during a conference in Makkah. (SPA)
Updated 01 June 2019
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Saudi aid independent of ‘political, racial and religious differences’

  • KSRelief chief says Makkah hosting Gulf and Islamic summits is part of Saudi Arabia’s mission toward Islamic world

MAKKAH: “Saudi Arabia has proven its objectivity as it does not link humanitarian aid to political stances of states, race, nor religion,” Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), said at a press conference in Makkah.
Al-Rabeeah added that hosting the Gulf and Islamic summits in Makkah is part of the Kingdom’s mission toward the Islamic world, noting that Saudi Arabia in two decades has already spent $87 billion in humanitarian aid to 81 countries. He emphasized the compatibility of this aid with international law and the norms of international organizations. These humanitarian programs included health, education, rehabilitation of child soldiers and refugee aid.
He praised the sponsorship and guidance of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the humanitarian aid programs of KSRelief. He said that there had been more than 1,011 humanitarian aid programs worth $3.5 billion to 44 countries since 2014, the primary beneficiaries being Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Iraq.
Special care is given to empowering women and 225 projects worth $390 million were dedicated to this, benefitting 62 million women, Al-Rabeeah said, in addition to 234 projects that helped 114 million children who benefitted from educational, nutritional, health, protection and environment programs.
Al-Rabeeah stressed the good treatment of refugees in the Kingdom who are considered guests of honor by the Saudi authorities and people. These refugees include 561,000 Yemenis, 262,000 Syrians, 249,000 Rohingyas and hundreds of thousands more from other countries who benefit from the Kingdom’s help to support the economies of their countries.
He said that Yemen is the primary beneficiary of Saudi humanitarian programs, without discrimination between government or Iran-backed Houthi-controlled territories. He added that 345 projects worth $12 billion were launched in that country over the past four years, especially in humanitarian programs and economic development aid, including support to the Yemen Central Bank.
Al-Rabeeah stressed the importance of the Kingdom’s role, especially when the cholera epidemic broke out in Yemen last year. He added: “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman supervised the humanitarian initiative organized by KSRelief and other Saudi institutions in coordination with the Yemeni Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and UNICEF to control the epidemic.”
In addition, 150 programs worth $500 million were dedicated to rehabilitating 20,000 child soldiers who were recruited by militias — including psychological, educational, community and family rehabilitation programs — and that nearly 2,000 had been fully rehabilitated.
He declared the launch of a new humanitarian aid program called “Masam” to deactivate and remove 1.1 million mines planted by the militias in Yemen, considered the biggest project since World War II, and said that 71,000 mines had already been removed and deactivated.  
Al-Rabeeah noted that 78 projects worth $352 million were launched in Palestine in coordination with UN agencies, in addition to 191 projects dedicated to displaced children in Syria, including educational, health care and hospitals, and 37 projects worth $175 million in Somalia.


Pompeo meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for talks on Aramco attacks

Updated 22 min 42 sec ago

Pompeo meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for talks on Aramco attacks

  • Pompeo described the drone and cruise missile strikes on Saturday as an 'Iranian attack'
  • Pompeo was met at Jeddah airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf. 

JEDDAH: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday described strikes on key Saudi oil installations as an “act of war” as he landed in Jeddah to meet with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Pompeo described the drone and cruise missile strikes on Saturday as an “Iranian attack”.

He said it had not come from Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militants and that there was no evidence the attacks had been launched from Iraq.

"This is an attack of a scale we've just not seen before," he added.

Pompeo was met at Jeddah airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf.

Pompeo's visit comes as President Donald Trump said on Wednesday there were many options short of war with Iran after Saudi Arabia's display of remnants of drones and missiles it said were used in the I that was "unquestionably sponsored" by Tehran.

"There are many options. There's the ultimate option and there are options that are a lot less than that. And we'll see," Trump told reporters in Los Angeles. "I'm saying the ultimate option meaning go in — war."

Trump, who earlier said on Twitter that he had ordered the US Treasury to "substantially increase" sanctions on Iran, told reporters the unspecified, punitive economic measures would be unveiled within 48 hours.

Trump's tweet followed repeated US assertions that the Islamic Republic was behind Saturday's attack on Aramco facilities and came hours after Saudi Arabia said the strike was a "test of global will."

Earlier on Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had spoken with US President Donald Trump about the Aramco attack, and agreed that Iran must not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.

Also on Wednesday, Kuwait's army released a statement announcing it was raising its preparedness level for some units, given the tensions in the Middle East region.