Saudi foreign minister and GCC secretary-general sign military agreement

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Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs and GCC Secretary-General sign the Unified Military Command Headquarters agreement on Dec.22, 2019. (SPA)
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Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs and GCC Secretary-General sign the Unified Military Command Headquarters agreement on Dec.22, 2019. (SPA)
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Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs and GCC Secretary-General sign the Unified Military Command Headquarters agreement on Dec.22, 2019. (SPA)
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Updated 23 December 2019

Saudi foreign minister and GCC secretary-general sign military agreement

  • The Saudi foreign minister said the agreement reflected the Kingdom’s support for joint Gulf work to facilitate the tasks of the unified military command
  • It was signed on the basis of the resolution taken at the GCC’s 34th summit in Kuwait in 2013

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah and the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani signed the Unified Military Command Headquarters agreement on Sunday.
The agreement was signed in the presence of the commander of the GCC Unified Military Command, Gen. Eid bin Awad Al-Shalawi, and the secretary-general for Military Affairs, Gen. Ahmed Ali Hamid Al-Ali.

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It was signed on the basis of the resolution taken at the GCC’s 34th summit in Kuwait in 2013, stipulating the establishment of a unified military command in line with the decisions of GCC officials at the 12th summit, held in Bahrain in 2013, aiming to promote cooperation and coordination in security and defense-related matters, preserve stability in GCC countries and achieve self-defense based on the principle of collective security.
The Saudi foreign minister said the agreement reflected the Kingdom’s support for joint Gulf work to facilitate the tasks of the unified military command, adding King Salman had made sure to complete the command’s requirements.  
Al-Zayani expressed his secretariat’s appreciation for the support of King Salman’s government, and also praised the support and care provided by GCC countries and the GCC Joint Defense Council, noting their important role in promoting defense cooperation and integration among member states.


Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. The 86-year-old is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. (Supplied)
Updated 15 August 2020

Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

  • The Syrian Qur’an writer, regarded as one of the world’s finest calligraphers, is on the road to recovery following his recent hospital admission

MAKKAH: Syrian calligrapher Uthman Taha is in good health and recovering at home after a 13-day stay in a hospital where he was treated for what he and his wife initially suspected to be the novel coronavirus COVID-19, although he ultimately tested negative for the virus.

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. His wife, Fatimah Umm Al-Nour, said Taha had a chest infection during his stay at the hospital and stressed that he had been “careful and took all the precautionary measures” and that he had not left the house for five months before his hospital visit.
The 86-year-old calligrapher is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. She praised his doctors, who have consistently checked in with the couple since Taha returned home, and added that she has tested negative for COVID-19 too.
Taha is regarded as one of the most skilled calligraphers in the Arab world. Al-Nour told Arab News that he continues to practice calligraphy daily.
Taha, who has written the Qur’an 12 times at the King Fahd Complex, was born in 1934 and attended school in Aleppo. His father was also a skilled calligrapher, who used the Ruq’ah script, and Taha studied with several of Syria’s finest calligraphers including Mohammed Al-Mawlawi, Mohammed Al-Khatib, Hussein Al-Turki, and Ibrahim Al-Rifai.
When he moved to Damascus for university, Taha began to learn other scripts, including Thuluth, Naskh (in which he is now considered a master), and Farsi. He received his calligraphy certificate from master calligrapher Hamed Al-Amadi in 1973.
He arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1988, and began work as a calligrapher at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. He writes the Qur’an in the Ottoman script, and copies of his work have been distributed throughout the Islamic world.
What makes Taha’s work unique is that each page of the Qur’an that he writes concludes at the end of a verse. The secret, he explains, is to simplify the words — which is the origin of the Kufic script in which the Qur’an has been written since the days of Prophet Muhammad’s companions — keeping the letters close to one another.
Taha spent years perfecting his technique of evenly distributing the words in every line so that the space between the lettering is consistent throughout every page of every book, which means eliminating many of the script combinations that make such consistency difficult.
He explained to Arab News that when he is working on his Qur’an calligraphy he is transported: “When I begin writing the Holy Qur’an, I resort to solitude to allow myself to be invested in the verses and their interpretation, forgetting about the world around me,” he said. “I wish the verses about Jannah (heaven) would never end, and my hand trembles when I write the verses about Jahannam (hell).”