Omar Kamil appointed new Lankan ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Omar Kamil
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Updated 21 February 2020

Omar Kamil appointed new Lankan ambassador to Saudi Arabia

COLOMBO: Omar Kamil, the former mayor of Sri Lanka’s capital city, Colombo, has been appointed as his country’s next ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

He succeeds Azmi Thassim, who left the Kingdom earlier this month.

Kamil told Arab News on Thursday that he is happy with his new post in the Kingdom, which he described as “so near and dear to the hearts of Muslims in all parts of the world.”

He said that, besides promoting bilateral relations, he would focus on trade and investment opportunities between the two countries. “There are several untapped resources in the two countries that can be exploited for (mutual) benefit,” he said.

The new ambassador observed that the Kingdom is home to more than 150,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers and that it receives more than 50,000 Umrah and Hajj pilgrims from Sri Lanka each year.

He added that Saudi Arabia has supported Sri Lanka “during good and bad times” and that the Kingdom has provided financial aid for infrastructure projects related to transport, health and education.

Kamil comes from a well-known family of businessmen and is an alumnus of Royal College Colombo — sometimes referred to as “the Eton of Sri Lanka.” 

Prior to taking office as Colombo mayor, Kamil served on the Colombo Municipal Council for more than 20 years. In 2005, he became Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Iran — a post he held for two years. He is the president of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home, a leading Islamic cultural organization. He is also a member of the board of directors of Maradana Jumma Mosque and Zahira College in Colombo.

He was appointed to serve in Riyadh on the recommendation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and endorsed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.


Number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia could hit 200,000, says health minister

Updated 35 min 29 sec ago

Number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia could hit 200,000, says health minister

  • Minister added it was vital the public cooperated with the government’s instructions and precautionary measures

RIYADH: The number of COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia could reach up to 200,000 within a few weeks, according to the Kingdom’s health minister.

Citing four Saudi and international studies on Tuesday, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the case figure is likely to see a constant increase rather than a decrease, Saudi Press Agency reported.

"Within the next few weeks, studies predict the number of infections will range from a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 200,000," Al-Rabiah said.

The minister added it was vital the public cooperated with the government’s instructions and precautionary measures to limit the number of infections.

“There is no doubt that our commitment to the instructions and procedures, in its entirety reduces the number of cases to the minimum, while non-compliance will lead to a huge increase in the number of cases,” he said.

“We stand today at a decisive moment as a society in raising our sense of responsibility and contributing together with determination to stop the spread of this pandemic,”

Many people were not taking the dangers of the pandemic seriously enough, according to the health minister, adding that the Kingdom had death with the crisis with full “transparency and clarity.”

The Saudi health ministry also announced on Tuesday that there were a total of 2,795 confirmed cases and the death toll from the virus in the Kingdom had reached 41.

A 24-hour curfew and lockdown has been imposed in the cities of Riyadh, Tabuk, Dammam, Dhahran and Al-Hofuf and in the governorates of Jeddah, Taif, Qatif and Khobar in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Last week, King Salman issued a decree which ordered treatment to be available for anyone in need of medical care, including people who have overstayed their visa in the Kingdom.