Saudi Arabia says Iran’s actions have helped spread the coronavirus around the world

Shoppers wearing face masks and gloves in northern Tehran, Iran, where the regime has been accused of covering up the coronavirus epidemic. (AP)
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Updated 06 March 2020

Saudi Arabia says Iran’s actions have helped spread the coronavirus around the world

  • Official condemns Iran for allowing Saudi citizens into the country without stamping their passports
  • Saudis who traveled to Iran must report their travel within 48 hours to avoid legal action

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday said Iran was responsible for increasing the number of coronavirus cases and spreading the outbreak around the world.

An official source accused Iran of “irresponsible actions” for allowing Saudi citizens into the country without stamping their passports during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Iranian officials say 107 people have died from the illness but independent experts say the toll must be much higher amid allegations that the regime has covered up the full scale of the epidemic.

Five people in Saudi Arabia have had coronavirus diagnosed. Three of the cases had returned together from Iran via Bahrain, while the fourth returned via Kuwait and infected his wife.

“These actions are a proof of Iran’s direct responsibility in increasing COVID-19 infections and in the virus’s outbreak all around the world,” an official Saudi source said. “This behavior poses a serious public health threat to the international community and undermines international efforts to combat COVID-19, putting many communities around the world at risk.”

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The official urged all Saudi citizens who had returned from Iran in recent weeks to immediately contact the health ministry by calling 937.

Citizens currently in Iran should also immediately report their travel to Iran upon their arrival back in the Kingdom.
 
If they report their travel to Iran within 48 hours they will not be subjected to the “Travel Documents Law,” the official said.

“The Kingdom is keen on ensuring the safety of all citizens who had visited Iran by providing them with this opportunity and refraining from any legal action against them,” the official said. “Furthermore, the Kingdom is determined to protect the families of those who had traveled to places where there is an outbreak of COVID-19.”

Citizens should not travel to Iran for any reason, the statement said, adding that they face serious legal actions if they do so in the future.

The official called upon Iranian authorities to disclose the identities of Saudi nationals who had illegally visited Iran since the Feb. 1, 

He added that the Iranian authorities would be held fully responsible for all Saudis who did not report their travels and had been infected during their stay in Iran.


Djibouti president to give keynote address at virtual launch of Arab News en Français

Updated 14 July 2020

Djibouti president to give keynote address at virtual launch of Arab News en Français

  • French ambassador to Saudi Arabia to inaugurate new digital news site

RIYADH: In an online ceremony linking Riyadh and Paris on France’s National Day, the Middle East’s leading English-language newspaper tonight launches Arab News en Français, its third overseas edition.
The virtual launch of the Arab News en Français website on Bastille Day will take place at 6 p.m. Paris time in the presence of distinguished guests, including guest of honor Ismail Omar Guelleh, president of the French-speaking Republic of Djibouti, who will be delivering a keynote speech.
The newest edition of Arab News will be formally launched in Riyadh by François Gouyette, the French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who is also attending the virtual event.

Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, Saudi Arabia’s minister of commerce and investment and acting minister of media, will also give a speech at the ceremony.
Other guests at the launch — which will take place via an exclusive invitation-only Zoom video conference at 7 p.m. Riyadh time, and will be later carried on YouTube and other Arab News social media platforms — will include a large number of Saudi, Arab and French officials, diplomats and journalists.
The launch will also feature a special performance by Sawsan Al-Bahiti, Saudi Arabia’s first professional opera singer, who will sing “La Vie En Rose,” the song popularized by legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf.
Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s first English-language newspaper, was founded in 1975 and this year is celebrating its 45th anniversary.

Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi and François Gouyette.

The launch of Arab News en Français recognizes the growing importance of creating bridges of communication between the Arab world and French-speaking countries.
The new online edition joins two other international digital editions of Arab News, which launched a Pakistan edition in February 2018 and a Japanese one in October 2019.
Tonight’s launch ceremony will introduce Randa Takieddine, the chief Paris correspondent of Arab News en Française, who will take part in the signing of a memorandum of agreement between Arab News and Experience AlUla.
In collaboration with the Paris-based French Agency for AlUla Development (Afalula), the Royal Commission for AlUla is developing the ancient Unesco World Heritage Site of Hegra and its surroundings in the dramatic landscape of western Saudi Arabia as a major international cultural destination.

The first product of the cooperation with Experience AlUla is an Arab News Deep Dive presentation, “The Rebirth of AlUla”, which is available in French
In collaboration with the Paris-based French Agency for AlUla Development (Afalula), the RCU is developing the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra and its surroundings in the dramatic landscape of western Saudi Arabia as a major international cultural destination.
The first product of the cooperation with the RCU is an Arab News Deep Dive presentation, “The Rebirth of AlUla,” which is available in French (http://www.arabnews.fr/Alula/).
Paris was given a glimpse of the treasures of Hegra at the exhibition “AlUla: Wonder of Arabia,” which opened at the Institut du Monde Arabe in the French capital in October 2019.
The launch of the exhibition was attended by Prince Badr, Saudi Arabia’s minister of culture and governor of the RCU, and Franck Riester, the French minister of culture.
Other guests included prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel, who is designing a luxury tourism resort for AlUla as part of a series of developments planned for the region.