International, regional support for Saudi effort to end conflict in Yemen

International, regional support for Saudi effort to end conflict in Yemen
The Saudi initiative includes a comprehensive cease-fire, the reopening of Sanaa airport, and resuming the political process. (File/AFP)
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Updated 24 March 2021

International, regional support for Saudi effort to end conflict in Yemen

International, regional support for Saudi effort to end conflict in Yemen
  • UN says Saudi peace initiative ‘aligns’ with its own efforts to end Yemen conflict
  • Gulf and Arab countries say they welcome and support the Saudi initiative

NEW YORK/LONDON: The UN welcomed on Monday Saudi Arabia’s new peace initiative to end the war in Yemen.
The proposals align with the world body’s own efforts, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said.
The Saudi initiative, which includes a comprehensive cease-fire and the reopening of Sanaa airport, was announced by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan. The plan would also ease restrictions on Hodeidah port and resume the political process.
Haq said the UN’s special envoy Martin Griffiths had been working to secure a nationwide cease-fire, reopen the airport for civilian aircraft and restart talks.
“There’s no doubt that every effort must be made to end the conflict in Yemen and address the suffering of the Yemeni people and the UN looks forward to continue working with all the parties to achieve this goal,” he said.
Guterres himself welcomed the initiative, during a phone call with the Kingdom’s ambassador to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi.
Guterres affirmed his support for the initiative and toward reaching a comprehensive political solution, adding that this initiative is in line with the UN’s initiatives and efforts in solving the crisis.

The new initiative to end the six year war also drew support from the international community.
During a phone call on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Prince Faisal that Washington supported efforts to end the conflict in Yemen, “starting with the need for all parties to commit to a cease-fire and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.”
Blinken said Washington is committed to supporting Saudi Arabia’s defense and “strongly condemned recent attacks against the Kingdom’s territory from Iranian-aligned groups in the region.”

US envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking welcomed Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni government’s commitment to a cease-fire and political process.
“We hope the parties negotiate the remaining details of a cease-fire to ease the suffering of the Yemeni people and transition to a Yemeni-led political process,” he added.
The European Union called the initiative a “positive step” in the peace process.
Peter Stano, spokesman for the European External Action Service in Brussels, said the EU encourages all parties to participate without delay with the UN special envoy, adding that the bloc asserts that reaching a comprehensive political agreement remains the only solution to end the crisis.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab welcomed the announcement and called for a nationwide cease-fire and action to ease humanitarian access restriction.
“The Houthis must now match the steps toward peace and an end to the suffering of the Yemeni people,” said Raab.

France said it commended the initiative and the Yemeni government’s decision to join it.
“The Houthis must now agree to this proposal, to allow the initiation of a process leading to the settlement of the current crisis and an end to the suffering of the Yemeni people,” the French foreign ministry said.
Spain and Russia also welcomed the proposal with Madrid urging “the parties to negotiate a political solution without delay under the auspices of the UN,” and Moscow calling on the parties “to study it carefully” and said it “advocates for the speedy end of the prolonged armed confrontation in Yemen.”
Japan also welcomed the announcement and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said his government will continue to support efforts of the UN envoy Griffiths to end the conflict in Yemen.
GCC chief Nayef Al-Hajraf said the initiative reflects great concern and a sincere desire to end the Yemeni crisis.
He praised Saudi Arabia’s efforts to support Yemen’s security and stability, and Oman’s positive role to end the Yemeni crisis.
He said GCC countries were keen to provide all aspects of support to the Yemeni people and see Yemen return as a strong and active member of the Gulf and Arab community in a way that “preserves the country’s security, unity, independence and territorial integrity.”
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit called the initiative a “positive step” toward a political settlement in Yemen, and the main points represent a starting point for a comprehensive dialogue and a balanced treatment of the concerns of all the parties.
Aboul Gheit called on the Houthis to put aside any private interests or foreign agendas, and to seize the opportunity and initiate a comprehensive political dialogue that ends the crisis.

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Adel bin Abdulrahman Al-Asoumi, speaker of the Arab Parliament, said the initiative includes a clear road map that applies a practical and specific vocabulary, and represents a valuable opportunity for a final and comprehensive solution to the Yemeni crisis.
The UAE said the initiative represents a valuable opportunity for a comprehensive cease-fire in Yemen, and will pave the way toward a lasting political solution.
UAE Foreign Minster Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed urged the international community to join efforts to adhere to this initiative and the cease-fire by all parties.
He also praised Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in implementing the Riyadh Agreement, forming the new Yemeni government, reaching a political solution and speeding up efforts to end the Yemeni crisis.

Kuwait said it welcomed and supported the initiative and called on the Yemeni parties to “fully adhere to it in order to launch consultations between the parties to reach the desired political solution.”
Bahrain’s foreign ministry commended the Kingdom’s “honorable positions in support of Yemen, its constant endeavor to restore security and stability, and the aid and humanitarian assistance it has provided.”
Oman, which has been leading mediation efforts with Riyadh and Washington, said that it would continue to work with the Kingdom, the UN and the concerned Yemeni parties to achieve the desired political settlement that would restore security and stability to Yemen while also preserving the security and interests of regional countries.
Egypt said the initiative works to prioritize the interests of the Yemeni people and to create an atmosphere to resume the political process.
The foreign ministry called on all Yemeni parties to respond to the initiative in order to stop the bloodshed and support efforts to bring peace to Yemen.
Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the plan was an integrated proposal in line with international resolutions that reflected Saudi Arabia’s concern for the security and stability of Yemen and the region.
Safadi met the UN’s Griffiths on Monday to discuss efforts to reach a political agreement to end the war.
China’s embassy in Yemen said it appreciates the Kingdom’s tireless efforts to resolve the conflict.
“We hope that all parties will make joint efforts and move in the same direction in order to reach a comprehensive political solution under the auspices of the UN,” the embassy said in a tweet.

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Virus rules violators warned as cases decline in Saudi Arabia

Virus rules violators warned as cases decline in Saudi Arabia
Hundreds of individuals were fined for breaking social gathering protocols in different part of Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 14 min 4 sec ago

Virus rules violators warned as cases decline in Saudi Arabia

Virus rules violators warned as cases decline in Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Arabia has administered more than 11.7 million COVID-19 vaccines so far at a rate of 33.5 doses per hundred

JEDDAH: More than 250 individuals were fined for breaking social gathering protocols in the last 24 hours, including 72 women attending a wedding where authorities imposed fines on both guests and the host.
For the fourth day in a row, the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Saudi Arabia remained below 1,000 with a significant rise in recoveries.
A total of 886 new cases of the cases were recorded in the Kingdom on Monday, meaning 433,980 people in Saudi Arabia have now contracted the disease.
In addition, 1,127 new recovered cases were also announced, taking the total number of recoveries to 418,914, meaning the Kingdom’s recovery rate has increased to 96.5 percent, marking a significant decline in the epidemiological curve.
There were 7,892 active cases, 1,377 of them critical, an increase of just one patient in the past 24 hours.

FASTFACTS

• A total of 886 new cases were recorded in the Kingdom on Monday.

• The highest number of cases was recorded in the Riyadh region.

• More than 250 individuals fined for violating health protocols.

The regions with the highest number of infections were Riyadh with 281 cases and Makkah with 250. Twelve new COVID-19 related deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 7,174.
Saudi Arabia has administered more than 11.7 million COVID-19 vaccines so far at a rate of 33.5 doses per hundred. Of the Kingdom’s 34.8 million people, 33.6 percent have now been vaccinated with at least one jab.
On Monday, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs closed nine mosques temporarily in six regions, after cases of COVID-19 were detected among worshipers.
The ministry stated that the total number of mosques that had been closed now amounted to 1,210, with 1,188 subsequently reopened after the completion of disinfection.


GCC national ID not valid for travel

GCC national ID not valid for travel
Travelers must verify the conditions of the destination country and ensure they are met. (SPA)
Updated 25 min 21 sec ago

GCC national ID not valid for travel

GCC national ID not valid for travel
  • King Fahd Causeway Passports raises operational capacity

RIYADH: Using a national ID as a document for traveling to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries remains suspended, a spokesman for the Eastern Province Passports said.

Citizens wishing to travel must verify the conditions of the destination country and ensure they are met, Mualla Al-Otaibi added.
In February last year, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to suspend GCC citizens’ use of national identity cards for travel to and from the Kingdom, coinciding with the onset of precautionary measures to combat COVID-19.
Al-Otaibi said the border points of the Eastern Region Passports had resumed work after the lifting of travel suspensions through all air, land and sea ports on May 17.
“Preventive maintenance work was carried out for all border backup devices and systems,” said Al-Otaibi.
A further 10 lanes have been installed in the departure area, bringing the total number of lanes to 27, with 36 lanes in the arrival area.
King Fahd Causeway Passports increased its operational capacity by 30 percent to facilitate passenger travel.
The spokesman said that meetings and workshops were held with port authorities to ensure speedy and smooth travel, while applying all precautions.
The movement of passengers leaving for Bahrain had decreased sharply since Monday morning, he said. The director general of Saudi Customs at the King Fahd Causeway, Dhaifallah Al-Otaibi, told Arab News they were ready to receive arrivals and departures through the causeway, and to provide customs services to travelers of all categories.
Customs at the causeway linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain strived to enhance customs procedures, he added.

We are ready to receive arrivals and departures through the causeway.

Dhaifallah Al-Otaibi, DG Saudi Customs

He confirmed the continued cooperation and coordination between all parties operating at the border crossing, and that port authorities were all working as one business system to provide the best services.
“Customs (the land link between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain) continues to take precautionary measures, (which are) more intense with the start of travel between the two countries to ensure the maximum levels of safety recommended to protect travelers and arrivals, in addition to protecting the employees of the port,” he added.
Customs at the King Fahd Causeway continued working on freight traffic since the suspension of personal travel between the two countries last year, he said.
Causeway customs statistics said that procedures for about 272,000 trucks entering and leaving the Kingdom had been completed between March 2020 until the end of April 2021, while about 325,000 vehicles had crossed the causeway in both directions since the beginning of this year.


Over 26k Saudis get jobs through Hadaf in April

Over 26k Saudis get jobs through Hadaf in April
Thousands of young Saudi men and women got jobs in 8,682 companies. (Photo/Twitter)
Updated 8 min 29 sec ago

Over 26k Saudis get jobs through Hadaf in April

Over 26k Saudis get jobs through Hadaf in April
  • The Riyadh region topped with 10,354 beneficiaries

RIYADH: A total of 26,311 young Saudi men and women got jobs in 8,682 companies in the private sector during April through the placement services offered by the Human Resources Development Fund (Hadaf).
The number of male beneficiaries of the program was 12,141 while 14,170 women found jobs in the private sector. The Riyadh region topped with 10,354 beneficiaries.
The number of the program’s beneficiaries is rising due to a new strategy used by Hadaf to ensure jobs for the qualified Saudi youth by forging partnership with the private sector. 


Who’s Who: Mishari Almishari, deputy director of the National Information Center

Who’s Who: Mishari Almishari, deputy director of the National Information Center
Mishari Almishari. (Supplied)
Updated 3 min 18 sec ago

Who’s Who: Mishari Almishari, deputy director of the National Information Center

Who’s Who: Mishari Almishari, deputy director of the National Information Center

Mishari Almishari, who was recently awarded the Order of King Abdul Aziz Second Class for his services to the country, has been deputy director of the National Information Center (NIC) since Sept. 2019.
The NIC provides IT solutions and services to Saudi government bodies and has one of the largest IT centers in the Middle East.
It was set up three decades ago as the Computer Center, which became the General Administration of Central Information, changing to the NIC in the 1980s.
Almishari received a bachelor’s degree from King Saud University (KSU) in 2001 and completed his postgraduate studies in the US, receiving a master’s in computer science from the University of Southern California in 2006.
He did a doctorate in computer science at the University of California, Irvine, with his thesis focusing on (online) security and privacy.
During his stay in the US, Almishari worked as a research intern at Xerox Corp. in New York in 2010.
On his return to the Kingdom, he joined KSU in 2013 as an assistant professor. He taught undergraduate courses and conducted research in the areas of security and privacy until 2019.
He was a deanship consultant for over two years and supervised several IT-related projects at KSU between 2013 and 2015.
Almishari was chief information officer at Saudi Customs from 2016 to 2017.
His research papers have been published in scientific journals, while his dissertation on machine learning and security and privacy for the modern web was published in five scientific journals.


Saudi Arabia announces $20m grant to help cover Sudan’s debt with IMF

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan headed the Kingdom’s delegation at the International Conference in Support of Sudan in Paris. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan headed the Kingdom’s delegation at the International Conference in Support of Sudan in Paris. (SPA)
Updated 57 min 10 sec ago

Saudi Arabia announces $20m grant to help cover Sudan’s debt with IMF

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan headed the Kingdom’s delegation at the International Conference in Support of Sudan in Paris. (SPA)
  • King Salman and the crown prince were keen to ease Sudan’s debt burden

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has provided a $20 million grant toward covering part of Sudan’s financial debt with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the grant was an extension to previous support provided by the Kingdom to Sudan.
He was speaking as he led the Kingdom’s delegation at the International Conference in Support of Sudan in Paris on Monday.
Saudi Arabia also announced it would transfer the balance into the two emergency and deferred fees accounts with the IMF, to contribute to the handling of arrears and alleviate Sudan’s debt burden.
Prince Faisal said that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were keen to ease Sudan’s debt burden and contribute to addressing the nation’s arrears, in addition to “enhancing Saudi investments in Sudan and the Kingdom’s support for all sectors that would achieve the aspirations of the Sudanese people toward further progress, prosperity and development,” Saudi Press Agency reported.
“What unites us together today is our common goal to support the transitional phase that Sudan is going through toward a bright and prosperous future, and based on this, on April 13, 2019, my country announced its full support for the Sudanese people regarding their future and the measures taken are in their interest.”
He said that the Kingdom provided a package of humanitarian and development aid.
Prince Faisal said that the Kingdom was one of the first countries that contributed and participated, through the framework of the Friends of Sudan Group, in supporting this transitional phase in Sudan.
“This comes from my country’s belief in the importance of activating Sudan’s regional role and providing everything that would protect Sudan and preserve its security,” Prince Faisal added.
He said he appreciated the roles of the US, France, and the UK and their tireless efforts in supporting Sudan under for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.
The Kingdom’s Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan also attended the conference in the French capital, which was part of the Summit on the Financing of African Economies that is attended by more than 40 countries and will continue until Tuesday.