Arab interior ministers approve expert group to monitor terrorist threats

Arab interior ministers hold the 38th session of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers via video call. (SPA)
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Arab interior ministers hold the 38th session of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers via video call. (SPA)
Arab interior ministers hold the 38th session of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers via video call. (SPA)
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Arab interior ministers hold the 38th session of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers via video call. (SPA)
Arab interior ministers hold the 38th session of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers via video call. (SPA)
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Arab interior ministers hold the 38th session of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers via video call. (SPA)
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Updated 26 March 2021

Arab interior ministers approve expert group to monitor terrorist threats

Arab interior ministers approve expert group to monitor terrorist threats
  • Prince Abdul Aziz leads Saudi delegation as ministers discuss combating security threats in the region

LONDON: Arab interior ministers approved the establishment of a group of experts to monitor, analyze and exchange information on terrorist threats, as tensions in the region continue to pose a security risk.
Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif led the Saudi Arabia delegation at the 38th session of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers, which concluded on Thursday in the Tunisian capital, Tunis. 
During the virtual meeting, the ministers also approved a guiding mechanism to prevent terrorist fighters from moving into conflict areas and flashpoints in the Arab region. They agreed on new measures for dealing with their returnees and also established a permanent committee for criminal statistics within the council’s general secretariat.
Prince Abdul Aziz said despite the slowdown caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the council has made several other gains, including strengthening cooperation with regional and international organizations to serve the security authorities in Arab countries.
“What is being achieved successfully by our security institutions in facing the global and local challenges and changes surrounding our Arab security, has contributed to strengthening the relationship between the security services and citizens,” he said. 
“We are raising their levels of awareness and understanding of the role of the security services in their lives.”
Prince Abdul Aziz said the council looks forward to developing this role, which will enhance the relationship between citizens and the security services “that work for their safety, security and stability.”
He said that the relationship between the Arab security institutions and the Council of Arab Interior Ministers has contributed to building plans and strategies throughout its history, including crime prevention, drug control, counterterrorism, traffic safety, financial control, civil protection and security awareness.
“I am confident that through our joint cooperation, we are able to overcome every challenge that disturbs security and safety,” said Prince Abdul Aziz, who is also the honorary president of the council.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, praised the efforts made by the council to strengthen security and combat crime in Arab countries.
The Egyptian was reappointed for a second term as secretary-general of the 22-member Arab League earlier this month. He also said the threat of terrorism still tops the challenges facing the region, adding that combating security threats is the highest priority of Arab national action.
Strengthening the victory achieved in combating Daesh requires doubling security vigilance, Aboul Gheit said, as continuous cooperation is needed between Arab agencies working to contain the group, “Before the situation escalates and the cost of confronting it increases.”
During the meeting, Arab interior ministers praised the “valuable” peace initiative proposed by Saudi Arabia to resolve the crisis in Yemen, and “urged all parties to accept it as a suitable way out of the crisis that fulfills the interests of all Yemeni people.”
The ministers also praised the outcomes of the AlULa Summit in January, which established a “new era of brotherly relations and cooperation for the Arabian Gulf States and the entire Arab world,” a statement on Saudi Press Agency said.
The council condemned and denounced the systematic and deliberate hostilities and sabotage acts carried out by the Houthi militia against Yemen and Saudi civilians and vital installations.
The ministers said that attempts to target oil installations affect the Kingdom and its capabilities, but also have an impact on the nucleus of the economy and global energy security. The council stands in full solidarity with Saudi Arabia in the face of these terrorist practices and attacks, and in all the measures it takes to preserve the security and safety of its people and its land.
They also “condemned Iran’s practices aimed at destabilizing security and stability in many Arab countries, and undermining the peaceful coexistence of the components of Arab societies.”
The ministers also affirmed their determination to continue combating terrorism, addressing its causes, mobilizing all efforts and capabilities to eradicate it, and strengthening Arab and international cooperation in this field.


Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers condemn Israel for undermining Palestinian rights

Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers condemn Israel for undermining Palestinian rights
Updated 42 min 22 sec ago

Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers condemn Israel for undermining Palestinian rights

Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers condemn Israel for undermining Palestinian rights
  • Egypt condemns Israeli forces for storming Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Egypt on Monday condemned Israel for undermining Palestinian rights as days of clashes in Jerusalem erupted into an exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza.

The comments came after talks between Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry on developments in Jerusalem.

The ministers discussed “the rapid developments in the Palestinian arena, and the recent Israeli incursions into the compounds of the Al-Aqsa mosque,” Ahmed Hafez, the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman, said.

Shoukry briefed Prince Faisal on and Egyptian statement calling on Israel to “assume its responsibility to stop these violations in accordance with the rules of international law, and to provide the necessary protection for Palestinian civilian.”

The two ministers also affirmed their rejection of all illegal practices aimed at undermining legitimate Palestinian rights.

During the call, they also reviewed relations between their countries, and ways to enhance cooperation, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.

Earlier on Monday, Egypt strongly condemned Israeli forces for storming Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, expelling Palestinian worshippers from inside the compound, and denying them access.

The foreign ministry called on Israel to assume its responsibility regarding these rapid and dangerous developments, “which will lead to more tension and escalation.”

More than 300 people were wounded on Monday in renewed clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at the compound, ahead of an Israeli celebration of its 1967 takeover of Jerusalem.

Egypt also stressed the need to stop all practices that violate the sanctity of Al-Aqsa, especially during Ramadan.

“This is in line with the rules of international law and in order to provide all types of protection for Palestinian civilians in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the rest of East Jerusalem, while not targeting the Arab, Islamic and Christian identity of Jerusalem and its holy sites.

The violence since Friday has been Jerusalem’s worst since 2017, fueled by a long-running bid by Jewish settlers to evict several Palestinian families from the nearby Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

A Supreme Court hearing on a Palestinian appeal in the case originally set for Monday was pushed back by the justice ministry due to the tensions.

The UN Security Council held an informal meeting at Tunisia’s request on Monday on the unrest and Arab League foreign ministers and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation said they will hold emergency sessions on Tuesday.

(With AFP)


Arab coalition intercepts drone launched by Yemen’s Houthis toward Abha airport in Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition forces intercepted and destroyed a drone launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia toward Abha International Airport. (SPA)
Arab coalition forces intercepted and destroyed a drone launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia toward Abha International Airport. (SPA)
Updated 10 min 21 sec ago

Arab coalition intercepts drone launched by Yemen’s Houthis toward Abha airport in Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition forces intercepted and destroyed a drone launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia toward Abha International Airport. (SPA)
  • Arab coalition calls it a hostile and brutal act
  • Thousands of multi-national travelers pass through Abha airport daily

RIYADH: The Arab coalition said on Monday evening it intercepted and shot down a booby-trapped drone in the southern region launched by the Houthi militia in Yemen, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the drone was launched “in a deliberate and systematic way to target travelers at Abha International Airport, through which thousands of civilian travelers of different nationalities pass through daily.”
Col. Al-Maliki said some shrapnel fell in the airport’s inner compound as a result of the interception. No injuries were reported among travelers or airport staff, but damage was caused to three buses whose windows shattered. 
Al Al-Maliki said coalition forces will continue to implement strict measures to confront these terrorist acts and immoral abuses by the Houthi militia, and to ensure that civilians and civilian objects are protected.
“The terrorist elements responsible for planning and executing out this hostile attack will be held accountable in accordance with international humanitarian law,” Al-Maliki added.
On Sunday, coalition forces intercepted and destroyed a Houthi drone launched toward the southern city of Khamis Mushait.
The Houthi militia has stepped up attempts to target civilian and economic objects in Saudi Arabia, amid mounting international and Arab condemnation.
The Houthis have struck Abha airport a number of times in recent years, killing one person, injuring dozens and on one occasion causing a passenger aircraft to catch fire.


Turkish foreign minister arrives in Saudi Arabia for talks

Turkish foreign minister arrives in Saudi Arabia for talks
Updated 10 May 2021

Turkish foreign minister arrives in Saudi Arabia for talks

Turkish foreign minister arrives in Saudi Arabia for talks

RIYADH: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrived in Riyadh on Sunday for a two-day visit. 

He will discuss bilateral matters and regional issues in talks with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

 

 

 


Qatar's emir visits Saudi Arabia

Qatar's emir visits Saudi Arabia
Updated 10 May 2021

Qatar's emir visits Saudi Arabia

Qatar's emir visits Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is expected in Jeddah on Monday in response to an invitation from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.  

The emir received last month Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, who delivered an invitation from King Salman to visit the Kingdom.


What Saudi citizens need to know to travel safely

What Saudi citizens need to know to travel safely
Travelers will not be allowed into airports or planes without showing their health statuses through the government-approved health app, Tawakkalna. (Supplied)
Updated 10 May 2021

What Saudi citizens need to know to travel safely

What Saudi citizens need to know to travel safely
  • COVID-19 insurance mandatory for those under the age of 18 wishing to travel

JEDDAH: With one week to go before international travel resumes, Saudis are being encouraged to cover all the necessary basics before leaving the country.

During a joint press conference on Sunday, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) and the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI) shared new instructions and updated travel insurance policies for all Saudis wishing to travel abroad following a previous announcement stating the four categories allowed.
Ibrahim Alrwosa, GACA official spokesman, outlined the new travel procedures for citizens, health protocols followed at airports, and the shipment, transport and reception of vaccines at the Kingdom’s airports.
“After a week, our airports will witness the resuming of flights for citizens starting 1 a.m. We call on everyone to thoroughly follow the set health precautions to achieve a completely safe trip,” said Alrwosa, adding that the authority will update its safety instructions to add COVID-19 health measures in a new leaflet.
Travelers will not be allowed into airports or planes without showing their health statuses through the government-approved health app, Tawakkalna. Travelers who have received two vaccine doses, those who have completed two weeks since receiving the first jab, those who are immune by recovery no more than six months since infection and children under the age of 18 who have travel insurance obtained in cooperation with the Saudi Central Bank will be the only groups allowed to cross international borders.
Alrwosa stressed that travelers follow their country of destination’s health precautions to avoid any problems.

HIGHLIGHT

Travelers will not be allowed into airports or planes without showing their health statuses through the government-approved health app, Tawakkalna. Travelers who have received two vaccine doses, those who have completed two weeks since receiving the first jab, those who are immune by recovery no more than six months since infection and children under the age of 18 who have travel insurance obtained in cooperation with the Saudi Central Bank will be the only groups allowed to cross international borders. 

Meanwhile, CCHI spokesman, Othman Al-Qasabi, revealed that the new insurance policy will include benefits that cover the risks of COVID-19 infection, and that it is mandatory for those under the age of 18 wishing to travel.
“This is in cooperation with the Saudi Central Bank. Persons vaccinated with two doses, first dose, and immune by recovery with the required timeline, will have the travel insurance available for them, but it has been made mandatory for those under the age of 18 to reduce the risks accompanied by the virus.”
The travel insurance, which is only valid for 30 days, will cover emergency medical expenses related to COVID-19 such as emergency rooms, urgent care and transportation. It also covers quarantine-related accommodation costs, medical evacuation and issues related to canceling flights due to COVID-19 conditions.
“These new benefits have been added to the already existing travel insurance benefits.”
The council revealed that a consortium of 12 companies has been approved for people to receive travel insurance from, with Tawuniya Insurance Company chosen to lead the alliance.