Muslim world awaits ‘good news’ of meeting between Saudi crown prince and Pakistan PM

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan talk in Makkah during June 1, 2019. (SPA/File)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan talk in Makkah on June 1, 2019. (SPA/File)
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Updated 07 May 2021

Muslim world awaits ‘good news’ of meeting between Saudi crown prince and Pakistan PM

Muslim world awaits ‘good news’ of meeting between Saudi crown prince and Pakistan PM

JEDDAH: A communique set to be issued after the meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to see “good news” for the whole Muslim world.
Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi said the prime minister will arrive in Jeddah on Friday and will perform Umrah and visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
“He will then meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as well as top Saudi officials and scholars, including the imams of the Two Holy Mosques as well as chiefs of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Muslim World League (MWL),” Ashrafi said.
The chairman was speaking at a press conference at the General Consulate of Pakistan on Wednesday, ahead of the official visit of Imran Khan on an invitation from the Saudi crown prince.
Ashrafi is also the special representative of the prime minister to the Middle East.
“After the meeting, a strong final communique will be issued, and it will see glad tidings, not only to the peoples of the two countries, but also to the whole Muslim world,” he said.
Ashrafi expressed his gratitude to the crown prince for the invitation.
Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes in the blessed last 10 days of Ramadan.
“In such a timing, the giants sit together. With Pakistan possessing a nuclear force, it is the biggest army in the Muslim world, while Saudi Arabia has the most important things in the whole life in this world — Makkah and Madinah, where the Two Holy Mosques are located. It is the homeland of the House of God and the Prophet’s Mosque,” Ashrafi added.
He pointed out that the two sides will sign a number of treaties and agreements, most important of which will focus on the Saudi Green and Green Middle East initiatives, and the Clean, Green Pakistan Movement, which Khan launched in October 2018.
Senior Pakistani ministers are accompanying the prime minister and some of them have already arrived, the special envoy said.
“This visit is not the first and will not be the last. It is a continuation of past visits between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan who are like a body and its soul.”
He said that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is neither diplomatic nor political. “We have a relationship of respect, love, brotherhood and shared Islamic faith,” said Ashrafi, adding: “As the chief of the Pakistan Army said a few months ago, the security of Saudi Arabia, its stability and its leaders are all red lines.”

The Pakistanis love Al-Saud. They deeply respect those who serve the Two Holy Mosques. We are, in fact, proud to have strong ties with them.”
Ashrafi, who was speaking in Arabic, pointed out that Pakistan, as a nuclear power, is cooperating with Saudi Arabia on all levels, including trade, economy, culture, tourism and religion.
“A media reporter has asked me whether there was any dispute or disagreement between Saud Arabia and Pakistan. My answer was that a body never disagrees with its soul. I would like to say again to all friends and enemies … Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have a soul-body relationship,” Ashrafi said.
Speaking about Islam as a moderate religion, Ashrafi — a recipient of the OIC’s Universal Award for his struggle to eradicate terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence from Pakistan and across the Muslim world — said his country and Saudi Arabia have a clear plan against terrorism, extremism and seditions (fitnah).
“Islam is the religion of respect and brotherhood. The crown prince’s vision is quite clear in this regard. It is not accepted from anyone to use the name of Islam for terror and immoderate purposes. It is a chance here to reiterate that Islam has no connection at all with terrorism or extremism,” he said.
During his visit, the prime minister will discuss Islamophobia and the respect of prophets with the secretary-general of the OIC and his MWL counterpart, Asharfi said.
He thanked King Salman for the King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Mosque, which will be built at the heart of Islamabad.
“We have the King Faisal Mosque, which reflects the two countries’ strong religious ties,” he said.
The King Salman Mosque “will be another monument of the Saudi-Pakistan friendship and lead to better progress in the bilateral relations of the two countries,” he added.
Khan’s political communications aide, Dr Shahbaz Gill, said that the relationship between the two countries does not need any introduction or reaffirmation.
Gill said the visit of Khan “is very important in the regional situation. But most importantly in regard with the issue of Islamophobia and blasphemy against our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.”
He added that the visit “is also important in terms of the prime minister’s vision and understanding on the environment and the passion of the Saudi crown prince for the same thing.”


Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea
Updated 37 min 3 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea
  • The Shusha Island Coral Park will become a global center to showcase innovations to protect and restore coral reefs
  • NEOM will use a technique incorporating Maritechture technology on the beach reefs first and then the coral gardens surrounding the island

JEDDAH: Officials in Saudi Arabia have announced a joint project to establish the largest coral garden in the world at NEOM, the futuristic mega-city being built in the Kingdom’s northwest.
NEOM and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) said that the project that will cover 100 hectares on Shusha Island on the shores of the Red Sea.
The Shusha Island Coral Park will become a global center to showcase innovations to protect and restore coral reefs and accelerate conservation solutions, helping to reduce the effects of climate change, a statement issued by Saudi Press Agency said.
The project is scheduled to be completed in 2025, making NEOM a world leader in restoring and developing coral reefs.
“We work within an integrated system to preserve the environment and all its components, and we seek to preserve coral reefs, in particular, and marine life, in general. This is one of the environmental goals that we are working to achieve, and our cooperation with KAUST shows the important dimension of these efforts,” NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said.
He added that the agreement with KAUST also aims to advance technologies and joint experiences, work to enhance the scientific community’s understanding of the way coral reefs adapt to climate change, and search for innovative solutions to preserve coral reefs in the Red Sea.
KAUST President Tony Chan said that the university is pioneering research in the Red Sea, and the promising project with NEOM is one of the largest technology transfer deals in the KAUST’s history, using innovations originating from the university.
“We look forward to working alongside NEOM to improve our lives through science and technology,” Chan said.
Shusha Island is home to more than 300 species of coral and 1,000 species of fish, and the coral garden will provide a unique opportunity for research and development, attracting scientists, researchers and tourism lovers who are interested in the environment, he added.
NEOM will use a technique incorporating Maritechture technology — developed by scientists from the Red Sea Research Center and the Coastal and Marine Resources Laboratory at KAUST — on the beach reefs first and then the coral gardens surrounding the island.
The project will enable NEOM to be a new tourism icon and a futuristic destination with a global character, as Shusha island reflects NEOM’s bold ambition toward developing marine tourism based on innovation to protect and grow marine organisms in the Red Sea.
In February, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a luxury Red Sea resort project called the “Coral Bloom” development, which has been designed by world-renowned British architectural firm Foster + Partners.
It will be built on Shourayrah Island, the main island of the Red Sea Project off the Kingdom’s west coast.
On Monday, the Kingdom’s Red Sea Development Company signed a research agreement with KAUST that will see the two organizations cooperate in fields such as marine environment sustainability, food security and energy conservation.


Saudi foreign minister receives written message from his Egyptian counterpart

Saudi foreign minister receives written message from his Egyptian counterpart
Updated 22 June 2021

Saudi foreign minister receives written message from his Egyptian counterpart

Saudi foreign minister receives written message from his Egyptian counterpart

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, received a written message from his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
The message was received on behalf of Prince Faisal by Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji during his meeting with Ambassador Ehab Fawzy, deputy executive director of the Women Development Organization, affiliated to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in the capital, Riyadh.
During the meeting, they discussed topics of common interest.


Saudi air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait

Saudi air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait
Updated 22 June 2021

Saudi air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait

Saudi air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait
  • The Arab coalition said this was the latest example of the Iran-backed Houthis deliberately targeting civilians and civilian targets

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defenses intercepted and destroyed a booby-trapped drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward southern Saudi Arabia, state TV reported.
The drone was targeting the city of Khamis Mushait.
The Arab coalition said this was the latest example of the Iran-backed Houthis deliberately targeting civilians and civilian targets.
“We are taking operational measures to protect civilians and deal with imminent militia threats,” the coalition added.
Saudi defenses intercepted another Houthi drone launched toward Khamis Mushait on Sunday, and 17 armed drones launched toward the Kingdom on Saturday.
The Houthis have stepped up cross-border attacks since the beginning of the year and launched a brutal offensive on the Yemeni province of Marib, sparking international condemnation.
On Monday, France joined Arab countries and regional organizations in denouncing the recent Houthi attacks on the Kingdom, saying that they defy international law, and calling on the group to halt their attacks and work toward achieving peace in Yemen.


Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,479 new infections

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,479 new infections
Updated 22 June 2021

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,479 new infections

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,479 new infections
  • The Kingdom said 920 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • 6 mosques reopened in 5 regions after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after 8 people tested positive for coronavirus

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed 12 new COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,703.
The Ministry of Health reported 1,479 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 476,882 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 11,131 remain active and 1,487 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in Makkah with 431, followed by the Eastern Province with 280, the capital Riyadh with 256, Asir recorded 149, and Jazan confirmed 99 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 920 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 458,048.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened six mosques in five regions after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after six people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 1,627 within 136 days.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 179 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.89 million.


Saudi Arabia will judge new Iran president Raisi by ‘reality on the ground’: FM

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg during his official visit to Vienna. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg during his official visit to Vienna. (SPA)
Updated 22 June 2021

Saudi Arabia will judge new Iran president Raisi by ‘reality on the ground’: FM

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg during his official visit to Vienna. (SPA)
  • Prince Faisal says ‘very concerned’ about unanswered questions on Iran’s nuclear program
  • Austrian foreign minister: Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia are unacceptable

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will judge Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi’s government by “the reality on the ground,” the Kingdom’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
“From our perspective, foreign policy in Iran is in any case run by the supreme leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and therefore we base our interactions and our approach to Iran on the reality on the ground, and that is what we will judge the new government on, regardless of who is in charge,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan told a news conference with his Austrian counterpart during his official visit to the capital, Vienna.
He said he was “very concerned” about unanswered questions on Iran’s nuclear program, an apparent reference to the UN nuclear watchdog seeking explanations on the origin of uranium particles found at undeclared sites in Iran.
Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies continue to pressure Iran over its nuclear program, which Tehran says is entirely peaceful, and its ballistic missiles. US intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency believe Iran had a secret, coordinated nuclear weapons program that it halted in 2003.
Raisi, a hard-line judge who secured an expected election victory on Saturday, said on Monday he wanted to improve ties with Gulf Arab neighbors.
Meanwhile, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg condemned the continuous Houthi attacks on civilians in Saudi Arabia, describing such assaults as “unacceptable.”
Prince Faisal said the Houthi militia has regularly rejected initiatives for a complete cease-fire, and have always resorted to escalate the situation.
Farhan said Saudi Arabia and Austria shared a “similar vision” regarding the region’s stability, while Schallenberg said his country supports developments taking place in across Saudi Arabia in several areas.
Prince Faisal met for talks with Schallenberg at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the two sides discussed opportunities for joint cooperation, developing bilateral relations, and ways to develop them in various fields, especially in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
They also discussed ways to enhance joint coordination to serve the interests of the two countries, and the most prominent regional and international developments.
(With Reuters)