Saudi Arabia ends travel ban on 11 countries

Saudi Arabia ends travel ban on 11 countries
Saudi passengers arrive at King Khaled International airport in the capital Riyadh on May 17, 2021. (File/AFP)
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Updated 30 May 2021

Saudi Arabia ends travel ban on 11 countries

Saudi Arabia ends travel ban on 11 countries
  • The countries include the UAE, German, USA, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, UK, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and France

 

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has lifted travel restrictions on 11 key countries, originally imposed to curb the spread of a variant strain of coronavirus.

From 1 a.m. on Sunday, passengers from the UAE, Germany, the US, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Japan may enter the Kingdom with the implementation of quarantine regulations.

According to the Saudi Public Health Authority (PHA), these countries have shown stability in containing COVID-19. However, 13 countries remain on the Interior Ministry’s no-go flight “red list.”

They are Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Belarus, and India. Citizens wishing to travel to these countries need prior permission.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation has issued instructions to all airlines operating in the Kingdom’s airports regarding the update of travel restrictions for travelers arriving in the Kingdom.

Non-Saudi travelers arriving in the Kingdom, the exempted travelers, immunized and unvaccinated groups must provide health certificates approved in the Kingdom (Coronavirus examination certificates PCR) not exceeding 72 hours from the flight time.

This applies to everyone aged 8 years and older, and travelers who meet the conditions of institutional quarantine for a period of seven days at one of the accommodation facilities approved by the Ministry of Tourism, provided that a swab carried out on the sixth day produces a negative result.

BACKGROUND

For months, travelers planning to return to Saudi Arabia found it difficult to do so because of the restrictions involved.

For months, travelers planning to return to Saudi Arabia found it difficult to do so because of the restrictions involved.

Many passengers in particular found themselves stranded in the UAE, a major flight hub, and the easing of restrictions brought a sigh of relief for many with families, even with the institutional quarantine requirements.

Nagham Hassan, 38, a Syrian expatriate resident in the Kingdom, has been in France since January last year and has not been able to return to Jeddah because of flight restrictions and lockdowns imposed in both countries.

“My parents moved to Saudi Arabia over 40 years ago and it’s always been home,” she told Arab News. “I got married just a few months before the pandemic started, and they were planning on a large family get-together for my French husband and me.

“The news came as a surprise and it’ll be great to get back home and see everyone again. The pandemic ruined a lot of things, but strengthened ties and it’s finally good to be heading back home soon.”

 


Youth take center stage at MISK pavilion at WEF

Youth take center stage at MISK pavilion at WEF
Updated 20 sec ago

Youth take center stage at MISK pavilion at WEF

Youth take center stage at MISK pavilion at WEF
  • “Youth Majlis” hosts discussion panels involving Saudi ministers, global policymakers and youth leaders

DAVOS: Saudi youth took center stage at the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week at the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (MISK) pavilion in Davos. 

The venue, titled the “Youth Majlis,” hosted several discussion panels involving Saudi ministers, global policymakers and youth leaders on how best to empower young people, not just in Saudi Arabia but globally, and how the younger generation can find solutions to global concerns of the future. 

During the week, the pavilion hosted the inauguration of a Youth Council, as well as the announcement of the second edition of its Global Youth Index (GYI), which was launched by MISK to discover how young people perceive opportunities in 30 countries and what they identify as the most important future opportunities for them. 

The GYI, first launched in 2018, compiles metrics on the factors, policies and institutions that drive youth development. 

The findings of the GYI’s second edition, which were showcased via a digital interactive display in the pavilion, pinpointed four key areas of improvement for the 30 countries surveyed, as well as the wider world as a whole.

It focused on the need for better national digital strategies, better industry-to-vocational training, better health support, especially surrounding mental health issues, and more efforts to tackle social inequality. 

For MISK CEO Dr. Badr Al-Badr, capturing the voice and sentiments of the youth at an event such as the WEF was important. 

“As one of the few youth-focused platforms at Davos, the Youth Majlis highlighted a crucial perspective at the annual meeting,” he said. 

“By convening thought leaders and speakers from a variety of sectors and industries, the sessions held constructive dialogues aimed at driving youth-focused solutions to the greatest challenges facing us today. 

“The second Global Youth Index was launched at the Youth Majlis with a unique digital activation, showcasing the G20 countries and 10 more.” 

He added: “The data and sentiment gathered by the GYI report offers a unique set of insights for policymakers and officials and demonstrates how young people feel about the issues that matter most to them.” 

Saudi government officials, including Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim visited the pavilion, with the latter telling a discussion panel that he would be sharing the results of the GYI with ministries across the Saudi government. 

Much like its Saudi Tourism Authority counterpart, the MISK pavilion also sought to showcase elements of Saudi culture to business and political figures and policymakers attending the WEF, as well highlighting the progress in the Kingdom under its Vision 2030 reform plans. 

“I think it’s very interesting to see how important youth development is to a country like Saudi Arabia, which is, perhaps, perceived as a more traditional society,” said Manuel Pedreira, a Brazilian financial consultant who visited the pavilion. 

Another attendee, Laryssa Tsarnovska from Ukraine, said that despite the conflict in her own country, the GYI findings gave her hope that the world’s youth can play a role in shaping future development. 

“We definitely need to see youth more engaged in decision-making, what is happening in my country shows what can happen if populations are complacent, so I welcome the findings in this report,” she said.


Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh

Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh
Updated 26 May 2022

Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh

Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh

RIYADH: Awwad Al-Awwad, president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, met Jonathan Kerr, the director-general of the Middle East and Africa Department at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues relating to human rights and the development of bilateral cooperation.

Also present at the meeting was Barney Riley, New Zealand’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.


Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans

Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans
Updated 26 May 2022

Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans

Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans

RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia foiled an attempt to smuggle thousands of amphetamine pills and arrested two suspects, the General Directorate of Narcotics Control said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Maj. Mohammed Al-Nujaidi said security officials who monitor drug smuggling and distribution networks that target the Kingdom intercepted 403,000 amphetamine tablets. They were found in the possession of a Syrian national and a Saudi citizen in Jeddah, hidden in a shipment of fake plastic bean pods, he added. The two men were referred to the Public Prosecution.

Al-Nujaidi said that the Ministry of Interior’s security forces, in coordination with the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, will continue to work to uncover plots to smuggle narcotics into the Kingdom and arrest those responsible.


US congress delegation hails work of Muslim World League during meeting with its leader

US congress delegation hails work of Muslim World League during meeting with its leader
Updated 26 May 2022

US congress delegation hails work of Muslim World League during meeting with its leader

US congress delegation hails work of Muslim World League during meeting with its leader

RIYADH: A delegation from the US Congress has praised the work of the Muslim World League in promoting common human values and promoting the urgent need for peace in the world. It came during a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Iss, the MWL’s secretary-general, in Riyadh on Wednesday.

The American delegates included Chris Stewart, a representative from Utah, Lisa McClain, a representative from Michigan, and Guy Reschenthaler, a representative from Pennsylvania, all three of them Republicans. They were accompanied by a number of officials.

(Supplied)

During the meeting, they discussed a number of issues of common interest, and Al-Issa affirmed that the Saudi Arabia represents the unifying spirit of the Islamic world.

The US delegation also hailed the MWL for its leading role in building effective alliances at the national level and between international organizations to consolidate the values of friendship and cooperation among nations and peoples.


DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia

DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years  of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia
Updated 25 May 2022

DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia

DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years  of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia
  • The US Legation opened in Jeddah in 1942. Full diplomatic relations began in 1940 and the US Mission, located in a traditional house in the old city center, was upgraded to the status of an embassy in 1949

RIYADH: The US Embassy in Riyadh has marked the 80th anniversary of the establishment of its first diplomatic presence in Saudi Arabia, highlighting what it described as “eight decades of shared history, strong partnership and united vision” with the Kingdom.

The US Legation opened in Jeddah in 1942. Full diplomatic relations began in 1940 and the US Mission, located in a traditional house in the old city center, was upgraded to the status of an embassy in 1949.

In 1952, the embassy moved to the current consulate general location, which at the time was an isolated, beachfront property to the north of the city.

Along with all other foreign missions, the US Embassy was transferred to Riyadh in 1984. The former embassy compound in Jeddah is now a consulate general in the heart of one of the Middle East’s most dynamic cities.

The theme of this year’s celebration was “Shared History, Strong Partnership and United Vision,” highlighting the enduring foundation of the strategic ties and friendship between the US and Saudi Arabia.

“From the very early days of modern Saudi Arabia, the US, its leaders, its companies and its people supported their Saudi friends on their remarkable journey toward success and prosperity,” the US Embassy in Riyadh said in a statement to Arab News.

“The US-Saudi relationship has naturally evolved over the years. It has grown to encompass trade, culture, education, security, and especially the close ties between the Saudi and American people. What has not changed during the past 80 years is the shared vision that has always guided the cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia in these and many other areas,” it added.

“As Saudi Arabia pursues the ambitious goals of Vision 2030, the US is supporting the Kingdom’s efforts in the same spirit of partnership that has been one of the key pillars of US–Saudi ties. Today, in every field, in every sector, Americans and Saudis are working together, learning together, conducting research together and, more recently, performing together in concerts, films and athletic competitions.”

This engagement translates into $54 billion annually in US-Saudi trade and investment.

American companies have been an integral part of the Vision 2030 economic transformation of Saudi Arabia, while the US and Saudi Arabia also enjoy robust cultural and educational ties.