King Salman tells UN Saudi Arabia supports global effort to block Iranian nuclear ambitions

Update King Salman tells UN Saudi Arabia supports global effort to block Iranian nuclear ambitions
King Salman remotely addresses the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in a pre-recorded message. (AP)
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Updated 23 September 2021

King Salman tells UN Saudi Arabia supports global effort to block Iranian nuclear ambitions

King Salman tells UN Saudi Arabia supports global effort to block Iranian nuclear ambitions
  • But the ruler said that he hopes initial talks between the Kingdom and Tehran will lead to confidence-building measures
  • In his speech to the UN General Assembly, he also highlighted his country’s efforts to tackle the pandemic, extremism and climate change

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia remains opposed to Iran developing nuclear weapons, King Salman told world leaders on Wednesday. But he said he hopes initial talks between the Kingdom and Iranian authorities can lead to confidence-building measures.

“The Kingdom stresses the importance of making the Middle East a region free of all weapons of mass destruction,” the king said in a prerecorded speech on the second day of the high-level Annual General Debate at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. “We therefore support international efforts aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“Iran is a neighboring state. We hope that our initial talks with Iran will lead to concrete confidence-building measures, measures that will achieve the aspirations of our two peoples for collaborative relations.”

However, he added that the Kingdom is very concerned by “Iranian steps that go counter to its commitments as well as to daily declarations from Iran that its nuclear program is peaceful.”

King Salman said Saudi Arabia continues to confront extremist ideas based on hatred and exclusion, and the activities of terrorist groups and sectarian militias that destroy lives and nations.

The Kingdom stresses the need to robustly “confront all those who support, sponsor, finance or shelter terrorist groups and sectarian militias or use them to spread chaos, destruction and hegemony,” he added.

The king condemned the Houthi militias in Yemen for their military activity in the country and their frequent attacks on Saudi Arabia, and made it clear he will not tolerate any such threats to the Kingdom or its people.

“The peace initiative in Yemen tabled by the Kingdom last March ought to end the bloodshed and conflict,” he said. “It ought to put an end to the suffering of the Yemeni people but, unfortunately, the terrorist Houthi militia reject peaceful solutions. They have placed their bets on a military option to take over more territory in Yemen.

“The Kingdom maintains its legitimate right to defend itself in confronting the missile attacks, ballistic-missile attacks, and use of booby-trapped boats against our Kingdom.”

In common with the speeches by many world leaders during the debate, King Salman also reaffirmed his commitment to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The challenges confronting the international community today require strengthening multilateral international cooperation,” he said. “The COVID pandemic has shown that the road to sustainable recovery goes through collaboration between all of us in a collective framework.

“The Kingdom has had a vital role in leading the world’s response to the pandemic through its presidency of the G20 last year, and the Kingdom has supported international efforts to confront the pandemic with the sum of $500 million, in addition to $300 million used to assist states in confronting the pandemic.”

He added: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to be committed to its developmental and humanitarian role in assisting the most needy states to confront natural catastrophes and humanitarian crises.”

King Salman also stressed that the global recovery from the pandemic must be carried out in a sustainable and climate-friendly manner.

“The Kingdom realizes the importance of concerted, joint efforts to confront climate change and its repercussions,” he said.

He highlighted a number of Saudi-led projects, including the Green Saudi and Green Middle East initiatives, through which the Kingdom is already putting its money where its mouth is in terms of fighting climate change.

The king, who has ruled Saudi Arabia since 2015, also reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which are in line with the Kingdom’s own Saudi Vision 2030 development plan.

“We want our economy to be a pioneering one,” he said. “We want our society to interact with all of the world.”


KSrelief’s supervisor general meets Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, pledges $10m aid

KSrelief’s supervisor general meets Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, pledges $10m aid
Updated 7 sec ago

KSrelief’s supervisor general meets Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, pledges $10m aid

KSrelief’s supervisor general meets Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, pledges $10m aid

Abdullah Al Rabeeah, advisor to the Royal Court and supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), met with Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw on Wednesday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. 

During the visit Al Rabeeah said the charity would be providing $10 million in emergency health and shelter funds. 

This came during his visit to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Cash Enrolment Centre in Warsaw. 

The KSrelief Supervisor General was briefed on the Cash Enrolment Centre work mechanism and the services provided to meet the urgent material needs of Ukrainian refugees. 

He also praised the efforts of UNHCR in supporting and alleviating the suffering of refugees and internally displaced people.


Bahrain tourism minister discusses opportunities in Saudi Arabia with officials

Bahrain tourism minister discusses opportunities in Saudi Arabia with officials
Updated 11 August 2022

Bahrain tourism minister discusses opportunities in Saudi Arabia with officials

Bahrain tourism minister discusses opportunities in Saudi Arabia with officials
  • Both officials agreed to explore investment opportunities in the tourism sector in both countries

RIYADH: Bahrain’s tourism minister discussed expanding cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the tourism sector during an official visit to the Kingdom, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

Fatima Jaafar Al-Sairafi met with Qusai bin Abdulla Al-Fakhri, CEO of Saudi Tourism Development Fund, in Riyadh where both reviewed ways to create diverse business opportunities in the tourism sector and promote sustainability in line with international developments.

“They agreed to explore the future prospects of tourism projects undertaken by the private sector in both countries, in addition to tapping into investment opportunities in this vital sector,” the BNA statement read.

The officials praised the deep-rooted historic relations between both kingdoms, highlighting efforts to strengthen the steadily growing ties.
Al-Sairafi highlighted Bahrain’s 2022-2025 tourism strategy, which aims to increase cooperation with other countries to boost investment in tourism infrastructure.


Saudi charity KSrelief launches medical program combatting blindness in Bangladesh

Saudi charity KSrelief launches medical program combatting blindness in Bangladesh
Updated 11 August 2022

Saudi charity KSrelief launches medical program combatting blindness in Bangladesh

Saudi charity KSrelief launches medical program combatting blindness in Bangladesh
  • Thousands of people were examined in the new scheme

RIYADH: A new scheme combatting blindness and its causes in Bangladesh was launched on Monday by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief).

The KSrelief voluntary medical team examined 6,600 cases, and performed 150 successful cataract procedures.
This latest scheme serves as an extension of projects combating blindness by the Saudi charity, for families with low incomes in a number of countries.


4,291 Saudi health security trainees graduate   

4,291 Saudi health security trainees graduate   
Updated 11 August 2022

4,291 Saudi health security trainees graduate   

4,291 Saudi health security trainees graduate   

RIYADH: A fourth group of health security trainees graduated from the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties in a virtual ceremony on Wednesday. 

A total of 4,291 male and female graduates will join the job market. 

Dr. Aws Al-Shamsan, secretary-general of the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, said that health security plays an important role in improving healthcare services.

The program includes practical and theoretical training for three months, in addition to two weeks of field training in one of the health sectors, allowing trainees to benefit from hands-on experience.

Health security graduates receive a diploma allowing them to work in the Kingdom’s health sector.


Umbrellas raise Makkah pilgrims’ spirits

Umbrellas raise Makkah pilgrims’ spirits
Updated 11 August 2022

Umbrellas raise Makkah pilgrims’ spirits

Umbrellas raise Makkah pilgrims’ spirits

JEDDAH: Pilgrims sheltering from heavy rain in Makkah on Tuesday received a helping hand when the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques handed out umbrellas to visitors at the Grand Mosque.

Khaled bin Fahd Al-Shalwi, assistant for the general president for social, voluntary and humanitarian services agency, said that the “Umbrella of Mu’tamer” initiative is part of a range of services designed to help visitors perform their rituals. 

Programs and services come under the direction of the President for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, who strives to provide a safe environment to allow visitors to the Grand Mosque to complete their rituals with ease, he added. 

According to the presidency’s website, the presidency has also employed more than 200 supervisors, 4,000 female and male workers, and utilized more than 500 items of equipment to deal with the rain at the Grand Mosque through its environmental protection agency. 

Ahmed bin Omar Bilaamash, assistant to the general president for services and achievement of the environmental protection agency, said that prayer areas, entrances and exits, and the mataf — the circumambulation space around the Kaaba — are equipped to handle the rainfall.