Umrah medical services are distinguished, says British Consul General

Umrah medical services are distinguished, says British Consul General
British Consul General Seif Usher visited the Dr. Awad Albishri Medical Center, one of the medical establishments supporting the Hajj and Umrah sector, on Sunday. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 April 2022

Umrah medical services are distinguished, says British Consul General

Umrah medical services are distinguished, says British Consul General
  • 130,000 British pilgrims perform the religious rituals every year, benefiting from the integrated medical assistance 
  • Seif Usher: It is clear from my visit, to the Dr. Awad Albishri Medical Center, today that this is a hugely important project for the development of health care services in Makkah

MAKKAH: The British Consul General Seif Usher has described the health services provided to Umrah pilgrims as distinguished and that the private sector in Makkah has become an essential partner in providing medical services. 

He stressed that hospitals are equipped, staffed and built professionally in Makkah in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plans.

His statement came during his visit to the Dr. Awad Albishri Medical Center, one of the medical establishments supporting the Hajj and Umrah sector, on Sunday.

He said that 130,000 British pilgrims perform their religious rituals every year and enjoy integrated and distinguished medical services.

“Many congratulations to Dr. Al-Bishri and his team here at the hospital. It is clear from my visit today that this is a hugely important project for the development of health care services in Makkah in the private sector,” Usher said.

He added: “I don’t recall visiting such a wonderfully impressive hospital in my travels, whether it’s in the Kingdom or in many countries around the world. It’s hugely impressive, and I can see how the people of Makkah will be excited to access such first-class services for healthcare and in terms of pilgrims coming into the Kingdom who will benefit from visiting this hospital."

Regarding cooperation between Britain and Saudi Arabia, he said that the healthcare system is critical: “The UK has a wonderfully famous healthcare system called the National Health Service, but from that there is a great depth of expertise and knowledge that the private sector looks to share with overseas development partnerships,” he explained. 

Usher noted that he has seen this in Jeddah most recently with the opening of the Kings College hospital, scheduled to begin operations next year.  

“We’re seeing increasing cooperation between the UK and Saudi Arabia, and I think this would be a wonderful example of the potential of where we can look to deepen that type of partnership here in the Kingdom.”

He noted that the healthcare sector in Saudi Arabia has enormous potential for growth and success. 

“We’re already seeing enormous interest from the UK across these sectors. Our job in the UK government is to encourage them to support those types of partnerships. I’m sure we’ll see more success in the years ahead.”

Dr. Al-Bishri, the owner of the center, said: “We extend our thanks and appreciation for the visit of the British Consul General, who toured the hospital, and expressed great admiration for the various services provided by the private sector in the hospital, which is positively reflected on the city of Makkah, Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque.”

He added that they are targeting to hire over 100 Saudi consultants to work in the facility in different specialties to provide a wide range of medical services to support pilgrims.


Enthusiasts flock to Saudi tea expo

Enthusiasts flock to Saudi tea expo
Approximately 40 local and foreign enterprises specializing in the production and import of tea from all over the world particip
Updated 7 sec ago

Enthusiasts flock to Saudi tea expo

Enthusiasts flock to Saudi tea expo
  • There was strong competition between various Sri Lankan and Kenyan tea at the event
  • Tea, along with coffee and dates, is one of the drinks traditionally offered as a show of hospitality in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Tea aficionados got the chance to taste all manner of varieties of their favorite beverage at the Tea Colors International Exhibition, which wrapped up Tuesday at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.

There was strong competition between various Sri Lankan and Kenyan teas at the event, attended by producers from the region and beyond, including Kuwait, Qatar, and local entrepreneurs.

Tea, along with coffee and dates, is one of the drinks traditionally offered as a show of hospitality in Saudi Arabia.

The four-day exhibition featured approximately 40 local and foreign enterprises specializing in producing and importing tea from all over the world. The exhibition also displayed nuts, citrus fruits, and a variety of other goodies that go with tea, the favorite drink of millions of people worldwide.

Visitors were eager to try teas without sugar in particular, because it “makes you appreciate the actual taste” of tea, according to Fawaz Al-Daoud from Al-Kharj, tea drinker since childhood and a devotee of Kenyan tea.

Al-Daoud’s colleague, Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin, accompanied him, though he admitted he was more interested in coffee than tea, and was pleased that there were plenty of stalls that displayed coffee as well to cater to his needs.

Omar, a 13-year-old Riyadh native, enjoys drinking tea and favors it piping hot. He walked his family enthusiastically between the pavilions, featuring brands including Al-Ghada, Rabea, Abu Jabal, and Al-Munayes from Kuwaiti, Mumtaz from Oman, and many more.

The Tea Colors International Exhibition is Saudi Arabia’s first exhibition dedicated to tea and related supplies, such as baked products and nuts. According to the exhibition’s communications officer, Yazeed Al-Sarhani, approximately 13,000 people attended the event in the first three days.

The exhibition also featured live paintings and displays that shed light on the world of tea, emphasizing the significance of International Tea Day and its objectives, which is observed on May 21 of each year.

According to Al-Sarhani, the exhibition intends to showcase the cultural side of tea, one of the world’s greatest consumer markets.

“Through this show, which brings together producers, suppliers, and customers under one roof,” he said, “we hope to be the first destination for this product to develop and improve it, achieve the consumers’ taste, and match their desires.”


Saudi ambassador discusses tourism and trade with British minister

Saudi ambassador discusses tourism and trade with British minister
Updated 17 min 43 sec ago

Saudi ambassador discusses tourism and trade with British minister

Saudi ambassador discusses tourism and trade with British minister
  • Milling said she was delighted to meet Prince Khalid bin Bandar
  • Officials held important discussions on enhancing strategic partnership between the UK and Saudi Arabia

LONDON: Britain’s Minister of State for Asia and the Middle East met with the Saudi ambassador to the UK at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on Monday.

Amanda Milling and Prince Khalid bin Bandar reviewed bilateral relations between the UK and Saudi Arabia and ways to support them, Saudi Press Agency reported.

They also discussed regional and international issues of common interest.

Milling said she was delighted to meet the Kingdom’s ambassador and that the two officials held important discussions on enhancing the strategic partnership between the UK and Saudi Arabia to increase tourism, tackle shared threats, and develop trade and investment.   


WEF 2022: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister calls for global dialogue, cooperation

WEF 2022: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister calls for global dialogue, cooperation
Updated 24 May 2022

WEF 2022: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister calls for global dialogue, cooperation

WEF 2022: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister calls for global dialogue, cooperation
  • Kingdom ‘working hard’ to open pathways to discussion among major powers, Davos forum told

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has called for global dialogue and cooperation amid an escalation in geostrategic competition between major powers US, China and Russia.

“If we learned anything on COVID-19, it is that we need to focus on cooperation, we need to continue to look toward avenues to foster cooperation,” the top Saudi diplomat told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which tackled the global geopolitical outlook in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The three major powers are forging geostrategic shifts — Russia with its recent military incursion, China through its massive Belt and Road Initiative, and the US with new economic and military ties.

US President Joe Biden this week met with other leaders of the Quad security group —  Japan, Australia and India —  who stressed their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of increasing assertiveness from Beijing.

“Even when there is difference, there is competition, we need to find mechanisms to talk to each other. And the Kingdom having a relationship with all the major players and playing a role in a very important part of the world, we hope that we can facilitate some of the dialogue, especially when you talk on the context of the China-US,” Prince Faisal said.

China has become a major trading partner for Saudi Arabia, with shipments to the Asian nation reaching $33.4 billion in 2020 — mostly crude and oil derivatives — and exports growing by an average 19 percent annually during the past 25 years.

The US, meanwhile, has a longstanding security relationship with the Kingdom, its largest foreign military sales customer with more than $100 billion in active sales.

However, without cooperation, especially on issues such as food security, “we will be facing significant difficulties, especially in the developing world,” Prince Faisal said.

“The Kingdom is a member of the G20, but it is also a developing country, and we feel very strongly to help set the global agenda in a way that supports the rest of the developing world,” he added.

While the global stage is seeing growing geostrategic challenges, Prince Faisal is hopeful that increased diplomatic activity in the Middle East can open more pathways to dialogue and cooperation.

“I certainly hope so, and we are working very hard to make that happen,” he said.

“The Kingdom has Vision 2030, which is a very broad-ranging vision. We can only do that if we have a safe and secure region, a region that is stable. And that can only happen with the cooperation of all our neighbors, so we would continue that path of dialogue and cooperation,” Prince Faisal told the WEF panel.

During the same discussion, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that “Russian aggression was unthinkable two years ago,” adding: “I did not expect aggression would happen on that scale.”

The Polish leader said: “I cannot accept as a neighbor that Russia violates international laws. There was no other reason for Russia to invade Ukraine. That invasion was purely from the imperial ambitions of Russia.”

Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto said that he was pleased “major NATO countries have delivered us security assurances, despite not yet being members.”

Finland viewed NATO “as a group of democratic countries (with) common values and very strong trans-Atlantic cooperation,” he said.

Sweden and Finland, both neutral during the Cold War, last week formally applied to join the NATO alliance, spurred by Moscow’s war against Kyiv.

The latter shares a 1,300-kilometer border with Russia, raising concerns over what Haavisto described as Moscow’s willingness “to take higher risks.”

“We see a totally different risk-taking ability, with Russia acting in a very unpredictable way,” he said.


Japanese delegation completes training program in Saudi Arabia

Japanese delegation completes training program in Saudi Arabia
Updated 24 May 2022

Japanese delegation completes training program in Saudi Arabia

Japanese delegation completes training program in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A number of young Japanese diplomats completed a training program organized by Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies and Jouf University.

The program was part of an initiative aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Japan and included field visits, educational lectures, and tours in Riyadh and Jouf.

The Japanese diplomats visited a large number of public and private agencies including the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Shoura Council, King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy and Planning, the Ministry of Culture, the headquarters of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Riyadh, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Princess Noura bint Abdul Rahman University and the headquarters of Arab News.

They also attended lectures on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its most important achievements since its launching.

The diplomats learned about Saudi Arabia’s energy sector and its future prospects, as well as the Kingdom’s efforts in combatting terrorism, and combatting financing extremism.

Jouf University organized lectures on pre-Islamic Arabic literature, and organized a distinguished touristic program to present the civilizational heritage of the region.

At the end of the training program, the Japanese delegation praised the economic, social and cultural achievements of Vision 2030, which has opened new horizons for economic diversification and income diversity, and rendered the Saudi economy a role model to achieve the objectives of sustainable development.

They also praised the beauty of the Jouf region and the touristic, archeological and historical landmarks that it includes.

The program organized by Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies to train Japanese diplomats was launched in 2015 based on a joint statement by Japan and Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Japan in 2014.

This story was originally published on Arab News Japan


Saudi deputy defense minister, US central command chief discuss defense coordination

Saudi deputy defense minister, US central command chief discuss defense coordination
Updated 24 May 2022

Saudi deputy defense minister, US central command chief discuss defense coordination

Saudi deputy defense minister, US central command chief discuss defense coordination
  • Prince Khalid visited the Central Command’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida, as part of the official visit to the US of his delegation, which began last Tuesday

RIYADH: Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister, on Monday met the commander of the US Central Command, General Michael Kurilla, to discuss developments in the Middle East.

“We discussed our joint defense coordination, addressing regional challenges, and stressed the need to work together on preserving regional and global stability,” Prince Khalid said on Twitter.

Prince Khalid visited the Central Command’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida, as part of the official visit to the US of his delegation, which began last Tuesday.

The CentCom’s area of responsibility covers the Middle East, including Egypt in Africa, and Central Asia and parts of South Asia.

On Sunday, Prince Khalid met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington during which they affirmed their countries’ common vision to confront Iran’s destabilizing policies in the region.

They also discussed the latest developments in Yemen, with Prince Khalid reaffirming Saudi Arabia’s aspirations for the Yemenis “to reach a comprehensive political solution that would move Yemen to peace and development.”

He said the UN and world organizations need “to put pressure on Houthi militias to open Taiz roads, deposit the revenues of Hodeidah port and engage seriously in peace efforts to move Yemen to security, stability, construction and prosperity.”