Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief, US state secretary discuss bilateral ties
The two sides agreed on the importance of consolidating relations in various fields, in light of the challenges facing the world, foremost of which are the situations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia
WASHINGTON: During his official visit to the US, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Hissein Brahim Taha met US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at the headquarters of the State Department in Washington, DC.
During the meeting, the two sides discussed bilateral relations between the OIC and the US and ways to enhance them, as well as the outcome of the first round of the strategic dialogue between the OIC and the US held May 23-24 in Washington.
The two sides agreed on the importance of consolidating relations in various fields, in light of the challenges facing the world, foremost of which are the situations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
They also concurred on the importance of continuing consultations on various issues that top the agenda of the OIC and the US, foremost of which is the fight against terrorism, extremism and Islamophobia, and international efforts to combat COVID-19 and its health, economic and social implications.
Recently, the OIC has spoken of how highly it values the social, cultural and economic achievements of the African continent. The OIC indicated it will spare no effort directing its various development projects to serve Africa.
Saudi women participating in Makkah’s General Cars Syndicate for the first time
‘Our leadership has made it possible for women to work, especially in all government sectors’
Updated 20 min 11 sec ago
MAKKAH: Women will be part of the General Cars Syndicate in Makkah for the first time since it was set up nine decades ago.
The syndicate is an executive body that arranges and organizes pilgrim transportation through affiliated companies.
I am grateful that women now have more professional opportunities to participate and serve during Hajj.
Binan Basnan, Customer service specialist - General Syndicate of Cars
Khadijah Fida, a journalist and content creator at the syndicate, said: “A lot of women have been assisting with work for Hajj in the Kingdom for decades. I saw my father’s work in this sector, along with my brother and husband, and today I have also participated in it. Our leadership has made it possible for women to work, especially in all government sectors, and play an active role in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
“Today, I represent the General Cars Syndicate in the media, public relations, creating quality material, and monitoring the successes of the transport information center during Hajj. I am proud and honored to be a woman from Makkah who works in the syndicate that greatly and actively contributes to the success of Hajj and the safe transport of pilgrims.
The syndicate is always working on creating and establishing an institutional framework for this association that has made a dramatic difference in transport in Makkah.
Khadija Fida, Journalist and content creator - General Syndicate of Cars
“We experience Makkah’s Hajj and Umrah seasons, and the syndicate is always working on creating and establishing an institutional framework for this association that has made a dramatic difference in transport in Makkah to bring comfort to pilgrims who (earlier) struggled on dirt roads to reach Makkah.”
Mervat Habhab, a customer service specialist at the syndicate’s information center, said that women’s roles had become more noticeable and significant.
“It is my mission to interact and address the situation of every beneficiary, based on their needs, and transport them to the relevant departments for a quick response and intervention. It is an honorable and wonderful mission to contribute to the service of pilgrims when those services were limited to men. In this prosperous era and these blessed days, I have the opportunity to play an important and active part as a woman from Makkah who loves God and her homeland.”
Habhab added that government support motivated them to improve their work performance every year.
Binan Basnan, another customer service specialist at the syndicate, said: “I am proud and honored to work in a great institution such as the General Cars Syndicate that serves pilgrims on their Hajj journey through receiving their inquiries and complaints. I am grateful that women now have more professional opportunities to participate and serve during Hajj. I hope to be rewarded (by God) and thank our government, which gave us these great opportunities.”
New lake park in Historic Jeddah highlights cultural destination
Jeddah’s historical district was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014, presenting a vivid recreation of life in the past
Updated 12 sec ago
JEDDAH: The Jeddah historic district program has launched a new lake park — “Lake Al-Arbaeen” — launched in the historical district of Jeddah as an exclusive cultural destination.
The project is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals of cultivating environmental projects and improving the quality of life within the city’s historical area.
Several artistic sculptures from throughout the world are placed within the park. Visitors can stroll through historical architecture, natural scenes, cultural events, sports tracks, local restaurants and souqs that highlight the city’s heritage.
Jeddah’s historical district was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014, presenting a vivid recreation of life in the past.
Founded in the 7th century C.E., Al-Balad once served as a center of trade and commerce for Jeddah. But most of the ancient walls that surrounded the town, and the souq within it, became weathered and were eventually torn down as centuries passed.
As wealth from oil began to flow into the Saudi economy and the country began a march toward modernity, many people moved out of the cramped spaces of Al-Balad, leaving its more palatial homes and buildings to slow dilapidation.
There are more than 450 buildings within the historical walls of the city, 56 of which are in urgent need of repair.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pledged SR50 million ($13.33 million) to support the restoration of these buildings as they represent a major part of the Kingdom’s ancient heritage and are a significant tourist site.
Guests of God Service Program seeks to enhance pilgrims’ Hajj experience
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has integrated smart systems to promote the safe travel of pilgrims during their stay in the holy cities to ensure they perform their religious rituals easily and safely
Updated 12 min 11 sec ago
RIYADH: The Guests of God Service Program, which was inaugurated by King Salman in 2019, is one of Saudi Arabia’s key reform plans as part of its Vision 2030.
It seeks to host large numbers of pilgrims, facilitate their access to the Two Holy Mosques, ensure they have access to high-quality services through the most advanced technology, and enhance their cultural and spiritual experience.
It also seeks to ensure that pilgrims safely return to their countries of origin after completing all their rituals.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has integrated smart systems to promote the safe travel of pilgrims during their stay in the holy cities to ensure they perform their religious rituals easily and safely.
The first phase of smart systems went live in 2019 to assist pilgrims in their movement and safety.
Since then, the ministry has collaborated on digital transformation with technology firms and strategic partners to promote the application of smart solutions and facilitate the smooth implementation of all services.
It has also adopted an e-bracelet program for the safety of all pilgrims, which stores vital data and gives them support.
Ministry under-secretary Mohammed Al-Bijawi said: “We have performance indicators that show our complete readiness to provide an outstanding experience for pilgrims.”
The Kingdom has also launched an app called Smart Pilgrim for convenient ways of making Umrah ritual bookings, even by overseas pilgrims.
“We were keen to use technology in the Hajj and to use the smart card to contribute to the movement of pilgrims and the speed of access to their sites, and it will be applied in this year's Hajj,” said Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah.
The Saudi minister’s visit to the South American country came at the invitation of Ramdin to attend the CARICOM meeting
Updated 2 min 14 sec ago
PARAMARIBO: Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir met Suriname Foreign Minister Albert R. Ramdin in the capital Paramaribo on Sunday.
Al-Jubeir, who is also the Kingdom’s climate envoy, met Ramdin on the sidelines of the Caribbean Community leaders’ meeting. Known as CARICOM, the intergovernmental organization is made up of 15 member states throughout the Caribbean.
During the meeting, both parties discussed regional and international issues of common interest and ways to strengthen bilateral relations.
The Saudi minister’s visit to the South American country came at the invitation of Ramdin to attend the CARICOM meeting.
Upon his arrival, Al-Jubeir was received by Suriname Defense Minister Krishna Mathoera and Minister of Economic Affairs, Entrepreneurship and Technological Innovation Kildesangha Reshma.