Arab leaders, US President Biden affirm common vision for region at Jeddah summit

Special Arab leaders, US President Biden affirm common vision for region at Jeddah summit
The leaders affirmed their common vision for a region where peace and prosperity prevail. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 20 July 2022

Arab leaders, US President Biden affirm common vision for region at Jeddah summit

Arab leaders, US President Biden affirm common vision for region at Jeddah summit
  • The participating leaders stressed the importance of preserving Middle East security and stability
  • They renewed support for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region

JEDDAH: The one-day Jeddah Security and Development Summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, brought leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council member countries, in addition to Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, together with US President Joe Biden.

In a joint statement at the end of the event, the leaders affirmed their common vision for a region where peace and prosperity prevail. They renewed their call for Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and with regional countries to keep the Gulf free of weapons of mass destruction.




Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman delivers a speech at the summit. (SPA)

On regional affairs, the leaders affirmed their common vision for a region where peace and prosperity prevail, noting that this requires taking all necessary measures to jointly confront the challenges the region faces, and requires adherence to the rules of good neighborliness, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In the final statement, the leaders renewed their call to Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and with regional countries to keep the Gulf free of weapons of mass destruction.




President of the UAE Mohammed bin Zayed listens during the meeting. (AFP/UAE ministry of presidential affairs)

They stressed the importance of respect for the rules of good neighborliness, mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs, and positive cooperation with countries in the region and the international community in a manner that preserves regional and international security and stability.

“The leaders reiterated their condemnation of terrorism, and reaffirmed their keenness to strengthen efforts to combat terrorism and extremism, prevent the armament and financing of terror groups and confront all activities that threaten the region’s security and stability,” the final statement said.




Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi listen during the session. (SPA)

In this context, the leaders welcomed Biden’s emphasis on a permanent US commitment to the security of its partners, as well as recognition of the region’s central role in connecting the Indo-Pacific with Europe, Africa and the Americas.

The discussions also aimed to address collectively environmental challenges and confront climate change, including the Saudi Green and the Middle East Green Initiatives, announced last October by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in addition to the development of renewable energy sources.




King of Bahrain Hamad Al-Khalifa listens during the summit. (SPA)

The leaders said they look forward to climate conferences, such as the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), which will be hosted later by Egypt and the UAE.

On energy, the leaders affirmed the importance of the stability of energy markets and praised Saudi Arabia’s leading role in achieving consensus within OPEC+ as well as the latter’s efforts to keep oil markets stable in a manner that serves consumer and producer interests.

The final statement said that “holding the summit confirmed the Kingdom’s global economic weight, in addition to its regional and international responsibility and its pivotal role in the security and stability of the region.




Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani listens during the summit. (SPA)

“The response of the GCC leaders to the invitation of King Salman affirms the common vision for a region of peace and stability, the importance of commitment to the security of the region, defense and security cooperation, and the protection of maritime shipping routes in accordance with the principles of international legitimacy.”




US President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the summit. (AFP)

The Jeddah meeting sought to confirm the historical partnership among the GCC countries, deepen joint cooperation in various fields, and build joint projects that contribute to achieving sustainable development in the region.

The summit affirmed the importance of close cooperation and common visions on a number of issues and situations in the region, including affirming the GCC stance supporting the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in accordance with the UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative,

“(Gulf) leaders stressed the need to reach a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of the two-state solution,” the final statement said, adding that they acknowledged the importance of supporting the Palestinian economy and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).




Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Oman Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Asa’ad bin Tariq bin Taimur Al-Said. (SPA)

On the matter of the Yemen conflict, the leaders condemned Houthi terrorist attacks against civilians, landmarks and energy facilities, and welcomed the formation of a Presidential Leadership Council in Yemen.

The final statement expressed support for a negotiated solution between the Yemeni government and the Houthis, welcomed the extension of the truce, and underscored the importance of commitment to continue supporting the humanitarian and relief needs of the Yemeni people.




King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan delivers a speech at the session. (SPA)

Among other things, the summit voiced support for Iraq’s security, stability and prosperity, as well as political solutions to all crises in the region, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and principles.

The leaders discussed Syria and said efforts must be intensified to reach a political solution to the crisis in a manner that maintains the country’s unity and sovereignty, and fulfils the Syrian people’s aspirations. The final statement underscored the importance of Lebanon’s stability and the independence of its political decision.

With regard to the situation in Libya, the leaders renewed their call for unifying military institutions under UN supervision, and voiced the necessity of holding parliamentary and presidential elections.

As far as Sudan is concerned, the leaders reaffirmed their support of efforts aimed at achieving stability and encouraged a consensus among the various parties.




Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi listens during the session. (SPA)

Addressing the issue of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the leaders called for a diplomatic solution that achieves the interests of all parties concerned — mainly Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan — and contributes to regional prosperity.

With regard to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Jeddah summit affirmed the participants’ commitment to the principles of international law and the UN Charter, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, non-use of force or the threat of force, in addition to the support for mediation efforts, a political solution to the crisis through negotiations, provision of humanitarian and relief assistance.




Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Kuwait Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. (AFP)

On Afghanistan, the leaders noted that efforts must continue to provide humanitarian aid to the country and deal with the threat of terrorists. The leaders also thanked Qatar for supporting the security and stability of the Afghan people.

The leaders welcomed the preparations by the state of Qatar for hosting the 2022 World Cup, and reiterated their support for all efforts to ensure its success.


Final Statement of Jeddah Security and Development Summit Issued 

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, July 16, 2022

1.     At the invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of Iraq, and the United States of America held  a joint summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 16, 2022, to underscore the historic partnership among their countries and to deepen their countries' joint cooperation in all fields. 

2.     The leaders welcomed President Biden reiterating the importance the United States places on its decades-long strategic partnerships in the Middle East, affirming the United States' enduring commitment to the security and territorial defense of U.S. partners, and recognizing the region's central role in connecting the Indo-Pacific to Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

3.     The leaders affirmed their joint vision towards a peaceful and prosperous region, stressing the importance of taking all necessary measures to preserve the region's security and stability, developing joint areas of cooperation and integration, collectively confronting common threats, and abiding by the principles of good neighborliness, mutual respect, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

4.     President Biden reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive Middle East peace. The leaders emphasized the need to bring about a just resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict on the basis of two-state solution, noting the importance of the Arab Initiative. They stressed the need to stop all unilateral measures that undermine the two-state solution, to preserve the historical status quo in Jerusalem and its holy sites, emphasizing the crucial role of the Hashemite Custodianship in that regard. The leaders also stressed the importance of supporting the Palestinian economy and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).  President Biden commended the important roles played by Jordan and Egypt, and the members of the GCC, and their support for the Palestinian people and institutions.

5.     The leaders renewed their commitment to enhance regional cooperation and integration, and build joint projects between their countries to achieve sustainable development and collectively address the climate challenge through accelerating climate ambition, supporting innovation and partnerships, including the Circular Carbon Economy Framework, and developing renewable sources of energy. In this context, the leaders commended the finalization of the agreements to connect electrical grids between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, between the Gulf Cooperation Council and Iraq, and between Saudi Arabia and Jordan and Egypt, as well as connecting the electrical grids between Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq.

6.     The leaders commended the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative announced by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The leaders expressed their hope for positive contributions by all countries towards a successful COP 27 hosted by the Arab Republic of Egypt, COP28 which will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates, and the International Horticultural Expo 2023 to be hosted by the State of Qatar titled “Green Desert, Better Environment 2023-2024."  

7.     The leaders affirmed the importance of achieving energy security and stabilizing energy markets, while working on increasing investments in technologies and projects that aim to lower emissions and remove carbon, consistent with their national commitments.  The leaders also noted the efforts by OPEC + that aim to stabilize oil markets in a manner that serves the interests of consumers and producers and supports economic growth, welcomed the decision by OPEC+ to increase production for the months of July and August, and commended Saudi Arabia for its leading role in achieving consensus among the members of OPEC+.  

8.     The leaders renewed their support to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and the objective of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region.  The leaders also renewed their call on the Islamic Republic of Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and with countries in the region to keep the Arab Gulf region free from weapons of mass destruction, and to preserve security and stability regionally and globally.  

9.     The leaders renewed their condemnation in the strongest terms of terrorism in all its forms and affirmed their commitment to strengthening regional and international efforts aimed at confronting terrorism and violent extremism, preventing the financing, arming, and recruitment of terrorist groups by all individuals and entities, and to confronting all activities that threaten regional security and stability.

10.    The leaders condemned, in the strongest terms, the terrorist acts impacting civilians, civilian infrastructure, and energy installations in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and commercial ships navigating critical international trade routes, in the Strait of Hormuz and Bab al Mandab, and affirmed the need to adhere to relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, including UNSCR 2624.

11.    The leaders expressed their full support for Iraq's sovereignty, security, and stability, its development and prosperity, and all of its efforts to combat terrorism. The leaders also welcomed Iraq's positive role in facilitating diplomacy and confidence-building among countries in the region.

12.    The leaders welcomed the truce in Yemen, as well as the establishment of the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) in Yemen, expressing their hope to achieve a political solution in line with the references of the GCC initiative, its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the Yemeni comprehensive national dialogue, and UN Security Council resolutions, including UNSCR 2216.  The leaders called on the Yemeni parties to seize this opportunity and engage immediately in direct negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations.  The leaders also affirmed the importance of continuing to support the humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people, as well as provide economic and developmental support, while ensuring it reaches all areas of Yemen.

13.       The leaders stressed the need to intensify efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis, in a manner that preserves Syria's unity and sovereignty, and meets the aspirations of its people, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. The leaders stressed the importance of providing the necessary support to Syrian refugees and to the countries hosting them, and for humanitarian aid to reach all regions of Syria.

14.       The leaders expressed their support for Lebanon's sovereignty, security, and stability, as well as all the reforms necessary to achieve its economic recovery. They noted recently-conducted parliamentary elections, enabled by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Internal Security Forces (ISF).  With a view to upcoming presidential elections, they called on all Lebanese parties to respect the constitution and carry out the process in a timely manner.  The leaders praised the efforts made by friends and partners of Lebanon that have renewed and strengthened the confidence and cooperation between Lebanon and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and that have supported the LAF and ISF in their efforts to maintain security in the country.  The leaders took particular note of Kuwait's initiatives aimed at building joint action between Lebanon and the GCC countries, and commended the State of Qatar's recent announcement of direct support for LAF salaries.  The United States confirmed its intention to develop a similar program for the LAF and ISF. The leaders also welcomed the support of the Republic of Iraq to the people and government of Lebanon in the fields of energy and humanitarian relief. The leaders welcomed all friends of Lebanon to join this effort to ensure the safety and stability of Lebanon.  The leaders emphasized the importance of the control of the government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory, including with reference to fulfilling the provisions of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the Taif Accord, and for it to exercise full sovereignty, so there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon or authority other than that of the government of Lebanon.  

15.       The leaders renewed their support for efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 2570 and 2571, the need to hold presidential and parliamentary elections, in tandem, as soon as possible, and the departure of all foreign forces and mercenaries without delay. They continue to support Libyan efforts to unify the country's military institutions under the auspices of the UN process. The leaders expressed their appreciation for the Arab Republic of Egypt's hosting of the Libyan constitutional dialogue in support of the UN-facilitated political process.

16.    The leaders affirmed their support for efforts to achieve stability in Sudan, resume a successful transitional phase, encourage consensus between the Sudanese parties, maintain the cohesion of the state and its institutions, and support Sudan in facing economic challenges.

17.    Regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD),  the leaders reiterated  their support for Egypt's water security and to forging a diplomatic resolution that would achieve the interests of all parties and contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous region.  The leaders reiterated the imperative of concluding an agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD within a reasonable timeframe as stipulated in the Statement of the President of the United Nations Security Council dated September 15, 2021, and consistent with international law.

18.    With regard to the war in Ukraine, the leaders reaffirmed the importance of respecting the principles of international law, including the UN Charter, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, and the obligation to refrain from the use of force and the threats of using force. The leaders urged all countries and the international community to intensify their efforts aimed at achieving a peaceful solution, ending the humanitarian crisis, and supporting refugees, displaced persons and those affected by the war in Ukraine, as well as facilitating the export of grain and other food supplies, and supporting food security in affected countries.

 19.    ​With regard to Afghanistan, the leaders stressed the importance of continuing and intensifying efforts to support humanitarian access to Afghanistan, to address the threat posed by Afghanistan-based terrorists, and striving for the ability of all Afghans to be able to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including their right to education and enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and, particularly for women, the right to work.   The leaders expressed appreciation for Qatar's role in promoting security and stability for the Afghan people.

20.    The leaders welcomed the preparations by the state of Qatar for hosting the 2022 World Cup, and reiterated their support for all efforts to ensure its success.

 21.    The participating countries affirmed their commitment to convening again in the future. ​​


 

Druze: the great survivors
How the world's most secretive faithhas endured for a thousand years

Enter


keywords

 

 


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.


All you need to know about Saudi Arabia’s new social media influencer permit

All you need to know about Saudi Arabia’s new social media influencer permit
Updated 11 August 2022

All you need to know about Saudi Arabia’s new social media influencer permit

All you need to know about Saudi Arabia’s new social media influencer permit
  • Kingdom’s media regulator says new law to take effect from October, with all social media influencers affected

LONDON: As more Saudis connect through their social media profiles and even begin to profit from these platforms, the Kingdom has launched a new licensing system to properly monitor the influencer industry.

From early October, every Saudi and non-Saudi content creator in the Kingdom who earns revenue through advertising on social media must first apply for an official permit from the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM).

For a fee of SR15,000 (roughly $4,000), content creators will receive a permit lasting three years, during which time they can work with as many private entities as they wish and promote any product or service, as long as it does not violate the Kingdom’s laws or values.
 

The incoming influencer license “is not a permit to censor or to block,” Esra Assery, CEO at GCAM, told Arab News. “It’s more of a permit to enable the maturity of the sector. We want to help those individuals grow, but grow in a professional way so they can make a career out of (social media revenue).”

The new regulations are being touted as legal protections, both for influencers and businesses wishing to advertise with them, so that rates and contractual obligations are standardized across the industry.

“The market is so unregulated,” said Assery. “We’re not against influencers or those individuals. Actually, we want to enable them. If you check out the new bylaw, it protects them also, because the bylaw regulates their relationship with the advertisers.”
 

Esra Assery, CEO at Saudi Arabia's General Commission for Audiovisual Media. (Supplied)

Currently, anyone in Saudi Arabia is able to advertise on social media and earn money from deals with private entities — with payments per post climbing into the thousands of riyals, depending on the number of followers an influencer can reach.

Concern has been expressed that introducing permits and regulations will undermine how much money influencers can make and might even constitute censorship. However, GCAM insists the permits are designed to ensure transparency between influencers and their clients.

Saudi influencers, whether based in the Kingdom or abroad, must apply for the permit if they wish to work with a brand — local or international. However, non-Saudi residents in the country must follow a different track.

After applying to the Ministry of Investment for a permit to work in the country, they can then apply for an influencer permit through GCAM. However, non-Saudi residents must be represented by specific advertising agencies.

“While some influencers may focus on the short-term loss of paying the license fee, there is a huge benefit to licensing coming in as it legitimizes the sector on a national level,” Jamal Al-Mawed, founder and managing director of Gambit Communications, told Arab News.

“This is crucial in the influencer industry as it has been a bit of a wild west for marketing in the past, with no clear benchmarking for rates or contracts.”

Al-Mawed said that the new measures can protect brands that are susceptible to fraud “when they pay huge budgets to influencers who are buying fake followers and fake engagements. This creates a vicious circle, as hard-working content creators are undermined by the bad apples.”

Although the new license is unlikely to solve every issue overnight, “it does create a foundation for more professionalism and accountability,” Al-Mawed added.

Under new rules, non-Saudi residents and visitors to the Kingdom are prohibited from posting ads on social media without a license. (Shutterstock image)

In June, non-Saudi residents and visitors to the Kingdom were prohibited from posting ads on social media without a license. Those who ignore the ruling face a possible five-year prison sentence and fines of up to SR5 million.

GCAM announced the ban after finding “violations by numerous non-Saudi advertisers, both residents and visitors, on social media platforms.”

“After checking their data, it was found that they had committed systemic violations, including lack of commercial registrations and legal licenses, and they are not working under any commercial entity or foreign investment license,” the commission said at the time.

Now, with a regulated license, such violations will be easier to monitor and the sector will be better regulated to ensure full transparency.
 

Businesses such as bakeries or hair salons that hold social media accounts and advertise their own products or services are not covered by the prohibition. (Shutterstock image)

Although Saudi influencers will be able to hold full-time jobs while earning on the side through promotional campaigns on their social media profiles, the law states that non-Saudis can work only in one specific role while residing in the Kingdom.

However, the system does not apply to businesses and entities — such as bakeries or hair salons — that hold social media accounts and advertise their own products or services on these platforms. Only individuals are affected by the new law.

There are certain exceptions, however, such as individuals who have been invited to the country by a ministry or government entity in order to perform, including musicians and entertainers.

With the rise of social media over the past decade, content creators and so-called influencers with thousands of followers on Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and other platforms have drawn audiences away from traditional outlets, such as television, newspapers and magazines, to new and largely unregulated media.
 

Sensing the shift in content consumption, advertisers have followed the herd. Crystal-blue waters caressing white, sandy beaches at luxury resorts and scrumptious feasts at the finest restaurants are now commonplace on influencer profiles as businesses rush to take advantage of more “natural-feeling” product placement.

However, regulators have struggled to keep up with this rapid transformation, leaving the process open to legal disputes, exploitation and abuse. That is why authorities elsewhere in the world have also been exploring influencer permits.

Dubai, widely seen as the influencer hub of the Middle East, is among them.

In 2018, the UAE’s National Media Council launched a new electronic media regulation system, which required social media influencers to obtain a license to operate in the country.

The cost of the annual license is 15,000 AED (roughly $4,000). Those who fail to obtain or renew the license can face penalties including a fine of up to 5,000 AED, a verbal or official warning, and even closure of their social media accounts.

The rules apply to influencers visiting the UAE as well. They must either have a license or be signed up with an NMC-registered influencer agency to operate in the country.

With Saudi Arabia progressing in the entertainment and creative industries, the introduction of the license is viewed as a step in the right direction.

“It’s great news for the industry,” said Al-Mawed. “When someone is licensed by the government to offer their services, that gives them a level of safety and trust and can help filter out the scammers who prefer to fly under the radar.”

 

Druze: the great survivors
How the world's most secretive faithhas endured for a thousand years
Enter
keywords

 


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.