Saudi crown prince hosts reception for VIP Hajj participants

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hosts a reception at Mina Palace on Thursday. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hosts a reception at Mina Palace on Thursday. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hosts a reception at Mina Palace on Thursday. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hosts a reception at Mina Palace on Thursday. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hosts a reception at Mina Palace on Thursday. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hosts a reception at Mina Palace on Thursday. (SPA)
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Updated 30 June 2023
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Saudi crown prince hosts reception for VIP Hajj participants

Saudi crown prince hosts reception for VIP Hajj participants
  • He told his guests: ‘Since its foundation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been blessed to serve the Two Holy Mosques and take care of them and has made this at the forefront of its interests’
  • Tawfig Al-Rabiah, minister of Hajj and Umrah, said the Makkah Route Initiative, which streamlines immigration for pilgrims, now covers 7 countries and benefited more than 400,000 people this year

JEDDAH: On behalf of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday hosted a reception for state officials, heads of government agencies and delegations, religious figures and other dignitaries who are performing Hajj.

At the start of the event, at Mina Palace, the crown prince shook hands with the king of Malaysia, the presidents of Senegal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the vice president of the Maldives, the prime ministers of Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Somalia and Niger, and speakers of the parliaments in a number of Islamic countries, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

He then delivered a speech, in which he said: “I am pleased, on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz to greet you, from the vicinity of the Grand Mosque, and to congratulate the pilgrims and the Islamic nation on the blessed Eid Al-Adha.

“Since its foundation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been blessed to serve the Two Holy Mosques and take care of them and has made this at the forefront of its interests. The Kingdom has made every effort and harnessed all capabilities to provide the pilgrims with comfort and tranquility.”

Tawfig Al-Rabiah, the minister of Hajj and Umrah, told guests that pilgrims were able to perform their rituals with ease and in safety thanks to the support and guidance of King Salman and the crown prince.

High-quality services are provided for pilgrims throughout their spiritual journey by more than 40 public-sector organizations, he added, based on an operational plan that begins to be developed at the end of the previous year’s Hajj season.

It is put into action by dedicated Saudi men and women out of a sense of religious and national duty toward the holy sites and those who visit them, in keeping with the commitment of the Saudi leadership and the people of the country to the transformation of the Kingdom based on the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030, said Al-Rabiah.

The directives of the crown prince include the implementation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah, which includes efforts to facilitate the safe and easy movement of pilgrims between holy sites, simplified visa procedures, and the digitization of services under a unified, multi-language platform, he added. Such projects have contributed to achieving a record number of Umrah pilgrims, which exceeds 10 million.

Al-Rabiah, who is also chairman of the program, said that new developments this year included efforts to ensure fair competition between businesses that provide services to pilgrims from abroad, and the expansion of the Makkah Route Initiative, which is designed to streamline the immigration process for pilgrims. It now covers seven countries — Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Morocco, Bangladesh, Turkiye and Cote d’Ivoire — and benefited more than 400,000 people this year, he added.

Work is also underway to renovate Islamic historical sites and enhance destinations, Al-Rabiah said, and in the coming years more than 100 restored historical sites and exhibitions related to the Prophet will be unveiled. Authorities will also continue to invest in recruiting and training staff to serve and assist pilgrims, he added.

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hafiz Al-Nahawi, president of the Islamic Cultural Association in Mauritania and West Africa and head of the African Scholars Forum, delivered a speech on behalf of the Muslim World League in which he said he appreciated the efforts made by authorities in Saudi Arabia to manage Hajj season, serve pilgrims, and enhance and modernize services.

He praised the Kingdom for its support for and empowerment of the league, and for its efforts to serve Islam and Muslims worldwide. He added that the Makkah Document, which was signed October 2006 with the aim of ending sectarian violence, was a transformative event that resulted in the nation’s religious scholars becoming a proud scientific and intellectual beacon, and in the development of a training and educational curriculum for religious institutions throughout the Islamic world.

Mohammed Khalayleh, Jordan’s minister of awqaf, Islamic affairs and holy sites, spoke on behalf of the heads of Hajj affairs offices. He expressed his thanks, pride and appreciation for the great efforts made by the Saudi government, under the directives of King Salman and the crown prince, to serve pilgrims and ensure they can perform their rituals with ease.

“Today, we are witnessing the great achievements made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to receive, serve and support pilgrims,” said Khalayleh, who is also head of Jordan’s Hajj missions.

He added that the Kingdom is considered the pillar of Islam, through its devotion to holy sites in Makkah and Madinah, where pilgrims from all over the world gather each year to honor God through worship and prayer.

After the speeches, the crown prince hosted a luncheon for the guests, alongside senior Saudi officials.


KSrelief chief discusses aid efforts in Gaza with Palestinian ministers

KSrelief chief discusses aid efforts in Gaza with Palestinian ministers
Updated 56 min 47 sec ago
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KSrelief chief discusses aid efforts in Gaza with Palestinian ministers

KSrelief chief discusses aid efforts in Gaza with Palestinian ministers

RIYADH: The general supervisor of Saudi aid agency KSrelief, Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, on Wednesday discussed the situation in Gaza with the Palestinian minister of health, Majed Abu Ramadan, and minister of social development, Samah Abdul Rahim Hussein Hamad.

Their meeting took place during “Call for Action: Urgent Humanitarian Response for Gaza,” an international emergency conference that began in Jordan on Tuesday.

They discussed “the delicate humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and ways to deliver aid to those displaced there,” the Saudi Press Agency reported. They also exchanged views on the main topics addressed by the conference.

The Palestinian ministers thanked the Kingdom, as represented by KSrelief, for the aid and assistance it has provided to the people of Gaza to help alleviate their suffering during the current humanitarian crisis. They expressed their sincere appreciation in particular for the support provided by Saudi authorities to healthcare efforts in the territory.


Saudi crown prince declines Italian invitation to attend G7 Summit session due to Hajj commitments

Saudi crown prince declines Italian invitation to attend G7 Summit session due to Hajj commitments
Updated 53 min 30 sec ago
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Saudi crown prince declines Italian invitation to attend G7 Summit session due to Hajj commitments

Saudi crown prince declines Italian invitation to attend G7 Summit session due to Hajj commitments

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has declined an invitation to attend a communication session of the G7 Summit in Italy on Friday.

He sent a message to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni thanking her for the invitation but said he is unable to participate because of his obligations to supervise the work of officials in the Kingdom during Hajj season, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The prince noted the strength of the relationship between their countries and wished Italian authorities success in hosting the summit.

Italy will host the annual summit of leaders of the G7 group of major democracies from June 13 to 15 at Borgo Egnazia, in the southern Puglia region. Hajj will begin on June 14.


Saudi leaders send condolences to Kuwait’s emir over victims of deadly fire

Saudi leaders send condolences to Kuwait’s emir over victims of deadly fire
Updated 12 June 2024
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Saudi leaders send condolences to Kuwait’s emir over victims of deadly fire

Saudi leaders send condolences to Kuwait’s emir over victims of deadly fire
  • 49 people were killed by a blaze south of Kuwait City that broke out around dawn on Wednesday in a 6-story building housing nearly 200 foreign workers

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday sent a message of condolence and sympathy to the emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, following a fire that killed and injured dozens of people in the country.

The king wrote: “We learned of the news of the outbreak of a fire in the Mangaf region, and the deaths and injuries that resulted from it, and we send to Your Highness, to the families of the deceased, and to the brotherly people of the State of Kuwait, our warmest and most sincere condolences.”

He also wished those injured a speedy recovery, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent similar messages of condolence to the emir and Crown Prince Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah.

Forty-nine people were killed when the fire ripped through a building housing nearly 200 foreign workers on Wednesday, the Kuwaiti government said. The blaze, which broke out in the six-story building south of Kuwait City at around dawn, left dozens injured, the health ministry added.

(With AFP)


Saudi Arabia extends condolences after fire in Kuwait kills 49

Rescuers arrive at the site of a building that caught fire in Kuwait, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
Rescuers arrive at the site of a building that caught fire in Kuwait, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
Updated 12 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia extends condolences after fire in Kuwait kills 49

Rescuers arrive at the site of a building that caught fire in Kuwait, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry extended the Kingdom’s condolences and sympathy to the families of those killed in a fire that ripped through a building in Kuwait on Wednesday.

The blaze, which broke out in a six-story building in the Mangaf area, south of Kuwait City, killed 49 and left dozens injured, the Kuwaiti health ministry said. 

The Saudi foreign ministry expressed the Kingdom’s solidarity with the government and people of Kuwait and its best wishes for the security and safety of Kuwaiti citizens and residents. 


Saudi authorities arrest 26 Hajj permit violators

Saudi authorities arrest 26 Hajj permit violators
Updated 12 June 2024
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Saudi authorities arrest 26 Hajj permit violators

Saudi authorities arrest 26 Hajj permit violators
  • Offenders were attempting to transport 102 people

RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia arrested 26 violators of Hajj regulations at the entrances to Makkah after they tried to enter without a valid permit, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Interior announced that the Hajj Security Forces had arrested nine residents and 19 citizens, who had attempted to transport 102 people on Tuesday.

The seasonal administrative committees of the General Directorate of Passports issued 26 administrative decisions against them, including a prison sentence for a period of 15 days for each carrier, and a fine of SR10,000 ($2,666).

The fine will be multiplied by the number of each violator transported, and the expatriate violators will be deported and prevented from entering the Kingdom, according to the legally specified periods after the execution of the sentence. Five vehicles used for transportation have also been confiscated.

The Ministry of Interior has called on all citizens and expatriates to abide by Hajj regulations and instructions so that pilgrims can enjoy safety, security and comfort while performing their rituals.