Saudi FM stresses Kingdom’s public and private positions identical on Gaza

Saudi FM stresses Kingdom’s public and private positions identical on Gaza
Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan is currently leading the Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee’s visit in Washington to call for a Gaza ceasefire. (X: @KSAMOFA)
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Updated 09 December 2023
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Saudi FM stresses Kingdom’s public and private positions identical on Gaza

Saudi FM stresses Kingdom’s public and private positions identical on Gaza
  • Prince Faisal disagreed with the US veto on Gaza ceasefire
  • Prince Faisal met with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken for talks on Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, during an interview with PBS NewsHour, confirmed that the Kingdom’s stance on Gaza is the same in public and private.

Prince Faisal was refuting claims from PBS Presenter Nick Schifrin that “[Saudi Arabia’s] public calls do not match your private calls to destroy Hamas. Why the dual message?”

The Saudi foreign minister said, “There is no dual message. What we say in private and what we say in public is exactly the same, not just for the kingdom but for all the Arabs.”

He added, “I am very proud that what we are saying in public and private are the same. I can’t say the same for some of our Western interlocutors.”

Prince Faisal, who is currently leading the Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee’s visit in Washington to call for a Gaza ceasefire, disagreed with the US veto on the UN Security Council resolution on Saturday.

He also voiced disappointment at the Security Council’s inability to “take a firm position” on Gaza.

“We have now seen a level of carnage in Gaza that is unprecedented, that is unjustifiable under any pretext of self-defense,” noted Prince Faisal.

The Arab-Islamic Committee also objected to the US veto that blocked the UN Security Council resolution during a meeting with the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Prince Faisal said the committee would push for a ceasefire to prevent more civilian deaths.

“This continuing level of civilian casualties does not serve anybody's interests, including the interests of Israel or its security.”

The Saudi foreign minister warned against the risk of the war’s expansion from Gaza to the rest of the region, as well as the rising threat of extremism. “People are losing their trust in the argument for peace in our region, but they're also losing their trust in the international systems of security and legitimacy,” he said.

On Saturday, Prince Farhan met separately with Blinken in Washington to discuss the Israel-Hamas war.

The officials discussed “all possible efforts to reduce the pace of escalation and ensure that the violence does not expand to avoid its dangerous repercussions on international peace and security,” reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The meeting was attended by Princess Reema bint Bandar, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.


More than 1.4 million people visit Al-Rawdah Al-Sharifa during last six weeks

More than 1.4 million people visited Al-Rawdah Al-Sharifa at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah during the last six weeks. (SPA)
More than 1.4 million people visited Al-Rawdah Al-Sharifa at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah during the last six weeks. (SPA)
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More than 1.4 million people visit Al-Rawdah Al-Sharifa during last six weeks

More than 1.4 million people visited Al-Rawdah Al-Sharifa at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah during the last six weeks. (SPA)

RIYADH: More than 1.4 million people visited Al-Rawdah Al-Sharifa at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah during the last six weeks, Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

762,101 males and 641,539 females visited the sacred site between Dhul-Qadah 1 and Dhul-Hijjah 14, SPA said.

The Holy Rawdah lies between the Sacred Chamber (known as the Prophet’s house), and the Prophet’s Minbar (or pulpit).This southeastern section of the Prophet’s Mosque is where his house once stood, where he lived with his wife Aisha bint Abu Bakr and is buried. It is of extremely great religious value to Muslims.

The area of Al-Rawdah Al-Sharifa is 330 square meters and has a capacity to accommodate 800 visitors per hour, with each visitor spending an average of 10 minutes in the area.

Appointment bookings are verified through the Nusuk and Tawakkalna applications, and visitors scan their QR codes on arrival at the mosque. They are then directed to waiting areas before entering the holy area.


Saudi border guards foil smuggling attempts near Jazan

Saudi border guards foil smuggling attempts near Jazan
Updated 23 June 2024
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Saudi border guards foil smuggling attempts near Jazan

Saudi border guards foil smuggling attempts near Jazan

RIYADH: Border Guard land patrols have foiled an attempt to smuggle 135 kilograms of qat in Al-Dayer sector of Jazan Region. 
Also in Jazan region, border police thwarted an attempt to illegally transport 160 kilograms of qat in Al-Ardah. 
Legal procedures were followed, and the seized items were handed over to the concerned authority.
Meanwhile, two Pakistani residents attempting to sell 4.7 kilograms of methamphetamine in Jeddah. The individuals were referred to the Public Prosecution for legal action.


KSrelief continues humanitarian activities in Lebanon, Sudan

KSrelief continues humanitarian activities in Lebanon, Sudan
Updated 23 June 2024
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KSrelief continues humanitarian activities in Lebanon, Sudan

KSrelief continues humanitarian activities in Lebanon, Sudan

RIYADH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center’s (KSrelief) philanthropist works in Lebanon and Sudan continues with its latest provision of medical support and basic food requirements for needy individuals.

In the Miniyeh region of northern Lebanon, the Souboul Al-Salam Social Association ambulance service being funded by KSRelief completed 56 emergency missions, which involved the transport of patients to and from hospitals as well as the provision of first responder services to individuals involved in traffic incidents.

In Sudan, the Saudi aid agency distributed 620 food packages to displaced families staying at the Shelter Center in Blue Nile State, or about 6,131 individuals receiving the subsistence items under the third phase of the Food Security Support Project for the country.


Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world

Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world
Updated 22 June 2024
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Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world

Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world
  • Adventurer tackles Mount Toubkal in Morocco

DHAHRAN: Sondos Jaan embarked on the journey to the highest peak in the Arab world on June 20.

It is the latest episode in Jaan’s love for mountain adventures, but to understand the fascination it is important to take a look back at her childhood.

She told Arab News: “I am from Madinah. I was born in a city where I could see a mountain from my bedroom window, and as I walked the streets I would see mountains.”

A picture of Sondos Jaan aged about 5 on the top of a mountain with her father. (Supplied)

Those peaks were an important part of her early childhood. There are pictures of Jaan aged about 5 on the top of mountains. She said: “I call these pictures ‘Sondos between two mountains,’ the real mountain carved in nature, and my father.”

During family camping trips, she would sneak away the moment her family was not paying attention in order to climb a mountain.

HIGHLIGHTS

• For her latest adventure, Sondos Jaan is climbing Morocco’s Mount Toubkal, which is a height of 4,167 meters.

• The climb has two routes: The first takes three days of climbing, and the second takes two days but is more challenging.

She added: “I would hear my father calling me, telling me to stay put and to wait for him. My dear father would come to me and we would then climb together, step by step, him telling me where to place my feet until we reached the summit, and then we would descend together, just the two of us.”

Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

Her father was the first adventurer she knew. He was always prepared, she says, and “his car was always ready for a trip.”

She said: “He would tell me stories when he returned from hunting trips, whether on land or at sea. I would imagine the stories as if he were the hero in one of the animated films I watched. Sometimes he would take me with him, and I felt like I was part of the story.”

Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

Her love for adventure was instilled in her by her father from a very early age. And it seems mountain climbing is in her DNA.

Jaan said: “My father is my primary mountain-climbing coach, and I certainly inherited the spirit of adventure and love for travel, experiences, and camping from him.

Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

“He taught me swimming, horse riding, hunting, fishing, and the basics of camping.”

For her latest adventure, Jaan and a friend are climbing Morocco’s Mount Toubkal, which is a height of 4,167 meters. The climb has two routes: the first takes three days of climbing, and the second takes two days but is more challenging.

A file photo of Sondos Jaan when she was about five years old. (Supplied)

They started the climb early, continuing for about nine to 11 hours, followed by an overnight stay at an elevation of 3,200 meters above sea level.

She believes that elements of nature are instilled within each of us and it is our duty — and a privilege — to find and channel those elements.

She said that climbing to Everest Base Camp was the hardest trek she has yet attempted. It was a two-week journey and she added that she was not able to sleep, eat well or breathe properly due to oxygen deficiency in the two days leading up to arrival at the base camp. However, those were not the main factors behind it being her most difficult climb.

She said: “The (main) reason was simply managing expectations. I was emotional after walking all that time and reaching what was supposed to be the summit for that trip, only to realize it wasn’t even the summit.

“It was the main camp where climbers camp for two months every year before attempting to reach the Everest summit, allowing their bodies to acclimatize to the oxygen deficiency, training, and waiting for the right time to climb the summit.”

The experience taught her a valuable lesson, and she added: “I remember descending and as soon as we settled in one of the tea houses, I cried.

“They asked me why. I said I wanted pizza, crying real tears. The owners of the house tried hard to make pizza for me. I ate one slice and gave the rest to their dog. I reflected on my feelings and asked myself, ‘Why did I act that way?’ And the simple answer was, we didn’t reach the summit, we just saw it up close.”

She considers the thrill of the journey, and not only the destination, to be one worth embracing. She now believes that the feeling of almost giving up happens during every climb; she sees it as a healthy sign.

She added: “It is a reminder that I am human. It is also a reminder that I am capable of doing things that might seem impossible, not because I have superhuman strength, but because I am a human capable of overcoming challenges. This gives me the motivation to complete the climb.”

She believes her latest adventure also serves a greater purpose. Seeing Saudi women participate in various fields, especially sports, helps encourage her to keep striving for the highest heights.

She hopes that young girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about, and that her experiences will help to push them to their limits to break stereotypes and barriers along the way.

She is to continue her climb, whether it be a mountain to conquer, or toward the goals of her gender.

For those starting out, she advised: “(You must) start with small, achievable goals and gradually increase the difficulty level. Ensure you have the right gear and training: it’s important to be physically and mentally prepared.

“Join a community or group of climbers for support and motivation. Most importantly, believe in yourself and enjoy the journey.”

 


Migratory birds bring ecological balance to Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region

The Aman Environmental Society has launched awareness campaigns and created water basins to support and sustain migratory birds.
The Aman Environmental Society has launched awareness campaigns and created water basins to support and sustain migratory birds.
Updated 22 June 2024
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Migratory birds bring ecological balance to Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region

The Aman Environmental Society has launched awareness campaigns and created water basins to support and sustain migratory birds.
  • Nasser Al-Majlad: “They contribute to plant reproduction and diversity through pollination, while also helping to control pests by consuming insects, reducing the need for harmful pesticides in agriculture”

RIYADH: Every year, nearly 300 bird species use Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region as a migration path. The area’s diverse landscapes and balanced ecosystem create a natural sanctuary for these avian visitors.

Nasser Al-Majlad, president of the Aman Environmental Society in the Northern Borders region, highlighted the crucial ecological and cultural role played by migratory birds.

FASTFACT

The migratory birds have a positive impact on soil health and ecosystem balance by aiding in soil aeration and seed dispersal near bodies of water.

“They contribute to plant reproduction and diversity through pollination, while also helping to control pests by consuming insects, reducing the need for harmful pesticides in agriculture,” he said.

According to a report by the Saudi Press Agency, Al-Majlad also emphasized the positive impact birds have on soil health and ecosystem balance by aiding in soil aeration and seed dispersal near bodies of water.

NUMBER

300

Every year, nearly 300 bird species use Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region as a migration path, Saudi Press Agency reported.

He also stressed the necessity of protecting migratory birds from poaching and environmental problems. The National Center for Wildlife has enacted strict anti-poaching legislation, he noted.

The Aman Environmental Society has launched awareness campaigns and created water basins to support and sustain migratory birds.