Makkah revamps path to Hira Cave for safety, accessibility 

Makkah revamps path to Hira Cave for safety, accessibility 
Representatives from the Hira Cultural District in Makkah announced the initial phase of the transformative project recently. (Arab News)
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Updated 19 December 2023
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Makkah revamps path to Hira Cave for safety, accessibility 

Makkah revamps path to Hira Cave for safety, accessibility 
  • Transformative Hira project includes paving, lighting, easier routes for pilgrims, vehicles

MAKKAH: The first phase of the Hira Cave pathway revamp has been unveiled in Makkah, which includes improved access for pedestrians and vehicles.

Representatives from the Hira Cultural District in Makkah announced the initial phase of the transformative project recently.

The Cave of Hira is a religious site where the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed, and is of considerable importance for Muslims.

The project aligns with the broader vision of Saudi Vision 2030, focusing on providing a profound and educational experience for Umrah and Haj pilgrims, and visitors.

The paved ascent to the cave, starting in the foothills of Mount Hira, offers a departure from the traditional arduous path because it ensures a gradual and visually engaging experience.

Fawaz Al-Mehrij, CEO of Samaya Investment Co., the developer and operator of the Hira Cultural District, said that further development would follow.

Al-Mehrij said the new, enhanced features include illuminated pathways, surveillance cameras and a guidance center, all without disrupting access to the old path.

For safety, barriers have been positioned along the shoulder of the road. The new path consists of a section for vehicles transporting visitors to a designated point. Another section allows walking access to the Cave of Hira in 15 minutes. There is another longer, paved path for walkers, which takes 40 minutes.

Al-Mehrij underlined the safety shortcomings of the old path with its wearisome stairs. The ongoing project enhances accessibility and includes service kiosks catering to diverse visitor needs during their ascent, he added.

Though the road is not yet complete, its progress aligns with the planned schedule. Subsequent stages in the coming months are expected to bring the entire project to fruition, he said.

Al-Mehrij said trial runs have indicated the new path would provide safety and comfort for visitors. And that there were also emergency vehicles stationed along the way to help people who require healthcare.

The Hira Cultural District features museums and exhibitions in multiple languages. It is supervised by the Royal Commission for the Holy City of Makkah and the Holy Sites.


Saudi, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels

Saudi, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels

Saudi, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Monday met his Irish counterpart Micheal Martin in the Belgian capital, Brussels, to discuss developments in the situation in the Gaza Strip and the efforts made to solve the conflict.

During the meeting, they also discussed bilateral relations between their two countries and ways to strengthen and develop them in various fields, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of a meeting of the ministerial committee, headed by Prince Faisal, which was assigned by the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit with the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.

It also comes a day before Ireland, along with Spain and Norway, plan to make official their recognition of a Palestinian state.


Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands

Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands

Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands
  • Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef’s visit seeks to strengthen ties in industrial, mining sectors

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef traveled to the Netherlands on Monday for an official visit with the objective of strengthening cooperation in the industrial and mining sectors, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The visit aims to explore and expand joint investment opportunities between the two countries.
Alkhorayef is scheduled to meet with several Dutch ministers and senior government officials, along with key leaders from the private sector, to discuss collaboration in the industrial and mining sectors.
The minister’s itinerary will also include several visits to Dutch factories and companies operating within these sectors with the hopes of fostering collaborative ventures between private sector entities in both countries.
The visit underscores Saudi Arabia’s commitment to diversifying its economy and strengthening international ties, SPA added.
In 2023, the Kingdom’s non-oil exports to the Netherlands were valued at about SR2.6 billion ($706 million), while its non-oil imports from the Netherlands amounted to almost SR8.5 billion.


Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause

Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause
Updated 27 May 2024
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Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause

Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause

RIYADH: The Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union has praised the “tremendous efforts of Saudi Arabia, led by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in supporting the Palestinian cause,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The AIPU released a final statement following the 36th Arab Parliamentary Union Conference, which ended on Monday in Algiers.

A Saudi delegation, headed by the chairman of the Shoura Council, Sheikh Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh, took part in the conference alongside heads of parliaments and councils, and several regional and international organizations and institutions.

During its sessions, the conference discussed developments in the Palestinian issue and the current situation in the Arab region.

The statement also praised the Kingdom’s hosting of a number of Arab, Islamic and African summits to support the Palestinian cause and put an end to the aggression against the Palestinian people.

On Yemen, the statement stressed the importance of the initiatives undertaken by the Kingdom, which call for constructive dialogue to achieve sustainable peace and a comprehensive political solution.

The conference endorsed the recommendations of the political committee, “which highly praised the pivotal and leading role played by Saudi Arabia, which has never hesitated in its significant achievements, contributions, initiatives, and authentic Arab stances aimed at unifying Arab ranks and elevating the status of the Arab and Islamic nations in all international forums,” SPA said.

The conference also praised the Kingdom’s hosting of Sudanese talks in Jeddah between the two conflicting parties to consolidate a truce and reach a final ceasefire agreement to end the crisis in a way that preserves Sudan’s sovereignty and unity and enables it to restore its security and stability.


Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria

Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria

Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim on Monday met Executive Director of the UN Office in Vienna Ghada Waly in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

During the meeting, the two discussed “collaboration between the Kingdom and the UN on the Sustainable Development Goals and other topics of common interest,” the ministry said in a statement.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the minister’s visit to Austria to participate in the ninth session of the Saudi-Austrian Joint Committee.

Al-Ibrahim also met Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, president of the OPEC Fund for International Development, to explore the fund’s upcoming initiatives.

He also held talks with Austrian Minister of Labor and Economy Martin Kocher on strengthening trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, and the latest developments of joint interest.

The meetings were attended by the Kingdom’s Ambassador to Austria Abdullah Tawlah.


Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state

Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state
Updated 27 May 2024
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Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state

Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received Saudi Minister of State Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz and his accompanying delegation on Monday at Bayan Palace in Kuwait.

Prince Turki conveyed the greetings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

They reviewed the strong fraternal relations between their countries and ways to strengthen them across various fields.

The meeting was also attended by Saudi Ambassador to Kuwait Prince Sultan bin Saad bin Khalid and dignitaries from both sides.