Saudi crown prince addresses Shoura Council on behalf of King Salman

Saudi crown prince addresses Shoura Council on behalf of King Salman
Saudi Crown Prince delivered the annual royal speech before the Shoura Council on Wednesday on behalf of King Salman. (Supplied)
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Updated 27 December 2023
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Saudi crown prince addresses Shoura Council on behalf of King Salman

Saudi crown prince addresses Shoura Council on behalf of King Salman
  • Crown prince said the Kingdom had made vast achievements across various sectors
  • He detailed Kingdom’s efforts in encouraging leaders to take a stance to put pressure on international community to take serious position to stop Israeli aggression

RIYADH: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman delivered the opening address of the annual royal inaugural speech of the fourth year of the eighth session of the Shoura Council, on behalf of King Salman, on Wednesday.

The crown prince was received at the headquarters of the Shoura Council by the Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar; Deputy Riyadh Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz; and the Speaker of Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh.

The annual meeting began with the reciting of the Qur’an and then Al-Asheikh took to the podium to deliver the opening remarks before the crown prince’s speech.




Saudi Crown Prince delivered the annual royal speech before the Shoura Council on Wednesday on behalf of King Salman.

Al-Asheikh said that in the third year of the eight sessions of the council, the Shoura Council had held 48 sessions and issued 379 resolutions.

In his opening remarks the crown prince underlined that the Kingdom had made vast achievements across various sectors.

He said: “Your country is proceeding with its development renaissance in accordance with Vision 2030 and its ambitious programs which will contribute to preserving the Kingdom’s advanced position globally, (while) achieving further development, prosperity, and quality of life for its citizens.”

Discussing Hajj and Umrah, the crown prince added that the Kingdom this year welcomed 1.8 million pilgrims to perform Hajj and more than 10 million to perform for Umrah.

He also highlighted how the Kingdom had worked to strengthen global cooperation and friendly relationships with countries around the world, adding that Saudi Arabia hosted a number of major summits that had brought together more than 100 countries in 2023.




Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman delivered the opening address of the annual royal inaugural speech of the Shoura Council on Wednesday. (SPA)

The crown prince also spoke of the Kingdom’s efforts in holding events such as the Joint Arab Islamic Extraordinary Summit in Riyadh in November which welcomed leaders of the states and governments of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States.

He detailed the Kingdom’s efforts in encouraging leaders to take a joint stance to put pressure on the international community to take serious and firm positions to stop Israeli aggression and allow the entry of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

The crown prince stressed that the Kingdom’s approach to foreign affairs was based on respect for the national sovereignty of all countries; non-interference in their internal affairs; permanent commitment to the principles of international legitimacy and its resolutions; adherence to the principles of good neighborliness and resolving disputes by peaceful means; and adopting programs to enhance security and stability in the region and the world.

He added that the Kingdom’s selection as host of Expo 2030 served as confirmation of its global standing and trust as an ideal interface to host prominent international forums.




Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman delivered the opening address of the annual royal inaugural speech of the Shoura Council on Wednesday. (SPA)

The crown prince also highlighted a historic milestone in the Kingdom’s tourism sector, saying that the sector grew by 64 percent in the first quarter of 2023.

He added that Saudi Arabia became the fastest-growing economy among the G20 countries in 2022, with a rate of 8.7 percent growth in domestic product, as well as growth in the non-oil domestic product by about 4.8 percent, making it among the 20 most competitive countries in the world.

The crown prince said that the Kingdom will continue to work toward economic transformation in accordance with the goals of Vision 2030, adding that the positive results already achieved showed the promise of more success in future economic reforms to strengthen the financial position of the Kingdom.

Closing the Shoura Council session, the crown prince thanked his brothers and sisters in the council for their contributions in serving their homeland.

The Shoura Council’s annual royal speech serves as a road map of the ambitions of the Kingdom and touches upon a wide variety of topics and issues, including domestic, foreign and economic matters.


Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj

Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj
Updated 23 May 2024
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Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj

Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj
  • The procedure is meant to keep the cover, known as kiswa, free from getting soiled and tampered with as pilgrims performing Hajj circumabulate the Kaaba

RIYADH: In keeping with the annual tradition, officials raised the lower part of the kiswa — the elaborately designed black cloth covering the Kaaba — in Makkah on Wednesday ahead of this year's Hajj pilgrimage.

As approved by the General Authority for the Care of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, the exposed part was covered with a white cotton fabric, two-and-a-half meters wide and 54 meters long on all four sides, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Carrying out the procedure were 36 specialized technical personnel with the aid of 10 cranes.

As described in the SPA report, the kiswa is lifted in several stages: It starts with unscrewing the bottom of the cover from all sides, separating the corners, then untying the bottom rope and removing it from the fixing rings, after which the cloth is rolled upward. The lanterns are then dismantled and the white cloth are put in place, after which the lanterns are reinstalled over the white cloth until the final stage.

The procedure is repeated every year to protect the kiswa from getting soiled and damaged as pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba.

The annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia is considered the world's largest human gathering, with year 2012 marking the biggest number of participants at 3.16 million.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi authorities allowed only a symbolic observance of Hajj with just a thousand pilgrims. The numbers were gradually raised as the health crisis was placed under control worldwide. Last year, almost 1.84 million pilgrims performed the "once in a lifetime" journey and the figure is expected to go higher this year.

Every year, on the ninth day of the Islamic month of Dul Hijjah, the black silk cloth is removed and a new kiswa is draped in its place.


Saudi authorities limit entry to Makkah to Hajj visa holders

Saudi authorities limit entry to Makkah to Hajj visa holders
Updated 23 May 2024
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Saudi authorities limit entry to Makkah to Hajj visa holders

Saudi authorities limit entry to Makkah to Hajj visa holders

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior announced that visit visa holders are not allowed to enter or stay in Makkah during May 23-June 21 as access to the city will be limited to Hajj visa holders.

The ministry stressed that all types of visit visa are not a permit to perform Hajj, adding that violators will be subject to penalties according to Saudi laws and regulations.


Saudi FM in Tehran conveys king, crown prince condolences for Iran president death

Saudi FM in Tehran conveys king, crown prince condolences for Iran president death
Updated 23 May 2024
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Saudi FM in Tehran conveys king, crown prince condolences for Iran president death

Saudi FM in Tehran conveys king, crown prince condolences for Iran president death

RIYADH: Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, conveyed the condolences of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to top Iranian officials in Tehran on Wednesday on the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions.

Prince Mansour bin Muteb bin Abdulaziz, Adviser to King Salman and Minister of State, and Prince Faisal were received by Deputy Chief of Staff for Political Affairs to Iran President Mohammad Jamshidi and Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani.

Saudi ambassador to Iran Abdullah Al-Enazi attended the reception.


Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’

Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’
Updated 22 May 2024
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Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’

Saudi nature reserve becomes Kingdom’s ‘first major biodiversity site’
  • Accreditation follows evaluation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve by the international organization Key Biodiversity Areas

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve has been granted accreditation as “the first major biodiversity site in the Kingdom.”

The organization Key Biodiversity Areas confirmed the accreditation, after an evaluation based on international standards, on its website on Wednesday. It said the reserve meets three global standards, including the presence of endangered species, and so qualifies for inclusion. The announcement coincided with International Day for Biological Diversity, which takes place on May 22 each year.

KBA works to monitor and preserve approved sites of great importance as part of its efforts to sustain biological diversity on a global level, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Saudi reserve is managed by the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve Development Authority with the aim of protecting endangered species, developing natural habitats, raising environmental awareness among the public, and reducing natural and human threats to the area. It is considered the largest nature reserve in the Middle East, covering a total area of 130,700 square kilometers.


Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting

Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting
Updated 22 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting

Saudi Arabia participates in UN tourism body meeting

Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb headed the Kingdom’s delegation at the UN World Tourism Organization’s 50th meeting of the regional committee for the Middle East, on Wednesday in Muscat.

During his speech, the Saudi minister stressed the Kingdom’s openness to cooperate with member states to adopt joint regional tourism projects to attract international visitors to the region. 

Al-Khateeb thanked the Omani Minister of Heritage and Tourism Salem Al-Mahrouqi for the hospitality and extended his appreciation to the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and other officials for their efforts to advance the tourism sector globally.