Anti-drug campaign targets 5 million students

Updated 15 December 2012

Anti-drug campaign targets 5 million students

Saudi Arabia has launched a major anti-drug awareness campaign, targeting all groups of society, specifically 5 million students.
Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Naif has approved the national strategic plan to combat drugs, which will be carried out in cooperation with 25 government and private agencies.
Abdul Elah bin Muhammad Al-Sharief, assistant director-general of the department for combating drugs, said the plan targets 5 million school and university students.
He said drug barons and mafias were targeting Saudi Arabia. “Saudi security agencies have been successful in foiling many attempts to smuggle drugs into the Kingdom.”
According to a report published by the Interior Ministry recently, it had arrested 634 drug smugglers and traffickers including 207 Saudis during the past three months.
Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman of the ministry, said the arrested criminals had attempted to smuggle various types of drugs worth SR 886.31 million.
Spelling out the different types of drugs seized from smugglers, Al-Turki said they included 7.4 kg of heroin, 10,623 kg of hashish, and more than 1.55 million amphetamine tablets.
The Kingdom's drug enforcement agency adopts two main ways to contain growing drug smuggling attempts and drug abuse cases: Arrest of smugglers and traffickers in addition to prevention of money laundering and enlightening the public against the dangerous effects of drugs.
“Drugs have become one of the major issues facing the world, including many Arab countries, despite the national, regional and international efforts to fight this social evil,” Al-Sharief pointed out.
He said the national anti-drug campaign, “For your sake”, aims at enlightening different groups of people including expatriates on the hazardous effects of drug abuse.
“We intend to deepen the religious and moral values among the public to keep them away from drugs and narcotics and inform them about the bad effects of drug abuse on family, society and economy,” Al-Sharief said.
The campaign intends to carry out a number of programs including the launch of a website with content in four languages (Arabic, English, Urdu and French) and another program to protect students from drugs.
“This year we intend to target 5 million students in 25,000 schools under 42 education departments for boys and 43 education departments for girls all over the Kingdom,” Al-Sharief said.
The department has set up another website (www.wiqaiya.com) providing a lot of information and articles aimed at enlightening the public on the need to keep away from drugs. The website is linked with social media.
“We also intend to organize a number of other programs as part of the campaign including a special television program and 13 exhibitions in different regions,” he said.
The department intends to produce 26 video programs, each with the duration of 45 minutes, with the participation of leading football stars and young Saudi soccer fans.
“Production of a cartoon film to enlighten students on how to behave nicely at school, home and with family and friends is another project,” he said.
The department also intends to distribute 2 million copies of a booklet on the harmful effect of using amphetamine narcotic tablets, heroin and hashish.
“We also intend to hold five youth forums during the year to enlighten young men and women on drug abuse,” he said.
Other programs include a regional symposium, a workshop for preventive measures, a major awareness program to be initiated by regional governors with the support of universities, 30 television series and a special program for women in nine regions including Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh, Qassim and Asir.
In an article published on wiqaiya.com website, Makkah Deputy Gov. Abdul Aziz Al-Khodairy highlighted the harmful effects of drugs on individuals, families and society.
“We need cooperation of all members of society, especially young men and women, to prevent drug smuggling and sales. If smugglers and traffickers see remarkable decrease in demand for drugs, they will stop bringing them to the Kingdom,” he pointed out.
Al-Khodairy cautioned students against the tricky methods used by drug agents to sell narcotic tablets like amphetamine, especially during examination times. He urged Saudi youth to take the lead role in fighting drugs and save the society from this danger.


Russia’s Putin lauds good relations with Saudi Arabia, condemns Aramco attacks

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during a bilateral meeting at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 October 2019

Russia’s Putin lauds good relations with Saudi Arabia, condemns Aramco attacks

  • Moscow could play a key role in easing regional tensions given its good ties with Gulf states and Iran
  • The Russian president made his only trip to Riyadh way back in 2007

RIYADH: Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia and condemned the recent attacks on state-owned Aramco oil facilities.
Putin said such attacks only strengthened cooperation between oil producers inside and outside OPEC, an alliance known as OPEC+, and that Russia would work with its partners to reduce attempts to destabilize markets.
As President Donald Trump reinstated US sanctions, increasing pressure on Iran’s economy, there have been a series of attacks in Saudi Arabia and in Gulf waters that Washington and close allies have blamed on Iran, which denies responsibility.
Putin told Arab broadcasters in an interview aired on Sunday ahead of his visit to the Kingdom in more than a decade, that he has “very good relations” with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Russian president is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia on Monday and then heads to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
Putin said that there has been a 38 percent growth in economic cooperation between the Kingdom and Russia.
Russia’s Direct Investment Fund and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund have created a base of $10 billion, with $2 billion in investments, he added.
Russian petrochemicals company Sibur Holding is looking to build a petrochemical complex worth more than $1 billion in investments, Putin also said.
Syrian Conflict
On Syria, where Russia and Iran have been key allies of President Bashar Assad in an 8-1/2-year civil war, the Russian president said they would not have been able to reach a positive outcome without Saudi cooperation.
“I would like to emphasize the positive role Saudi Arabia has played in resolving the Syrian crisis … without Saudi Arabia’s contribution toward a Syrian settlement, it would have been impossible to achieve a positive trend,” he said, thanking King Salman and Mohammed bin Salman for their “constructive approach.”
He said Moscow supports the Assad regime in Syria, not because they have no blame in the situation but to prevent terrorist organizations from infiltrating the war-torn country.
“We are working with Turkey and Iran to resolve the Syrian conflict, but without Saudi it would not be possible to come to a good solution,” he said.
A congress convened by Russia last year tasked the United Nations envoy for Syria with forming a committee to draft a new constitution, after many rounds of talks to end the war failed.
UN officials say forming a constitutional committee is key to political reforms and new elections meant to unify Syria and end a war which has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced about half of the pre-war 22 million population.
Turkey launched an assault last week against Kurdish forces in border areas of northern Syria, saying it seeks to set up a “safe zone” to resettle Syrian refugees but raising international alarm over the possibility of Daesh militants escaping from prisons.
Iran Deal
Asked if Moscow supported new a return to negotiations with Iran to limit its missile program as Trump has called for enforcing the nuclear deal first, Putin said the two issues should be dealt with separately.
“Most likely it (the missiles) can and should be discussed ... The missile program is one thing and the nuclear program is another thing,” he said. “Of course, this is necessary, but there is no need to merge one with the other...”
OPEC+
The Russian president said OPEC+ was an initiative introduced by the crown prince to increase their cooperation in oil sector, and that he was the one who suggested to expand military collaboration between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia was not just a regional energy player but also a global one, and “we care about our cooperation,” Putin said.
The Russian leader added that anything that threatens energy trade stability must be stopped, and “we should work together” to stop it.
Aramco Attacks
Putin also condemned the Sept. 14 attacks on Aramco facilities, noting “such actions do not bring any positive results to anybody, including perpetrators,” as they do not have a strong effect on the market.
“We condemn any such actions, end of story. This is the official position … regardless of who stood behind the incident,” said Putin.
He insisted Russia’s intelligence community does not know who perpetrated the Aramco attacks, but he also said that his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, has denied Tehran’s complicity in the attacks. Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Riyadh and Washington blamed Tehran.
However, Putin said: “It is wrong to determine who is guilty before it is known reliably and clearly who is behind this act,” Putin said, adding that he had agreed to help investigate the attack.
“If someone may have wanted to deal a blow to the oil market, they failed. There were indeed some fluctuations in prices, but I do not think it was anything too serious, even though the initial response was quite strong.
“We need to respond to any attempt to destabilize the market. Russia will certainly continue working with Saudi Arabia and other partners and friends in the Arab world to counter any attempts to wreak havoc in the market,” he said in an interview with Al Arabiya.
Putin believes Russia can play a positive role in resolving regional disagreements, because of Moscow’s positive relations with the Arab world, Iranians, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.