Sweden tries to end maelstrom over Wallstrom

Updated 22 March 2015

Sweden tries to end maelstrom over Wallstrom

Sweden’s Parliament summoned Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom to formally appear in an investigation into the crisis she caused with her criticism of Saudi Arabia, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Saturday.
Swedish-Saudi trade ties have been greatly affected by Wallstrom’s statement and are now uncertain after the Saudi decision to halt visas for Swedish businessmen and not renew expired visas.
Wallstrom tried to back down on her statement and said Saudi Arabia is a pivotal country in the Middle East and its stand is very important to Sweden and EU countries.
In her statement before Parliament, Wallstrom said: “Saudi Arabia is a member of the G-20 countries and holds a key to many international issues, and is also one of the important donors in the world, not to mention its role in international efforts to combat terrorism.”
She said the cooperation agreements between the two countries in other areas would not be affected by the decision to not renew the military agreement between her country and Saudi Arabia.
Wallstrom stressed the respect of Sweden for Islam as a global religion, and its contribution to human civilization.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Swedish Royal Court said King Carl XVI Gustaf wants to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis and he will meet Wallstrom on Monday.
According to Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Erik Boman, the meeting comes at an appropriate time.
“It is important to have a dialogue and good relations between nations,” said the king.
Separately, on Friday, the Comoros declared its support to Saudi Arabia in its row with Sweden.
In a statement, the Comoros expressed its rejection and condemnation of anti-Saudi remarks by Wallstrom.
“The Swedish foreign minister’s remarks are deemed interference in internal affairs of the Kingdom,” said the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Comoros. “(Wallstrom’s) abusive remarks are against 1.5 billion Muslims of the world and not just against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said a statement carried by the SPA. It said the Comoros called on all nations of the world “to respect the values of coexistence, tolerance of cultures and respect for all religions.”


Pregnant women in Saudi Arabia warned to take special care during pandemic

Updated 1 min 57 sec ago

Pregnant women in Saudi Arabia warned to take special care during pandemic

  • The ministry’s recommendations come as many have expressed concerns about the impact of the infection on their health

JEDDAH: Pregnant women have been told to take special care in following precautionary measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saudi Ministry of Health has cautioned, as they are thought to be particularly at risk from complications.

The ministry’s recommendations come as many have expressed concerns about the impact of the infection on their health. The ministry has reiterated the importance of practicing hand hygiene, maintaining social distancing to limit the spread of the virus and wearing a mask in public at all times, especially in areas where it's hard to observe social distancing.

The ministry announced a total of 3,036 new cases of in the Kingdom on Wednesday, bringing to 220,144 the number of people in Saudi Arabia have now contracted the disease.

There were 60,035 active cases, 2,263 of them critical.

37 percent of the newly announced cases are female, 63 percent are male. Of those infected, 86 percent were adults of working age, 5 percent were over 65 and 9 percent were children.

3,211 new recovered cases have been announced, taking the total number of recoveries to 158,050, while 42 new deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 2,059.

The ministry urges everyone to use the self-assessment service in the “Mawid” application or to visit Tataman clinics that have been set up by the ministry for those who feel they are displaying COVID-19 symptoms; there are 237 such clinics.

It also recommends calling 937, its central operator, for consultations and inquiries around the clock.