General Presidency of Grand Mosque Launches Greatest Operational Plan for Hajj

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques and the Prophet's Mosque launched on Thursday the greatest operational plan ever for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (SPA)
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques and the Prophet's Mosque launched on Thursday the greatest operational plan ever for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (SPA)
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General Presidency of Grand Mosque Launches Greatest Operational Plan for Hajj

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques and the Prophet's Mosque launched on Thursday the greatest operational plan ever for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (SPA)
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques and the Prophet's Mosque launched on Thursday the greatest operational plan ever for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (SPA)

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques and the Prophet's Mosque launched on Thursday the greatest operational plan ever for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the plan is designed to accommodate millions of pilgrims according to an integrated system of services prepared by the Saudi leadership.

President of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques and the Prophet's Mosque Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais unveiled the plan to the media on Thursday.

The plan is based on main pillars connected to the Presidency’s 2024 strategic goals, which are inspired from the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Al-Sudais said the plan is an extension of the great successes and achievements made possible under the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister. The leadership is closely monitoring all services offered to the pilgrims to ensure that they have a smooth journey.

Al-Sudais added that the plan seeks to enrich the experience of the pilgrims through various services.

He underlined the importance of volunteers and humanitarian work in ensuring the success of the plan, adding that the two mosques will attract the largest number of volunteers in the world during the Hajj. This reflects the Presidency’s faith in the abilities of the Kingdom’s youth in serving the pilgrims, he stressed.

The integrated services will cover six main areas at the two mosques: The outer courtyards, prayer areas, tawwaf area, Saudi portico, al-Masaa and the Rawdah at the Prophet’s Mosque. Services will also cover permanent and mobile exhibitions, libraries and others areas with the aim of enriching the spiritual experience of the pilgrims.

The plan boasts 185 programs and initiatives that will be provided at the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque during the Hajj. They will employ AI technologies, and make use of digital programs and apps that would facilitate and enrich the experience of the pilgrims. Programs will be available in several languages.

Around 14,000 workers will implement the 2023 plan, while over 8,000 opportunities are available for volunteers, who collectively could dedicate a total of 200,000 hours during the Hajj.

The Presidency has sought to provide some 300,000 Qurans at the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque. Lessons in teaching, reciting and memorizing the Quran will be available. Lectures and other lessons, spanning 300 hours, will be held in cooperation with the Council of Senior Scholars.

The lessons will also be available on the Manarat Al-Haramain platform. Users will have access to over a thousand hours of lessons that are available in ten languages.

On the ground, the Presidency offers guides and translation services in 51 languages at the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque.

Al-Sudais added that the Presidency is seeking to distribute 40 million liters of Zamzam water during the Hajj. Over a million bottles of Zamzam water will be handed out daily.

A variety of electronic services, apps and social media platforms are available to the pilgrims throughout their holy journey, he stated.

Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah highlighted the cooperation between his ministry and the Presidency in implementing the Hajj plan, stressing their keenness on ensuring that the best services are provided to the pilgrims.



Saudi Arabia Condemns Terrorist Attack in Ankara

 Members of the Turkish Police Special Forces stand guard in front of the Interior Ministry following a bomb attack in Ankara, Türkiye October 1, 2023. (Reuters)
Members of the Turkish Police Special Forces stand guard in front of the Interior Ministry following a bomb attack in Ankara, Türkiye October 1, 2023. (Reuters)
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Saudi Arabia Condemns Terrorist Attack in Ankara

 Members of the Turkish Police Special Forces stand guard in front of the Interior Ministry following a bomb attack in Ankara, Türkiye October 1, 2023. (Reuters)
Members of the Turkish Police Special Forces stand guard in front of the Interior Ministry following a bomb attack in Ankara, Türkiye October 1, 2023. (Reuters)

The Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed on Sunday the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of the terrorist attack that struck the Turkish capital, Ankara.

It also condemned the second failed attack that was thwarted by security forces.

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in Ankara on Sunday, while a second assailant was killed in a shootout with police, the interior minister said.

The attack occurred hours before Parliament was set to reopen after its three-month summer recess with an address by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Two police officers were slightly injured during the attack near an entrance to the Ministry of Interior Affairs.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry underscored the Kingdom’s rejection of all forms of violence, terrorism and extremism.

It reiterated its support to all efforts aimed at eliminating terrorism and extremism in all their forms and drying up their sources of funding.

It wished the injured a speedy recovery and hoped security and stability would prevail in Türkiye.


Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Burning of Holy Quran in Sweden

Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the burning of a copy of the Holy Quran by an extremist in Malmo, Sweden.
Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the burning of a copy of the Holy Quran by an extremist in Malmo, Sweden.
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Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Burning of Holy Quran in Sweden

Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the burning of a copy of the Holy Quran by an extremist in Malmo, Sweden.
Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the burning of a copy of the Holy Quran by an extremist in Malmo, Sweden.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed on Sunday the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of the burning of a copy of the Holy Quran by an extremist in Malmo, Sweden, an act carried out with the knowledge of the local authorities.

The ministry reiterated the Kingdom's rejection of such flagrant acts, which are repeated systematically in a number of European cities under the guise of freedom of expression and inflame the feelings of millions of Muslims worldwide.

The Kingdom, the ministry said, calls on the Swedish authorities to urgently deal with such acts and stop giving permission to extremist groups to carry out acts that fuel hatred and racism, reported the Saudi Press Agency.


Saudi Environment Minister Inaugurates 'Innovation Driven Desalination’ Conference

Saudi Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture, Eng. Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadley, inaugurated the activities of the second edition of the “Innovation Driven Desalination” conference.
Saudi Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture, Eng. Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadley, inaugurated the activities of the second edition of the “Innovation Driven Desalination” conference.
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Saudi Environment Minister Inaugurates 'Innovation Driven Desalination’ Conference

Saudi Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture, Eng. Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadley, inaugurated the activities of the second edition of the “Innovation Driven Desalination” conference.
Saudi Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture, Eng. Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadley, inaugurated the activities of the second edition of the “Innovation Driven Desalination” conference.

Saudi Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture, Eng. Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadley, inaugurated Saturday the activities of the second edition of the “Innovation Driven Desalination” conference, organized by the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), SPA said on Sunday.
The conference is scheduled to take place from September 30 to October 3 in Jeddah with the participation of international academics, experts, and specialists.
On the sidelines of the conference’s second edition, the minister honored the winners of the Global Innovation Award in Water Desalination, in which 105 participants from over 27 countries, representing research centers, universities, entrepreneurs, and employees of companies in the global water desalination industry.
Al-Fadley congratulated the winners who have demonstrated their competence and eligibility for the award, which achieved remarkable success in its first edition. The minister noted that this aligns with the comprehensive water strategy that integrates the directions, policies, legislation, and practices in the water sector.
Moreover, he expressed his appreciation for the wise leadership's support for the water sector.
Al-Fadley emphasized the Kingdom's leading role in addressing regional and international water issues, commending the announcement by the Saudi Crown Prince regarding the establishment of the Global Water Organization based in Riyadh.
This initiative contributes to enhancing cooperation among nations and stimulating collective responses to water challenges, he said.
SWCC governor, Eng. Abdullah Al-Abdulkarim, praised the participants in the award for their contribution to the water sector's goals.
Al-Abdulkarim also said that this support aligns with efforts and initiatives that promote innovation and encourage it in the field of desalination.
He added that it reflects the commitment of the SWCC to support and promote innovation, offering a supportive role that contributes to stimulating innovative projects as part of its social responsibility.
He underlined the Kingdom’s commitment to ensuring sustainable water resources, citing in this regard the corporation’s global pioneering status in producing 11.5 million cubic meters of water daily, making it the largest producer of water worldwide.
Al-Abdulkarim also voiced the Kingdom’s commitment to enhancing international cooperation to improve access to clear water resources through the collaborative efforts of states and organizations to address water woes in a holistic approach through expertise exchange, innovation, research and development.
He also highlighted the winning innovations’ benefit to humanity, underlying the SWCC's Vision to be integrated into the Kingdom’s ambitious plan to use high technology to serve humanity.
The $10 million prize, which aims to encourage innovative solutions in the desalination industry and support its applications in line with the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030, focused on a wide range of environmental aspects related to the industry, including reduction of energy consumption and capital and operating costs, using modern technologies and innovation.


Fourth Bahraini Serviceman Succumbs to Wounds After Houthi Drone Attack

Fourth Bahraini Serviceman Succumbs to Wounds After Houthi Drone Attack
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Fourth Bahraini Serviceman Succumbs to Wounds After Houthi Drone Attack

Fourth Bahraini Serviceman Succumbs to Wounds After Houthi Drone Attack

The General Command of the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) announced Friday the death of a fourth serviceman who succumbed to severe injuries sustained during a Houthi drone attack against forces stationed at Saudi Arabia's southern border.

In an official statement, the BDF identified the serviceman as First-Lieutenant Hamad Khalifa al-Kubaisi, who succumbed to the injuries while performing his sacred patriotic duties defending the southern borders of Saudi Arabia.

Kubaisi was a member of the BDF task force participating in the Arab Coalitions to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, actively participating in Operation Decisive Storm and Restoring Hope.

BDF General Command extended sincere condolences to the family of the fallen serviceman and wished a speedy recovery for those wounded due to the act of aggression.

Earlier, the UN Security Council issued a statement condemning the attack, saying it constituted "a serious threat to the peace process and regional stability, including in Yemen."

The Council on the Houthis to end all attacks, reiterating concern at targeting civilian infrastructure in cities at the southern border of Saudi Arabia.

In a statement from Riyadh, the Coalition mourned those killed and claimed there had been attacks targeting an electrical distribution site and a police station on its southern border by "some Houthi elements."

Coalition spokesman Brig-Gen Turki al-Maliki said the leadership of the joint forces mourns the "heroic martyrs loyal to their religion and nation."

The leadership of the joint forces of the Coalition condemned the treacherous attack near the Saudi-Yemen border by some Houthi elements, Malki said.

He warned that last month's hostilities, including an attack on an electrical power distribution station and a police station in the border region, were "unacceptable" and "provocative."

"In line with the positive efforts being made to seek to end the crisis and reach a comprehensive political solution, the leadership of the joint forces of the coalition affirms its rejection of repeated provocations and reserves the right to respond at the appropriate time and place," Maliki said in a statement.


UN Security Council Condemns Houthi Attack on Southern Saudi Arabia

Houthis took advantage of the ceasefire to enhance their military capabilities, with Iran's support (Reuters)
Houthis took advantage of the ceasefire to enhance their military capabilities, with Iran's support (Reuters)
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UN Security Council Condemns Houthi Attack on Southern Saudi Arabia

Houthis took advantage of the ceasefire to enhance their military capabilities, with Iran's support (Reuters)
Houthis took advantage of the ceasefire to enhance their military capabilities, with Iran's support (Reuters)

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemned the recent Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia's southern border that left four Bahraini servicemen from the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen dead.

The Council warned in a statement Friday that the attack constituted a "serious threat to the peace process and regional stability."

It urged the Houthis to cease their "terrorist attacks" and expressed concern over the targeting of infrastructure in cities near the Saudi border.

The Council's members reiterated their apprehension about the impact of these actions on the broader area.

The statement urged all parties to honor their international and humanitarian law commitments.

The 15-member Council emphasized the importance of taking decisive steps towards a permanent ceasefire.

They expressed their support for efforts to achieve a political solution in Yemen that would alleviate suffering, endorsing the endeavors of the UN Envoy to Yemen to find a resolution to the ongoing conflict in the country.

Saudi Arabia and Oman are leading initiatives to persuade the Houthis to agree to a renewed truce in Yemen, expanding the ceasefire to include humanitarian issues and concluding with a roadmap to end the conflict.

Meanwhile, the US Treasury Department announced Thursday new sanctions against entities providing Iran with engines used to manufacture drones.

The sanctions included a Chinese company that supplied servomotors worth more than a hundred thousand dollars to the Houthis in Yemen.

Yemeni political and military observers believe the Houthis are not genuinely committed to reaching a peace agreement that would end the war, as they seem to be preparing for another round of conflict after receiving more weapons.

During a meeting in Riyadh, Yemen Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Sagheer bin Aziz asserted to the US Ambassador to Yemen, Steven Fagin, that Iran continues to supply its Houthi militias with advanced weaponry.

During the discussions, bin Aziz highlighted the Houthi threats to the security of Yemen, the region, and international navigation.

According to Saba news agency, he further touched upon the implications these groups have on counter-terrorism efforts.

The official noted that Yemen's experiences with peace talks with the Houthi militia have been bitter at various stages, indicating that the militia adheres to a doctrine of violence and racial discrimination and consistently violates agreements.

The Armed Forces Chief accused the Houthis of persisting with hostile operations against cities, public facilities, military positions, and resistance forces despite the UN-sponsored ceasefire.


Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Pakistan

Local residents stand at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Mastung district on September 29, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
Local residents stand at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Mastung district on September 29, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
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Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Pakistan

Local residents stand at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Mastung district on September 29, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
Local residents stand at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Mastung district on September 29, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed the Kingdom's strong condemnation of “cowardly terrorist attacks” that took place on Friday in several provinces in Pakistan, killing and injuring dozens of people.

The Ministry reiterated Saudi Arabia’s firm stance on renouncing violence and terrorism, expressing full solidarity with Pakistan and its people.

The Ministry also expressed the Kingdom’s sincere condolences to the families of the victims, the Pakistani government and people, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.


Gulf Cooperation Council, Pakistan Sign Free Trade Agreement

GCC Secretary-General Jasem al-Budaiwi - Reuters
GCC Secretary-General Jasem al-Budaiwi - Reuters
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Gulf Cooperation Council, Pakistan Sign Free Trade Agreement

GCC Secretary-General Jasem al-Budaiwi - Reuters
GCC Secretary-General Jasem al-Budaiwi - Reuters

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Pakistan initialized a free trade agreement, the GCC said on messaging platform X on Thursday.

The agreement was signed by GCC Secretary-General Jasem al-Budaiwi and Pakistani trade minister Gohar Ejaz.

Al-Budaiwi stated that the preliminary free trade agreement (FTA) between the GCC and Pakistan comes in recognition of the importance of strengthening trade relations and economic cooperation with countries and international blocs, SPA reported.

The statement came during the signing ceremony of the preliminary FTA between the council and Pakistan, with the agreement being signed by both the GCC Secretary General and Pakistani Commerce Minister, Dr. Gohar Ejaz, on Thursday at the headquarters of the General Secretariat in Riyadh.

The GCC Secretary General also noted that this historic economic agreement represents an important turning point in cooperation and would contribute to growth and prosperity in a way that serves the common interests of both sides, as it emphasizes the vital importance of close cooperation between countries to strengthen economic relations.

Al-Budaiwi stressed that the GCC countries are proceeding with free-trade negotiations with other countries, aiming to open and enhance the prospects for trade and economic cooperation for the council member states regionally and internationally.

He also voiced his thanks and appreciation to the GCC negotiating teams and the General Secretariat for their efforts and dedication during the negotiation process.


Political Committee of Saudi-Bahraini Coordination Council Concludes Meeting

SPA
SPA
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Political Committee of Saudi-Bahraini Coordination Council Concludes Meeting

SPA
SPA

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah and his Bahraini counterpart, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, chaired the second meeting of the Political Coordination Committee of the Saudi-Bahraini Coordination Council in Manama on Thursday.
At the meeting's onset, the two parties evaluated their bilateral relations and deliberated on diverse methods to enhance and develop them bilaterally and multilaterally in the international arena.

The discussions were conducted within the Political Coordination Committee's framework. The parties examined numerous initiatives to deepen and strengthen cooperation between them, leading to more extensive horizons and fulfilling the leaders of both countries' aspirations and their peoples' interests, SPA reported.

Furthermore, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah and Dr. Al-Zayani chaired the first meeting of the preparatory committee for the Saudi-Bahraini Coordination Council.

The progress made by the council and its committees in the past period was reviewed, and the latest developments and preparations for the third council meeting were discussed.
At the meeting, the committee evaluated the advancements achieved by the sub-committees and deliberated on the proposals presented during the council's second meeting in Manama on November 9th, 2021.

Additionally, they scrutinized a roster of upcoming initiatives projected to be launched at the third meeting of the council, along with a list of draft agreements and memoranda of understanding that will be signed between the parties during the meeting.

The two sides praised the cooperation and coordination between the sub-committees and working groups of the Coordinating Council, emphasizing the importance of maintaining this pace to achieve common goals.

At the end of the meeting, the minutes of the second Political Coordination Committee meeting and the first preparatory committee meeting of the Saudi-Bahraini Coordination Council were signed.


Saudi Crown Prince Receives Written Message from President of Chad

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Eng. Waleed bin Abdulkarim El-Khereiji meets with Chad’s Ambassador to the Kingdom Hassan Saleh Algadam Aldjinedi in Riyadh. (SPA)
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Eng. Waleed bin Abdulkarim El-Khereiji meets with Chad’s Ambassador to the Kingdom Hassan Saleh Algadam Aldjinedi in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Receives Written Message from President of Chad

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Eng. Waleed bin Abdulkarim El-Khereiji meets with Chad’s Ambassador to the Kingdom Hassan Saleh Algadam Aldjinedi in Riyadh. (SPA)
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Eng. Waleed bin Abdulkarim El-Khereiji meets with Chad’s Ambassador to the Kingdom Hassan Saleh Algadam Aldjinedi in Riyadh. (SPA)

Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, received on Thursday written message from President of Chad Lieutenant General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, reported the Saudi Press Agency.

The message tackled bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Chad and ways to bolster them in all fields.

The message was received by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Eng. Waleed bin Abdulkarim El-Khereiji during a meeting with Chad’s Ambassador to the Kingdom Hassan Saleh Algadam Aldjinedi at the ministry in Riyadh.

The officials reviewed aspects of bilateral relations between their countries and discussed issues of common interest.


Bahraini Crown Prince Receives Saudi Foreign Minister

Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Bahrain Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa receives Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah in Manama on Thursday. (SPA)
Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Bahrain Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa receives Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah in Manama on Thursday. (SPA)
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Bahraini Crown Prince Receives Saudi Foreign Minister

Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Bahrain Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa receives Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah in Manama on Thursday. (SPA)
Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Bahrain Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa receives Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah in Manama on Thursday. (SPA)

Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Bahrain Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa received Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah at Al Zaher Palace in Manama on Thursday.

The officials discussed bilateral relations, ways to strengthen and develop cooperation and coordination in various fields, and the latest regional and international events and topics of common interest.

The Crown Prince of Bahrain held a luncheon honoring the Saudi minister and his accompanying delegation.

Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry for Political Affairs Saud Al-Sati, Director General of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Office Abdulrahman Al-Daoud, and Chargé d'Affaires at the Saudi Embassy in Bahrain Saleh Al-Otaibi attended the meeting.

Prince Faisal had arrived in the Kingdom earlier on Friday.

He was received at the airport by Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani. They later held talks on bilateral relations and ways to strengthen and develop cooperation and coordination in various fields.

Prince Faisal expressed Saudi Arabia’s sincere condolences to Bahrain’s leadership and people over the martyrdom of military personnel participating in the “Operation Restore Hope” on the southern Saudi border, and extended the Kingdom's wish for a speedy recovery for the injured.