Saudi Minister of Defense Receives Ministry's Senior Officials on Occasion of Eid al-Fitr

Saudi Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. (SPA)
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Saudi Minister of Defense Receives Ministry's Senior Officials on Occasion of Eid al-Fitr

Saudi Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. (SPA)

Saudi Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz received on Wednesday the ministry's senior officials, who came to congratulate him on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

Meeting at the Al Safa Palace in the holy city of Makkah, Prince Khalid conveyed the congratulations and greetings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Supreme Commander of All Military Forces, and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, on the occasion.

Prince Khalid appealed to God to safeguard the Kingdom, its leadership and people and for security, stability and prosperity to prevail under the wise leadership.



Qatar Renews Commitment to Gaza Mediation, Does Not See Political Will to Reach Agreement

Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani at the opening of the Global Security Forum in Qatar, on Monday (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani at the opening of the Global Security Forum in Qatar, on Monday (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Qatar Renews Commitment to Gaza Mediation, Does Not See Political Will to Reach Agreement

Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani at the opening of the Global Security Forum in Qatar, on Monday (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani at the opening of the Global Security Forum in Qatar, on Monday (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Qatar reaffirmed on Monday that it continues to play a mediating role between Israel and Hamas to reach an agreement that leads to a ceasefire in Gaza and the exchange of prisoners.

In parallel, a senior Qatari official pointed to a lack of political will to reach a deal in light of the continuing military operations.

At the opening of the Global Security Forum in Doha on Monday, Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani stressed the adherence to mediation between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement, saying: “Our commitment to mediation to stop wars is not a political commitment, but rather a moral one.”

He added: “The war in Gaza is claiming thousands of lives, which requires international intervention to end it and bring in aid,” pointing to the expansion of the conflict and its impact on supply chains.

The Qatari Prime Minister went on to say that new, unconventional conflicts between the great powers put the international order at risk, adding that history has proven that the “cost of any occupation and its consequences are much greater than any return expected by the occupier.”

However, Mohammed Al-Khulaifi, Minister of State in the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that there is no political will to reach a ceasefire agreement in Gaza, in light of the continuation of military operations on the ground. He stressed Qatar’s continued endeavor to bring Israel and Hamas to the negotiating table.

Mediation efforts led by Qatar, Egypt and the United States faltered after an Israeli move to attack the city of Rafah. At the beginning of May, the Emir of Qatar and the Egyptian President stressed, during a phone discussion, the necessity of intensifying mediation efforts in cooperation with all regional and international partners, to end the war in the Gaza Strip and alleviate the suffering of civilians.

Addressing the conference through a video speech, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shiaa Al-Sudani said that the aggression against Gaza threatens the entire region and its peoples.

He added that Iraq will be “the first to contribute to restoring life and reconstruction to Gaza.”


Saudi Entry Points Enhance Pilgrim Experience with Technology, Efficiency

Pilgrims arrive via King Abdulaziz International Airport (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Pilgrims arrive via King Abdulaziz International Airport (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Entry Points Enhance Pilgrim Experience with Technology, Efficiency

Pilgrims arrive via King Abdulaziz International Airport (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Pilgrims arrive via King Abdulaziz International Airport (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Pilgrims from around the world are arriving in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage, supported by a system of updated procedures and technologies designed to enhance their experience.

This system aims to ease their journey between Jeddah, Makkah, and Madinah, and ensure a smooth stay at the holy sites.

The main entry points for these pilgrims are King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah.

These airports are crucial entry points for the nearly 1.5 million pilgrims. Last year’s Hajj season saw 1.6 million international pilgrims flocking to holy sites in the Kingdom.

They benefit from high-quality services and fast entry procedures thanks to modern technology.

Saudi Arabia is improving Hajj services with its “Makkah Route” initiative, led by the Ministry of Interior.

Now in its sixth year, this program has expanded from one to seven countries and is expected to grow further. The initiative offers high-quality transport services for pilgrims, making their journey smoother from their home countries to Saudi Arabia.

The Makkah Route simplifies the process by handling steps such as electronic visa issuance and biometric data collection in the pilgrims’ home countries.

The General Directorate of Passports ensures all entry requirements, including health checks, are met at the departure airport.

Luggage is tagged and sorted based on travel and accommodation plans in Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims then take buses directly to their accommodations in Makkah and Madinah, with partner agencies delivering their luggage.

Col. Maher Al Masoud, Director of Passports at King Abdulaziz International Airport, told Asharq Al-Awsat that they receive numerous flights daily, including those from the “Makkah Route” initiative.

This year, the initiative supports pilgrims from seven countries and 11 cities. Each year, the program is reviewed to improve its services based on feedback.

He explained that the “Makkah Route” program handles all travel procedures for pilgrims both in their home countries and upon arrival at King Abdulaziz and Prince Mohammad airports.

Pilgrims then go directly to transportation and their accommodations. Starting with one country, the initiative now includes seven and aims to expand further, ensuring a comfortable and safe journey for all pilgrims.

Al Masoud added that the program uses e-systems for issuing Hajj visas and completing arrival procedures in the pilgrims' home countries, including necessary vaccinations.


Saudi FM Condoles Acting Iran FM on Deaths of Raisi, Abdollahian 

14 May 2024, Bahrain, Manama: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah takes part in the ministerial meeting of the Arab League Council in preparation for the 33rd Arab Summit. (SPA) 
14 May 2024, Bahrain, Manama: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah takes part in the ministerial meeting of the Arab League Council in preparation for the 33rd Arab Summit. (SPA) 
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Saudi FM Condoles Acting Iran FM on Deaths of Raisi, Abdollahian 

14 May 2024, Bahrain, Manama: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah takes part in the ministerial meeting of the Arab League Council in preparation for the 33rd Arab Summit. (SPA) 
14 May 2024, Bahrain, Manama: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah takes part in the ministerial meeting of the Arab League Council in preparation for the 33rd Arab Summit. (SPA) 

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah held telephone talks on Monday with acting Iranian FM Ali Bagheri Kani.

Prince Faisal expressed his deep condolences and sincere sympathy over the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, FM Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and their accompanying delegation in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

He underlined the Kingdom’s solidarity with the government and people of Iran.


Sultan of Oman Kicks off Visit to Jordan on Wednesday

Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq. (ONA)
Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq. (ONA)
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Sultan of Oman Kicks off Visit to Jordan on Wednesday

Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq. (ONA)
Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq. (ONA)

Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq will kick off on Wednesday a state visit to Jordan at the invitation of King Abdullah II, announced the Diwan of the Royal Court.

The visit reflects the two leaderships’ keenness on promoting bilateral relations and pushing them forward to meet the desired objectives of the two countries, said the Royal Court according to the Oman News Agency (ONA).

Sultan Haitham and King Abdullah are expected to discuss aspects of cooperation between their countries in various fields and opportunities to develop them.

They will also discuss regional and international developments and coordinate over issues that would bolster collective Arab work.

Sultan Haitham will be accompanied by a high-ranking delegation that includes Shihab bin Tarik Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for Defense Affairs; Bilarab bin Haitham Al Said; Khalid bin Hilal Al Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of Royal Court; Gen. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Nuamani, Minister of the Royal Office; Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi, Foreign Minister; Dr. Hamad bin Said Al Aufi, Head of the Private Office; Abdussalam bin Mohammed Al Murshidi, Chairman of Oman Investment Authority; and Sheikh Fahd bin Abdulrahman Al Ojaili, Ambassador of Oman to Jordan.


GCC Sec-Gen Affirms Support to All International Efforts to Achieve Stability in Yemen

Meeting between the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General to Yemen - SPA
Meeting between the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General to Yemen - SPA
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GCC Sec-Gen Affirms Support to All International Efforts to Achieve Stability in Yemen

Meeting between the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General to Yemen - SPA
Meeting between the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General to Yemen - SPA

The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, stressed that the GCC countries support all international efforts that contribute to achieving security, stability, development and peace in Yemen.
This came during his meeting with the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, at the Secretariat General's headquarters in Riyadh.
During the meeting, they reviewed the latest developments in Yemen, and several issues of common interest.

The discussions focused on the firm position of the Cooperation Council regarding supporting legitimacy in Yemen and ending the Yemeni crisis by reaching a political solution in accordance with the three terms of reference: the Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference (NDC), and Security Council Resolution 2216.
Albudaiwil also reaffirmed the statements made by the Supreme Council of the GCC in its 44th session held in Doha in December 2023. These statements included full support for the Presidential Leadership Council headed by Dr. Rashad Muhammad Al Alimi and the entities supporting him to achieve security and stability in Yemen.


Saudi Arabia, Qatar Discuss Military, Security Coordination

The Saudi and Qatari delegations meet in Riyadh on Monday. (SPA)
The Saudi and Qatari delegations meet in Riyadh on Monday. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia, Qatar Discuss Military, Security Coordination

The Saudi and Qatari delegations meet in Riyadh on Monday. (SPA)
The Saudi and Qatari delegations meet in Riyadh on Monday. (SPA)

Saudi Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz met with Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah in Riyadh on Monday.

The ministers co-chaired the second meeting of the security and military committee established by the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud stressed that the meeting aims to strengthen security cooperation between the two countries, in accordance with the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The interior minister emphasized the deep historical and fraternal relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

He noted that the committee meets periodically to discuss ways to boost security cooperation and coordinate positions on security fields of mutual concern. These efforts, he stated, seek to fulfill the aspirations of the leaderships and peoples of both countries for increased security, stability, and prosperity.

The meeting was attended by a number of Saudi and Qatari senior officials.


Saudi FM Discusses Ties with Japanese Counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah. (AFP)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah. (AFP)
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Saudi FM Discusses Ties with Japanese Counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah. (AFP)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah. (AFP)

The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, made a phone call on Monday to Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa.
During the call, they discussed relations between the two countries and issues of common interest.


GCC Secretary-General Condoles Iranian Govt., People on Raisi Death

Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi. GCC
Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi. GCC
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GCC Secretary-General Condoles Iranian Govt., People on Raisi Death

Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi. GCC
Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi. GCC

Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi condoled the Iranian government and people on the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and his accompanying delegation in an helicopter crash.
Albudaiwi emphasized the council's solidarity with the Iranian government and people in these hard times.


Saudi Leadership Extends Condolences over Death of Iranian President

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
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Saudi Leadership Extends Condolences over Death of Iranian President

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The Saudi leadership on Monday offered condolences over the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other Iranian officials in a helicopter crash.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, sent separate cables of condolences to Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber over Raisi’s death.
They extended deep sympathy to Mokhber and to the Iranian people over the death of Raisi and his companions.
“We extend to you and to the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran our deepest sympathy asking Allah almighty to bestow the deceased with his mercy and forgiveness”, King Salman said in his cable.
The Crown Prince said that the news of Raisi and his companions’ death was received with “deep sorrow”, expressing “deepest condolences and sympathy”.
Raisi and the country’s foreign minister and others have been found dead at the site of a helicopter crash Monday after an hourslong search through a foggy, mountainous region of the country’s northwest, state media reported. Raisi was 63.


Deal to Transport 12,000 Yemeni Pilgrims Via 5 Airports Including Sanaa

A previous flight of Yemenia Airways at Al-Ghaydah International Airport during its reopening by the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen (Asharq Al-Awsat)
A previous flight of Yemenia Airways at Al-Ghaydah International Airport during its reopening by the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Deal to Transport 12,000 Yemeni Pilgrims Via 5 Airports Including Sanaa

A previous flight of Yemenia Airways at Al-Ghaydah International Airport during its reopening by the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen (Asharq Al-Awsat)
A previous flight of Yemenia Airways at Al-Ghaydah International Airport during its reopening by the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Yemen’s Ministry of Endowments and Guidance has teamed up with Yemenia Airways to fly Yemeni pilgrims from five airports, including Sanaa International airport, for this year’s Hajj season.

The agreement comes after coordination with Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Mukhtar Al-Rabash, a deputy from the ministry, highlighted the cooperation between Yemen and Saudi Arabia in facilitating flights from Aden, Seiyun, Al Rayyan, Al Ghaydah, and Sanaa to the holy sites in the Kingdom.

Al-Rabash pointed out that this step will ease the suffering of pilgrims, sparing them the hardship of long travels due to the ongoing closure of routes between provinces by Houthi militias, backed by Iran.

He expressed gratitude for Saudi cooperation in facilitating flights from Yemen’s airports, including Sanaa, to the holy sites, aiming to make the pilgrimage easier for them.

“The ministry will oversee all stages of issuing air tickets for pilgrims through specialized committees at all airports,” added Al-Rabash.

Mohsen Haidarah, Deputy Managing Director for Commercial Affairs at Yemenia Airways, stressed the importance of the cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Endowments to transport around 12,400 pilgrims via Yemenia Airways.

Haidarah emphasized the need for continued coordination to ensure smooth transportation and the best services for pilgrims.

According to the Yemeni Ministry of Endowments, this year’s Yemeni pilgrims number 24,255.

Early preparations were made through coordination with relevant Saudi authorities and the signing of several agreements to serve Yemeni pilgrims in Makkah, Madinah, and the holy sites.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Rabash described Saudi efforts for this year’s Hajj and Umrah season as “blessed and commendable,” operating in an organized and developmental manner, reflecting the insightful vision of the Kingdom’s leadership in serving the pilgrims.

A delegation from the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation visited Al-Ghaydah International Airport in Al-Mahra Governorate last week to prepare for international flights, including those for Yemeni pilgrims for this year's Hajj season.

The Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen rehabilitated and equipped the airport, with flights resuming in July 2023, enhancing transportation services in Yemen.