Saudi FM in Luxembourg for GCC-EU Forum on Regional Security, Cooperation

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 in Luxembourg for GCC-EU Forum on Regional Security, Cooperation

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

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah arrived in Luxembourg on Sunday to participate in a high-level forum on regional security and cooperation between the Gulf Cooperation Council and the EU.
The Minister will discuss with participants at the forum the ways to promote cooperation between the GCC and the European Union in various fields, and the importance of multilateral coordination, the developments on the regional and international levels.
Prince Faisal will also hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the forum.
On Sunday, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Jasem Al Budaiwi said that the forum is an opportunity to promote dialogue, and to strengthen coordination on issues related to regional and global stability, and security.
Al Budaiwi stressed that by working to strengthen bilateral relations and develop new cooperation mechanisms, the two parties will reach common viewpoints on many issues.
The forum will be chaired by Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Chairman of the current session of the Ministerial Council Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Joseph Borrell.
Senior officials and the foreign ministers of the GCC and EU states will attend.
Last month, the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council met in Brussels with Luigi Di Maio, the EU Special Representative for the Gulf region. They discussed the preparations for the forum and the topics that need to be highlighted, mainly the situation in Gaza and the bilateral relations between the gulf countries and the European Union.
The forum will be held amid rising tension in the Middle East, mainly the Israeli war in Gaza.

On October 10, 2023, a joint meeting was held between GCC foreign ministers and the EU in Muscat. High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Joseph Borrell had met with senior GCC officials including three meetings with the Saudi foreign minister.

On Wednesday, Borrel held a telephone call with his Saudi counterpart. They discussed the deepening instability in the Middle East stressing the need to coordinate efforts for de-escalation, according to the Saudi Press Agency.



Pilgrims Prepare to Depart Holy Sites after Completing Main Hajj Rituals

Pilgrims stone the three pillars representing the devil on the first day of Tashreeq. (SPA)
Pilgrims stone the three pillars representing the devil on the first day of Tashreeq. (SPA)
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Pilgrims Prepare to Depart Holy Sites after Completing Main Hajj Rituals

Pilgrims stone the three pillars representing the devil on the first day of Tashreeq. (SPA)
Pilgrims stone the three pillars representing the devil on the first day of Tashreeq. (SPA)

The majority of Hajj pilgrims are packing their belongings in preparation to leave the holy sites on Tuesday, known as the “Day of Hastening.”

This comes after they have completed the essential rites of Hajj, which include standing at Mount Arafat, the symbolic stoning of the devil at Jamarat, and performing the Tawaf al-Ifadah.

The Saudi Arabian government has provided a comprehensive range of services to ensure the smooth conduct of Hajj for all pilgrims.

This year’s pilgrimage has been marked by a well-coordinated system to facilitate the rituals for the millions of Muslims.

Pilgrims are arriving in Madinah as the city prepares itself to host them after the completion of their Hajj rituals.

The Madinah branch of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs has prepared major mosques, including Khandaq, Sayyid al-Shuhada, and Qiblatain, ensuring they are clean, well-maintained, and equipped with air conditioning and water coolers.

Crowd management systems are in place, and educational materials and Qurans are being distributed.

Sheikh Osama Madkhali, the ministry’s local director, stated that all preparations are complete.

Over 900,000 copies of the Quran, provided by the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran, are ready to be given to pilgrims in Madinah and Yanbu airports as they depart.

Comprehensive health services

Saudi Arabia has deployed a comprehensive healthcare system to ensure the safety and well-being of the pilgrims.

Over 35,000 medical staff and 5,500 volunteers are on hand to provide around-the-clock care at 183 hospitals and health centers, as well as six mobile clinics equipped with the latest technology.

These facilities boast over 6,400 beds, including specialized units for intensive care, emergency treatment, and heat-related illnesses.

Virtual services are being offered through an online hospital and mobile app, providing medical consultations and information.

Additionally, the “937” call center secured urgent medical advice in seven languages for pilgrims.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aali, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, reported 2,764 cases of heat exhaustion on the first day of Eid, all promptly treated by healthcare teams.

The private health sector has also expanded its role, contributing over 62 facilities and emergency points, and providing services on the Holy Sites train at 18 locations.

Private providers operate two of the 25 Ministry of Health centers, marking a 400% increase in private sector involvement compared to last year.

The Ministry of Commerce has distributed over 37 million provisions to Hajj pilgrims in Mina on the first day of Tashreeq. The ministry’s field teams are actively monitoring the supply situation across the holy sites, ensuring that essential goods and products are readily available.

Moreover, the ministry oversees the supply chain according to its mandate, and its teams are also responsible for inspecting commercial establishments and sales outlets in the holy sites and Makkah.

These inspections ensure compliance with consumer protection regulations and identify any commercial violations.

The Saudi Water Authority announced the distribution of over 3 billion liters of fresh water in Makkah and the holy sites of Mina, and Arafat.

This effort is part of its operational plan to ensure seamless supply across production, transportation, storage, and distribution components of the system, catering to the comfort and service of pilgrims and all beneficiaries during pilgrimage.

Through coordinated efforts and meticulous planning, the authority and its operational arm, the National Water Company and its private sector partners, achieved this exceptional milestone.

The water production capacity was significantly increased, facilitated by the desalination arm of the Saudi Water Authority, enhancing the integrated efforts of the water system to deliver and distribute the water to Makkah and the holy sites.