More Than 1.5 Million Arrive in Makkah from Abroad for Hajj

More Than 1.5 Million Arrive in Makkah from Abroad for Hajj
TT

More Than 1.5 Million Arrive in Makkah from Abroad for Hajj

More Than 1.5 Million Arrive in Makkah from Abroad for Hajj

Pilgrims have been streaming into Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah ahead of the start of the Hajj later this week.

The General Directorate of Passports announced the arrival of 1,547,295 pilgrims for the Hajj season. This figure encompasses all pilgrims entering the Kingdom through air, land, and sea ports until Monday.

More are expected, and Saudis and others living in Saudi Arabia will also join them when the pilgrimage officially begins on Friday.

Saudi officials have said they expect the number of pilgrims this year to exceed 2023, when more than 1.8 million people performed Hajj.

On Tuesday, pilgrims thronged the Grand Mosque in Makkah, performing a ritual circuit walking seven times around the Kaaba..
At night, the vast marble court around the Kaaba was packed with the faithful.
Pilgrims do the circumambulation, known as “Tawaf” in Arabic, upon arriving in Makkah. The large crowds circling the Kaaba will last into the Hajj’s first day.
On Friday, pilgrims will move to the Mountain of Arafat for a daylong vigil, then to Muzdalifah, a rocky plain area. In Muzdalifa, pilgrims collect pebbles to be used in the symbolic stoning of pillars representing the devil back in Mina.



Mohamed bin Zayed, Burhan Discuss Means to End Sudan War

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan meet in Abu Dhabi on March 11, 2022. (AFP)
United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan meet in Abu Dhabi on March 11, 2022. (AFP)
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Mohamed bin Zayed, Burhan Discuss Means to End Sudan War

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan meet in Abu Dhabi on March 11, 2022. (AFP)
United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan meet in Abu Dhabi on March 11, 2022. (AFP)

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan held telephone talks on Thursday to discuss a proposal by Ethiopia to end the war in Sudan, said diplomatic sources.

This was the first telephone call between the two leaders since the Sudanese army openly criticized the UAE for its alleged support of the rival Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a claim repeatedly denied by Abu Dhabi.

During the call, Sheikh Mohamed "affirmed the UAE's keenness to support all solutions and initiatives aimed at halting escalation and ending the crisis in Sudan in a way that contributes to enhancing its stability and security and fulfilling the aspirations of its people", reported the UAE’s state news agency (WAM).

He stressed the importance of peaceful dialogue and prioritizing reason to preserve security and stability in Sudan.

Sudanese diplomatic sources said the leaders discussed a proposal by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to end the war that erupted in April 2023.

The PM had visited Sudan earlier this month to mediate ending the conflict, which broke out over disputes over the transition to civilian rule.

Speculation was rife in Sudan over the telephone call between Sheikh Mohamed and Burhan.

Aide to Burhan, Yasser al-Atta, accused the leaderships of the UAE and Chad of supporting the RSF militarily during the war.

He added however that the telephone call was a positive step that may boost the chances of ending the war.

In June, Sudan filed an official complaint to the United Nations Security Council accusing the UAE of supplying the RSF with weapons. The UAE denied the claim.

A leading member of the Forces of Freedom and Change said the telephone talks between Sheikh Mohamed and Burhan did not come as a surprise.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he added that Ahmed’s visit to Port Sudan earlier this month "took place in complete coordination with regional and international powers to persuade the leaders of the Sudanese army to choose peaceful solution" to end the conflict.

"We are fully aware that there is a movement within the army that is influenced by the Islamist movement that is impeding any effort to end the war so that it could return to power once again," he went on to say.

Moreover, he remarked that all efforts to end the fighting in Sudan, whether on the African or Arab levels, are taking place in complete coordination with the efforts carried out by the European Union and United States.