G20 Meetings: Religious Leaders Call For Coexistence, Rejection of Hate Speech

A group of religious leaders during the virtual meeting on Tuesday (Asharq Al-Awsat)
A group of religious leaders during the virtual meeting on Tuesday (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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G20 Meetings: Religious Leaders Call For Coexistence, Rejection of Hate Speech

A group of religious leaders during the virtual meeting on Tuesday (Asharq Al-Awsat)
A group of religious leaders during the virtual meeting on Tuesday (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Representatives of 10 different religions and cultures convened in a virtual forum hosted by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to discuss specific solutions to consolidate ties, counter hate speech, and face Islamophobia.

The forum falls within the meetings of the Group of 20 (G20) – currently chaired by the Kingdom – and is held prior to the leaders’ summit next month.

The G20 Religious Values Forum will continue until Saturday, with the participation of 500 international religious leaders and experts in religious and humanitarian organizations, including 130 speakers from 45 countries.

Tuesday’s opening session featured addresses by former Australian Prime Minister Anthony Abbott, the Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, the Archbishop of Constantinople, the President of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue, the President of the European Council of Rabbis, and others.

Three round tables were held simultaneously on the role of religion in building bridges of peace and resolving conflicts. The meetings discussed the importance of coexistence, unity, solidarity and brotherhood, and strengthening communication between different religions and cultures.

Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr. Abdellatif Al-Sheikh emphasized the Kingdom’s humanitarian role and global position in various parts of the world.

He emphasized the need to unify the efforts of governmental and national religious institutions and international organizations to confront the discourse of extremism and Islamophobia and to instill the values of moderation within societies.

For his part, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Dr. Youssuf Al-Othaimeen, noted that the global challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted “the necessity to converge the views of religious leaders and belief organizations over the values of tolerance, solidarity, and moderation.”

The Archbishop of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, touched on “the importance of human dignity and equality between the peoples of the world,” stressing “standing against all forms of racism and injustice, and any other form of discriminatory practices.”

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa, said that while “moderate voices reject all forms of hatred, racism, discrimination, and marginalization, other isolated extremist voices only represent their hateful views, which are driven by bad motives.”

“The problem is not in the religious texts, nor the ideas of the great pioneers, but in the understanding and application of these texts, rather than distorting their meaning,” he stated.

In the same context, the President of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue, Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, underlined the importance of the work of religious leaders “in spreading hope” within societies.



Saudi Relief Arm, WHO Sign Executive Programs Worth $19ML for Yemen, Sudan, Syria

The five agreements were signed by Advisor at the Royal Court and KSrelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in the presence of Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Abdulmohsen bin Khothaila - SPA
The five agreements were signed by Advisor at the Royal Court and KSrelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in the presence of Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Abdulmohsen bin Khothaila - SPA
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Saudi Relief Arm, WHO Sign Executive Programs Worth $19ML for Yemen, Sudan, Syria

The five agreements were signed by Advisor at the Royal Court and KSrelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in the presence of Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Abdulmohsen bin Khothaila - SPA
The five agreements were signed by Advisor at the Royal Court and KSrelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in the presence of Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Abdulmohsen bin Khothaila - SPA

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) signed five executive programs with the World Health Organization (WHO) for Yemen, Sudan, and Syria, with a total value of $19,496,000.

The agreements were signed on the sidelines of the 77th session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, SPA reported.
The first agreement aims to address the severe shortage of kidney dialysis supplies in Sudan to reduce mortality among kidney failure patients across various Sudanese states by providing dialysis supplies sufficient for some 235,000 dialysis sessions, securing 100 dialysis machines, and paying the salaries of medical staff in 77 dialysis centers, with a value of $5 million.
The second agreement entails providing medical assistance to earthquake victims in Syria, with a total cost of $4,746,000.
The third agreement focuses on combating the spread of measles among children under five in Yemen, with a total cost of $3 million.
The fourth agreement aims to improve water and sanitation services in healthcare facilities, ensuring sustainable water supplies to serve the neediest populations in Yemen, valued at $3,750,000. The agreement includes drilling solar-powered wells in 10 healthcare facilities.
The fifth agreement aims to reduce the spread of cholera across Yemen, with a value of $3 million.
These agreements are part of the humanitarian and relief efforts provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through KSrelief, to support the health sectors in needy countries, enhance their capabilities, and provide them with essential medical needs.


Saudi Leadership Congratulate King of Jordan on Independence Day

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister. (SPA)
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister. (SPA)
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Saudi Leadership Congratulate King of Jordan on Independence Day

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister. (SPA)
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister. (SPA)

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent a cable of congratulations to King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the anniversary of his country's Independence Day.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques wished King Abdullah continued good health and happiness, and the government and people of Jordan further progress and prosperity.

For his part, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud also sent a similar cable of congratulations to King Abdullah.

The Crown Prince wished King Abdullah continued good health and happiness, and the government and people of Jordan further progress and prosperity.


Saudi Arabia Welcomes World Court Decision Ordering Israel to Stop Military Offensive in Rafah

International Court of Justice (ICJ) President Nawaf Salam (C) stands during an ICJ ruling over the situation in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, in the Hague, Netherlands, 24 May 2024. EPA/Koen van Weel
International Court of Justice (ICJ) President Nawaf Salam (C) stands during an ICJ ruling over the situation in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, in the Hague, Netherlands, 24 May 2024. EPA/Koen van Weel
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Saudi Arabia Welcomes World Court Decision Ordering Israel to Stop Military Offensive in Rafah

International Court of Justice (ICJ) President Nawaf Salam (C) stands during an ICJ ruling over the situation in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, in the Hague, Netherlands, 24 May 2024. EPA/Koen van Weel
International Court of Justice (ICJ) President Nawaf Salam (C) stands during an ICJ ruling over the situation in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, in the Hague, Netherlands, 24 May 2024. EPA/Koen van Weel

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said the Kingdom welcomed the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering Israel to immediately stop military attacks or any other offensive actions in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, based on the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

“The Kingdom appreciates the ICJ decision, which is a positive step towards the moral and legal right of the Palestinian people,” it said in a statement on Friday.

The Kingdom reiterated its call on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to stop all forms of aggression against the Palestinian people.


Saudi, French FMs Discuss Developments in Gaza

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah has met with French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Stéphane Séjourné in Paris. SPA
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah has met with French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Stéphane Séjourné in Paris. SPA
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Saudi, French FMs Discuss Developments in Gaza

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah has met with French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Stéphane Séjourné in Paris. SPA
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah has met with French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Stéphane Séjourné in Paris. SPA

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah has met with French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Stéphane Séjourné in Paris.

During the meeting, the two ministers discussed Saudi-French relations and ways to enhance them in all fields and to improve coordination on various issues of mutual concern.

The two ministers also discussed the situation in Gaza and its surroundings and the need to deliver humanitarian assistance to the civilians in the enclave.

The meeting was attended by Saudi Ambassador to France Fahd bin Mayouf Al-Ruwaili, Foreign Minister's Office Director General Abdulrahman Al-Dawood, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Advisor Dr. Manal Radwan.


Saudi Crown Prince Offers Condolences to Iran’s Interim President for Late President Raisi

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Offers Condolences to Iran’s Interim President for Late President Raisi

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, held telephone talks on Friday with Iran’s interim President Mohamed Mokhber to offer his condolences over the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amid-Abdollahian and their entourage.

Mokhber expressed his gratitude to Crown Prince Mohammed for his gesture.

The officials hailed the progress achieved in bilateral relations between their countries on various levels.

They underscored the importance of continuing to bolster cooperation in various fields.


King of Bahrain Says No Reason to Delay Normalizing Ties with Iran

King of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow on Thursday. (AFP)
King of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow on Thursday. (AFP)
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King of Bahrain Says No Reason to Delay Normalizing Ties with Iran

King of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow on Thursday. (AFP)
King of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow on Thursday. (AFP)

King of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa extended on Thursday an invitation to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to attend a Middle East peace conference that will be hosted by the kingdom.

King Hamad is on an official visit to Russia where he held talks with Putin at the Kremlin. The leaders discussed several issues, including expanding trade between their countries.

On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, King Hamad said: “Arab countries are in agreement over the need to hold a peace conference to resolve the problem of the Middle East.”

“Russia is the first country we are turning to to support this conference because it has the greatest international influence,” he went on to say.

King Hamad also said Bahrain supports normalizing ties with Iran.

“We had problems with Iran, but not anymore,” he remarked. “We see no reason to delay the normalization of relations with it.”

He underlined the principle of good neighborliness, adding: “We are trying to establish normal diplomatic, trade and cultural relations with it.”

King Hamad had kicked off his official visit to Russia on Wednesday at the invitation of Putin.


Saudi Foreign Minister Meets with Austrian Counterpart

The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, met on Thursday with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg. SPA
The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, met on Thursday with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg. SPA
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Saudi Foreign Minister Meets with Austrian Counterpart

The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, met on Thursday with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg. SPA
The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, met on Thursday with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg. SPA

The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, met on Thursday with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg.

During the meeting, they reviewed the distinguished relations between the Kingdom and Austria and ways to bolster them to serve the interests of the two countries and peoples. They also exchanged views on regional and international issues.

Senior officials attended the meeting.


Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Meets with British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Photo by SPA
Photo by SPA
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Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Meets with British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Photo by SPA
Photo by SPA

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Cabinet Member, and Envoy for Climate, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, met on Thursday with the British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Neil Crompton.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed issues of common interest and Saudi-UK ties.


Saudi Ambassador Presents Credentials to Emperor of Japan

The flag of Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The flag of Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Ambassador Presents Credentials to Emperor of Japan

The flag of Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The flag of Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Japan Dr. Ghazi Faisal Binzagr presented his credentials as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Saudi Arabia to Japan to Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Thursday.
During the ceremony, Ambassador Binzagr conveyed warm greetings and appreciation from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to the emperor.

He also expressed their wishes for continued progress and prosperity for Japan and its people.


Saudi Hajj Test Run Includes 36,000 Trips to Transport 1.2 Mln Pilgrims

Part of the results of the Hajj Simulation initiative launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah with the participation of 40 governmental entities (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Part of the results of the Hajj Simulation initiative launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah with the participation of 40 governmental entities (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Hajj Test Run Includes 36,000 Trips to Transport 1.2 Mln Pilgrims

Part of the results of the Hajj Simulation initiative launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah with the participation of 40 governmental entities (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Part of the results of the Hajj Simulation initiative launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah with the participation of 40 governmental entities (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah shared results from their second test run for transporting pilgrims for this year’s Hajj season. This is part of their early prep with 40 government bodies.
Highlights from the test include virtually moving over 1.2 million pilgrims, with 5 guidance operations along 12 main routes.
Around 36,640 trips were made within holy sites.
4,000 buses from 63 companies participated, with 600 operation points and 200 camps in Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah. The simulation lasted 17 hours, with 10 hours spent on guidance operations.
One key gain from this trial is the participation of Hajj affairs offices in serving pilgrims and measuring travel times between holy sites based on pilgrims’ needs.
They also tested bus parking and infrastructure quality for better service at holy sites.
This relies on strong infrastructure projects, benefiting pilgrims and managed by various sectors.
Discussions on operational plans for the transportation system are expected to finalize scheduling for guidance operations.
Dr. Ayed Algwinm, a representative of the Hajj and Umrah ministry, explained to Asharq Al-Awsat that the ministry’s trial with its partners is a real test for all the planning this year.
Through these trials, they assess readiness and coordination among the 40 government and 12 field entities involved in Hajj operations, especially in transportation.
He mentioned that plans are practically tested through the “Hajj Simulation” initiative and hypothetical trials for transportation. Over 12,000 field workers verify plan readiness.
Through these trials, they virtually transported over 1.2 million pilgrims.
According to Algwinm, having Hajj affairs offices on transportation routes helps understand pilgrim paths, and monitoring identifies and prevents potential issues during the season.
In response to a question from Asharq Al-Awsat about the gaps found in the trial, Algwinm said: “All these gaps are operational. None are major enough to disrupt transportation or require changing plans. Most are about fully understanding the journey, like not sticking to the schedule or misunderstanding routes.”
He explained that a specialized workshop will address these gaps with all partners. The main goal is to learn from mistakes, rather than aiming for a flawless trial.