Iraqi PM Optimistic over Dialogue between Saudi Arabia, Iran

A handout picture released by Iraq's Prime Minister's Media Office on June 7, 2022 shows Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi giving a press conference at the government headquarters in the capital Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone". (Iraqi Prime Minister’s Press Office/AFP)
A handout picture released by Iraq's Prime Minister's Media Office on June 7, 2022 shows Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi giving a press conference at the government headquarters in the capital Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone". (Iraqi Prime Minister’s Press Office/AFP)
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Iraqi PM Optimistic over Dialogue between Saudi Arabia, Iran

A handout picture released by Iraq's Prime Minister's Media Office on June 7, 2022 shows Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi giving a press conference at the government headquarters in the capital Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone". (Iraqi Prime Minister’s Press Office/AFP)
A handout picture released by Iraq's Prime Minister's Media Office on June 7, 2022 shows Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi giving a press conference at the government headquarters in the capital Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone". (Iraqi Prime Minister’s Press Office/AFP)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi revealed on Tuesday that his country was sponsoring dialogues between five countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran.

He did not name the other countries, but confirmed that the talks were being held in Iraq.

On the Saudi-Iranian dialogue, he revealed that it had made "good" progress, expecting "good news" in the coming period.

"Iraq has largely succeeded in easing tensions in the region and this is very important," he declared at a press conference attended by Asharq Al-Awsat.

"Iraq is a central country in the region and it can therefore play a very significant role," Kadhimi added, saying that a "crisis of trust" had impeded its role, but it has now been overcome.

He cited the visits paid by the Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers to Iraq in recent days as evidence of his country's important role.

Turning to the climate, Kadhimi said Iraq was part of Saudi Arabia's Middle East Green Initiative and it will plant 60 billion trees.

The Kingdom, he continued, has supported Iraq in planting these trees in its effort to combat desertification and the water and climate crises, which have not been addressed properly in the country due to its conflicts.

On the political scene, the PM said certain parties, which he did not name, have been impeding the work of his government so that it would be deemed a failure.

The reality on the ground, however, speaks differently even though the government has been in office for only two years, he remarked.

He stressed that his government was formed for the sole purpose of holding early elections and it did so last year and the polls were hailed as a success.

Moreover, he noted that he assumed office during the collapse of oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic. "I accepted the challenge and responsibility even though the odds were stacked against me."



Emir of Kuwait Holds Talks with Saudi Minister of State 

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets with Saudi Minister of State and Cabinet Member Prince Turki bin Mohammad bin Fahad bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in Kuwait on Monday. (KUNA)
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets with Saudi Minister of State and Cabinet Member Prince Turki bin Mohammad bin Fahad bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in Kuwait on Monday. (KUNA)
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Emir of Kuwait Holds Talks with Saudi Minister of State 

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets with Saudi Minister of State and Cabinet Member Prince Turki bin Mohammad bin Fahad bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in Kuwait on Monday. (KUNA)
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets with Saudi Minister of State and Cabinet Member Prince Turki bin Mohammad bin Fahad bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in Kuwait on Monday. (KUNA)

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received in Kuwait on Monday Saudi Minister of State and Cabinet Member Prince Turki bin Mohammad bin Fahad bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

The minister conveyed to the Emir greetings from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister.

Sheikh Meshal wished for further progress to the Kingdom and its people, reported the Kuwaiti state news agency KUNA. Senior officials attended the meeting.

Prince Turki later met with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

The meeting was attended by Minister of the Emiri Diwan Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, Saudi Ambassador to Kuwait Prince Sultan bin Saad bin Khaled AlSaud and head of the Prime Minister's Diwan Asbdulaziz Dekheel Al-Dekheel.


Saudi Leadership Conveys Condolences to Papua New Guinea over Landslide Victims

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 Saudi Arabia.
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 Saudi Arabia.
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Saudi Leadership Conveys Condolences to Papua New Guinea over Landslide Victims

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 Saudi Arabia.
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 Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi leadership conveyed its sincere condolences and expressed its solidarity with Papua New Guinea over the victims of a landslide that took the lives of hundreds, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
The 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 Saudi Arabia sent separate cables of condolences to Sir Bob Dadae, the Governor-General of Papua New Guinea.
They expressed their sympathy to Sir Bob Dadae, the families of the deceased, and to the friendly people of Papua New Guinea.
They wished a safe return for the missing and a speedy recovery for the injured.

On Monday, a landslide in Yambali village in Enga province, Papua New Guinea, buried an initial estimate of more than 2,000 people.


Saudi Arabia's KSrelief Sends Two Relief Ships for People in Need in Palestine, Sudan

KSrelief sent on Monday two relief ships from Jeddah Islamic Port for the Palestinian and Sudanese people. (SPA)
KSrelief sent on Monday two relief ships from Jeddah Islamic Port for the Palestinian and Sudanese people. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia's KSrelief Sends Two Relief Ships for People in Need in Palestine, Sudan

KSrelief sent on Monday two relief ships from Jeddah Islamic Port for the Palestinian and Sudanese people. (SPA)
KSrelief sent on Monday two relief ships from Jeddah Islamic Port for the Palestinian and Sudanese people. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) sent on Monday two relief ships from Jeddah Islamic Port for the Palestinian and Sudanese people.

The eighth relief ship for Palestinians carries food baskets, shelter materials, generators and heavy equipment such as bulldozers, water tankers and forklifts, and will head to El-Arish Port in Egypt.

So far, eight ships and 50 planes have delivered over 6,500 tons of aid to Palestinians in Gaza Strip.

The 31st relief ship for the Sudanese people carries food, shelter and medical supplies, and will head to the port of Suakin.

Thirty-one ships and 13 planes have so far delivered over 14 tons of aid to the Sudanese people.

In a statement, KSrelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah lauded the generous support provided by the Saudi leadership to humanitarian work around the world.

Saudi Arabia has always extended support to the Palestinian and Sudanese people, and to various other countries and peoples, in an effort to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable groups wherever they are, he stressed.

The assistance is in keeping with Saudi Arabia's historic role in supporting people in need in times of crisis, he added.


GCC, MWL Condemn Israeli Attack on Tents of Displaced Palestinians in Rafah

 Palestinians put out a fire at the site of an Israeli strike on an area designated for displaced people, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 27, 2024. (Reuters)
Palestinians put out a fire at the site of an Israeli strike on an area designated for displaced people, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 27, 2024. (Reuters)
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GCC, MWL Condemn Israeli Attack on Tents of Displaced Palestinians in Rafah

 Palestinians put out a fire at the site of an Israeli strike on an area designated for displaced people, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 27, 2024. (Reuters)
Palestinians put out a fire at the site of an Israeli strike on an area designated for displaced people, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 27, 2024. (Reuters)

Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi strongly condemned on Monday Israel for bombing a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) affiliated displaced persons camp in Rafah.

Albudaiwi stressed that the ongoing attacks on Palestinian civilians in Gaza and Rafah are war crimes.

“These attacks demonstrate the Israeli forces' disregard for the United Nations (UN) and international humanitarian laws and treaties,” he added, calling on the international community “to take prompt and decisive action to secure an immediate ceasefire, halt further Israeli military operations, and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.”

He reiterated the GCC countries' unwavering support for the just Palestinian people and their commitment to protecting them from Israeli military oppression.

The Muslim World League (MWL) also strongly condemned the latest Israeli attack on Rafah.

In a statement issued by the Secretariat General, MWL Secretary General and chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars Sheikh Dr Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa slammed the ongoing Israeli violations of international and humanitarian resolutions, laws, and norms.

He called for “urgent intervention to halt these attacks and prevent the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe that the Palestinian people are currently facing.”


Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Israeli Attack on Displaced Palestinians in Rafah 

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
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Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Israeli Attack on Displaced Palestinians in Rafah 

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)

The Saudi Foreign Ministry strongly condemned on Monday the ongoing “massacres by Israeli forces and their continued targeting of innocent civilians in Gaza, the latest of which was the attack on displaced Palestinians” in northwestern Rafah.

It stressed the Kingdom’s “categorical rejection of the continued flagrant violations by Israeli forces of all international and humanitarian resolutions, laws and norms.”

It called on the international community to “intervene immediately to stop the massacres and prevent the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe from deepening.”

Palestinian health and civil emergency service officials said on Sunday Israeli air strikes killed at least 35 Palestinians and wounded dozens in an area in Rafah designated for the displaced.


Saudi Hajj Ministry Targets Fraudulent Companies Globally

Undersecretary of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs Dr. Ayed Algwinm.
Undersecretary of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs Dr. Ayed Algwinm.
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Saudi Hajj Ministry Targets Fraudulent Companies Globally

Undersecretary of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs Dr. Ayed Algwinm.
Undersecretary of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs Dr. Ayed Algwinm.

Dr. Ayed Algwinm, Undersecretary of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs, described the fraud by fake Hajj companies as a “full-fledged crime” both at home and abroad.

He highlighted ongoing efforts with Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, and other countries to tackle these Hajj-related scams, noting that authorities have already shut down many of these fraudulent operations.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Algwinm detailed international efforts to track down fake companies, particularly in countries where these scams are common.

“We’ve been monitoring and taking action in these countries,” he said, noting that scammers know their victims can’t perform Hajj due to strict security measures in place in the Kingdom.

Domestically, Algwinm emphasized the national Hajj system’s readiness to fight these fraudulent practices.

“We are closely watching social media and have caught people trying to offer unauthorized Hajj services,” he affirmed.

Algwinm stressed the importance of using official channels for Hajj registration.

“We urge all prospective pilgrims to apply through the official Nusuk platform for domestic pilgrims, Hajj offices in Islamic countries, and the Nusuk Hajj platform for non-Islamic countries,” he said.

He welcomed those who have secured a spot for this year’s Hajj and warned that those without a permit face strict penalties, including fines up to SAR 10,000, deportation, and a ban on re-entry if caught trying to enter illegally.

Boosting services

Algwinm announced that regulations on service companies will be stricter for this year’s Hajj season. He emphasized zero tolerance for unauthorized entry into sacred sites, promising firm and deterrent measures.

Moreover, he expected more pilgrims to arrive in Saudi Arabia than last year and assured that the ministry and service providers are prepared to handle the increase.

Around 400 companies will be involved in providing services, transportation, and catering to ensure a smooth Hajj experience.

The private sector is essential in the Hajj system, asserted Algwinm.

He noted the involvement of 35 service companies, 63 transportation firms, and 300 catering providers, making the private sector a key partner in delivering Hajj services.

He added that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is focused on improving service quality by empowering the private sector.

“We've boosted service classifications to prevent fraud and ensure high standards,” he said, ensuring that pilgrims receive the services they were promised.

Monitoring companies

He underscored stronger regulations for companies during this year’s Hajj season.

He highlighted the compliance (Emtithal) initiative that details penalties for service providers who don’t follow plans during Hajj.

Two companies were permanently suspended from operating last year, according to Algwinm.

He stated that several companies were slapped with heavy fines for violations.

Additionally, the ministry compensated pilgrims who didn’t receive some services promised to them, refunding money to both domestic and international pilgrims.


Saudi King Receives Written Message from Senegalese President

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. SPA
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. SPA
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Saudi King Receives Written Message from Senegalese President

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. SPA
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. SPA

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has received a written message from Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Faye on the relations between the two countries.
On behalf of Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, Deputy Foreign Minister Eng. Waleed El-Khereiji received the message during a meeting with the Ambassador of Senegal to the Kingdom, Mamoudou Sall.
The meeting covered Saudi-Senegalese relations and ways to enhance them in all fields, in addition to other topics of mutual interest.


Saudi FM: Two-State Solution Basis for Peace, Security in the Region 

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah addresses the joint press conference in Brussels on Sunday. (SPA)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah addresses the joint press conference in Brussels on Sunday. (SPA)
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Saudi FM: Two-State Solution Basis for Peace, Security in the Region 

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah addresses the joint press conference in Brussels on Sunday. (SPA)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah addresses the joint press conference in Brussels on Sunday. (SPA)

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah stressed on Sunday that the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would form the foundation for permanent peace and security in the region.

The FM, along with foreign ministers and representatives from European countries, was in Brussels to attend a meeting of the Ministerial Committee assigned by the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit on Developments in the Gaza Strip.

The meeting stressed the urgent need to end the Gaza conflict and take necessary steps toward implementing a two-state solution.

Prince Faisal co-chaired the meeting with his Norwegian counterpart, Espen Barth Eide, in cooperation with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell. The meeting was a follow up to a previous one for the committee held in Riyadh on April 29.

Speaking at a press conference with his Norwegian counterpart and Borrell, Prince Faisal said Saudi Arabia focused during the Riyadh and Brussels meetings on keeping the two-state solution alive.

The international community appears to be reaching a consensus over the solution that guarantees the security and rights of the Palestinian people, he remarked.

Prince Faisal warned that the situation in the Gaza Strip has become “critical”, demanding an immediate ceasefire.

The international community is in agreement on the need to reach a ceasefire and the release of hostage, he went on to say.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate rapidly and this is completely unacceptable,” he added.

Furthermore, Prince Faisal praised Norway, Spain and Ireland for recognizing the State of Palestine, noting that some other European countries are also considering such a move.

In addition, he stressed the importance of bolstering state institutions within the Palestinian Authority, which would demonstrate that the Palestinian state has the ability to rise up to its responsibilities in guaranteeing the security of its neighbors.

Prince Faisal said that should the international community uphold international law, including humanitarian laws, then that would send an important signal to Israel that it cannot act with impunity and cannot undermine the Palestine state forever.

Ministers and representatives from Algeria, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Latvia, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Palestine, Sweden, Switzerland, Türkiye, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) attended the Brussels meeting.

It emphasized its support for efforts aimed at achieving an immediate ceasefire, releasing detainees and hostages, and ending the war in Gaza.

It also underscored the importance of addressing all illegal unilateral actions and violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, including control over the Rafah crossing, as well as tackling the catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

Prince Faisal also attended in Brussels a ministerial-level meeting with Arab countries and international partners to support the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mustafa and representatives from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Office of the Quartet regarding Palestine presented a reform plan and assessed the deteriorating economic conditions and humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories.

The meeting welcomed the reform plan, with Prince Faisal reiterating the Kingdom’s support for the Palestinian government. He emphasized the importance of removing all obstacles, including those imposed by Israel, and called for lifting the seizure of Palestinian funds and refraining from any measures that hinder the work of the Palestinian government.


Saudi Arabia Appoints Faisal al-Mujfel Ambassador to Syria

Saudi Arabia's new Ambassador to Syria Dr. Faisal Al-Mujfel. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia's new Ambassador to Syria Dr. Faisal Al-Mujfel. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia Appoints Faisal al-Mujfel Ambassador to Syria

Saudi Arabia's new Ambassador to Syria Dr. Faisal Al-Mujfel. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia's new Ambassador to Syria Dr. Faisal Al-Mujfel. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia appointed a new ambassador to Syria on Sunday, reported the Saudi Press Agency.

Dr. Faisal Al-Mujfel will be the Kingdom's first envoy to Damascus since the closure of the Saudi embassy there in 2012 during the Syrian civil war.

Dr. Faisal expressed his gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, for entrusting him with this duty.

Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Syria earlier this year after the two countries cut diplomatic ties more than a decade ago.

Syria reopened its embassy in Riyadh last year and appointed a new ambassador in December.


Dar Tantora: A Sustainable Oasis Steeped in AlUla's Rich History

This innovative project is testament to AlUla's commitment to preserving its rich heritage while embracing a sustainable tourism future. (SPA)
This innovative project is testament to AlUla's commitment to preserving its rich heritage while embracing a sustainable tourism future. (SPA)
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Dar Tantora: A Sustainable Oasis Steeped in AlUla's Rich History

This innovative project is testament to AlUla's commitment to preserving its rich heritage while embracing a sustainable tourism future. (SPA)
This innovative project is testament to AlUla's commitment to preserving its rich heritage while embracing a sustainable tourism future. (SPA)

Dar Tantora, a name synonymous with the historic sundial that once graced its entrance, has unveiled its eco-friendly luxury hotel facilities, reported the Saudi Press Agency on Sunday.

This unique property, also known as "The House Hotel", boasts 30 guest rooms meticulously built using traditional AlUla construction methods. Skilled artisans employed time-honored tools and seamlessly blended them with modern engineering techniques for a truly immersive experience.

Stepping inside Dar Tantora is like stepping back in time. The corridors bathed in warm candlelight emanate serenity, while the restaurant, café, and health club seamlessly integrate in the traditional home lifestyle of AlUla old town.

Sustainability is at the heart of Dar Tantora's philosophy. The hotel utilizes specially designed irrigation and ventilation systems to minimize energy consumption and environmental impact. The hotel's design, echoing the changing seasons and temperature fluctuations, reflects a deep respect for the natural world.

This innovative project is testament to AlUla's commitment to preserving its rich heritage while embracing a sustainable tourism future.