GCC foreign ministers meet to discuss summits

Updated 17 May 2017

GCC foreign ministers meet to discuss summits

RIYADH: Foreign ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will meet Wednesday in Riyadh to discuss the GCC-US Summit and Arab-Islamic-US Summit, scheduled for Sunday, which will also be attended by US President Donald Trump.
Ahmed Al-Kaabi, spokesman of the GCC General Secretariat, said: “GCC foreign ministers will hold their 143rd session of the ministerial council here on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Al-Khalifa, chairman of the current session.”
GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani, in a statement provided to Arab News by the General Secretariat, said: “The foreign ministers will explore the on-going preparations for the consultative meeting of the GCC leaders, scheduled for Riyadh, in addition to the US-GCC Summit and Arab-Islamic-US Summit to be held in Riyadh on Sunday during the upcoming visit of US President Donald Trump to the Kingdom.”
He said the ministers will also discuss reports on the implementation of decisions of the GCC Supreme Council, reports submitted by the ministerial committees and the GCC General Secretariat, and topics related to strategic dialogue between the GCC, other countries and international blocs.
The ministers will also discuss the latest regional and international developments, and ways to enhance global efforts against terrorism, he added.
Trump, in his first overseas trip as president, will arrive in the Kingdom this weekend, where he will meet leaders from Gulf, Arab and other Muslim countries to discuss issues of strategic importance, including efforts to defeat terrorism.


World leaders call for courage as virus death toll nears 70,000

Updated 06 April 2020

World leaders call for courage as virus death toll nears 70,000

  • Be strong, Pope Francis says
  • US faces ‘Pearl Harbor moment’

JEDDAH: World leaders urged people on Sunday to show courage and strength in fighting the coronavirus pandemic as the global death toll approached 70,000 from more than 1.25 million cases of infection.

Pope Francis described the outbreak as a tragedy, Queen Elizabeth of the UK offered her personal thanks to frontline health workers, and Americans were warned that they faced the “hardest and the saddest week” of their lives.

Saudi Arabia reported five more deaths from the virus, bringing the total to 34. The number of confirmed cases rose by 206 to 2,385, the highest among Gulf Arab states.

The Foreign Ministry will register requests this week from Saudis abroad who want to return home, with priority given to the elderly, pregnant women and people in countries most affected by the pandemic. Those who return are subject to a 14-day quarantine, and about 11,000 hotel rooms have been set aside for them.

The Health Ministry warned that too many people were ignoring advice to stay at home. “Unfortunately, there is still more than 40 percent mobility in shopping and outdoor activities. This is a very alarming percentage,”ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said.

“We are all in this boat together, and those who risk their own lives by going out for no urgent need are risking everybody else’s lives too.”

The six Gulf states have reported 6,757 cases of infection and 54 deaths from the coronavirus. The UAE, where 1,505 people have been infected and 10 have died, will increase its stockpile of strategic goods and waive residency visa fines for the rest of the year, said the prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

In Rome, on Palm Sunday, a Christian religious festival, Pope Francis celebrated mass by live stream with St.Peter’s Square empty of the usual huge crowds.

“Today, in the tragedy of a pandemic, in the face of the many false securities that have now crumbled, in the face of so many hopes betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that weighs upon our hearts, Jesus says to each one of us: ‘Courage, open your heart to my love’,” he said.

Queen Elizabeth gave a rare special address to the British people, only the fourth in her 68-year reign. She praised frontline health workers and more than 750,000 people who volunteered to help the state-run National Health Service.

“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge, and those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any,” she said.

In the US, as the death toll approached 10,000, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said: “This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives … our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment.”