Saudi Cabinet stresses commitment to Hajj services

Saudi King Salman chairs the council of ministers meeting for first time in Neom. (SPA)
Updated 24 July 2019

Saudi Cabinet stresses commitment to Hajj services

  • The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah has benefited over 52,000 pilgrims

NEOM: The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday reviewed topics related to the services provided to Hajj pilgrims, and to the service of the Two Holy Mosques.

Chaired by King Salman, the Cabinet discussed his directive to host thousands of pilgrims from all over the world each year as part of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah. The program has benefited more than 52,000 pilgrims since its inception in 1996. 

Media Minister Turki Al-Shabanah said the opening of water projects in Makkah and the holy sites reflects the Saudi leadership’s care and attention, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The opening of the water projects, which cost a total of more than SR1.3 billion ($346.6 million), coincides with this year’s pilgrimage season.

The Cabinet condemned the Israeli demolition of dozens of houses in East Jerusalem, making hundreds of Palestinians homeless.

It urged the international community to intervene to stop this aggression and Israel’s attempts to change the legal and demographic character of the city.

The Cabinet was briefed on regional and international developments, including Iran’s violations of international law, such as the interception of civilian ships in the Arabian Gulf.

The Cabinet praised the results of the 50th ordinary session of the Council of Arab Information Ministers chaired by Saudi Arabia.

Participants stressed the role of Arab media in consolidating citizenship, strengthening national identity, and combating terrorism and extremist thought.

The Cabinet expressed its condolences to Japan’s government and people on the deadly fire in the city of Kyoto, and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

Al-Shabanah said local affairs discussed by the Cabinet included the King Abdullah International Parks project in Riyadh.

The Cabinet praised the crown prince’s support for sports, and the distribution of SR2.5 billion to sports clubs.


Saudi FM says Israeli passport holders cannot visit kingdom

Updated 28 January 2020

Saudi FM says Israeli passport holders cannot visit kingdom

  • Said Israel policy unchanged
  • Israel on Sunday said that its citizens could now travel to Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia confirmed on Monday that Israeli passport holders were not permitted to enter the Kingdom.

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the policy was unchanged despite Israel saying on Sunday that its citizens could now travel to Saudi Arabia.

“Our policy is fixed,” Prince Faisal told CNN. “We do not have relations with the state of Israel, and Israeli passport holders cannot visit the Kingdom at the current time.

“When a peace agreement is reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis, I believe the issue of Israel’s involvement in the region will be on the table.”

Analysts said the statements by both countries were significant as US President Donald Trump prepared to unveil his Middle East peace plan in Washington.

“Israel wanted to fool the Arabs, and to put Saudi Arabia in a difficult position, saying they had resolved the issue with the Kingdom and were ready for peace,” the Saudi political analyst Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News.

“But the Kingdom is saying, ‘No, you cannot visit until there is a solution,’ and we will find out tomorrow if the Trump peace plan is that solution.”

The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, calling for normal Arab relations with Israel in return for its withdrawal from occupied land, was the benchmark, Al-Shehri said.

“If they are going to override the Arab Peace Initiative without a workable alternative, then of course the Kingdom will not establish diplomatic relations.”