King Salman: Strategic meetings between Islamic world, Russia important for global security, stability

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The Strategic Vision Group meeting between Russia and the Islamic world is held in Jeddah. (Supplied)
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Prince Khalid Al-Faisal speaks during the summit. (Supplied)
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The Strategic Vision Group meeting between Russia and the Islamic world is being held to discuss common issues between the two . (Supplied)
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The Strategic Vision Group meeting between Russia and the Islamic world is being held to discuss common issues between the two . (Supplied)
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The Strategic Vision Group meeting between Russia and the Islamic world is being held to discuss common issues between the two . (Supplied)
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The Strategic Vision Group meeting between Russia and the Islamic world is being held to discuss common issues between the two . (Supplied)
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Updated 24 November 2021
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King Salman: Strategic meetings between Islamic world, Russia important for global security, stability

  • The king said Saudi-Russian relations are strong and historical
  • Added that Russia has deep-rooted relations with Islamic world, evidenced by its presence as OIC observer

JEDDAH: King Salman confirmed Saudi Arabia’s belief in the importance of strategic meetings between the Islamic world and the Russian Federation for enhancing regional and international security and stability.
In a speech delivered by the Emir of Makkah Prince Khaled Al-Faisal on behalf of the Saudi king, he said that the Islamic region is characterized by tolerance and moderation, and this is why it accepts all races and ethnicities.




Makkah governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal delivers a speech on behalf of King Salman. (Supplied)


“Saudi Arabia has an honorable role in adopting the principles of moderation and coexistence, as it has striven to support regional and international efforts in this field, and has presented many initiatives in this regard, most notably, the adoption of the Makkah Declaration, supporting the office of the UN Alliance of Civilizations,” he said.
The king added in his speech that Saudi Arabia is committed to support any future efforts aimed at serving these principles, believing that difference does not mean discord and that tolerance calls for transcendence.
He added that the Saudi-Russian relations, which have extended for a period of 95 years, are strong and historical.

“These relations have witnessed qualitative leaps in recent years, and culminated in high-level visits between the two countries. These visits resulted in signing many joint agreements in all economic, cultural, and defense fields. They also paved the way for the development of these relations and consolidating the level of trust between the two countries,” said Prince Khaled Al-Faisal on behalf of the king.




Attendees take part in the the Group of Strategic Vision Russia — Islamic World summit. (SPA)

King Salman said that Russia and the Islamic world share deep cultural heritage, which paves the way for activating the role of religious institutions, developing an environment that supports peaceful coexistence between followers of different religions and races, preserving the role of the family and spiritual values, and protecting human rights.

He added that Russia has deep-rooted relations with the Islamic world, as evidenced by its presence as an observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for more than 15 years, which has resulted in fruitful cooperation with the organization.

“He added that more than 20 million Muslims live in harmony with their communities, and enjoy the right to freely practice their religious rites,” he said.

He pointed out that the dynamics of the relationship of Islamic countries with Russia is diverse, and prepares for building bridges of scientific and technological cooperation and promoting them in the field of development, education, software, and applications of the fourth industrial revolution.

Saudi Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Russian Federation Abdulrahman Al Ahmed told Arab News that Saudi-Russia relations began in 1926 when Karim Hakimov was appointed as an envoy to the late King Abdul Aziz.




The Strategic Vision Group meeting between Russia and the Islamic world is being held to discuss common issues. (Supplied)

“That was followed by letters between the leaders of the two countries. In 1932, King Faisal, who was at that time the viceroy of the Hijaz and foreign minister, made an official visit to Moscow. In 1990, Prince Saud Al-Faisal visited Moscow to resume relations and sign agreements and political discussions between the two countries,” he said.

He added that the relations became even stronger at the turn of the century when King Abdullah and Prince Sultan visited Moscow.

“There was a qualitative leap in the relations between the two countries through the visits made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Moscow in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. These visits were crowned with a visit by King Salman to Moscow in 2017, during which a number of agreements were signed. In 2019, President Vladimir Putin visited Riyadh, and again, several agreements were inked.”

He stressed that cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Russia has reached wider horizons at all levels of the economy, in policy, culture, arts, and energy. “Saudi Arabia and Russia are members at OPEC+ and other fields,” he added.

Commenting on how such meetings could enhance cooperation between Russia and the Islamic world, Vitaliy Naumkin, director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, told Arab News that: “This conference is very important as it is held for the first time during the pandemic. Moreover, there are also many people attending this conference. Also, very important representatives are present. So we need more cooperation because of the pandemic and the new development in the world.”

Naumkin added that the two sides have signed important agreements.

“We are signing other important agreements today here in Saudi Arabia, and these will be followed by new steps, and I am sure these steps will be very positive.

“There will be more cooperation between Russia and the Islamic world, especially Saudi Arabia, which is located in the center of the Islamic world, and it has a key role in this cooperation.”

Meanwhile, in an article posted on the Saudi Embassy’s website on Monday, Al- Ahmed said that among the urgent international issues the group will pay attention to are combating terrorism, international peace and security, the role of international organizations in the peaceful settlement of disputes, promoting a culture of peace, and economic cooperation in the post-COVID-19 world.

He added that the meeting would also focus on dialogue and cultural and humanitarian rapprochement, as well as other demanding issues.

“In this context, I am pleased to commend the efforts the Group of Strategic Vision “Russia — Islamic World” has been making in rapprochement between the Russian Federation and the Muslim world through joint work to enhance dialogue and understanding, reject extremist ideas, and strengthen joint measures to combat international terrorism,” Al-Ahmed said.

“I would like to point out the firm positions of the Russian Federation on the just issues of the Muslim world and the Russian political leadership’s keenness to achieve harmony, understanding, tolerance and coexistence between the people of the Russian Federation and the peoples of Islamic countries to face common challenges and achieve progress and prosperity for all,” he added.

Guests and speakers at the event included Rustam Minnikhanov, president of the Republic of Tatarstan and chairman of the Group of Strategic Vision – “Russia — Islamic World”; Hussein Ibrahim Taha, secretary-general of the OIC; Walid bin Abdul Karim, Saudi deputy minister of foreign affairs, and others.


Saudi border guards foil smuggling attempts near Jazan

Updated 23 June 2024
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Saudi border guards foil smuggling attempts near Jazan

RIYADH: Border Guard land patrols have foiled an attempt to smuggle 135 kilograms of qat in Al-Dayer sector of Jazan Region. 
Also in Jazan region, border police thwarted an attempt to illegally transport 160 kilograms of qat in Al-Ardah. 
Legal procedures were followed, and the seized items were handed over to the concerned authority.
Meanwhile, two Pakistani residents attempting to sell 4.7 kilograms of methamphetamine in Jeddah. The individuals were referred to the Public Prosecution for legal action.


KSrelief continues humanitarian activities in Lebanon, Sudan

Updated 23 June 2024
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KSrelief continues humanitarian activities in Lebanon, Sudan

RIYADH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center’s (KSrelief) philanthropist works in Lebanon and Sudan continues with its latest provision of medical support and basic food requirements for needy individuals.

In the Miniyeh region of northern Lebanon, the Souboul Al-Salam Social Association ambulance service being funded by KSRelief completed 56 emergency missions, which involved the transport of patients to and from hospitals as well as the provision of first responder services to individuals involved in traffic incidents.

In Sudan, the Saudi aid agency distributed 620 food packages to displaced families staying at the Shelter Center in Blue Nile State, or about 6,131 individuals receiving the subsistence items under the third phase of the Food Security Support Project for the country.


Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world

Updated 22 June 2024
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Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world

  • Adventurer tackles Mount Toubkal in Morocco

DHAHRAN: Sondos Jaan embarked on the journey to the highest peak in the Arab world on June 20.

It is the latest episode in Jaan’s love for mountain adventures, but to understand the fascination it is important to take a look back at her childhood.

She told Arab News: “I am from Madinah. I was born in a city where I could see a mountain from my bedroom window, and as I walked the streets I would see mountains.”

A picture of Sondos Jaan aged about 5 on the top of a mountain with her father. (Supplied)

Those peaks were an important part of her early childhood. There are pictures of Jaan aged about 5 on the top of mountains. She said: “I call these pictures ‘Sondos between two mountains,’ the real mountain carved in nature, and my father.”

During family camping trips, she would sneak away the moment her family was not paying attention in order to climb a mountain.

HIGHLIGHTS

• For her latest adventure, Sondos Jaan is climbing Morocco’s Mount Toubkal, which is a height of 4,167 meters.

• The climb has two routes: The first takes three days of climbing, and the second takes two days but is more challenging.

She added: “I would hear my father calling me, telling me to stay put and to wait for him. My dear father would come to me and we would then climb together, step by step, him telling me where to place my feet until we reached the summit, and then we would descend together, just the two of us.”

Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

Her father was the first adventurer she knew. He was always prepared, she says, and “his car was always ready for a trip.”

She said: “He would tell me stories when he returned from hunting trips, whether on land or at sea. I would imagine the stories as if he were the hero in one of the animated films I watched. Sometimes he would take me with him, and I felt like I was part of the story.”

Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

Her love for adventure was instilled in her by her father from a very early age. And it seems mountain climbing is in her DNA.

Jaan said: “My father is my primary mountain-climbing coach, and I certainly inherited the spirit of adventure and love for travel, experiences, and camping from him.

Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

“He taught me swimming, horse riding, hunting, fishing, and the basics of camping.”

For her latest adventure, Jaan and a friend are climbing Morocco’s Mount Toubkal, which is a height of 4,167 meters. The climb has two routes: the first takes three days of climbing, and the second takes two days but is more challenging.

A file photo of Sondos Jaan when she was about five years old. (Supplied)

They started the climb early, continuing for about nine to 11 hours, followed by an overnight stay at an elevation of 3,200 meters above sea level.

She believes that elements of nature are instilled within each of us and it is our duty — and a privilege — to find and channel those elements.

She said that climbing to Everest Base Camp was the hardest trek she has yet attempted. It was a two-week journey and she added that she was not able to sleep, eat well or breathe properly due to oxygen deficiency in the two days leading up to arrival at the base camp. However, those were not the main factors behind it being her most difficult climb.

She said: “The (main) reason was simply managing expectations. I was emotional after walking all that time and reaching what was supposed to be the summit for that trip, only to realize it wasn’t even the summit.

“It was the main camp where climbers camp for two months every year before attempting to reach the Everest summit, allowing their bodies to acclimatize to the oxygen deficiency, training, and waiting for the right time to climb the summit.”

The experience taught her a valuable lesson, and she added: “I remember descending and as soon as we settled in one of the tea houses, I cried.

“They asked me why. I said I wanted pizza, crying real tears. The owners of the house tried hard to make pizza for me. I ate one slice and gave the rest to their dog. I reflected on my feelings and asked myself, ‘Why did I act that way?’ And the simple answer was, we didn’t reach the summit, we just saw it up close.”

She considers the thrill of the journey, and not only the destination, to be one worth embracing. She now believes that the feeling of almost giving up happens during every climb; she sees it as a healthy sign.

She added: “It is a reminder that I am human. It is also a reminder that I am capable of doing things that might seem impossible, not because I have superhuman strength, but because I am a human capable of overcoming challenges. This gives me the motivation to complete the climb.”

She believes her latest adventure also serves a greater purpose. Seeing Saudi women participate in various fields, especially sports, helps encourage her to keep striving for the highest heights.

She hopes that young girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about, and that her experiences will help to push them to their limits to break stereotypes and barriers along the way.

She is to continue her climb, whether it be a mountain to conquer, or toward the goals of her gender.

For those starting out, she advised: “(You must) start with small, achievable goals and gradually increase the difficulty level. Ensure you have the right gear and training: it’s important to be physically and mentally prepared.

“Join a community or group of climbers for support and motivation. Most importantly, believe in yourself and enjoy the journey.”

 


Migratory birds bring ecological balance to Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region

The Aman Environmental Society has launched awareness campaigns and created water basins to support and sustain migratory birds.
Updated 22 June 2024
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Migratory birds bring ecological balance to Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region

  • Nasser Al-Majlad: “They contribute to plant reproduction and diversity through pollination, while also helping to control pests by consuming insects, reducing the need for harmful pesticides in agriculture”

RIYADH: Every year, nearly 300 bird species use Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region as a migration path. The area’s diverse landscapes and balanced ecosystem create a natural sanctuary for these avian visitors.

Nasser Al-Majlad, president of the Aman Environmental Society in the Northern Borders region, highlighted the crucial ecological and cultural role played by migratory birds.

FASTFACT

The migratory birds have a positive impact on soil health and ecosystem balance by aiding in soil aeration and seed dispersal near bodies of water.

“They contribute to plant reproduction and diversity through pollination, while also helping to control pests by consuming insects, reducing the need for harmful pesticides in agriculture,” he said.

According to a report by the Saudi Press Agency, Al-Majlad also emphasized the positive impact birds have on soil health and ecosystem balance by aiding in soil aeration and seed dispersal near bodies of water.

NUMBER

300

Every year, nearly 300 bird species use Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region as a migration path, Saudi Press Agency reported.

He also stressed the necessity of protecting migratory birds from poaching and environmental problems. The National Center for Wildlife has enacted strict anti-poaching legislation, he noted.

The Aman Environmental Society has launched awareness campaigns and created water basins to support and sustain migratory birds.

 


Saleh Al-Shaibi, senior caretaker of the Kaaba, dies

Updated 22 June 2024
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Saleh Al-Shaibi, senior caretaker of the Kaaba, dies

  • Funeral prayers held after Fajr on Saturday at the Grand Mosque
  • His responsibilities included opening and closing the Kaaba, cleaning, washing, repairing its Kiswa (covering), and welcoming visitors

MAKKAH: Dr. Saleh bin Zain Al-Abidin Al-Shaibi, the senior caretaker of the Kaaba, died in Makkah on Friday evening. Funeral prayers were held after Fajr on Saturday at the Grand Mosque.
Al-Shaibi, who held a doctorate in Islamic studies, was a university professor and an author of several works on creed and history. He was the 77th key holder of the Kaaba since the conquest of Makkah.
His responsibilities included opening and closing the Kaaba, cleaning, washing, repairing its Kiswa (covering), and welcoming visitors. He took over the guardianship after the death of his uncle, Abdulqader Taha Al-Shaibi, in 2013.
His son, Abdulrahman Saleh Al-Shaibi, told Arab News that saying farewell to his father was one of the hardest and saddest moments of his life. He added that the family accepted Allah’s will for a man who was always close to everyone and dedicated his life to serving the family.
He went on to say that his father had been suffering from illness recently but had remained patient and steadfast. The entire community shared in the family’s grief and expressed their sorrow and pain for the loss of the Al-Shaibi family’s pillar.
Al-Shaibi chaired the Department of Creed at Umm Al-Qura University for over two decades. Known for his scholarly approach and love for knowledge, he explored religious and doctrinal issues deeply. An academic at heart, he left a significant and lasting impact.
King Fahd bin Abdulaziz appointed him to the Saudi Shoura Council, and Al-Shaibi served as the deputy to his uncle in the guardianship of the Kaaba until becoming senior caretaker.
His son Abdulrahman added that he had served as his father’s deputy in the guardianship of the Kaaba for five years, after which his cousin Abdulmalik Al-Shaibi had taken over.
He said that his father had wished him to hold the guardianship and the key to the Kaaba after him. However, if this wish is not honored, the guardianship and the key will be handed over to his uncle Abdulwahab Al-Shaibi.
Nizar Al-Shaibi, the cousin of the deceased, told Arab News that it was a sad day for the family. However, the outpouring of love, solidarity, and support from all segments of society, who had rushed to offer their condolences, had helped to ease the burden of their grief.
They had expressed their gratitude for the life of the deceased, who had dedicated his life to the guardianship of the Kaaba and enhancing its reverence.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque mourned the death of Sheikh Dr. Saleh bin Zain Al-Abidin Al-Shaibi.
It said in a statement: “With hearts content with God’s decree, the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque and all its employees extend their deepest condolences to the family of the deceased, Sheikh Dr. Saleh bin Zain Al-Abidin Al-Shaibi, the senior caretaker of the Holy Kaaba.”
Khaled Al-Husseini, a writer and expert on Makkah’s affairs, expressed his deep sorrow over the death.
Al-Husseini described Al-Shaibi as a man of knowledge and learning, who, alongside his honored role in the guardianship of the Kaaba, was a scholar, academic, and lecturer at Umm Al-Qura University. He had generously shared his knowledge with successive generations which had benefited from his expertise over 20 years.