Saudi Cabinet reiterates call for complete ceasefire in Gaza

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet held a meeting on Tuesday. (SPA)
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Updated 28 November 2023

Saudi Cabinet reiterates call for complete ceasefire in Gaza

  • Cabinet emphasised the Kingdom’s view that stability can only be achieved through establishment of independent Palestinian state

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet reiterated on Tuesday the Kingdom’s call for a complete ceasefire in Gaza and the protection of civilians in the territory.

A temporary truce between Israel and Hamas entered a fifth day on Tuesday after the deal was extended to allow further releases of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

The Cabinet also stressed the need to provide civilians with aid and emphasised the Kingdom’s view that security and stability can only be achieved in the region through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Cabinet also confirmed its commitment to combating climate change and prioritising the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment which it said reflects the Kingdom’s interest in enhancing international cooperation and finding concrete solutions to support the global economy.

The Cabinet reviewed the outcomes of the Fifth Arab Water Conference which was recently held in Riyadh, and highlighted the Kingdom’s active role in addressing regional and international water challenges. This includes the establishment of the Global Water Organization and the provision of technical solutions that support achieving sustainable water security.

The Cabinet also discussed the Kingdom’s participation in a number of recent international meetings as part of its efforts to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with international partners, and contribute to efforts to achieve justice and peace in the world.

Riyadh hosts GCC, talks with foreign ministers on Sunday

Updated 10 sec ago

Riyadh hosts GCC, talks with foreign ministers on Sunday

  • “The GCC Ministerial Council and the joint ministerial meetings with Egypt, Jordan and Morocco will be held on March 3,” the GCC posted on X
  • A joint ministerial meeting will be held on the sidelines

RIYADH: The Gulf Cooperation Council will host its 159th ministerial session in Riyadh on Sunday, while separate meetings will be held involving the foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.
“The GCC Ministerial Council and the joint ministerial meetings with Egypt, Jordan and Morocco will be held on March 3,” the GCC posted on X.
The council shared a statement from GCC Secretary-General Jassim Mohammed Al-Budaiwi, which said: “The meeting of the 159th Ministerial Council of the GCC will be held (on) Sunday in Riyadh, headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of Qatar (and) president of the current session of the Ministerial Council, in the presence of the foreign ministers of the GCC countries.”
A joint ministerial meeting will be held on the sidelines between the GCC and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.
The secretary-general said that the Ministerial Council will discuss a number of reports on the subject of following up on the implementation of the decisions of the GCC’s Supreme Council that were issued by the summit in Doha in December 2023.
It will also focus on memorandums and reports submitted by the ministerial and technical committees and the general secretariat, in addition to topics related to dialogues and strategic relations between the GCC countries and global countries and blocs, as well as the latest regional and international developments.
Al-Budaiwi said that the Gulf-Egyptian meeting will look at several topics, the most important of which are the joint action plan and ways to enhance cooperation.
The meetings between the GCC and Jordan and Morocco will form part of the distinctive relationships and partnerships between the parties.

Hundreds of Sri Lankan nurses prepare to join Saudi hospitals in 2024

Updated 01 March 2024

Hundreds of Sri Lankan nurses prepare to join Saudi hospitals in 2024

  • They will be employed in all parts of the Kingdom
  • Recruitment process started in Colombo this week

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka is preparing to send hundreds of nurses to join hospitals in Saudi Arabia in 2024, the Ministry of Labor said on Friday.

The first phase of the recruitment process took place in Colombo this week and was overseen by the Saudi Ministry of Health and Sri Lanka’s Labor and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara.

“Saudi Arabia is looking for medical and paramedical staff from countries such the Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka to meet the growing demand of this sector in the Kingdom,” Sanjay Nallaperuma, media secretary of the Ministry of Labor and Foreign Employment, told Arab News.

“Initially, they want to recruit 1,000 nurses in a phased operation throughout the next 12 months.”

Ninety-five nurses were selected during the first phase out of 400 candidates.

“Those selected were qualified nurses and they had a Bachelor of Science degree,” Nallaperuma said.

“The Saudi Ministry of Health will post them in government hospitals in all parts of the Kingdom.”

Similar to global trends, nurses make important contributions to the Saudi health sector as healthcare providers. As a result of the Kingdom’s investments in health, nursing has become one of the most demanded professions.

“These 95 will go in May and the next recruitment (phase) is in August,” Nallaperuma said.

For Sri Lanka, their employment in the Kingdom, where the average nurse salary is $1,400, will contribute to the reeling economy.

Every year, more than 200,000 migrant workers leave Sri Lanka to work abroad. They are a main source of foreign exchange for the country, which since 2022 has been gripped by its worst financial crisis.

Gulf Cooperation Council countries are the preferred choice for Sri Lankan workers, with Saudi Arabia being their key destination.

“We will get foreign currency at a time when we are undergoing a period of economic recovery,” Nallaperuma said. “It’s a great blessing from the Kingdom.”

Saudi surgeons successfully complete complex 16-hour operation separating Nigerian conjoined twins

Updated 01 March 2024

Saudi surgeons successfully complete complex 16-hour operation separating Nigerian conjoined twins

Riyadh: Surgeons in Saudi Arabia on Thursday successfully completed a complex procedure of separating Nigerian conjoined twins Hassana and Hasina at King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital in King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh.

The twins, who arrived in Saudi Arabia last October, share areas in the lower abdomen, pelvis, lower spine, and lower spinal nerves.

The separation surgery took about 16 and a half hour and involved 39 consultants, specialists, technical, nursing, and support staff.

Head of the medical team Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said the operation has a 70 percent success rate and involved nine stages.

“All the doctors who have participated are Saudi colleagues. We take pride in ensuring that young cadres have participated and thus secured the continuous exchange of experience, he told Al-Ekhbariya.

“Some 38 individuals, including consultants, specialists, and nursing and technical staff, participated. There are also fresh graduates in pediatric surgery, as well as other fields of surgery.

“They are contributing with us to ensure that experience is not limited to certain people, but rather continues for years to come in a country where achievement is constant and giving is permanent,” he added.

This is the 60th operation performed by the Saudi program for separating conjoined twins. Over the past 34 years, the program has cared for 135 sets of twins from 25 countries.

Dr. Al-Rabeeah emphasized the Kingdom’s pioneering role in humanitarian work in general and medical work in particular. 

He extended his sincere thanks to his fellow medical team members for their great efforts, pointing out that this medical achievement is an embodiment of Saudi medical excellence, which falls within the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030. 

He also extended his thanks and appreciation to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their support and follow-up of the Saudi program for separating conjoined twins.

The parents of the twins expressed thanks to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and praised the Kingdom’s great humanitarian role.

Russell Peters, the comedian enjoying the last laugh

Updated 01 March 2024

Russell Peters, the comedian enjoying the last laugh

  • Canadian performer advises people to follow their dreams despite setbacks
  • Stand-up veteran recalls earning $50 for gigs, being booed off stage and learning on the job

RIYADH: Award-winning Canadian comedian Russell Peters has revealed the secret behind his successful career.

“Identify your dream and actively chase it,” Peters said during a recent interview on Arab News’ podcast, The Mayman Show. “It’s far more rewarding to have pursued your dream, even if you fail, than to passively wonder about it.”

Peters found his own path in 1989 when he began performing stand-up comedy at amateur shows. Despite not being allotted more than five minutes with the mic, he was determined to pursue his passion.

“If I got one laugh, I think that’s all I needed: Let’s figure this out, let’s try to figure out how to get more of those people,” he said on learning from his first performances.

Discussing his early career, he talked about being booed off stage in Toronto in 1993 while opening for The Pharcyde, a hip-hop group from the US. With hindsight, he laughs at his own arrogance then, viewing the experience as a well-deserved lesson.

Peters recounted how he would drive hours to perform, earning $50 plus complimentary chicken wings, a tank of gas, and a soda. During those days, he thought: “If I stayed, I’d be in the exact same financial position I would have been had I gone. So I wasn’t losing anything and I’d stay there and I’d be talking to people for free,” he said. “I just remember all the hard gigs, those were the fun ones.”

Fast-forward to 2024, and Peters has been hailed as one of the greatest comedians of all time by Rolling Stone, and has held the record for being the longest-standing comedian since 2007. He was also the first comedian to sell out Toronto’s Air Canada Center in 2007, and has performed in Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, London’s O2 Arena, and more. As part of his “Act Your Age” tour, which he has been doing since 2021, Peters recently took to the stage in Riyadh, performing at the Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University on Feb. 24.

This is his third visit to the Kingdom, and Peters admires the generosity of the Saudi people: “I remember at the hotel, they said, how did you sleep? And I said, it was honestly like the best, the most comfortable bed I’d ever felt in my life, and when I came back to my hotel room, they had packed up all the stuff that I complimented and shipped it to me in America.”

Peters also cherishes the memory of his performance at the Maraya building in AlUla in 2016, renowned as the world’s largest mirrored concert venue. “The acoustics are great in there because it’s built for that. And they put the sound dampeners in there. The same can’t be said for when I just performed in Egypt,” he said.

During his one-night performance in the country, American comedian Adam Hunter opened his show. Hunter is known for his popular Instagram channel, MMA Roasted, in which he humorously critiques fighters, and has been traveling with Peters for some time.

His latest show in the current tour is scheduled for March 3 in Bangalore, India, a place he regards as his true home. Beyond the stage, Peters also feels at home in the DJ booth. He said that his DJ career was purely for enjoyment, focusing mostly on old-school music. Peters said that his go-to song is “Black Trump” by Smif-N-Wessun and Raekwon.

Peters is currently practicing jujitsu, a form of martial art. His enduring passion for combat disciplines began at the age of 16 with boxing, because of bullying at school. Boxing became more than just a sport; it was a coping mechanism, especially after he was kicked out of school.

Later on, as his career developed in comedy, it also became a way of dealing with challenges.

“I would do it all the time growing up,” Peters said, “to try and get out of situations, dealt with a lot of racism growing up. So you just kind of figure out a way of getting out of situations by being funny.”

Saudi Arabia leads Arab condemnation of targeting of civilians in northern Gaza

People mourn at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, over the body of a Palestinian killed.
Updated 01 March 2024

Saudi Arabia leads Arab condemnation of targeting of civilians in northern Gaza

  • Israeli troops fired on a large crowd of Palestinians racing to pull food off an aid convoy in Gaza City on Thursday, witnesses said
  • More than 100 people were killed in the chaos, bringing the death toll since the start of the Israel-Hamas war to more than 30,000

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia strongly condemned and denounced the targeting of defenseless civilians in the northern Gaza Strip, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Israeli troops fired on a large crowd of Palestinians racing to pull food off an aid convoy in Gaza City on Thursday, witnesses said.

More than 100 people were killed in the chaos, bringing the death toll since the start of the Israel-Hamas war to more than 30,000, according to health officials.

The ministry affirmed the Kingdom’s categorical rejection of international humanitarian law violations by any party and under any pretext.

The Kingdom renewed its call on the international community to take a firm stance by making Israel respect international humanitarian law, immediately open safe humanitarian corridors, allow the evacuation of the injured, and enable the delivery of relief aid and medical equipment without restrictions to mitigate the humanitarian catastrophe and prevent an escalation of it.

The Kingdom also repeated its call for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further innocent civilian casualties.

The UAE on Thursday also strongly condemned the military targeting thousands of Palestinians in Gaza Strip who were awaiting the arrival of humanitarian aid and called for an independent and transparent investigation into the incident, while demanding accountability for those responsible, Emirates News Agency reported.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its “deep concern about the escalating humanitarian catastrophe” in the Gaza Strip, which threatened to claim more innocent civilian lives.

It also emphasized that the immediate priority was to halt the escalation of military operations and establish an immediate ceasefire.

The ministry reiterated the UAE's position, which calls for the protection of innocent civilians and the facilitation of immediate, safe, long-term, and unhindered delivery of relief and humanitarian aid.

It also emphasized the importance of preventing a regional spillover, which could lead to further violence, tension, and instability.

The ministry urged the international community to support all efforts to achieve a comprehensive and just peace based on a two-state solution that included an independent Palestinian state.

Kuwait also denounced Israel’s actions, labeling them a “war crime”, Kuwait News Agency reported.

The country’s foreign ministry reiterated Kuwait's call for an immediate ceasefire and unimpeded access to humanitarian aid in the Strip as well as its unequivocal rejection of Israel's systematic targeting of innocent civilians.

The ministry also urged the international community, and the UN Security Council, to provide protection to the Palestinian people as well as humanitarian workers operating in the Palestinian territories.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the deadly incident, and United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the events “need to be investigated.”