King Salman, Abadi Discuss Bilateral Ties, Regional Developments


Riyadh, Mecca- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman discussed with Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Haider al-Abadi at Al-Safa Palace in Makkah bilateral ties and regional developments.

Adviser in the Council of Ministers Ihsan al-Shammari said in a phone call with Asharq Al-Awsat that the visit of Abadi to Saudi Arabia at the beginning of his tour that includes Iran and Kuwait was successful.

Shammari affirmed that the visit determined new contours for Saudi-Iraqi ties and that it will have an impact on Arab-Western relations.

At King Abdulaziz International Airport, Abadi was received on Monday by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, Jeddah Governor Prince Mishaal bin Majed bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor of Makkah Region Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, State Minister and national Cabinet Member Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed al-Aiban, and a number of officials.

The official delegation accompanying the Iraqi Prime Minister included Foreign Minister Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Interior Minister Qassem Mohammad al-A’araji, Planning Minister Dr. Salman al-Jumaili, Acting Minister of Industry Engineer Mohammed al-Sudani, Minister of Agriculture Engineer Falah al-Zaidan, the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Dr. Mahdi al-Alaq, and Chief of National Intelligence Service Mustafa al-Kazemi.

Saudi Crown Prince: Serving the Two Holy Sites are Kingdom’s Top Priority


Makkah – The Kingdom accords top priority to serve the Two Holy Mosques and the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, stressed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior.

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef said this in a speech he delivered while chairing a meeting to follow up implementation of security plans for this year’s Umrah season on Thursday.

“Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s government is keen to provide all facilities necessary for people to perform Hajj and Umrah in comfort, security and peace,” the Crown Prince added.

“The government continues drawing up scientific and field strategies with the participation of all the concerned civilian and military sectors and departments so as to enable the worshipers to perform their rituals in ease and comfort. The security personnel are fully geared up to meet any emergency situations,” he told the meeting in Makkah.

The holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, he said, are regarded as the cultural beacons of Muslims the world over.

In this context, Director of Public Security Lt. Gen. Othman al-Mohrej briefed the meeting on the salient features of the security plan for the first, second and third 10 days of Ramadan.

He commended the experiment of creating three groups of special security forces for quick intervention for crowd control in some designated spots that experience heavy rush during the fasting month.

He said that this year the number of these groups have been raised to seven and they have been deployed in all the directions leading to the Grand Mosque and its courtyards.

The meeting was attended by Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, advisor to the minister of interior; Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Sudais, head of the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques; Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Bantan, and several senior civilian and security officials.

King Salman Keen to Support Muslims and Arab Unity

Jeddah- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has said that the kingdom since the era of the founder King Abdulaziz has been keen on supporting the unity of Muslims and Arabs.

On the occasion of the start of the holy month of Ramadan, King Salman said:“We thank Allah for our success in establishing the Global Center for Fighting Extremism, a normal extension of Islam as a religion of moderation, peace, justice and cohesion.”

“As our Islamic nation is witnessing many challenges, crises and risks, it is incumbent on us to comply with the guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which is that all Muslims should show solidarity,” King Salman said in his speech delivered by Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awwad bin Al-Awwad.

“Since the era of the founder King Abdulaziz — may he rest in peace — the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has lent all possible support and backed all efforts to attain Muslim, Arabic and Islamic cohesion. It will remain keen to achieve this noble objective,” he added.

King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, sent and received cables to kings, presidents and princes of Islamic nations to congratulate them on the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

“At its core, the spirit of Ramadan strengthens awareness of our shared obligation to reject violence, to pursue peace, and to give to those in need who are suffering from poverty or conflict,” US President Donald Trump wrote in a White House statement.

Trump noted that recent terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom and in Egypt are “acts of depravity that are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan. Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology.”

The Saudi Supreme Court had earlier announced Saturday as the first day of Ramadan after the crescent was sighted in some provinces.

Crown Prince Orders Delivery of Ramadan Food Baskets to Somalis

Riyadh- Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has directed the General Supervisor of Saudi Relief Campaigns, Saudi National Campaign to Support Somali People, to distribute 40,000 Ramadan food baskets to the people in need in Somalia.

The crown prince also adopted the public plan to implement civil defense works in case of emergencies in the capital during the month of Ramadan. He ordered all public institutions to execute this plan in cases of emergency to guarantee the safety of guests.

Director General of Civil Defense Lieutenant General Suliman al-Amr expressed gratitude and appreciation to the crown prince for his support and follow-up of the plan’s implementation as well as for backing its goals in ensuring safety of Umrah performers.

Amr stated that there is full coordination with public institutions taking part in the execution of civil defense works plan to make use of potentials of all parties in implementing evacuation, rescuing, sheltering and emergency services.

Regional Director of the Saudi National Campaign for Relief of Somali People Sa’ad al-Swayed said that the office of the national campaign was directed to quickly complete the project and carry out required preparations before Ramadan to fulfill the crown prince’s orders.

Swayed ensured the government’s keenness to stand by the Somalis in times of distress and to work on providing them with relief aid, especially at the current circumstances.

The Saudi National Campaign for Relief of Somali People was launched six years ago and has so far provided aid to the Somali people in medical, education, relief and infrastructure fields. The aid reached a total worth SAR590,411,134 million (USD157,442,969 million).

The Return to Saudi Arabia!

The region is undergoing a game-changer phase after the conclusion of former U.S. president Barack Obama’s tenure and the start of U.S. President Donald Trump’s phase. This is happening because of Trump’s stance in considering the fight against terrorism as a priority and Iran as a terrorism-sponsoring country, and for that, he is seeking a coalition to stand against Iran in the region.

Trump also wants to establish safe zones in Syria, backed by Saudi Arabia, in addition to Washington’s approach towards the Yemeni crisis that seems more restrict than Obama’s.

In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there comes Trump’s confused and excited administration.

All this pushed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to visit Oman and Kuwait and to try to build ties with Saudi Arabia. We also saw Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in an attempt to deliver messages to Trump, hoping to succeed in this new trick. Also Hassan Nasralla announced approval upon the ceasefire and political talks in Syria as he claimed that 99% of the possibility to oust the regime was evaded before he changed the subject, moving to the Palestinian cause.

Nasralla added that the meeting between Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu means the conclusion of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Anyone who listens to Nasralla thinks that he was a supporter of negotiations and peaceful solution and not actually one of the most prominent exploiters of the Palestinian cause to serve Iranian goals in the region.

After this full-of-confusion phase, what is next? Let us start from the Financial Times editorial on Trump’s statements over the Palestinian cause to remind him that there is no need to submit new solutions and that the best approach is to revive the Arab Peace Initiative (API) – a Saudi initiative made by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

This means that if serious intention to deal with the Palestinian-Israeli struggle exists then it is a must to return to the Saudi API. Also, seriousness in combating terrorism is embodied in making use of the special Saudi force in combating terrorism that brought Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, deputy premier and minister of interior, George Tenet Medal from the CIA for his intelligence work in the fight against terrorism and his contributions in achieving international security and safety.

Is this everything? No, because if we wanted to reach a solution in Yemen then it is essential to return to the Gulf initiative, led majorly by Saudi Arabia and UAE, that has turned into a U.N. resolution. The condition is similar in Lebanon, regardless of what Iranians say, but the backbone there is Taif Agreement.

Another question is: Where is the Iranian helpful initiative in the region? Where is the Iranian’s effort to achieve peace and stability? It is not a Saudi-Iranian conflict but we are infront of two different methodologies.

On one hand there is Saudi Arabia that is seeking stability and peace as affirmed by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and on the other there is Iran’s continuous pursuit to create more chaos and rifts to reinforce its power.

Despite the confusion, Saudi Arabia proves itself as a rational power that should not be misused – Saudi Arabia has game-changer cards in hand while the Iranian confusion is plain.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Offers Condolences to Italian, Mali President


Riyadh – Saudi leadership offered condolences to Italian President Sergio Mattarella following the earthquake that left many victims and to also condoled Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta after the terrorist attack that occurred in Gao.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz said in his cable to Italian President, “We heard about the earthquake that hit our friend-country. We, the Saudi people and government, offer condolences to the victims’ families and to the Italian people.”

King Salman also denounced the terrorist attack in Gao and asserted that his country fully backs Mali against anyone who tries to disrupt its stability and safety. In his cable to the Mali President, he said “We received the news of the terrorist attack sorrowfully… We denounce this act and stress our commitment to Mali and its people.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz offered condolences to the Italian and Mali presidents.

“I, painfully, received the news of the terrorist attack that resulted in victims. I express to your majesty, the Italian people and the victims’ families most sincere condolences,” said the Crown Prince in his cable to Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, also sent cables to offer condolences to the Italian and Mali presidents.