JAZAN: Farmers from across the Jazan region are showing off their finest produce at the 2022 Mango and Tropical Fruits Festival, which opened on Sunday.
The event, at King Fahad Park on Sabya Avenue, was opened by Prince Mohammed bin Nasser, the governor of Jazan, in the presence of his deputy Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz.
A total of 45 farmers are taking part in the festival, which showcases all of the fruits and crops for which Jazan is famous, including mango, papaya, banana, fig and guava.
The event also aims to support local growers and promote the region as a center for agricultural excellence.
Sabya Governor Dr. Sultan bin Ajami bin Munakhir was among those promoting the festival, which was organized by the regional branch of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture in collaboration with the governorate, the Cooperative Society for Agricultural Marketing and the municipality of Sabya.
The princes were also briefed on the participation of the Jasmine and Aromatic Plants Association, which was represented by 15 farmers, and the participation of the Health Affairs Corner in Jazan.
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel on Wednesday inspected several health facilities in the Makkah Health Cluster.
The visit was conducted to assess the readiness and preparations of the integrated health services. The minister also closely reviewed the progress of work in the sites that provide care to pilgrims ahead of the upcoming Hajj season.
Al-Jalajel was accompanied by the chairman of the advisory council of the Makkah Health Cluster, Dr. Adnan Al-Mazrooa, and the undersecretary, Dr. Hani Jokhdar.
Other officials include the acting CEO of the Makkah Health Cluster, Dr. Hatem Al-Omari, and the director general of health affairs in Makkah, Dr. Wael Mutair.
The tour included the health sectors in the Arafat area represented by East Arafat Hospital, Arafat General Hospital, Jabal Al-Rahma Hospital, Namira General Hospital and Arafat Health Center. The minister was presented with a detailed explanation of the departments in the centers and the services they provide, outlining the application of the health requirements and protocols approved by the ministry.
The minister then went to Mina and made an inspection tour of Mina Al-Wadi Hospital, Mina New Street Hospital, Mina Emergency Hospital, Mina Al-Jaser Hospital, in addition to Mina Health Centers 2 and 17, during which he was briefed on the level of services provided.
Al-Jalajel concluded his inspection tour by visiting King Abdullah Medical City (KMAC) in Makkah, during which he visited various departments — notably the emergency, cardiology, oncology and inpatient sections — and heard a detailed explanation on aspects of the specialized services provided by the medical city. He also met with the directors of the health cluster in Makkah and the holy sites.
After the tour, the minister held a meeting at KAMC headquarters with Al-Mazrooa and the leaders of the Health Cluster in Makkah where he was briefed on work mechanisms, current work focuses and the most prominent challenges faced by the medical staff.
Al-Jalajel urged the staff to raise capacity inside hospitals and reaffirmed their commitments to make all efforts to serve patients, beneficiaries and visitors to the Grand Mosque to improve health services.
RIYADH: Over three days, the Imam Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Royal Reserve Development Authority distributed more than 500,000 wild seeds to visitors to the International Exhibition and Forum on Afforestation Technologies, which opened on Sunday in Riyadh.
The authority’s CEO, Dr. Talal Al-Huraiqi, said that the seed distribution program aims to “introduce exhibition visitors to the varieties of wild seeds and growing methods, as well as raise awareness of the necessity of contributing to the development of vegetation.”
He added that the authority’s pavilion at the forum is intended to highlight its role in environmental preservation, natural sustainability, the fight against desertification and the process of restoring environmental balance through the development and expansion of vegetation cover.
The organizers of the pavilion showcased a nursery as well as the most current techniques utilized in the distribution of wild seeds via drones.
The authority also planned a tour of the King Khalid Royal Reserve for many of the participants attending the conference as part of its sponsorship of the forum.
The King Khalid Royal Reserve is an ecotourism attraction adjacent to the city of Riyadh, as well as a historical landmark with a varied landscape of valleys and mountains and abundant biodiversity, including fungi and indigenous tree species, such as Jujube and acacia.
The tour included visits to landmarks, caves and mountainous geological formations, which constitute a unique tourist destination due to the presence of white sand dunes and natural water pools. Guests were also treated to an introduction to Saudi heritage, including crafts and traditional cuisine.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, consultant at the National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification, told Arab News that the forum is part of the combined efforts of the center and of the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture “to stress the importance of vegetation cover and its rehabilitation and development in order to restore degraded lands and mitigate the effects of climate change, desertification and dust storms through nature-based solutions.”
He noted that in recent decades, the Kingdom and neighboring countries have been witnessing rapid population expansion and major growth in the economic and agricultural sectors.
In many cases, however, related environmental and sustainability programs had not run in tandem with the growth spurts, leading to environmental deterioration, pollution, vegetation and land degradation, groundwater depletion, increased desertification, dust storms and severe drought.
“It is therefore critical for these countries to work together in accordance with a comprehensive environmental and socioeconomic framework that contributes to improving livelihoods and resource sustainability,” Al-Ghamdi said.
JEDDAH: Major redevelopment work has got underway at Madinah’s historic Quba Mosque to further expand the holy site first built upon by the Prophet Muhammad more than 1,440 years ago.
In April, during Ramadan, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that the mosque would be increased tenfold in size as part of a project named after King Salman.
Four years ago, the crown prince ordered the restoration of 130 historical mosques in the Kingdom under the Saudi government’s national regeneration program.
In a visit to Madinah during the recent holy month of fasting, he said the enlargement project was aimed toward achieving the objectives of Vision 2030 within the Guests of God Service, and Quality of Life programs.
On completion of the largest development in its history, Quba Mosque will be able to receive more than 66,000 worshippers in an area covering 50,000 square meters.
The project was designed to link the current mosque with shaded courtyards on four sides, all capable of providing the necessary services but not structurally attached to the main building.
The road network and surrounding infrastructure will also be revamped to provide easier access to the mosque and improve visitor safety and security, while the project will resolve overcrowding issues as well as preserving the architectural style of the mosque and other nearby monuments.
Its current praying area covers 5,000 square meters, with the building and facilities taking up 13,500 square meters and accommodating a maximum 20,000 worshippers.
Crown Prince Mohammed said the improvements would heighten visitors’ devotional and cultural experience.
Quba Mosque is located 5 kilometers south of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah and was constructed in 622. It is believed that the Prophet Muhammad frequently prayed at Quba Mosque, especially on Saturdays, and urged his companions to do so too.
There is a hadith about the mosque, with the Prophet Muhammad reported to have said: “Whoever makes ablutions in this house and offers one prayer therein, will be rewarded the equivalent of one Umrah.” It is why the mosque remains of considerable religious and historical importance to Muslims.
It underwent renovation during the eras of caliphs Uthman bin Affan and Omar ibn Al-Khattab. The latter was the first to add a minaret to the structure.
During the Saudi era, Quba Mosque, along with other houses of worship, were regularly revitalized. In 1968, its northern side was expanded, and then in 1985, King Fahd ordered several enlargements while maintaining the building’s historically significant architectural features.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has taken a leading role in international humanitarian work, providing more than $94.6 billion in aid worldwide over the past 25 years, the head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has revealed.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, KSrelief’s general supervisor, said that 164 countries have benefited from the Kingdom’s relief efforts.
Al-Rabeeah outlined KSrelief’s initiatives during a virtual meeting of the National Council on US‑Arab Relations held under the theme “Global relief and humanitarian assistance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
He said that since the center’s establishment in 2015, it has implemented about 2,000 humanitarian projects in 84 countries, with a value of more than $5.7 billion.
Projects focusing on food security, education, health, protection and nutrition have been carried out in partnership with 175 international organizations, including UN agencies.
Al-Rabeeah said that Yemen accounted for the biggest share of this assistance, with 71 percent of the total going toward 700 humanitarian projects worth more than $4 billion.
In the same period, KSrelief has implemented 815 projects benefiting 113 million women worldwide with a value exceeding $533 million.
The center also implemented 730 projects benefiting more than 146 million children with a value of about $769 million.
Al-Rabeeah said that the center has implemented more than 200 voluntary medical, educational and training programs, helping almost 483,000 people in 22 countries. Voluntary medical programs conducted more than 50,000 surgeries.
Referring to the worldwide refugee issue, Al-Rabeeah said that the Kingdom is among the leading countries receiving refugees, with an estimated total of 1,074,153, including 561,911 from Yemen, 262,573 from Syria and 249,669 from Myanmar.
The Kingdom offers refugees free access to health and education services, and seeks to integrate them into society by hosting them in all parts of the country.
He also referred to Saudi Arabia’s efforts in combating COVID-19 at an international level, where the Kingdom has provided more than $850.8 million, including medical and preventive assistance to more than 34 countries.
Saudi Arabia’s support to produce and distribute vaccines as part of the G20 initiative amounted to $500 million, including $150 million for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, $150 million for the Vaccine Alliance, and $200 for international and UN organizations.
Al-Rabeeah said: “The center took the initiative to establish several qualitative programs to help the Yemeni people, such as Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance, which so far has succeeded in clearing more than 342,000 mines with help from more than 400 experts.”
Saudi Arabia has a leading role in the international humanitarian work, he added, referring to the partnership between the Kingdom, represented by KSrelief, and the US, represented by US Agency for International Development.
KSrelief will organize the third Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum on Feb. 20-21, 2023 to discuss challenges and opportunities related to humanitarian assistance, he said.
John Duke Anthony, National Council on US-Arab Relations founding president and CEO, praised the Kingdom’s relief and humanitarian efforts around the world.
RIYADH: Gulf nations stand united on the issue of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, according to Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan.
“Our stance as Gulf countries regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis is unified,” he said on Wednesday during a speech at the opening of the 152nd session of the Ministerial Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
“Today we had two fruitful meetings with the Russian and Ukrainian ministers, during which we stated our unified stance regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and its negative consequences, namely the food security of the affected countries and the world.”
Closer to home, he added, regional security and concerns about the activities of Iran are important unifying factors.
“Laying the foundations of our regional security is one of the most important pillars of our unity, which faces big challenges and requires close coordination to reach a common approach to our international relations to nurture our interests,” said Prince Faisal.
“In the forefront of these challenges is Iran’s nuclear project, its arming of militias, its support for terrorism and its destabilizing behavior in the region. That’s why our dialogue and communication with Iran should be based on a unified Gulf stance, through which we call for peace, cooperation and adherence to the principles of international legitimacy and good-neighborliness, so we can be able to work together to achieve our developmental plans within a stable regional environment that supports partnerships and economic-diversification projects.”
He added: “The stability of the brotherly country of Yemen is an integral part of the security of the Gulf system and the Arabian Peninsula. Therefore, the GCC countries emphasize the provision of all means of support to achieve the goals of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council and empower its supporting bodies to carry out the roles assigned to them, so that Yemen can regain its stability and security and maintain its unity and sovereignty.
“We reiterate our support for the UN’s efforts, led by its special envoy to Yemen, aiming to reach a comprehensive political solution to end the crisis in Yemen.
“We seek during our meeting today to contribute to the security and stability of our countries and achieve our people’s aspirations for a better future.”
Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s minister of foreign affairs, said that Western nations seek to form a unilateral world led by the US. During a press conference on Wednesday after a closed meeting in Riyadh with his counterparts from GCC countries, he also accused the West of pushing Ukraine to threaten the security of his country.
Lavrov said that GCC nations understand the nature of the conflict between his country and the West, and that the Gulf states have given assurances that they will not join Western nations in imposing sanctions on Moscow.
He accused Western countries of violating the UN charter through their actions against his country, and called for the withdrawal of heavy weapons from Ukraine.