Services for Umrah, Haj boosted
JEDDAH: There has been a significant improvement in the services provided by the Kingdom for Haj and Umrah pilgrims, including a major increase in capacity in Makkah and Madinah, the Cabinet announced on Monday night at its weekly meeting.
At the gathering chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, the Cabinet lauded the initiatives ordered by the monarch to expand the Two Holy Mosques, said Minister of Culture and Information Adel Al-Toraifi, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
The Cabinet confirmed that several parts of the massive expansion at the Grand Mosque have been completed, including the surrounding courtyards, the mataf or circumambulation area around the Kaaba, and several of the upper floors where pilgrims can perform the tawaf or circumambulation.
At the outset of the Cabinet session, King Salman thanked Allah Almighty for the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, and for bestowing blessings on the Kingdom. He wished citizens, expatriates and the Muslim world well over the coming month of fasting and hoped that achieving the objectives of this month would help unify the Muslim world. He said Islam was a religion of peace and compassion and rejected violence and extremism.
The king also praised the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for their efforts during their 16th consultative meeting, which he said would help ensure prosperity, stability and security in the region. He welcomed the formation of the Economic and Development Affairs Commission, the basic law of the Economic Judicial Commission, and the plan to hold regular meetings of defense, interior and foreign ministers to coordinate policies among the GCC countries.
Al-Toraifi said the Council of Ministers condemned the terrorist attack on the Jordanian intelligence headquarters in Albaqa’a, which resulted in the death of several people. He said the Kingdom stood with the Hashemite Kingdom in its fight against terrorism.
The Cabinet praised the marine mediums project started by the Ministry of Interior, being carried out by the Border Guard; and the project to design and produce unmanned aircraft by Prince Sultan Advanced Technology Research Institute.
The king briefed the Cabinet on the results of his meetings with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy Paolo Gentiloni.
Al-Toraifi said that the Cabinet announced several decisions including approving the statute of the Arab Court of Human Rights after reviewing a report submitted by the Minister of Justice, and a Shoura Council resolution on the matter.
After reviewing the report submitted by the Ministry of Economy and Planning, the Cabinet approved the formation of the National Center for Strategic Development Studies, which is an advisory body aimed at providing input on economic development issues by carrying out studies and consultations for public and private sector bodies.
The Cabinet decided to approve the minutes of the Saudi-Jordanian Council of Coordination and the Saudi-UAE Council of Coordination; authorized the Education Ministry to sign a pact with Mauritania; and the Housing Ministry to ink an agreement with India.