JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR
Thursday 2 August 2012
Last Update 2 August 2012 2:40 am
The emergency OIC summit called by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah would focus on Islamic unity and solidarity, said Muhammad bin Ahmed Tayeb, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s office in Makkah province.
Speaking to Arab News, Tayeb said preparations had been stepped up for the Aug. 14-15 summit in Makkah to make it a big success. Invitations have been sent to leaders of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to attend the conference.
He said OIC foreign ministers would meet on Aug. 13 after a preparatory meeting of senior officials. “Strengthening the unity and solidarity of the Islamic Ummah is the summit’s main agenda,” the Saudi official pointed out.
The summit comes in the wake of increasing political challenges that demand more cohesive and solid actions from the Islamic world.
Tayeb also explained the salient features of the Kingdom’s foreign policy that has won global applause. “Our foreign policy aims at achieving world peace and stability, and helping our Muslim brethren around the world to have a dignified life. We support the Palestinians to restore their lost homeland and legitimate rights.”
Tayeb highlighted Saudi Arabia’s strategic role in the Islamic world and described it as a divine one. “Our government endeavors to ensure the welfare and prosperity of the millions of pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah from all over the world.
He indicated that the arrival of millions of Umrah pilgrims during Ramadan was putting pressure on government agencies. “Umrah is open throughout the year, and I call upon our Muslim brethren through Arab News to avoid overcrowding in Makkah during Ramadan by coming for Umrah in other months of the year. This will also help them perform their religious duties with ease and comfort,” he added.
Tayeb said the Foreign Ministry had been deploying sufficient number of staff at its missions abroad to issue Haj and Umrah visas. “We also deploy additional staff to support our employees in more than 50 countries across the world. These staff members are deployed not only in capital cities, but also in other major cities. This gesture shows how much we care for pilgrims,” he explained.
He said Saudi Arabia is proud of being the guardian of the Two Holy Mosques. “Our king loves to be called the servant of the Two Holy Mosques. We consider this as our responsibility toward Allah as well as to the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.”
Tayeb said the Saudi government had implemented huge projects worth billions of riyals for the welfare of pilgrims. It also makes necessary arrangements to make their spiritual journey as comfortable and pleasant as possible. “We treat pilgrims as guests of Allah, and we do everything in our means for them.”
Speaking about King Abdullah’s directive to the Kingdom’s ambassadors to take good care of Saudis abroad, Tayeb said this reflected the king’s care for his citizens. “King Abdullah always instructs his ambassadors to stand by Saudis to serve them and protect their rights in all cases. Saudis have been advised to contact their embassies whenever they face any problem. There are many Saudis in Arab countries, Europe and the US for business, tourism and education. More than a million Saudis go abroad every year for tourism. Naturally, they face some problems, especially because of ignorance about local regulations.”
Tayeb also spoke about his ministry’s services to foreign diplomats in the Kingdom, especially in Jeddah. “We are trying our best to make the lives of diplomats as comfortable and pleasant as possible. We consider them as guests of our country and organize tour programs for them from time to time and invite them to attend cultural events. We believe in cultural exchange and try to engage them in our cultural programs. We are sure that when they leave the Kingdom they will have pleasant memories of Saudi Arabia and its people.”
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