Egypt attack to spur on Saudi-backed Muslim military alliance: crown prince

UNTV News   •   November 27, 2017   •   4555

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C) poses for a photograph with chiefs of staff and defence ministers of a Saudi-led Islamic military counter terrorism coalition during their meeting in Riyadh November 26, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Sunday an attack on an Egyptian mosque that killed more than 300 worshippers would galvanize an Islamic military coalition that aimed to counter “terrorism and extremism”.

Top defense officials from 40 Muslim-majority nation’s met in Riyadh on Sunday. They are part of an alliance gathered together two years ago by Prince Mohammed, who is also Saudi defense minister.

The crown prince has said he would encourage a more moderate and tolerant version of Islam in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Prince Mohamed told delegates that Friday’s attack in Egypt “was a very painful occurrence and must make us contemplate in an international and powerful way the role of this terrorism and extremism”.

Gunmen carrying the flag of Islamic State attacked the mosque in North Sinai.

The group of Muslim nations, called the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, has yet to take any decisive action.

Officials say the group would allow members to request or offer assistance to each other to fight militants. This could include military help, financial aid, equipment or security expertise. The group, which will have a permanent base in Riyadh, would also help combat terrorist financing and ideology.

“The biggest threat from terrorism and extremism is not only killing innocent people and spreading hate, but tarnishing the reputation of our religion and distorting our belief,” Prince Mohammed told officials from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Iraq and Syria, at the forefront of the battle against Islamic State, are not members, nor is mainly Shi‘ite Muslim Iran, the regional rival to mostly Sunni Saudi Arabia.

Qatar, originally part of the alliance, was not invited to Sunday’s meeting after Riyadh led a group of states seeking to isolate Doha, saying it supported terrorism. Doha denies this.

Abdulelah al-Saleh, a Saudi lieutenant general and the coalition’s secretary general, said Qatar was excluded to help build a consensus for launching operations. He also said the group was not aimed at creating a Sunni bloc to counter Iran.

“The enemy is terrorism. It’s not sects or religions or races, its terrorism,” Saleh told reporters.

Saleh said military initiatives had been proposed to the group’s ministerial council, but he did not elaborate.

Despite agreement on principles, members voiced different priorities at the meeting. Yemen’s delegation said the focus should be Iran, al Qaeda and Islamic State, while Turkey called for “support from our friends” against Kurdish separatists.

Critics say the coalition could become a means for Saudi Arabia to implement an even more assertive foreign policy by winning the backing of poorer African and Asian nations with offers of financial and military aid.

Alongside leading a diplomatic charge against Qatar, Saudi Arabia is also leading a war against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in its neighbor Yemen,

Saleh said Riyadh would pay the 400 million riyal ($107 million) bill for the coalition’s new center, but said other nations could offer financial support for specific initiatives.

Additional reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Edmund Blair

Saudi Arabia issues travel guidelines for travelers from 38 countries, including Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   May 10, 2021

SAUDI ARABIA – The Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that the Kingdom’s flag carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia)has issued travel guidelines and requirements for travelers from 38 countries with a high number of COVID-19 cases.

“Before departure, Saudia requires travelers to obtain a PCR test result certificate from an accredited screening center in the Kingdom,” the consular office announced in a memorandum posted on May 6.

“Before returning to the Kingdom, travelers have to quarantine at home for seven days and take a PCR test at the end of the week. Children under 8 are exempt,” the statement added.

The countries included in the list are:

South Africa
Sri Lanka
The Netherlands
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States

Duterte, Saudi Arabia crown prince discuss OFW protection – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   May 7, 2021

File photo: President Rodrigo Duterte and Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte and Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud discussed ways to strengthen protection for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the Middle Eastern country during a phone call on Wednesday night, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Thursday that the two leaders talked about the welfare of the OFWs in Saudi Arabia and the ways to protect their rights.

“Ang paguusap po ay nakasentro kung paano pa mapapalakas ang proteksyon na ibibigay sa mga manggagawang Pilipino na nasa Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The two leaders also discussed changes to the kafala system, which requires a migrant worker to have a sponsor in their host country to secure a visa and worker’s permit.

During the phone conversation, Duterte and the Saudi crown prince also tackled cooperation in battling the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the importance of establishing a system to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

“Pinagusapan din po nila na sa panahon ng pandemya, kinakailangan magkaroon po talaga ng sistema na lahat po ng bansa sa daigdig, mahirap o mayaman, ay dapat magkaroon po ng bakuna. Dahil kung hindi naman po ligtas ang lahat, wala pong ligtas dito sa pandemyang ito,” Roque said.


12th batch of distressed overseas Filipinos in Saudi Arabia arrives in PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 16, 2020

The 12th batch of distressed Overseas Filipinos (OFs) from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) arrived in the Philippines on Thursday (October 15), according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

A total of 341 distressed OFs arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The repatriates already underwent COVID-19 RT-PCR testing and will be staying under hotel quarantine until their test results come out negative.

The DFA began its mass repatriation efforts in February to assist OFs affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The DFA has already repatriated more than 4,200 Filipinos from Riyadh and the eastern regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. AAC

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