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MENAFN - Arab News - 09/10/2012

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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah chairs a weekly Cabinet meeting in Jeddah on Monday. (SPA)
(MENAFN - Arab News) Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has ordered an e-channel project for foreign Haj pilgrims.

"As part of the project, Haj visa issuing procedures, including finger printing, should be completed at the country of departure before pilgrims leave for the Kingdom. All procedures that a pilgrim has to undergo should be transparent.

A pilgrim should also be able to verify services he/she is entitled to receive, including housing, transport and food and their subcategories and price before his arrival in the Kingdom," Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said after a weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah at the Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Monday.

All departments connected with Haj should achieve fully integrated linkage to enable this digital project to work. The order also stipulates that all procedures related to foreign pilgrims should be digitized.

"This data should be a permanent source of reference that can be referred to when evaluating the performance of agencies working in the Haj service, especially when pilgrims have a complaint about services," Khoja said.

The council also condemned the recent aggressions of the Israeli forces and extremist groups on the Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. "The Kingdom renewed its appeal to the international community to bring an end to repeated violations in the sacred area and also to stop Israel's deeds that stoke tension in the region," Khoja said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency.

The council welcomed the declaration of the Lima summit of the Arab-South American countries in Peru, including King Abdullah's announcement to host the next Arab-South American summit in the Kingdom.

The council further urged an end to violence and the violation of human rights in Syria after having been briefed on developments in Arab countries. It also warned of the dire consequences of the Syrian crisis. The council thanked participants in the forum on the King Abdullah Initiative for interfaith dialogue at Kuala Lumpur for their appreciation of the king's pioneering efforts in the field, Khoja said in his statement.

The council also requested that the Red Crescent be responsible for transporting bodies of those who are killed in traffic accidents on highways passing through subgovernorates and administrative centers. The task has thus far been the responsibility of the special forces of Road Security.


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