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Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has expressed his appreciation to scholars who took part in the International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan in Makkah, saying the Kingdom was making efforts to “heal the divisions and differences among the Afghan people.”

Chairing the Cabinet session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday, the king said Saudi Arabia was working toward “unifying the ranks and words of Muslims worldwide.”

He briefed the Cabinet on the results of his recent talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa, on future cooperation between the two countries.

The Cabinet welcomed the final statement by the Makkah conference calling on states, organizations and Islamic elites to play positive roles in achieving security and peace in Afghanistan.

The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers, extinguishing the fire of sedition.”

Muslims worldwide should continue their “firm stand in front of the advocates of violence and extremism in defense of their religion and maintaining the unity of the Islamic world,” it said.

The Cabinet also reviewed a ministerial meeting of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum in Beijing and welcomed a decision by Chinese leader President Xi Jinping to establish an Arab-Chinese strategic partnership.

China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries and “add to the prosperity and economic advancement of all,” it said.

The Cabinet denounced recent suicide attacks on two election gatherings in Pakistan and the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and offered condolences to families of the victims.

In the local arena, the Cabinet extended its appreciation to the king, based on a report by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for pardoning all troops who have taken part in the Saudi Renewal of Hope operation in Yemen of their military and disciplinary penalties for their heroism and sacrifices.

The Cabinet approved a license for the Iraqi Commercial Bank to open a branch in Saudi Arabia and authorized the Minister of Finance to decide on any subsequent requests to open other branches.