India an important asset for global community to fight against coronavirus: Saudi envoy

Saudi Ambasador to India Dr Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati.

Saudi Ambasador to India Dr Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati’s remarks come days after PM Modi held a telephonic conversation with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and emphasised the need for coordinated efforts to address the challenge arising out of coronavirus outbreak.

India is an important asset for the international and regional fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) and in minimising its impact on the health of global community, Saudi Arabia, the chair of the G20 grouping, said on Friday.

In an interview to the PTI, Saudi Arabia’s envoy to India Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati also assured that the Gulf nation is taking care of the safety of expatriates in the Kingdom on priority.

His remarks come days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a telephonic conversation with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, and emphasised the need for coordinated efforts to address the global challenge arising out of the coronavirus outbreak.

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“Saudi Arabia views India as an important strategic partner. India is an important asset to international and regional integrated efforts to deal with the current situation and minimise its impact on the health of global community. We are working closely with the Indian government in this regard,” the envoy said.

Mr. Al Sati said that during the call, Crown Prince Salman affirmed that the Kingdom is working to coordinate international cooperation in combating this pandemic and adopting appropriate policies to reduce its economic burdens within the framework of the G-20.

Saudi Arabia, that now has G20 presidency, is communicating with member countries to convene an extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit next week, he said.


The summit will be aimed at advancing a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, its human and economic implications and will build on the ongoing efforts of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, senior health-, trade-, and foreign affairs officials, he said.

Mr. Al Sati said that Saudi Arabia and India, as members of the G20 and long-standing strategic partners, will work closely to gather global cooperation in dealing with the coronavirus situation. Officials on both sides will work closely towards this cause, he added.

“The current situation with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates an international and coordinated response. The Kingdom is committed to working with international organisations and members of G20 to control and reduce the spread of the virus, protect people, mitigate its effects on the economy, and take the necessary measures to maintain the stability of the world economy,” he said.

G20 countries are working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to monitor the outbreak, share relevant information, encourage preventive measures, early case detection, and clinical care, he said.

The health officials of G20 members met earlier this month to discuss the health and social impact of coronavirus and other infectious diseases, he pointed out.

Moreover, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors have agreed to use all available policy tools, including fiscal and monetary measures as appropriate to deal with the global pandemic, the envoy said.

“We extend our support to the IMF and World Bank commitments to extend financing to developing countries that need it and invite countries to strengthen funding facilities,” Mr. Al Sati said.

“As an effort in this direction, Saudi Arabia has provided USD 10,000,000 to the World Health Organization for the implementation of urgent measures to minimise the spread of the disease and to support countries with vulnerable health infrastructures, an effort that has been commended by WHO and the global community,” he said.

Asked about the situation faced by a large number of Indians living in Saudi Arabia in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, he said that his country, after closely following the developments related to the spread of coronavirus, has adopted several temporary, precautionary measures affecting travel to and from the Kingdom.

He said the measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of Saudi citizens as well as that of the expatriates living in the Kingdom.

The measures taken by the Saudi government for the safety of its citizens and expatriate, include a temporary suspension on entry into the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah or visiting the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, he said.

Saudi Arabia has also decided to suspend attendance at work headquarters in all entities in the private sector, which employs a considerable number of expatriates, for a period of 15 days, the envoy said.

The Saudi Education Ministry has also ordered all schools to remain closed until further notice and an intensive health awareness campaign has also been launched in the Kingdom, Mr. Al Sati said.

The Saudi Ministry of Health has issued an awareness guide in several languages, including Arabic, Filipino, Urdu, English, French, Russian, and Portuguese, targeting citizens and expatriates to raise awareness about the spread of COVID-19, he said.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation has intensified its efforts of sterilising and disinfecting terminals and all of the general facilities around the Kingdom’s airports to ensure public safety, he said, adding that these operations are carried out on a daily 24 hours basis.

“The Saudi authorities are doing their best to deal with the pandemic and let me reassure you that the safety of expatriates in the Kingdom is a priority for us. In fact, many notable expatriates in Saudi Arabia including health experts have praised the efforts being made in this regard,” the envoy said.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 8:47:41 PM |

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