$139bn speech wins plaudits at UN Summit

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RIYADH. KAZINFORM - A cross-section of people, including human rights activists and academics, have welcomed the pronouncements made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif in his address at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York, Arab News reports.

The crown prince is currently leading a high-profile Saudi delegation to the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

"The highlight of the speech of Crown Prince Mohammed was the Kingdom's commitment for continued assistance to impoverished nations," said Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of King Salman Humanitarian and Relief Center.

Al-Rabeeah said that the crown prince shared his views with world leaders very candidly. He said that Saudi Arabia had always taken decisive actions to serve people or nations hit by war and natural disasters.

"The Kingdom stands ready to continue to support refugees as well as the needy countries to overcome the current economic crises," said Al-Rabeeah, while referring to the ongoing relief operations in Yemen, whose total spending will exceed SR1.6 billion.

Not only this, the center also distributed dry meals among Yemeni pilgrims, who flocked to Al-Wadee'ah Port to perform Haj this year. "The Kingdom was also among the first nations to help Syrian refugees, both inside their country and in their asylum states," said Dr. Ibrahim Al-Qayid, a member of the Riyadh-based National Society for Human Rights (NSHR).

Al-Qayid said that the crown prince, while speaking about Syrian refugees, addressed the problems faced by refugees and migrants in "a more practical and pragmatic manner." He criticized the oppressing Syrian regime, while speaking high about Saudi Arabia's role in protecting people and ending wars that have killed thousands of civilians in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere in the Arab world.

Referring to the massive aid provided by King Salman Center especially to Yemen, Doctors Without Borders praised the services being provided by the center at all levels. The head of the Emergency Unit of the Doctors Without Borders Teresa Saint Christopher said in a statement after the delegation's visit to the center: "We are interested in Yemeni affairs and appreciate the great efforts of King Salman Center, its support for Yemen, and we hope to continue cooperation with the Center."

"It is further interesting to mention that the Kingdom's aid is more channeled bilaterally, to Arab regional aid institutions, such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa," said Jummah Al-Shammari, a professor of political science, while commenting on the speech of Crown Prince Mohammed.

He said that the Kingdom had disbursed a whopping $139 billion in aid during the last four decades. No doubt, Saudi Arabia has gone an extra mile by hosting around 2.5 million Syrians since the beginning of the crisis in that country in 2011.

"The Syrian living and working in the Kingdom have been enjoying all facilities and leading normal life," said Ali Hassan Jabri, a Syrian PR strategist working with a local advertising and public relations company.

Jabri said that Saudi Arabia does not deal with Syrian exatriates like refugees. In fact, all Syrians have had legal residence permits, and their children have been allowed to study in Saudi schools.

According to an estimate, a total of 100,000 Syrians are registered in public schools, said Jabri.

Apart from that, Saudi Arabia has spent more than $700 million to help Syrian refugees, according to figures made available during the Third Intentional Conference of Donors in Kuwait in March this year.

Source: Arab News

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