HRH Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz, Minister of Interior, held a press conference yesterday while visiting Mina, and referred to the decision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ban entry to pilgrims coming from African countries affected by meningitis as embodying the responsibility it has towards the guests of God. In addition, Prince Nayef reiterated the Kingdom’s stance of never tolerating processions and demonstrations at the Holy Places during the pilgrimage season, stating that Iranian officials are fully aware of this fact, as is everybody else.
Recalling their success in aborting an attempt to smuggle explosives into the Kingdom three weeks ago, Prince Nayef highlighted the vigilance of the security and customs officials, saying they had performed their duty efficiently. Investigations are still under way in this regard, and there could be no elaboration for the moment.
Covering a number of other issues, Prince Nayef called for the development of the media as a responsibility of all officials, writers and journalists as well as the Ministry of Information; and gave assurance that this year’s pilgrims would be able to move easily and smoothly from Arafat to Musdalifa.
Addressing a question about terrorism, Prince Nayef clarified that any reservation he had after the recent conference by Arab interior ministers in Tunisia was not about the word terrorism but about its definition. He pointed out that a working team of representatives from the interior ministries of sixteen Arab countries are to hold meetings in Egypt to set up an integrated strategy on terrorism, reiterating that Islam has no connection with terrorism, since Islam does not tolerate unjustified killing of animals, never mind human beings, and saying: “Terrorism is an unacceptable phenomenon”.
In answer to a query on the Libyan plane which had earlier arrived in the Kingdom carrying Libyan pilgrims, Prince Nayef confirmed that it had returned to Libya after disembarking passengers and refueling, and stated that what will happen in future in this regard is the responsibility of other authorities. However, he urged all citizens to cooperate in the containment of the phenomenon of foreigners who overstay in the Kingdom after performing either the Hajj or the Umrah pilgrimage.