Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz held on Wednesday the annual reception for heads of state, Islamic dignitaries, guests of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, guests of government bodies and heads of delegations and pilgrim affairs offices, who performed the Hajj rituals this year.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, also attended the event that was held at the Royal Court at Mina palace.
The guests included Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara and Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Ghana Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Somaliland Abdirahman Abdullahi Ismail Sayli’i, Chechen Prime Minister Muslim Khuchiyev and Speaker Magomed Daudov, Afghanistan Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, Libyan Minister of Defense Uhida Najem, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, Sudan Defense Minister Awad Mohammed bin Auf, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam and senior officials from a number of Islamic countries.
The reception started with a recitation of verses of the Holy Quran.
King Salman then delivered a speech in which he congratulated the gatherers on the advent of the Eid al-Adha holiday.
He also highlighted Saudi Arabia’s organization of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, adding: “We will continue to do so, as we deeply believe that serving pilgrims, Umrah performers and visitors of the Two Holy Mosques is our duty and is a great honor.”
He also stressed the Kingdom’s firm stance to fight and eliminate all forms of terrorism and extremism, commit to the noble message of Islam and ensure security and stability in the region and the world.
Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten said Saudi Arabia is proud to have hosted during the past ten years more than 150 million pilgrims from over a hundred countries.
Seven million have already performed the Umrah this year, in addition to nearly two million pilgrims who are now performing the Hajj rituals, he added.