U.S. president sends congratulatory cable to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques over Eid Al-Fitr

Second Deputy Premier Prince Naif praises measures by Islamic bank

Governor of Eastern Region honors Saudi Arabia’s special needs team

Saudi Finance Ministry issues statements on conditions of displaced persons in Jazan

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has received a cable of congratulations from US President Barack Obama on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr.

In the cable, the president wished the Saudi people constant health, peace and prosperity.

Obama on Thursday offered his best regards to Muslims worldwide celebrating the end of Ramadan with the Eid Al-Fitr, and he urged Americans to donate money to Pakistan flood-relief efforts.

'As Ramadan comes to an end, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to Muslims in the United States and around the world on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr. For Muslims all over the world, Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of a holy month of fasting and prayer. It is a time of self-reflection focusing on the values that Muslims and people of all faiths share - charity, community, cooperation, and compassion,' President Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

'This year's Eid is also an occasion to reflect on the importance of religious tolerance and to recognize the positive role that religious communities of all faiths, including Muslims, have played in American life,' President Obama wrote.

'On this Eid, those devastated by the recent floods in Pakistan will be on the minds of many around the world. To help in the tremendous relief, recovery, and reconstruction effort for the floods, all Americans can participate by donating to the Pakistan Relief Fund' accessible through the State Department website, the US President said.

'On behalf of the American people, we congratulate Muslims in the United States and around the world on this blessed day. Eid Mubarak,' President Obama concluded.

Meanwhile, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud valued good efforts by the Islamic Development Bank to support the Muslim member countries.

This came in a letter of thanks sent by Prince Naif to the bank on the occasion of the issuance an annual report by the bank.

On the other hand, Prince Mohammad bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, Governor of the Eastern Region, received members of the Saudi special needs soccer national team who won the world soccer trophy.

During the event, a number of donations to the team by Prince Mohammad and others were announced.

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry announced on Monday that it had spent about SR900 million on food and accommodation for Jazan’s displaced people after Yemeni intruders attacked Saudi villages along the southern border in November last year.

“We have taken a number of measures to provide housing to all the displaced people,” the ministry said in a statement following reports that some of these displaced people have been asked to vacate hotels and furnished apartments by the end of Ramadan.

It said a high-level committee, set up to study the housing problem of the displaced proposed payment of SR60,000 annually for a 10-member family for housing, food and clothing and SR70,000 each to families having more than 10 members.

“We have also decided that the amount would be paid to all displaced people, including those who have arranged their own housing or those in furnished apartments or in refugee camps,” the statement said.

The committee had also decided that the families who received the assistance would be given a month to find a suitable housing. After that the refugee camp would be closed and payment to those living in furnished apartments and camps would be stopped.

“We have also decided to make use of charitable organizations in the region to support and guide these families, especially those having elderly, handicapped, widows and people with chronic diseases to help them search for suitable houses.”

However, the ministry said those families who have been allowed to return to their houses along the border would be given compensations to the damages caused to their houses during the confrontation between Saudi forces and the Yemeni rebels.

The ministry said it would coordinate with the Interior Ministry and Jazan governorate to get accurate information about displaced families.

“The first installment of assistance was given to the displaced on Shaaban 1, 1431 (July 13, 2010) and we have instructed building owners to provide them housing until the end of Ramadan,” the ministry said, adding that the two month time was enough for them to find suitable accommodation.

“We have paid financial assistance to all the displaced who provided required documents,” the ministry said, adding that the second installment would be paid directly to their bank accounts.

The Jazan governorate has observed that real estate owners in the region doubled the rents of their buildings, the ministry said, adding that it was unacceptable. A committee would conduct a field tour to make sure they charge reasonable rents, it said.