Jakarta, wapresri.go.id – Vice President (VP) K.H. Ma’ruf Amin received an audience of Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Affairs Tawfiq Fawzan Muhammed Alrabiah, at the Vice President’s Palace, Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan Number 6, Jakarta, Wednesday (26/10/2022). During the meeting, the VP welcomed the policies given by the Saudi Arabian government towards Indonesian Umrah and Hajj pilgrims.

“I express my appreciation for the various new policies that have been conveyed, both regarding Umrah and Hajj visits, which have provided many facilities for world-wide pilgrims, especially Indonesian pilgrims,” said the VP.

Furthermore, the VP said, as a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia certainly has a specialty in organizing Hajj and Umrah. Because, the interest to visit Saudi Arabia is very high. For this reason, the VP is optimistic that the various specialties provided by the Saudi Arabian government for Indonesian pilgrims will further increase the enthusiasm of Indonesian Muslims to visit the holy land.

“Hopefully this new policy on Umrah will increase the enthusiasm of people who are doing Umrah from Indonesia. Because every day there are people doing Umrah from Indonesia,” expressed the VP.

“With these opportunities, apart from going to Mecca and Medina, you can go anywhere, I think it will really encourage Indonesians to be even more willing to go for Umrah as well as see various areas outside the Haram (the two holy cities, Mecca and Medina),” he added.

On the other hand, the VP also asked the Saudi Arabian government to pay special attention to the placement of Indonesian pilgrims in Mina so that their tent placement is not too far from the location of throwing the jumrah. Meanwhile, from the trade side, the VP also invited the Saudi Arabian government to jointly build partnerships in the trade sector.

“Of course, what we also hope for is trade relations, both concerning Hajj and other interests. We also want to open trade to export goods needed by pilgrims, especially Indonesia, both during Umrah and Hajj,” he stated.

Closing the meeting, the VP also emphasized that the relationship between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia has been established for a long time, not only between the two governments but also at the community level. He hopes that in the future this relationship will be closer and more harmonious.

“Indonesia-Saudi relations have been going on, not only the government but also the people for a long time. There are many Indonesians who live in Saudi Arabia and some even die in Saudi. So, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia have had a very strong relationship since time immemorial,” concluded the VP.

Previously, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Affairs, Tawfiq Fawzan Muhammed Alrabiah, reported on various new policies that have been taken by the Saudi Arabian government regarding the implementation of Umrah and Hajj for Indonesian pilgrims. Some of these policies include the extension of the validity period of the Umrah visa from 30 days to 90 days, the convenience of the process of applying for a departure visa which can now be done independently electronically (no need to go through a travel agent anymore), to the freedom to visit other cities in Saudi Arabia, not only limited to Mecca and Medina.

Meanwhile, regarding the relocation of Indonesian pilgrims to Mina, the Minister of Hajj and Umrah of Saudi Arabia promised that after his visit to Indonesia, he and his staff would immediately discuss this matter in order to provide the best service to pilgrims from Indonesia.

“Regarding the placement of Indonesian pilgrims in Mina, we are very concerned about it, but we also have to admit that Mina is a very narrow and small place, so we have to think about it to be able to fulfill what is expected,” explained Tawfiq.

“I promise in front of His Excellency, Mr. Vice President, after I return from here, I will immediately discuss the placement of Indonesian Hajj pilgrims in Mina, if we can’t do all of them, but we can provide a large number of places,” he concluded.

Present to accompany the Minister of Hajj and Umrah Affairs of Saudi Arabia were the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Indonesia Esam A. Abid Althagafi, Deputy for Foreign Cooperation of the Ministry of Hajj Hasan Al-Munakhirah, and the Personal Secretary of the Minister of Hajj and Umrah Affairs of Saudi Arabia Albariqi Ahmed Hayazi M.

Meanwhile, the VP was accompanied by Minister of Religion Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Head of the Vice President’s Secretariat Ahmad Erani Yustika, Director General of Hajj and Umrah Implementation at the Ministry of Religion Hilman Latief, Deputy for Human Development Policy Support and Development Equity Suprayoga Hadi, and Special Staff for the VP Masduki Baidlowi. (NN/LHS, BPMI – Setwapres)