Negotiations on umrah departure still in process: ministry

Negotiations on umrah departure still in process: ministry

Director General of Hajj and Umrah at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Hilman Latif. (ANTARA/HO-Kemenag)

We continue to carry out the process of negotiation, communication and diplomacy with the Saudi government
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The negotiations on the departure of prospective Indonesian umrah pilgrims with Saudi Arabia are still on, an official from the Ministry of Religious Affairs has said.

"We continue to carry out the process of negotiation, communication and diplomacy with the Saudi government," Director General of Hajj and Umrah at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Hilman Latif, said while attending the inauguration of the Central Board of the Indonesian Hajj Brotherhood Association at Pondok Gede Hajj Dormitory here on Saturday.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs has also continued to prepare technical matters related to the departure of umrah pilgrims, he added. Moreover, amid the pandemic, technical matters for umrah must be prepared carefully, he observed.

The ministry is coordinating with Soekarno Hatta airport authorities regarding the departure of the pilgrims from a single gate, he said.

It also held a meeting with the Ministry of Health's Data and Information Center regarding the technical integration of the Siskopatuh and PeduliLindungi applications to provide access to vaccines certificates for umrah pilgrims, he added.

"There is news that we are starting to be allowed (to perform umrah), but, of course, there are preparations that must be made since we all know the pandemic is still ongoing," he said.

Regarding the requirement for a booster vaccine for prospective Indonesian pilgrims, Latif affirmed that the government has continued to lobby the Saudi Arabian authorities to cancel the requirement.

According to him, the COVID-19 situation in Indonesia is starting to come under control, and this has been an essential point in lobbying the Saudi Arabian authorities.

"We are still negotiating and preparing technical matters; we will immediately inform the public. Later, we will see if the (booster) vaccine is needed or not, hopefully not. Therefore, we are still waiting for the information from the Ministry of Health as well," he said.

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