There are Indonesian people performing the Umrah pilgrimage every day
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin welcomed the Saudi Arabian government's new policy on pilgrimage services for Indonesian pilgrims during a meeting with Saudi Arabian Hajj and Umrah Affairs Minister Tawfiq Fawzan Muhammed Alrabiah on Wednesday.

"I laud the various new policies (of the Saudi Arabian government), both regarding Umrah and Hajj pilgrimage, which will provide many facilities for the pilgrims, especially Indonesian pilgrims," Amin said at the Vice President's Palace in Jakarta.

He expressed optimism that the various adjustments in pilgrimage services provided by the Saudi Arabian government will increase the enthusiasm of Indonesian Muslims to visit the Holy Land.

"There are Indonesian people performing the Umrah pilgrimage every day,” he noted.

Hence, providing opportunities for Indonesian pilgrims to visit any city in Saudi Arabia other than the Haramain (Mecca and Medina) will encourage more Indonesian people to perform the Umrah, he observed.

Furthermore, the Vice President asked the government of Saudi Arabia to pay attention to the lodging location for Indonesian pilgrims at Mina so that it is not too far from the location for the throwing of the jamart, which is a part of the Hajj pilgrimage.

He also invited the Saudi Arabian government to build various trade cooperations, especially for goods needed to perform the pilgrimage.

The relationship between the two countries has existed for a long time, he said adding he hoped that it will become closer and more harmonious.

"The relationship between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia has been going on -- not only government-to-government, but also people-to-people -- for a long time. There are many Indonesians living in Saudi Arabia -- some of them even passed away there," he said.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian minister outlined several new policies formulated by his government on Hajj and Umrah implementation for Indonesian pilgrims, such as the extension of the validity period for the Umrah visa from 30 days to 90 days.

Further, the visa application process can even be conducted independently and virtually. In addition, pilgrims have been allowed to visit other cities in Saudi Arabia.

Regarding the lodging for Indonesian pilgrims at Mina, Alrabiah said that he will immediately discuss it with his staff to provide the best service to pilgrims.

"Regarding the (lodging) location for Indonesian pilgrims at Mina, we are very concerned about it, however, we must also admit that Mina is a very narrow and small place, thus we have to (carefully) think about it to be able to fulfill the expectations (of Indonesia),” he added.

Still, he said his administration will try to provide lodging that is close to the location for the throwing of the jamart to most Indonesian pilgrims.

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Translator: Rangga Jingga, Uyu Liman
Editor: Sri Haryati
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