Saudi Arabian leader, King Khalid, has held a reception for leaders of several countries who have been visiting Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
SV United Arab Emirates delegates arriving at Royal Hajj reception in Mina, Saudi Arabia
SCU Japanese delegates arriving
SV Nigerian delegates arriving
CU Dawda Jawara, President of Gambia arrives
CU President Ja??? al-Nimeiry of Sudan arriving
CU President Moktar Ould Daddah of Mauritania arrives
CU & SVs King Khalid of Saudi Arabia greeting guests (3 shots)
CU Ould Daddah and King Khalid embrace
SV Dawda Jawara and King Khalid shake hands (2 shots)
SV Prince of Mecca departs (2 shots)
SV Ja'afar Nimeiry departs, watched by King Khalid
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Background: Saudi Arabian leader, King Khalid, has held a reception for leaders of several countries who have been visiting Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
SYNOPSIS: Delegates from several Middle East countries including the United Arab Emirates were at the reception at the Royal Palace at Mina.
As well as the traditional Arab representatives there were also delegates from countries like Japan, and several other Asian nations. More than 25,000 Indonesians made the pilgrimage this year.
Moslems from more than 30 African nations also went to Saudi Arabia for the Mecca pilgrimage, the highlight of the Moslem religious year. The biggest delegation was from Nigeria with nearly 67,000 pilgrims.
Among African heads of state at the Royal reception was President Sir Dawda Jawara of the Gambia.
Sudanese leader, President Ja'afar al-Nimeiry was another head of state at the Mina Palace to meet King Khalid, along with President Moktar Ould Daddah of Mauritania.
King Khalid announced on Thursday (2 December) that the Royal Palace at Mina would be donated to the Saudi Ministry of Health to be turned into a hospital for the pilgrims. He had earlier announced that the Guest Palace at Hufuf would also be turned into a hospital. The Health Ministry is also planning another hospital to deal with health problems of the one and a half million pilgrims who take part in the trek from Mecca to the Mount of Mercy each year, part of the traditional Hajj observance.
Among other members of the Saudi Royal family who welcomed the guests with King Khalid were Crown Prince Fahd and the Second Deputy Prime Minister, Prince Abdullah. King Khalid welcomed the various heads of state, including President Ould Daddah, to the official reception -- an annual courtesy during the Hajj pilgrimage.
The total attendance at the Hajj this year was almost a million and a half -- a hundred thousand less than last year. Nearly half of the pilgrims came from outside the country.