The Council of Ministers today resumed regular weekly sessions. Chairing the meeting, HRH Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, commented on the concept of shura (consultation) as implemented in the Kingdom, and on its derivation from Islamic shariah that treats shura as a basic element in any Muslim community. Referring to the inaugural meeting of the third year of the first session of the Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura) which he patronized last Saturday, Prince Abdullah stated that Islam sees shura not just as a political system but as a comprehensive and integrated way of life.
Minister of Information Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi reported that the cabinet reviewed initial reports from all ministries and state-run establishments concerning implementation of the national budget for the fiscal year 1416/17 (1996). The Crown Prince expressed satisfaction over the readiness shown by the ministers to comply with the concept of rationalization of government expenditure when executing the new budget, and urged citizens to accept measures designed to reinforce the national economy.
The cabinet welcomed the outcome of the 13th session of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers earlier this month in Tunis, and noted with satisfaction the resumption of Syrian/Israeli peace talks. Prince Abdullah remarked that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is looking forward to the return to Syrian sovereignty of occupied Syrian territories, in particular the Golan Heights. Concerning the on-going Israeli atrocities and retaliation measures against Lebanon, the cabinet renewed the call for Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon and peaceful settlement in compliance with the concept of land-for-peace.
Dr. Al-Farsi reported that the cabinet endorsed the memorandum of understanding between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Syrian Arab Republic concerning amendment of an agreement for setting up the joint Saudi/Syrian commission for bilateral cooperation signed in Damascus on July 30, 1995. A draft royal decree has been prepared accordingly.