Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, presided over the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers today, and highlighted the concern of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its distinctive religious, cultural, heritage and historic characteristics. Crown Prince said State institutions work hard, through organizing contests, festivals and exhibitions, to promote these characteristics in both domestic and international arenas. Prince Abdullah cited the annual Jenadriyah Festival for Culture and Heritage, to be convened this Wednesday for the 12th time , as an important occasion that bridges the past of the Saudi citizen with his contemporary cultural formation. Prince Abdullah went on to view the festival as a landmark illuminating the road well into the future.
Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi reported that Crown Prince Abdullah pointed also to the efforts exerted by the Saudi government in establishing public libraries in the Kingdom and abroad as well as setting up cultural clubs and forums throughout the Kingdom.
The Cabinet then moved on to review the current developments in Arab and Islamic arenas, and expressed deep condolences to the three sisterly countries of Pakistan, Iran and Turkey for the earthquakes which resulted in heavy human and material losses.
Upon reviewing reports submitted to King Fahd by Ministers of the public sector, the Crown Prince issued the necessary instructions to ensure the comfort and prosperity of the Saudi nationals.
Regarding the recent visit to the United States of Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Inspector General, Prince Abdullah expressed the Kingdom's satisfaction with its outcome and lauded the remarks made by President Clinton, Vice-President Al-Gore and the relevant Secretaries in the Administration in which they expressed the concern of the U.S. to maintain a balanced relationship with the Kingdom in a way that would serve the mutual interests of the two countries and strengthen the existing friendship based on mutual respect and trust.
Commenting on the recent Israeli decision to build a new settlement in Jabal Abu Ghunaim south of Occupied Jerusalem, Prince Abdullah said that the Kingdom condemns the permanent and continuous attempts of the Israeli government to build new settlements. He added that the Kingdom views such a decision as illegal and illegitimate, constituting a flagrant violation of the international treaties and agreements and affirming the Israeli plan to go ahead with its designs to judaize the city of Jerusalem and obliterate its Islamic identity and Arab landmarks.
Dr. Al-Farsi reported that the cabinet, after reviewing the items on the agenda, delegated the Minister of Interior or whomsoever he authorizes to discuss with the concerned U.S. authorities a draft of a memorandum of understanding in the field of cooperation to combat drug trafficking .