Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, today presided over the regular weekly session of the Council of Ministers and briefed the cabinet on reports submitted by the concerned ministries and government bodies regarding implementation of projects outlined in the current budget for 1998 [1418-19 H], and urged all officials to exert every effort to reach its targets and serve the nation in line with the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz. He also stressed the major objectives of the budget that emphasize the development of the labor force to enable it to assume positions within the plans for the saudization of jobs, the achievement of economic efficiency in the public and private sectors, and enhancement of the role of the private sector in the national economy.
Crown Prince Abdullah went on to affirm the strength of the Kingdom's economy, which reflects continued progress in all sectors. Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi then presented a report on the oil situation in the world, and remarked on the exploratory projects at Wedaihi and Shama'a in the Eastern Province, which have produced daily capacities of sweet gas of 16.7 and 6.8 million standard cubic feet respectively.
Concerning contacts which he and King Fahd have had with heads of state of brotherly and friendly states, Crown Prince Abdullah reported that in telephone calls with U.S. President Bill Clinton and French President Jacques Chirac, they stressed the necessity of pushing ahead with the Middle East peace process and of putting pressure on Israel to commit to implementation of the UN resolutions.
The cabinet then made a number of decisions, including enforcement of the joint agricultural policy of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), approval of an agreement on cultural cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Morocco that was signed on March 2, 1998, and permission for Saudi government school teachers to teach in private evening classes.