1999 News Story

Council of Ministers meeting

Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul

Aziz today presided over the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, and announced a new system of medical insurance for expatriate residents, recommended by the Minister of Health and endorsed by the Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura).  After discussing the possibility of extending this cooperative system to include Saudi citizens, either as individuals or in private enterprises, the cabinet approved the

establishment of a ministerial committee consisting of the ministers of finance and national economy, health, and planning, to study a proposal for spending revenues from government health services to benefit health insurance recipients; and in addition, an ad hoc committee to study the feasibility of applying the new cooperative medical insurance system to Saudi citizens. The committee will submit its report within six months of the start of the new system for expatriates. The cabinet also assigned the Ministry of Health to look into the possibility of forging a system that would enable all citizens to benefit from a cooperative medical insurance system.

Concerning international affairs, Crown Prince Abdullah underscored the Kingdom's

commitment to complete elimination, with no exception, of all weapons of mass destruction

everywhere in the world and most especially in the Middle East. He hoped to see more states

joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and putting their nuclear facilities at the

disposal of international inspection systems in order to contribute to the realization of

global security and stability, and expressed profound concern at the number of countries

who possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons that are a threat to the environment,

to humanity and to civilization.
Crown Prince Abdullah went on to praise the endeavors of the League of Arab States to

implement the Arab Anti-Terrorism Accord, notably those of the ministerial council of Arab

interior and justice ministers. He reiterated the Kingdom's stance in denouncing terrorism

and terrorist acts as being totally in contradiction with all humanitarian values and

ethics, saying they result only in bloodshed, destruction, and subversion, impact on the

economy and on development, spread fear and insecurity, and lead to more violence. In order

to avoid this, the Kingdom has called, and will continue to call, not only at the Arab

level, but worldwide, for an international movement within the United Nations, aimed at

once and for all eradicating the phenomenon of terrorism and realizing security and

stability for all peoples and communities while protecting their legitimate sovereignty.
Crown Prince Abdullah then reiterated Saudi Arabia's stance in support of efforts to

realize peace in the Middle East. He stressed the Kingdom's concern that Israel implement

without delay the agreements concluded with the Palestinians, in order to pave the way for

the final status talks that will lead to the peace that is needed. The Kingdom supports all

rights of the Palestinians, including that to have Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of

their own independent state.
Turning to the preparations for the next Hajj season, the cabinet amended the relevant visa

act concerning transportation companies who carry those who have overstayed on a Hajj or

Umrah visa, to read as follows:
"Transportation companies in the Kingdom are barred from transporting those who do not hold

resident permits (iqama) or whose permits have expired or whose identities have not been

established, between provinces, or to and from cities, towns and villages, including taking

them to or from the holy sites for Hajj or Umrah or any visit."
Any company guilty of repeatedly providing transportation for violators of the residence

and visa laws will have its license revoked. In addition, those who provide transportation

for Saudis and other residents who do not possess a permit to visit Makkah for Hajj for the

periods fixed by the concerned authorities will be fined a sum not exceeding SR 10,000

(U.S. $ 2,666.67) for each person offered illegal transportation.