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.