Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz today presided over the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers and confirmed that Saudi Arabia would continue its policy to strengthen ties with sister and friendly countries through increased trade exchanges and joint ventures, pointing out the importance of such economic cooperation for the better performance of the global economy.
Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi reported that King Fahd went on to explain that the Kingdom was seeking to attract both foreign and national capital for joint investment projects. He remarked on the role of Saudi businessmen in enriching and activating economic momentum, thanks to their credibility and seriousness in business, and the confidence engendered with their counterparts in the countries concerned. Supporting this trend is the firmness of Saudi industry, its competitive ability, high quality, and access to foreign markets in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
The cabinet welcomed the call of the G-8 countries during its recent meeting in Germany for acceleration of the Middle East peace process in order to achieve a real peace among the parties concerned, including completion of negotiations on the final status of the Palestinian territories within a year. The cabinet underlined the importance of respecting the rights of the Palestinian people to live in peace on its territory, as a decisive element towards a permanent and comprehensive settlement. King Fahd called on the world community, particularly the co-sponsors of peace in the region, to urge Israel to resume talks from where they were suspended, implementing the relevant Security Council Resolutions and agreements reached with other Arab parties so as to maintain full Arab rights and realize security and stability in the region. He also demanded that the international community work to halt the repeated Israeli hostilities over Lebanon, which were recently stepped up in a barbaric and brutal way, causing civilian losses and destruction of vital infrastructure facilities within Lebanon, in a flagrant breach of the spirit of the April Memorandum of Understanding No.96, and Security Council Resolution 425 regarding ending Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.
The cabinet reiterated that Saudi Arabia urges India and Pakistan to demonstrate self-restraint and solve their differences through peaceful means, sparing innocent blood, and appeals to the Secretary-General of the United Nations to intervene in resolving this dispute.
Turning to domestic matters, the cabinet authorized the President of Youth Welfare or his deputy to sign a draft agreement on cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Hungary in the field of youth and sports, prior to final ratification. The cabinet also authorized the Minister of Finance and National Economy to sign a draft agreement between the Kingdom and the Republic of Korea on the encouragement and protection of investment between the two countries prior to final ratification.
Reviewing a report of an ad hoc committee to evaluate the Kingdom's experience in contracting with foreign consulting firms, government consultants or experts from international organizations, the cabinet decided that:
Government and public establishments that forge contracts with foreign governments, international organizations or private companies to act on their behalf or provide training or experts or give consultations, shall take into account the following:
• A training plan should be inserted in the contracts they sign or renew with foreign parties, covering the work they are doing according to those contracts, so that the foreign contractor provides training to Saudi cadres; the plan should determine the field of training, the requisite number for training, and ways of recruiting them subsequently, provided that this would not contradict with the parameters of the civil service training and scholarship committee.
• Interested government bodies should be given the benefit of the services of the experts and advisors from other countries and international organizations through the formation of joint committees, and should be given an effective role in selecting, supervising and evaluating the performance of, these committees.
• Whenever there is need for foreign expertise or consultation, priority should be given to universities and specialized institutes and scientific centers in the Kingdom.
• The financial cost appropriated for training and for the services of experts should be explained in contracts and agreements.
• Prior to signing contracts or agreements, there should be consultation with any public body that has previous experience in the matter.
Government and other public organizations making use of foreign experts or receiving foreign consultation upon contracts they signed with these parties should prepare annual reports on the performance of these experts, including the extent of the benefit of such expertise, the number of Saudis receiving training, the cost of the mission, and efficiency of the personnel involved.
A committee should be set up comprising representatives from the Public Audit Bureau and from the Ministries of Finance and National Economy, Civil Service, and Planning, to study the above-mentioned reports and forward its evaluation to the cabinet within one year of the end of contract of each foreign expert or advisor. The experts commission will be assigned to set regulations determining the general framework for ways to seek future experience or consultation through contracts or agreements in order to guarantee better implementation and maintenance of national rights.