Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz today presided over the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, and praised the crucial role being played by the Saudi private sector as a partner in all aspects of the development process. He praised the cooperation it has demonstrated in achieving the predicted success, contributing with all its might and credibility to the growth of the national economy, and promising to become ever more effective in the future. King Fahd stated that there is full cooperation between it and the public sector over the issue of intensifying its role. This includes contributing to the operation of new public projects and making reasonable profits in the sectors of power generation and telecommunication as well as in those of education, health, recreation, utilities and ports. King Fahd told the meeting he was preparing to increase private sector investment activities and expand their range, particularly in the provision of services and the transfer of certain construction projects currently being implemented by the state.
Information Minister Dr. Fuad Bin Abdulsalam Al-Farsi reported that King Fahd reiterated the government's stance towards encouraging the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities available. He noted that the government provides various facilities and services including a modern infrastructure, and is continuing its policy of subsidizing national industry and providing the necessary financing through national banks and professional funds. He referred to the increased role of the private sector in health services in the context of the government's efforts to provide health services for all citizens, based on preventive health welfare activities as well as on treatment, establishing hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, and health utilities, and upgrading the efficiency and number of health manpower.
Turning to the Middle East situation, the cabinet denounced the provocation and inhumane practices of the Israeli authorities against the land and people of Palestine. Dr. Al-Farsi reported that King Fahd confirmed the Kingdom's permanent and firm support of the Palestinian people and whatever decisions they take with regard to their future, their freedom, and restoration of their legitimate rights. The cabinet also deplored Israel's tyrannical practices in the city of Al-Quds [Jerusalem], including confiscation of land, demolition of homes, expulsion of people, and closure of the offices in Orient House, as part of a plot aimed at judaizing the city and eradicating its Arabic and Islamic landmarks in breach of international resolutions and humanitarian norms.
Turning to domestic matters, the cabinet issued a number of resolutions, including the following:
• implementation of the decision taken by the defense ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) calling for exemption from taxes and custom tariffs in the member states, of all supplies and works related to the military optic fiber cable project, as ratified at the 17th GCC Summit in Doha;
• renewal of the commercial and economic agreement between the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government of the Republic of Lebanon for one more year from May 12, 1999;
• assignation of the Ministry of Posts, Telegraphs, and Telephones to notify the international maritime organization (INMARSAT) that the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accepts the amendments to the organization's charter and agrees to the annexed operations;
• authorization for the Minister of Education to sign the memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Education of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Education of Malaysia for cooperation in the field of education.