Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers and welcomed the Kingdom's success in being elected, with an overwhelming majority of 48 out of 54 votes, to membership of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nation's Economic and Social Council for the period 2001 to 2003. He declared that these results are evidence of the high prestige and respect the Kingdom enjoys in the international community in the area of human rights, an area that is enshrined in the Islamic faith.
At the start of the meeting, Crown Prince Abdullah briefed the cabinet on the positive outcome of his visits to the United Arab Emirates and to the State of Qatar following the second consultative summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) held last week in Muscat, Oman.
Crown Prince Abdullah also briefed the cabinet on the successful meeting of the ministerial committee with international oil companies bidding for investment in the sectors of natural gas and downstream oil. He said that the response and readiness expressed by these companies reflect their confidence in the stability and transparency of the Kingdom's investment climate. The positive impact expected from their investment, he noted, would be highly satisfactory, contributing to the expansion of the nation's income base through increasing the rate of development and creating new job opportunities for Saudi citizens.
Reviewing the latest developments in the Middle East peace process, the cabinet condemned Israel's continued intransigence in escalating the air raids against Lebanon and resuming the targeting of that country's infrastructure. The Crown Prince called on the international community to exert greater efforts to contain this aggressive escalation. He also reported on the statement issued by the tripartite meeting in Palmyra last week of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia, in which the three ministers vowed that their countries remain prepared to make the Middle East peace process a success in spite of Israel's continuous attempts to put obstacles before it and to avoid implementing the United Nations resolutions. The cabinet reiterated the Kingdom's position of support for its Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian brothers, for the restoration of all their usurped rights. The cabinet also expressed Saudi Arabia's concern to realize security and stability in the region under the umbrella of a fair and comprehensive peace in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
Turning to domestic matters, the cabinet authorized the Minister of Interior or his deputy to hold talks with the Czech side to draft an agreement on cooperation between the two countries in the field of combating terrorism, crime, and drug trafficking. The cabinet then passed a resolution adding a new paragraph to Article 8-1 of the Court of Grievance Law allowing foreign courts to request implementation of seizure of properties or money inside the Kingdom. The cabinet also issued a new regulation on ways of issuing ownership claims on real estate located in villages and remote areas that lack the presence of municipalities and rural affairs offices.