Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, and briefed his cabinet on the contents of the talks he had in Jeddah yesterday with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, to whom he gave assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would stand firm beside the Palestinian people in their fair struggle against Israel's aggression until all their legitimate rights are restored to them. Saudi Arabia reiterates its call upon all peace-loving countries to effectively address the issue, intensify their efforts and take up an active role in confronting Israeli aggression against the unarmed Palestinian people; in halting the blatant hostility and continuing assassinations of Palestinian leaders; and in preventing the re-occupation of certain liberated territories, a move considered a flagrant challenge to international charters, resolutions and norms and as reneging on bilateral peace agreements that the Israeli and Palestinian sides have both signed.
Turning to domestic affairs, King Fahd commented on the start of the new academic year in Saudi Arabia, and on the comprehensive educational renaissance witnessed by the Kingdom over the five decades since the establishment of the Ministry of Education. He attributed this historic accomplishment to the unlimited support extended by the government to the process of education as well as the efforts exerted by Saudi officials in this regard. As a result, he said, education has made great and unprecedented strides, citing the fact that Saudi schools, institutes and universities, now spread over all parts of the country, have scored renowned educational status both regionally and internationally.
The cabinet then passed a number of resolutions, including endorsement of the Declaration of Principles for joint cooperation signed by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in Brussels on May 23, 2000; directives to all government bodies to strictly apply the provisions in the Social Insurance Act concerning vocational risks to all workers and personnel who are subject to that Act, and to the Labor and Laborers Act; approval of a national plan, and its projected budget, to implement a unified building code in the Kingdom; and agreement to a number of recommendations to preserve the vital facilities of the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), help extend their estimated life, promote water resources research, and encourage the private sector to invest in establishing and operating desalination stations.
The cabinet also issued an explanation that the portfolio of the Vice President of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) would always be treated as a renewable four-year mandate.