Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers and, commenting on how the Kingdom is bound to its sister Arab and Islamic countries by deep-rooted, fraternal and distinguished relations, praised the outcome of the meetings in Sana'a of the Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council, which, he said, reflect the interests of Saudi Arabia and Yemen in proceeding towards greater achievements for the benefit of the two peoples. Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz then briefed the cabinet on his visit to Yemen where he co-chaired the Council's 13th session with Yemeni Prime Minister Abdulqadir Bajamal. King Fahd remarked on the historical ties that bind the two countries, which share religion and location as well as friendship. He called for intensifying coordination, cooperation and consultation at all levels for the benefit of Arab and Islamic nations in a way that contributes to the realization of security and stability in the region, and referred again to the role to be played by the Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council in promoting bilateral relations.
Turning to domestic matters, the cabinet authorized the Interior Minister or his deputy to discuss the forging of a memorandum of understanding between the civil defense authority and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the area of combating disasters; ratified the draft agreement on technical, scientific and technological cooperation with the Argentine Republic that was signed in Buenos Aires on September 25, 2000; authorized the Minister of Foreign Affairs or his deputy to sign a draft agreement on diplomatic and consular cooperation with the State of Bahrain; and assigned the Minister of Communications or his deputy to conclude a draft agreement on marine transportation with the Republic of South Africa.
Approving annual reports of the Department of Social Affairs at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the cabinet assigned to the Ministry a study on the precise role of the ministry's social service centers; advised it to organize symposiums for charitable societies in order to revitalize voluntary work and facilitate the exchange of experiences; and recommended that it seek the assistance of the Kingdom's research centers, adding that the Ministry of Interior as well as the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is being requested to carry out a study on, and suggest solutions for, the phenomenon of begging.
The cabinet also granted a mining concession to the Saudi Ceramic Company on a two-square-kilometer area at Khasm Radhi in the area of Al-Kharj in Riyadh Province for the exploitation of any kaolin (china clay) and limestone substances in the area.