Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly session of the Council of Ministers, who welcomed him back to the Kingdom. Giving thanks to God Almighty for the Kingdom's continued progress, the cabinet praised Saudi Arabia's achievements in various fields, and accredited this to the King's wise policies, both internal and external, that have raised the Kingdom to its remarkable and distinguished position among nations.
The cabinet then discussed international developments, especially concerning the situation in the Middle East, expressing the Kingdom's concern about these developments and their consequences, such as destabilization of peace and security in the region and the precipitation of greater tension and instability. King Fahd reiterated the Kingdom's hope and strong desire that opportunities would be created for diplomatic effort and dialogue to save the region from the specter of war, since war leads only to human disasters and continued tension that is incompatible with peoples' search for international legitimacy to achieve peace, security and stability.
On the Palestinian issue, the cabinet once again expressed the Kingdom's deep concern about the bill passed recently by the U.S. congress that included a section recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The cabinet nevertheless praised statements by the White House that have emphasized objections by the United States to unilateral decisions by any party or member of the international community that might jeopardize negotiations; and that have declared U.S. policy on Jerusalem to be unchanged, re-affirming that the status of Jerusalem is one of the topics for the final stages, to be resolved through negotiations among all parties.
Turning to domestic issues, the cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including authorization for the Minister of Defense and Aviation or his deputy to sign an agreement for international guarantees on transported equipment and its appendix relating to aircraft equipment; authorization for the Minister of Foreign Affairs or his deputy to discuss and sign a memorandum of understanding relating to bilateral political consultations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malta; authorization for the Minister of Higher Education or his deputy to sign a draft memorandum on cultural and scientific cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; and ratification of the agreement with the Syrian Arab Republic on organizing overland transportation for passengers and goods, initially signed in Damascus on November 4, 2001. The cabinet also passed a resolution to increase financial incentives granted to the next-of-kin of brain-dead persons whose kidneys could be used, in order to reduce the list of those waiting for a kidney transplant.