Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers and expressed his appreciation and that of Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, that citizens and residents alike have condemned all forms of terrorism, sincere feelings that have been spelled out in their cables and contacts, and by delegations from all parts of the Kingdom as well as in the mass media. This, he said, reflects the strength of cohesion and the united stance of the citizens behind their leadership against anyone who tries to destabilize the Kingdom's security, and in support of severely striking down anyone who tries to perpetrate heinous acts that are rejected by Islam and by the values and traditions of Arab and Muslim society.
King Fahd went on to praise the National Meeting for Intellectual Dialogue currently in progress at King Abdulaziz Public Library in Riyadh and the efforts exerted by scholars and intellectuals to exchange viewpoints on Islamic approaches to internal and external problems. The King reiterated the message of the Crown Prince's address to the participants in the meeting, that the Kingdom is confronting ferocious attacks against its religion, and that these attacks also threaten the nation's unity, requiring all sincere people to exert utmost efforts to confront any attempt against the Kingdom's unity, security, stability and interest. In this regard, the Crown Prince had earlier declared that what had happened inside the Kingdom is to be considered a war that should be confronted by all ways and means, adding that these criminals do not hesitate to attempt to carry out their plots even in the holy places of Makkah and Madinah. These plots had thankfully been foiled, due to God Almighty and the vigilance of the citizens and the security forces.
The King then briefed the cabinet on contacts he and the Crown Prince had had with a number of leaders and their envoys, including visiting President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. The cabinet reiterated its condemnation of Israel's aggressive practices, terrorist attacks and assassination policies against innocent Palestinians, which are aimed at undermining peace efforts, distancing Israel from its responsibilities for agreements and treaties, and averting implementation of the 'roadmap'; and called on the international community and the United Nations to put pressure on Israel to end these inhuman terrorist practices.
Turning to domestic issues, the cabinet passed a resolution effecting the Saudi Arabian Capital Markets Law, which sets out the framework for the capital market including:
1. Establishing the Saudi Arabian Securities and Exchange Commission (SASEC) with the objective of protecting investor interests, ensuring orderly and equitable dealings in the securities business, and promoting and developing the capital market;
2. Vesting the Commission with the mandate to license non-bank financial intermediaries, and authorize the offering of securities to the public;
3. Establishing the Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange (SASE), and incorporating the national securities depository center.
Defining the key features of the Saudi Arabian Securities and Exchange Commission, the cabinet declared that the Commission, which will be governed by five commissioners to be appointed by royal decree, will develop and regulate a capital market that is dynamic, fair, transparent and efficient, and will contribute to the nation's economic development. The Commission will be the primary regulatory body for the Saudi Arabian capital market. The new law is expected to promote a more efficient and virile capital market, which is pivotal to meeting the nation's economic and developmental aspirations.
The cabinet passed a number of other resolutions, including endorsement of regulations on the procedure of making public details of contracts on government projects, obligating the Ministry of Finance to issue a statement on these, following the announcement of the annual State budget; endorsement of the proposal to open for investment by the private sector the field of local air transport, till now monopolized by the national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA); authorization for the Governor of the General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training (GOTEVT) or his deputy to sign a draft cooperation agreement with the Republic of Yemen; and authorization for the Second Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General or his deputy to sign a draft memorandum of understanding on military cooperation with the Republic of South Africa.