Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly session of the Council of Ministers, and gave thanks to God Almighty for the success of this year's Hajj, praying that He accept their good deeds and wishing them a safe return to their homes. Crown Prince Abdullah praised the commendable efforts exerted by the various ministries and other organizations, both public and private, that helped the pilgrims to perform their rituals in ease and comfort, and issued directives to all concerned to begin at once to prepare for the next Hajj season.
The cabinet then expressed support for the final communiqué issued by the 15th Arab Summit at Sharm Al-Sheikh in Egypt, which stressed the Arab desire to solve the Iraqi crisis peacefully in order to save Iraq, its people and the whole region from the danger of war, which threatens the security of all Arab countries. Pointing out that the communiqué also affirmed the necessity for finding a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis within the framework of the United Nations, the cabinet emphasized the importance of ongoing efforts by the international community, and the UN in particular, to solve the crisis peacefully; and urged the strengthening of Arab efforts on this track, calling for Iraq's compliance with these international efforts. In this regard the cabinet noted the Kingdom's assertion at the 13th non-aligned movement summit recently concluded in Malaysia, that enough opportunity should be given to find a peaceful solution to the crisis and to avert war.
On the Middle East situation, the cabinet expressed its deep concern over the suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of Israel's aggressive practices, and expressed support of the Arab Summit's final communiqué reaffirming continued assistance, political, material and moral, to the Palestinian people and their legitimate resistance to occupation.
Turning to domestic issues, the cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including approval, on a recommendation by the Supreme Economic Council, for the establishment of a stock company to be named 'Manufacturing and Energy Services Company'; approval of the transfer of the office dealing with pensions to an independent public establishment to be named "Public Establishment for Retirement", the new body to be run by a governor who will also serve as deputy chairman of its board of directors; authorization for the Minister of Interior or his deputy to process a draft security agreement with the Government of Malaysia; and endorsement of a draft agreement, together with the annexed protocol, that was signed in Jeddah on June 26, 2002 with the Republic of France concerning encouragement and protection of mutual investments between the two countries.