2004 News Story

Cabinet: security, economy, elections, census, mideast, health insurance

Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, and addressed a number of domestic issues concerning the current situation of the homeland, its citizens, their prosperous future, and all that pertains to their wellbeing, security and safety.

The Cabinet commended the statement delivered by the Crown Prince during an audience with princes, ministers, senior officials of the ministerial and royal courts, commanders of the royal guard, and citizens, in which he asserted that homeland security has not been affected by the shameful acts carried out by the deviant group that aims at defaming the reputation of Islam and the generosity of the country; and in which he stressed the strength of the Kingdom’s unity, its stance against, and - by the will of God - defeat of terrorist acts, and the sincere commitment of the people to their faith and their homeland.

Crown Prince Abdullah went on to underline the strong situation of the Saudi economy and its continued achievement of positive results, with the continued expansion of private sector activity and the constant improvement and development of the domestic investment environment. In particular, he cited the ‘A’ rating awarded to the Kingdom this week by the international rating agency Fitch Ratings, and the previous ‘A’ rating issued by Standard and Poor’s, as recognition of the growth of the national economy and a reflection of the balanced evaluation of the achievements realized.

The Cabinet then commented on what is taking place in the polling stations in Riyadh Province, especially the enthusiasm with which citizens are registering to vote to elect their candidates and their precincts' representatives in the upcoming municipal councils, a step that will help develop the services provided by the municipalities to citizens and communities.

The Crown Prince praised the efforts exerted by the Ministry of National Economy and Planning, represented by the General Census Authority, for having compiled the initial results of the general census. The results show that the total population of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the day of the census was 22,673,583.

The Cabinet then reviewed the ongoing events in Iraq and Palestine that are claiming innocent victims, women, children and the elderly; and called for an international stance to be taken to stop the bloodshed and work to restore security, stability and peace.

On Iraq, the Cabinet referred to the Sharm El-Shaikh conference on the situation and future of Iraq, and stressed that providing an appropriate security and political climate boosts the confidence of Iraqis in the political system and encourages them to participate in the general elections. Resorting to force to subdue elements opposed to the current political regime in Iraq will only lead to increased dissension, and deepen the differences among Iraqi groups.

On Palestine, the Cabinet again condemned Israel's daily flagrant aggression against the Palestinian people, calling on the international community to put an end to this aggression and to support the resumption of the peace process between the Palestinian and Israeli sides in order to reach comprehensive peace and security in the region. The Cabinet also wished the Palestinian leadership success to work for the best interests of the Palestinian people.

The Cabinet then passed a number of resolutions, including approval that ownership of assets, both moveable and immovable, be transferred from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to the Saudi Commission for Industrial Cities and Technological Areas, while government facilities in the industrial cities remain the property of the government if the services provided at these facilities are carried out by any government body. The Cabinet also approved the re-formation of the Cooperative Health Insurance Council for the next three years with the Minister of Health as Chairman and as members, Dr Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Almo'ammar, representing the Ministry of Interior; Dr Mansour bin Nassir Alhawasi, representing the Ministry of Health; Sami bin Abdullah Almubarak, representing the Ministry of Labor; Ali bin Mohammed Alghaith, representing the Ministry of Finance; Mansour bin Sulaiman Alsulaiman, representing the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Nassir bin Sultan Alsubaie'e, representing the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry; Musa bin Abdulkareem Alribaian, representing the Cooperative Insurance Companies; Dr Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Alrabee'a and the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at King Saud University, as representatives of the health sector; and Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Isa, representing the private health sector.