Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz chaired in Makkah last night the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, and cited the positive results attained by the national economy as reflected in the annual report submitted by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) for the fiscal year 1423-24 (FY2003). Stressing the importance of exerting further efforts in order to maintain a balanced budget, King Fahd expressed gratitude to God Almighty for the bounties bestowed on the Kingdom, and especially those concerning security and stability as well as the continued growth of the Saudi economy and its capability to surpass the adverse impact of the crises witnessed by the region.
As regards the Palestinian issue, the Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom's unwavering support to the Palestinian people and to their just cause, and underlined the importance of enabling the Palestinians to restore their legitimate rights. Meanwhile, both King Fahd and Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz have extended their best wishes to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, and the hope that he will soon recover and return to his homeland. King Fahd then briefed the Cabinet on consultations they had had with a number of leaders of Arab and friendly countries on the latest developments in Iraq as well as in Palestine, and again urged the international community to work to end the fighting in Iraq as well as putting pressure on Israel to end its flagrant aggression against innocent people.
Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including approval for the licensing of a Saudi stock company under the name ‘Al-Bilad Bank’, in accordance with Articles (3) and (4) of Cabinet resolution #133 issued on 19/4/1425 [June 7, 2004], with half of the shares to be floated for subscription within 30 days from the date the Royal Decree establishing the company is published in the official gazette; and approval for the transformation of the Saudi-Tunisian Company for Development Investment into a loan institution with the characteristics of a comprehensive commercial bank, in accordance with Article (2) of the memorandum of understanding that was signed with the Republic of Tunisia on 26/3/1425 [May 15, 2004].