2004 News Story

Cabinet: Middle East, Iraq, Darfur, terrorism, mobile phone services

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 briefed the Cabinet on the latest international developments and consultations he and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz had held with world leaders and officials. The situation in the Palestinian territories, he said, demands that the international community take a united stance in order to confront the arrogance of Israel, which has disregarded both United Nations resolutions and its treaties with the Palestinians that aim at achieving peace and stability in the region; and in order to confront Israel's persistence in its aggression against the Palestinian people, notably its killing and displacement of people, demolishing of property, and continued undermining of infrastructure. On Iraq, the Cabinet again called on the Iraqi people to overcome the crisis and disorder, to work together with their government to achieve security and stability, and not to be influenced by those who seek to destabilize the country and kill innocent people.

The Cabinet welcomed the statement of the Arab foreign ministers on the situation in Sudan’s western area of Darfur, and the steps taken by the Sudanese government to fulfill its obligations in accordance with the agreement it signed with the United Nations Secretary-General concerning settlement of the crisis. The Cabinet expressed opposition to any threat of military intervention in the region or the imposition of sanctions on the Sudan, calling on the international community to give enough time to the Sudanese government to implement its obligations in accordance with its agreement with the United Nations. Moreover, the Cabinet welcomed the announcement that negotiations between the Sudanese government and the two rebel [Darfurian] movements will be resumed on August 23 in Abuja in Nigeria.

On the current terrorist violence in the Kingdom, the Cabinet commended the great efforts exerted by the Saudi security forces in hunting down and successfully capturing a number of the militants of the deviant group; and noted that the Kingdom, represented by its security and armed forces and with the cooperation of its citizens, will continue to pursue every evildoer who seeks to destabilize the homeland, terrorizing and killing people.

Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet reviewed the outcome of the tour of inspection of the Taif municipality carried out by Crown Prince Abdullah, who praised the feelings of appreciation expressed by its citizens. The Cabinet then passed a number of resolutions, notably concerning the setting up and operation of second and third generation mobile phone services. Authorization was given for the establishment of a Saudi joint stock company to be named the ‘Etisalat Consortium Company', with 20% of its stocks to be introduced for public subscription within thirty days of the publication of the royal decree authorizing its establishment, and a minimum of 20% of the stocks devoted to the founders to be offered on the Saudi stock market during the third year of the company’s operation. The Etisalat Consortium is authorized to establish and operate a second generation GSM mobile phone network with all its components. To acquire the license to provide its services at local, national and international levels, the Consortium must pay an advance fee to the public treasury. Authorization was also given for the Etisalat Consortium to establish and operate a third generation G3 mobile phone network with all its components, again with an advance fee to be paid for the license. All fees for licenses, provision of commercial services, use of frequencies, and appropriation of numbers, shall be governed by the relevant regulations and laws. The Cabinet further granted a license to the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) to provide third generation G3 mobile phone services, provided that it submits an application to the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) within one year of the date of the issuance of this resolution, and provided that the technical, operational and commercial commitments be at least the same as those according to the bid of the Etisalat Consortium, and against the fee paid in advance to the public treasury for the same service.