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, which expressed the Kingdom's welcome of the report of the U.S. 9-11 Commission and its references to Saudi Arabia’s efforts in combating terrorism. The Kingdom also welcomed the positive proposals related to cooperation in the war on terrorism and opening up channels for wider dialogue, a matter that the Kingdom has always advocated. The Crown Prince then briefed the Cabinet on talks concerning the latest international developments as well as bilateral relations held by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz and himself with visiting Prime Minister of Pakistan Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
The Cabinet went on to welcome the forthcoming visit to the Kingdom of Iraq's Prime Minister Dr Iyad Allawi, hoping that the visit will achieve the aspirations of the two neighboring countries; and praised the final statement issued by the sixth conference of foreign ministers of countries that are neighbors to Iraq. This statement welcomed the transfer of authority to the Iraqi interim government; stressed Iraq's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence; and supported the Iraqi government's efforts to assume its political and security responsibilities. The Cabinet affirmed that the statement spoke to the aspirations of the neighboring countries, which hope that Iraq can enforce security and stability, and resume its positive role as an effective member of the international community.
Concerning Palestine, the Cabinet expressed regret over the differences and rifts among Palestinians, saying this will only serve Israel, and urging the Palestinians to unify their ranks in order to confront Israeli aggression rather than to give Israel an opportunity to fish in troubled waters. The Cabinet also affirmed the necessity of dealing with Israel’s aggressive practices so that the Palestinian people can achieve their stability and security, and stressed the importance of settling differences wisely, avoiding division. Only in this way can the Palestinian people positively benefit from regaining their usurped rights. The Cabinet condemned Israel’s recent aggression against South Lebanon, renewing its call on the international community, headed by the United Nations, to confront Israel's intransigence and persistent blocking of United Nations resolutions through its practices and procrastinations, thwarting thereby all efforts towards achieving peace in the region. The latest of these violations has been highlighted by the International Court of Justice and its ruling on the illegitimacy of the segregation wall being built in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including endorsement of amendments to the basic regulations of the World Tourism Organization [of which Saudi Arabia is a member]; and approval that the Ministry of Finance issue a letter of credit for the third water and electricity project at Al-Shuaybah, and for three others at Jubail, Ras Al-Zoor and Abqaiq.