2004 News Story

Cabinet: Arab Summit in Tunis; mideast; Iraq; privatization

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 expressed his appreciation of the efforts of the Arab leaders that yielded positive results at the 16th Summit of the League of Arab States, which concluded in Tunisia yesterday. The Cabinet praised the Summit’s resolutions concerning issues vital to the Arab world, and stressed the importance of the Tunis Declaration and the document ‘Pledge of Accord and Solidarity’ that was adopted by the Summit as providing, for the first time, a serious and credible recipe for joint Arab action that calls for self-accountancy and is based on implementation of decisions, bypassing the bombast from which proposed Arab actions have suffered over the past decades. The Cabinet went on to point out that after a long period without amendment, the new and modern concepts introduced into its Charter will contribute greater credibility to the Arab League, noting that the document was unanimously signed by the Arab foreign ministers, who approved the initiation of preparations for reform which require such amendments in order to consolidate these new concepts prior to their endorsement by the Arab leaders at the next Summit, scheduled to be held in Algeria.

The Cabinet then reviewed the Saudi leadership’s recent consultations with senior foreign officials, especially on the tragic events in Palestine and Iraq. Crown Prince Abdullah stressed that global security depends on reaching a just, lasting and comprehensive solution in the Middle East, affirming the need for all to shoulder the joint responsibility for exerting the utmost possible efforts to move the peace process forward towards its desired purposes. In this regard, the Crown Prince noted that the serious setback the peace process is witnessing is a result of Israel's practices, which are in total contradiction to the rules and principles set by the United Nations resolutions, the ‘roadmap’, and the vision of the U.S. administration of two states coexisting in a secure and stable atmosphere. As for the situation in Iraq, the Cabinet expressed the Kingdom's sorrow at the increased confrontations that have impacted negatively on the Iraqi people, resulting in instability and causing shortages in a number of Iraqi cities of the simplest requirements of human life. The Cabinet again called on the United Nations to play a major role to stop the deterioration of security that is obstructing efforts to promote the reconstruction and growth of Iraq and the restoration of its sovereignty.

Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including authorization for the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has a 50 percent stake, to discuss with the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) and the Pension Fund, which hold the other 50 percent, the sale of about 10 to 15 percent of their shares in the stock of the National Company for Cooperative Insurance (NCCI). The Cabinet also approved that the Saudi Arabian Mining Company ‘Ma’aden’ initiate measures for privatization; and authorized the Minister of Agriculture or his deputy to sign a draft agreement on cooperation with the government of the Republic of Yemen.