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 talks he and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz had held with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain, which focused on the latest international developments and the steps needed to facilitate all appropriate conditions and preparations for the Arab Summit to convene at the earliest opportunity.
The Cabinet noted the Kingdom's surprise at the statements and opinions voiced at the joint press conference in Washington DC held by U.S. President George W. Bush and Israel's Premier Ariel Sharon, pointing out that these statements will obstruct the peace process, lead to further violence and deterioration in the occupied Arab territories, and lay obstacles on the track of any efforts aimed at putting an end to this conflict. Saudi Arabia believes that violence breeds violence, and that the optimal solution for the Middle East situation is to turn to the United Nations. With regard to the assassination of Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Rantissi, the Kingdom expressed its sincerest condolences to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian people, and the bereaved family, stressing that Israel’s continued policy of assassinations and physical liquidation of Palestinian leaders, the latest being Dr. Al-Rantissi, will further complicate the situation in the region and escalate the violence.
On Iraq, the Cabinet expressed its extreme sorrow at the increasing confrontations whose terrible effects the people of Iraq are suffering, in the absence of security, stability, and the simplest necessities of human life. The Cabinet called on the United Nations to play a major role in putting an end to the deterioration of security in Iraq, a situation which will greatly impede any efforts to achieve construction and growth, and for the Iraqis to regain their sovereignty.
Crown Prince Abdullah then spoke of terrorism as wreaking havoc on the earth, and of the aggression committed by a deviant and evil group of people. He stressed that the group of terrorists that is targeting the Kingdom's stability and is deliberately threatening the people’s safety, will on the contrary only enhance Saudi Arabia’s cohesion and unity, and the commitment of all its citizens, including the security forces, to confront anyone who tries to harm its capabilities and security. The Crown Prince re-affirmed that every citizen is a security officer and an aide to the security forces, who are sacrificing their lives to protect the country and its citizens from the powers of evil and wicked aggressors. He noted that the Kingdom and its people will always remember those killed and wounded in their brave defense of religion, country, and citizens, against those who are devoid of all Islamic and human values, and prayed to God Almighty to bless their souls and to grant the injured a speedy recovery.
Turning to domestic affairs, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including approval of the Kingdom ‘s accession to a memorandum of understanding on the protection and management of sea turtles and their sanctuaries in the Indian Ocean and the waters of East Asia; and authorization for the Minister of Higher Education or his deputy to sign a draft memorandum on science and education cooperation with the Ministry of National Education and Higher Education of the Republic of Djibouti.