Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, and briefed the Cabinet on talks he had held with King Abdullah II of Jordan focusing on international developments, notably the situation in Iraq and in the Palestinian territories. King Abdullah then praised the initiative taken by the chambers of commerce and industry to adopt a voluntary minimum wage of SR1,500 [U.S. $400] per month for Saudi nationals working in the private sector.
Turning to the situation in the Middle East, the Cabinet warned against continued Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank, and again called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to finalize all aspects of the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and to immediately intervene and halt all unilateral Israeli measures aimed at forestalling the final status negotiations by confiscating lands, building settlements, and continuing construction of the wall of separation.
The Cabinet then expressed condolences to Iraq on the tragic accident at the Bridge of Alaemah in Baghdad last Wednesday; and to the United States of America on the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, reiterating the Kingdom’s supportive stance and its readiness to provide aid to alleviate the consequences of the catastrophe.
Turning to its agenda, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including authorization for the Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority or his deputy to sign a draft arrangement on mechanisms for collective Arab negotiating processes with regional and sub-regional blocs; approval for an amendment to Article (2) of the regulations on the penalties for counterfeiting currency; and approval of new regulations for the Institute of Public Administration facilitating the provision by IPA of training, consultative, and research services for both government and private sector bodies.
The Cabinet also endorsed a number of regulations concerning bankruptcy and the payment of debt to the State, allowing payment in installments and pardoning those who declare bankruptcy. This pardon, however, does not apply to those convicted of embezzlement, counterfeiting or criminal collusion.