2005 News Story

Cabinet: Middle East, Iraq, Export Program, narcotics

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 had held with a number of officials of brotherly and friendly countries including the defense minister of Portugal and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. The Cabinet discussed the latest developments in the Middle East, notably the violence and attacks inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people and their towns, and its breach of human rights, violation of international resolutions, and destruction of infrastructure; and again called on the international community to pay attention to these aggressive practices of Israel and to shoulder its political, moral and humanitarian responsibility. On Iraq, the Cabinet reiterated its concern at and condemnation of the continued acts of violence there, calling on the Iraqi people to stand united with their government to isolate and renounce extremists, reconstruct their country, and strengthen its stability and security.

Crown Prince Abdullah then reviewed work on a number of service projects which were approved in the first half of the current fiscal year, amounting to over SR13.29 billion [U.S. $3.55 billion], and representing an increase of almost 47 percent over the sums approved for contracts over the same period in the previous fiscal year. These projects, he said, aim at serving citizens in the sectors of health, education, roads, transportation and municipalities. He went on to confirm that SR 15 billion [$4 billion] has been allocated to the National Export Program, affiliated to the Saudi Development Fund, to provide credit facilities for financing and guaranteeing the exports of Saudi non-oil products.

Turning to its agenda, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including authorization for the Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority or his deputy to sign a draft agreement with the Kingdom of Spain on the promotion and mutual protection of investments.

The Cabinet also endorsed the regulations against narcotics and psychotropic substances. The main features of these regulations are identification of narcotics crimes that can be prosecuted, and indemnity for any user or addict who seeks treatment, such treatment to be kept confidential.