King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz chaired Monday’s Cabinet session Monday at al-Yamamah Palace. The King began by briefing the Cabinet on recent meetings he has held with world leaders and their envoys on bilateral relations and international issues. He especially noted his meeting with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh last Tuesday, which he said embodied the importance of the relations between the two countries.
On Iraq, the Cabinet reaffirmed the Kingdom’s policy which emphasized the necessity of restoring security and stability through Iraq; maintaining Iraq’s social fabric; calling on the mandate powers to shoulder their international responsibilities towards protecting Iraq’s borders and fending off foreign hegemony, be it political, intelligence, or security; urging the United Nations Security Council’s Permanent Five, along with Iraq’s neighbors to carry out their duties in promoting Iraq’s sovereignty, autonomy, and national independence.
On the Palestinian issue, the Cabinet welcomed the United Nations resolution condemning Israel’s massacre in Beit Hanon. It also welcomed the decisions of the International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP) to denounce Israeli crimes against the human rights of Palestinians. The Cabinet also called on Palestinian leaders to exert more efforts to form a Palestinian national unity government.
King Abdullah also renewed Saudi Arabia’s call for convening an international conference, attended by all parties, to end Israeli aggression and reactivate the peace process according to the Arab Peace Initiative and international resolutions.
On domestic issues, the Cabinet expressed its satisfaction on the state of the economy, citing the 42nd Annual Report from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), which highlights the economy’s accomplishments of the past year and points to continued strong economic growth.
The Cabinet ordered the implementation of articles reorganizing student stipend program. The Higher Education Fund will be established to provide monthly stipends to students of technical and vocational training institutions and colleges, as well as Health Ministry institutes and colleges.
The Cabinet also approved a state financial grant to cover portions of the railway project that plans to link the western parts of the Kingdom, along the Red Sea, with the eastern parts, along the Arabian Gulf. The duration of the concession is set for 50 years, to enable investors to make long-term decisions. The lands owned by the Saudi Railway Organization (SRO) but not used in the project will remain government property.
An independent organization will be set up to supervise the transport sector at the Saudi Railway Organization.