Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah today.
The King opened the meeting by briefing the Cabinet on his contacts and meetings with world leaders and their envoys. He highlighted his talks with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, during which he stressed Saudi Arabia’s support for Lebanon.
In a statement, Minister of Culture and Information Iyad Madani said that the Cabinet emphasized Saudi support for Iraq’s unity, security and stability, as well as the need to confront attempts to divide the country along sectarian lines.
The Cabinet also urged the Palestinians to intensify their efforts to achieve a national unity government. It expressed the hope that Middle East issues, in particularly the Palestinians, would be at the top of the agenda at the next UN General Assembly meeting.
Turning to the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Cabinet expressed sympathy with the American people and the victims of the attacks. It noted that terrorism has affected innocents of various nationalities and religions throughout the world, and that Islamic countries are at the forefront of countries targeted by terrorism.
The Cabinet continued by stressing the importance of international cooperation in fighting terrorism, and renewed its call for an international counterterrorism center as proposed by King Abdullah. It also warned against attributing terrorism to a single religion, race or sex, and that great damage results from practicing discrimination and racism under the guise of combating terrorism.
Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet approved a number of items, including: the negotiation of a draft agreement on cooperation with Bosnia to combat terrorism, crime and illegal trade; a draft agreement with India on taxation; a bill related to the lease of tourist real estate units; and the final accounts for the King Fahd Library for FY2004-05.