Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting at Al-Hawiyyah Palace in Taif today. King Abdullah is in Taif as part of his tour of the Kingdom to launch development projects.
King Abdullah opened the meeting by briefing the Cabinet on Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts, in conjunction with other international parties, to defuse the crisis in Lebanon and bring about an end to the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
In a statement after the meeting, Minister of Culture and Information Iyad Madani said that the Cabinet stressed the importance of King Abdullah’s intensive diplomatic efforts as well as the messages that Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal is delivering on the King’s behalf to US President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The King’s messages deliver a strong call for a cease-fire and an end to the bloodshed and destruction that Israel is inflicting on Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. The missives also call for a unified effort to help the Lebanese government extend full sovereignty over the country, according to the Taif agreements and the Lebanese national dialogue. In addition, the messages hold Israel responsible for the destruction in Lebanon.
The Cabinet noted the significance of Crown Prince Sultan’s recent talks with French President Jacques Chirac. It affirmed that great powers have a moral and political responsibility to bring about a cease-fire in Lebanon immediately.
The Cabinet also emphasized the importance of continued support for Lebanon and the Palestinians, both through official and popular channels. It expressed confidence that the popular fundraising campaign that will begin Wednesday will exemplify Saudis’ support for the Lebanese people.
Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet welcomed the King’s announcement of the creation of a new international university for technology and science, to be called the King Abdullah University for Sciences and Technology. The Cabinet also encouraged all government departments to allocate a significant part of their annual budgets to promote scientific research and technological advancements.
The Cabinet issued a number of decisions, including approving the minutes of the ministerial committee for administrative organization, several appointments and two agreements with Turkey, one on security and combating drugs and a second on the promotion and protection of mutual investments.