Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh today.
The King opened the session by wishing the Muslim nation prosperity, peace and security on the occasion of the new Hijrah year. He also wished the nation to be persistent in its efforts towards reform, development and constructive dialogue, and to protect citizens from drifting away from the teachings of Islam that highlight fraternity, mercy and tolerance.
King Abdullah expressed deep regret over the tragedies, disasters, wars, disputes and disagreements suffered by the citizens of some Muslim countries last year. He urged leaders, governments and peoples to be accountable and learn the lessons of past events that only serve the enemies of the Muslim nation.
The King also briefed the Cabinet on his contacts and consultations with world leaders and officials, particularly regarding Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. He noted his recent meeting with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and stressed the deep relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
On Iraq, the Cabinet renewed the Kingdom’s position in support of Iraq’s unity, independence, sovereignty, and equality in rights and benefits from Iraqi resources.
Regarding the Palestinian issue, the King emphasized the need for unified international action to revive the peace process and the importance of learning from previous failed negotiations that avoided major issues. He also called for a Palestinian state according to international law, Israeli-Palestinian agreements, the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative.
The Cabinet issued a number of decisions today. It approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India on fighting drug trafficking, counterfeiting currency, forged documents and the trafficking of cultural artifacts. The Minister of Finance or his deputy was authorized to sign an amendment on a protocol on the avoidance of dual taxation with India.
The Cabinet also approved a MoU on sports promotion and training with Austria. In addition, the Cabinet approved a program for health insurance for students abroad on scholarship.
Regarding appointments, the Cabinet approved the appointment of Fareed bin Yousef bin Ibrahim Khashoggi as Consultant for International Organizations Affairs at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology; Mohammed Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulrahman Al-Aqla as Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs for Social Insurance and Popular Housing; Eng. Fareed bin Ibrahim bin Mohammed Shira as Assistant Undersecretary for City Planning Affairs at the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs; Nasser bin Abdulaziz bin Mirshed Al-Abdullah as Special Secretary at the Ministry of Interior; and the transfer of Dr. Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Abdullah Al-Sadhan from the post of Assistant Undersecretary for Social Development to the post of Assistant Undersecretary for Social Insurance Affairs at the Ministry of Social Affairs.