Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, and briefed the Cabinet on the contents of his talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as his meeting with Prince Charles of Wales. King Abdullah also briefed the Cabinet on the content of his message to Libyan leader Muammar Al-Qaddafi, the current president of the 22nd Arab Summit.
In a statement issued by Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz Khojah, the Cabinet expressed its hope that the 22nd Arab Summit held in Libya will expand cooperation among Arab countries, and praised the Arab countries' efforts to overcome all obstacles to achieve Arab unity and serve Arab causes and peoples, especially the Palestinian cause. It also stressed the need to mobilize efforts to alleviate the injustices suffered by the Palestinian people and to firmly stand against repeated Israeli attacks on the Palestinian population and the Islamic holy places in the occupied Palestinian lands.
The Cabinet expressed its appreciation for the great and constant efforts by the brave security forces in confronting people of deviant thought, valuing their success in arresting elements that built a network targeting national installations and security forces.
In order to boost cooperation with Central Asian countries, the Cabinet approved a number of measures including authorizing the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the Ministry of Higher Education, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCAT), the Saudi General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training, the King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives, and the King Abdulaziz City for Sciences and Technology to negotiate and prepare draft agreements and memoranda of cooperation or understanding with concerned authorities in Central Asian countries, with which the Kingdom does not have such agreements, in order to achieve common interests between the Kingdom and these countries. The Cabinet also instructed the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Council of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Saudi Development Fund, and other relevant authorities to promote Saudi products and services, and promote the Saudi Exports Program to assist in financing and guaranteeing export of Saudi goods and services to Central Asian countries.
The Cabinet approved a cooperation agreement in the judicial field with Sudan signed in Khartoum on 1 Muharram 1430 H (1 January 2009).
On domestic issues, the Cabinet approved a five percent increase in cost of living allowance for pensioners and their families for a period of three years effective next month. The allowance will be limited to the first SR 25,000 (twenty five thousand) riyals of the pension.
The Cabinet, acting on the recommendation of the Standing Committee of the Supreme Economic Council of 29 Dhu al-Hijjah 1430 H (16 December 2009), approved the licenses of three technological companies -- Wadi Riyadh, Wadi Jeddah, and Wadi Dhahran -- as joint stock companies to contribute to the development of a knowledge economy. The Cabinet also approved licenses for American International Group (AIG) and the Arab National Bank for Cooperative Insurance.