Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz chaired the Cabinet session held in Jeddah today.
The King began by briefing the Cabinet on the consultations he held during his November 7-19 trip to the United States, where he attended a UN interfaith dialogue conference in New York and a G-20 economic conference in Washington, DC.
King Abdullah held talks with several top officials, including US President George W. Bush, former US President Bill Clinton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The Cabinet stressed the importance and depth of the friendly relations and mutual respect between the Kingdom and the United States. Several ministers praised the King’s participation in the G-20 summit, noting Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in boosting the world economy through its balanced oil policy and the management of its financial resources.
King Abdullah described his talks with Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who currently serves as the envoy of the international Quartet working for Middle East peace. The Cabinet stressed the contradiction between the official statements of the Israeli government and the siege of Gaza. The Cabinet also emphasized the urgent need for the Palestinian leadership to reunite.
The Minister of Culture and Information said that the Cabinet was closely monitoring the arrival of pilgrims in Saudi Arabia to ensure that adequate services are provided to them. King Abdullah directed the ministers to exert their utmost efforts to enable the pilgrims to perform the Hajj comfortably and smoothly.
The Cabinet condemned the increase of piracy in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea and considered what measures could be taken to eradicate the problem once and for all.
The Cabinet approved the joint minutes on land and sea borders between the Kingdom and the State of Qatar and the two maps signed in the Saudi Arabia last summer, and two memorandums of understanding between the General Commission for Tourism and Antiquities and the British Museum, signed in London November 2007, and with the Republic of Turkey, signed in Riyadh last summer.
The Cabinet authorized the Minister of Foreign Affairs or his deputy to negotiate and sign a draft general agreement on cooperation between the Republic of Zambia.
On domestic issues, the Cabinet authorized the Ministry of Labor to take R198 Employment Relationship Recommendation issued by the 95th Session of the International Labour Conference (31 May - 16 June 2006) which regulates the employment relationship between employer and employee, approved the annual report of Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden), its financial statements and the audit report for the fiscal year ending on December 12, 2007; granted tax incentives for training and employing Saudis in Hail, the Northern Borders, Jazan, Najran, Al-Baha and Al-Joaf.
The Cabinet approved the appointment of Abdulrahman bin Saleh bin Abdullatif Al-Abdulqader as Director of the Minister's Office at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance (rank 14).