King Abdullah chairs Cabinet session

March 7, 2011

At the outset of the weekly Cabinet session in Riyadh today, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz gave a briefing on his contacts over the past few days with foreign officials, including a telephone call he received from Turkish President Abdullah Gul. Afterwards, the Cabinet stressed the importance of the statement issued by the Senior Scholars Commission over the weekend, in which it called for national unity during this time of regional turmoil and warned against unlawful demonstrations.

On the topic of foreign relations, the Cabinet hailed the outcomes of the third meeting of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council, held in Riyadh and co-chaired by Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz and Qatari Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and the 135th session of the Council of Arab League (AL) Foreign Ministers.

The Cabinet expressed appreciation for the visit to Riyadh last week by Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, stressing the strong bonds between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. It also praised Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jabir Al-Sabah for his efforts to ease the tension between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman, two important Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.

The Cabinet reviewed a number of reports on developments at the Arab and international levels, expressing the Kingdom’s concern over regional events and stressing the importance of addressing the various crises with patience and wisdom. The ministers followed up on the latest developments in Libya, calling for an end to the violence in order to save lives and maintain Libya’s territorial integrity. They highlighted the importance of securing access for the injured and affected to humanitarian aid.

Finally, the Cabinet denounced Israeli authorities for continuing to arrest Palestinians and transgress upon their lands, while trying to distort the historical identity of Jerusalem.

On the domestic front, the Cabinet reviewed a number of scientific, cultural and economic activities that took place last week, including the announcement of the winners of the 4th International Award of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz for Translation, the opening of the 2011 Riyadh Book Fair and the opening of the Saudi Economic Forum.

Moving on to its weekly agenda, the Cabinet approved an amendment to Article (8) of the Law of the Military Service Council, issued by Royal Decree No. (M/45), dated 04/07/1402 H; approved the organization of real estate ownership by the citizens of GCC members states for the purpose of housing and investment in GCC members states; approved increasing the proportion of agricultural subsidies for modern irrigation means from 25% to 70%; authorized the Minister of Social Affairs to sign a draft memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of social care between the Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs and the Syrian Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor; and authorized the Minister of Culture and Information to sign a draft agreement for cooperation and news exchange between the Saudi Press Agency and the Qatar News Agency.

The Cabinet approved the appointments of Mansour Al-Mansour as Ambassador at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Haya Al-Awwad as Undersecretary for Academic Affairs at the Ministry of Education (Girls Education) (15th rank); Nasser Al-Hawas as Administrative Consultant at the Ministry of Defense and Aviation and the Office of Inspector General (14th rank); Abdul-Elah Al-Asheikh as Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Ahmad Al-Shaqha as Assistant Secretary General for Preparatory Committee Affairs at the Secretariat General of the Supreme Council for Petroleum and Minerals (14th rank).