King Abdullah chairs Cabinet session (7/25/11)

July 25, 2011

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz began the Cabinet session held at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah with a briefing on his talks last week with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and a message he received from Moroccan King Mohammed VI.

The Cabinet reviewed a number of reports on the latest regional developments and expressed, once again, grief over the continuation of incidents in some Arab countries that have resulted in civilian casualties. It called for all parties to resort to wisdom, dialogue and reform in order to protect the rights and dignity of the Arab people.

The Cabinet also expressed the Kingdom’s sorrow over the terrible security and living conditions suffered by the people of Somalia. Noting that thousands of Somalis have died and thousands more have been displaced recently, the ministers urged the international community to rapidly intervene to end the humanitarian crisis. They also urged all Somalis to discard their differences and immediately cease combat operations in order to open roads for humanitarian assistance. The Cabinet praised the order issued by King Abdullah allocating $50 million to buy food for Somali refugees through the World Food Program (WFP); allocating $10 million to provide drugs and vaccines, in a joint effort between the Saudi Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO); and providing dates for Somali refugees.

The Cabinet denounced the takeover by Israeli forces of the French ship Dignite-Al-Karama, which was carrying humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. It also denounced the Israeli government’s decision to build 336 additional housing units in West Bank settlements, stressing that such practices, which coincide with the escalation of Israeli military aggression against Gaza, require the international community to stand firmly against Israel’s violations of international law.

The Cabinet also expressed strong condemnation of the terrorist attacks that took place last Friday in Norway, resulting in the death and injury of scores of people. It renewed the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of all forms of terrorism and offered condolences to the government and people of Norway, as well as to the families of the victims.

Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet welcomed an order issued by King Abdullah increasing the subsidy for fodders and their components by 50% and ordering the tightening of controls on markets and prices through the imposition of tough penalties on violators. Then, the Cabinet was briefed on the preparations being made by various bodies in Makkah and Madinah to serve visitors to the Two Holy Mosques, as well as Umrah performers, during the holy month of Ramadan. Finally, the Cabinet hailed the opening of a conference entitled “The Muslim World: Issues and Solutions,” organized by the Muslim World League (MWL).

Addressing its remaining agenda items, the Cabinet approved an amended agreement for Arab cooperation in the field of organizing and facilitating relief operations; approved the establishment of diplomatic relations with Guyana at the Non-Resident Ambassador level; approved a memorandum of cooperation between the Saudi Institute of Public Administration and the French National School of Management; approved a cooperation agreement in the field of research and peaceful uses of outer space with the Ukraine; and approved the final accounts of the Human Resources Development Fund for fiscal year 1430/1431 H.

The Cabinet approved the appointments of Dr. Ahmed Al-Rodan as Director General of Operations at the Ministry of Interior (15th rank); Abdulmajeed Al-Shumaisy as Assistant Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior (14th rank); Mohammed Al-Harbi as Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Fawaz Al-Fawaz as Director General of the Riyadh Branch of the Ministry of Civil Service at the Ministry of Civil Service (14th rank).