King Abdullah chairs Cabinet session (10/3/11)

October 3, 2011

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz began the Cabinet session at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh today with a briefing on his most recent communications with foreign leaders, detailing his consultations with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, Spanish King Juan Carlos and U.S. National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon.

The Cabinet reviewed reports on the latest regional and international developments and reaffirmed the Kingdom’s positions on global issues – as laid out in the official Saudi address to the opening of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The Cabinet condemned the continuation of Israeli settlement-building, citing the construction of 1,100 new housing units in Gilo in occupied Eastern Al-Quds [Jerusalem]. The ministers agreed that such practices reflect the absence of good will on the part of the Israeli government and undermine the prospects for creating a contiguous and viable Palestinian state.

Regarding domestic events, the Cabinet reviewed the scientific, literary, cultural, social and economic activities that took place in the Kingdom last week. It praised the donation by King Abdullah of $37 million over 10 years for the Messengers of Peace project. It also noted the opening of the Third Quality Meeting, entitled “Towards Globally Competitive National Products and Services,” and the inauguration of the Eighth Technical Conference of the Association of Tax Authorities of Islamic Countries.

The Cabinet commended the advancement of the Kingdom to the sixteenth rank globally, moving up from twenty-sixth place last year, as published in the Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum in Geneva.

Finally, the ministers congratulated the winners of last week’s municipal elections, wishing them success in serving their regions and the Kingdom as a whole.

Addressing its remaining agenda items, the Cabinet authorized the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the King Abdulaziz Foundation to sign a draft cooperation agreement between the King Abdulaziz Foundation and Millia Islamia University in India; approved a continuation of the current nominal rent of lands occupied by the electricity industry; approved a free trade agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states and the countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA); approved the addition of a representative of the Ministry of Higher Education to the National Committee for the Welfare of Inmates, the Released and Their Families; and approved the organization of the National Commission for the Implementation of the Conventions Prohibiting Chemical and Biological Weapons.