Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting at Al-Safa Palace in Makkah yesterday.
King Abdullah opened the meeting by marking the Kingdom’s 78th National Day, which is celebrated each year on September 23 in honor of the foundation of the modern Saudi state by King Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
The King said that celebrating National Day means safeguarding Saudi Arabia’s achievements, continuing to work toward its development and prosperity, and consolidating the nation’s unity and stability. The celebration also means continuing the Kingdom’s efforts to seek peaceful coexistence among the nations and peoples of the world.
On international issues, the Cabinet condemned the September 17 terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen. It denounced terrorism as the scourge of this era and reiterated the importance of combating terrorist ideology.
The Cabinet expressed support for Pakistan as that nation seeks to confront the wave of terrorism that has targeted its national unity and claimed the lives of innocent people.
Turning to the economy, the Cabinet reviewed a report by the Statistics Department on unemployment in the Kingdom. According to the report, unemployment has decreased to 9.8 percent from 11.2 percent.
The Cabinet approved the National Strategy for Health and Environment, which aims to preserve a clean, healthy environment and promote job training in the field.
It also approved several amendments to the system of pilgrim transport. The amendments include stipulations that agents or carriers must provide guarantees worth between SR 100,000 and SR 200,000 to the Ministry of Hajj in order to cover the pilgrims’ accommodations. Violations will be investigated by representatives of the Ministries of Hajj and Interior as well as the carrier’s agent or representative.