Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz presided over the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers last night and expressed optimism at the start of the new lunar year, hoping that it would be a year of relaxation in all issues that concern the Muslim world and underscoring the importance of seeking lessons from the Hijra, the flight of the Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah.
Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi reported that King Fahd expressed his heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of the new lunar year to the entire Muslim nation and hoped that it would realize its ambitions and enjoy security, stability and prosperity. The King reiterated the Kingdom's unwavering support for all just causes in the Muslim world, saying: "We believe that such support constitutes a major element in the country's general policy".
Reviewing a number of important issues and reiterating the Kingdom's unshakeable stand toward the realization of security, fraternity and peace in all corners of the world, King Fahd expressed satisfaction over reports that the concerned parties in Afghanistan were planning to hold talks to restore national unity and restore security and stability to their country, saying: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be happy to see Afghanistan's recovery and restoration of its ability to play an effective role in the international community".
The King also hoped that the new Palestinian cabinet would be capable of successfully shouldering its responsibility towards the service of its people, saying: "I wish every success to President Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian legislative council and the new ministers and hope they will work efficiently in building the independent State of Palestine". The King expressed deep anxiety, however, over the decision of the Israeli authorities to close off Palestinian territories until after the Israeli elections scheduled for May 29, saying: "The Kingdom views such an unjustified decision as a harmful step for the Palestinian people. Moreover, the Kingdom considers the decision will undermine the ongoing peace process." King Fahd reaffirmed the Kingdom's concern to bring about a just and comprehensive peace on all tracks, and in particular the Syrian-Lebanese track.
The cabinet then reviewed a number of issues on its agenda and adopted the following resolutions:
1. approval of the renewal of the commercial and economic agreement signed between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Lebanon in 1971, for a period of one year effective from June 12, 1996.
2. approval of the contribution of the Kingdom to financing the eleventh replenishment of the resources of the International Development Association (IDA), an affiliate of the World Bank, with an amount of U.S. $ 75 million to be made by the Saudi Development Fund.