1997 News Story

Council of Ministers Meeting

Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General, today presided over the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers and declared that the Kingdom’s production of certain building materials has surpassed the demands of the domestic market, and these are now being exported to neighboring countries.  The construction industry is witnessing not only positive growth, but remarkable stability, which Prince Sultan attributed to the increase in investment from both the public and the private sectors in a number of areas, including the building of commercial and residential complexes, the establishment of resorts, and expansion in the oil and petrochemical industries.  He remarked that by the end of the fifth development plan [in 1994] the construction sector was already contributing 13 percent of the non-oil gross domestic product.

Higher Education Minister and acting Information Minister Dr. Khalid Ibn Muhammad Al-Angary reported that Prince Sultan emphasized the important role the construction sector is playing in the comprehensive economic development and in diversification of the economic base, both directly to the infrastructure and indirectly in the development of economic sectors such as mining.  Prince Sultan praised the private sector's role in this, and urged a continuation of this policy with its potential for considerable economic rewards for the Saudi economy.

Prince Sultan then briefed the cabinet on the domestic tourist industry, describing its additional dimension as an effective means of maintaining, and providing opportunities for people to become acquainted with, the Kingdom's cultural heritage.  He went on to commend, on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz  and Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, the efforts exerted in the promotion of domestic tourism by the various princes, officials, and businessmen throughout the country, expressing satisfaction at the considerable increase in the number of resorts and the high number of visitors, notably those from the GCC states.

Reviewing the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, and the continuation of the Israeli siege, the cabinet condemned the Israeli practices and urged the international community, particularly the two co-sponsors of peace, to exert greater pressure on Israel to lift the siege, and to foil Israel's designs to derail the peace process.

The cabinet then passed a number of resolutions, including approval for the Minister of the Interior or his delegate to discuss with the Sudan a draft agreement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of the Sudan to cooperate in the field of combating illegal trade and drug trafficking;  and approval for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to negotiate with its counterpart in Czechoslovakia for cooperation in the areas of economics, trade, investment and technology, and in particular in those of youth and sports.