Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz presided over the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers today and expressed satisfaction at the success of the planning strategy applied by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since the start of the current sixth development plan in 1995, citing the important role played by the public sector in the five previous plans to ensure that the nation’s economy reached maturity and that its economic base was diversified. The current plan focuses on objectives, policies and means of realizing economic and administrative efficiency, as well as good performance and rationalization of government spending within a balanced formula that takes into consideration demand management on the one hand and administrative and operational aspects on the other.
Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi reported that King Fahd, briefing the cabinet on the latest regional, Arab, Islamic and international developments, welcomed the recent statement by U.S. President Bill Clinton in Washington DC that he will not allow the Middle East peace process to disintegrate, and also welcomed the call made by the European leaders at the Amsterdam summit for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and their appeal to Israel to recognize the right of the Palestinians to self-determination. The cabinet also praised the statement made by the leaders of the industrialized nations and Russia during their meeting in Denver, Colorado, that they would try to push ahead the Middle East peace process on the bases of land-for-peace and the Oslo agreements. King Fahd reaffirmed the full support of the Saudi leadership and people to the Palestinians and their effort to establish a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region.
Dr. Al-Farsi reported that the cabinet passed a number of resolutions. These included, following a recommendation by Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General, approval of the membership of the Kingdom in the United Nations Anti-Desertification Pact, with a royal decree issued on this, and the Minister of Agriculture and Water authorized to follow up on the matter.
The cabinet also approved a number of measures concerning higher education, including: that all universities and higher education institutions fix the number of students admitted each year in accordance with both the absorption capacity of each institution and the requirements for development; that higher education sectors in technical and technological fields expand admission to include preliminary programs in such institutions as the Public Administration Institute and the technical colleges of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu; that three social studies colleges should be set up in Hail, Tabuk, and Gizan; that the private sector be facilitated in the setting up of non-profit educational establishments to integrate with what has been provided by the state’s universities; and that the private sector be encouraged to contribute to the financing of educational programs, centers, and scholarships according to set conditions and restrictions.