Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, presiding over the Council of Ministers' regular weekly meeting which was held last night in Islam's most sacred city of Makkah during this, the holiest of months, reiterated the Kingdom's concern for Muslims everywhere, and for solidarity, fraternity and love among them, appealing to God Almighty to lead them to success and unity, that the Islamic Nation may emerge anew, the best nation ever, as prescribed in the Holy Qur'an. The King went on to say that what the Kingdom has been doing and the money it has been spending in the service of the two holy mosques is an Islamic duty it incurs from its strict commitment to the Islamic faith and observance of the deeds and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.
Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi reported that after review of reports from the authorities concerned, the cabinet expressed full satisfaction at the efficiency of the services being rendered to all visitors performing the minor pilgrimage of Umrah during this season, and then passed a number of resolutions. One of these was a decree that the Minister of the Interior discuss with the Libyan side a draft security agreement between the two countries, with due attention to the reservations raised by Saudi experts as per minutes dated January 17, 1998. Another resolution decreed that the importation of asbestos be banned, since it has been proven to damage public health and the environment; that this ban take effect ninety days from the date of publication in the Official Gazette; that factories using this material be advised to get rid of it and cease fully from using it as of 180 days following this announcement; that all previous Saudi standards issued by SASO [Saudi Arabian Standards Organization] to regulate the usage of asbestos be considered void as from Monday, January 19, 1998; and that any unprocessed or unused quantities of the material be disposed of by any proper means to secure its elimination.
Dr. Al-Farsi announced that the next session of the Council of Ministers would be held on February 16, 1998.