1999 News Story

Council of Ministers meeting

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz today presided over the regular

weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, which expressed “satisfaction” at the latest

peace overtures in the Kashmir situation, and reiterated its call for the lifting of

sanctions from Libya now that the Lockerbie suspects have been handed over.

Information Minister Dr. Fuad Al-Farsi reported that King Fahd expressed the hope that in

the latest peace initiative Pakistan will use its influence with the freedom fighters to

suspend clashes with Indian troops in Kashmir, and that full disarmament will be realized,

paving the way for genuine peace in the region. King Fahd went on to underscore the

importance of lifting completely the international embargo imposed on Libya, particularly

since that North African Arab country has responded positively to the two relevant United

Nations resolutions, and stated: “There is no longer any justification for the sanctions

still in force.”
The cabinet was then briefed by Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister,

Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General, on his recent Gulf tour that took

him to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. Commenting on the report, King

Fahd remarked that the tour comes within the framework of continuous consultation on

matters of concern to the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in order to

enhance its progress, strengthen its ties, serve its countries and its peoples, and

exchange viewpoints on the latest regional and international developments at all levels in

a way that contributes to the realization of security and stability in the region. The King

told the cabinet that all the GCC member states are in favor of increased rapprochement,

coordination, cooperation and unity of ranks among each other in order to realize their

collective aspirations based on their strategic importance, international status and common

The cabinet was also briefed on the latest developments in Kosovo, and urged the Saudi

people to continue extending assistance to the Kosovar people, including support of the

rehabilitation process.
Turning to the issue of privatization in the Kingdom, the cabinet endorsed the

recommendation of a ministerial committee to set up the Jubail and Yanbu Services Company. 

This will be Saudi Arabia's first major joint stock company, for the operation and

maintenance of industries based in Jubail and Yanbu. The main stockholders will be the

Public Investment Fund, the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, Saudi Aramco, and the

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC). The company’s stock will be opened to public

bidding following the setting up of regulations by the Board of Directors, which will

manage the company for the first three years. Once the cabinet has endorsed these

regulations, an independent administrative body will take over the management

The new company will be allowed to reduce the rate of monies transferred to the Reserve

Fund to four percent annually, and to lower the gross reserves to 20 percent of the

company's capital. The company will undertake the operation, maintenance, management, and

expansion of the basic utilities and related construction works, including seawater cooling

systems, desalination plants, and power grids. The company will lease the basic utilities

servicing the two industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu, and will have the right to

establish new facilities on an ownership basis in accordance with the Royal Commission’s

regulations. The company will be able to sell its services to non-industrial clients in

accordance with government-accredited tariffs, and to industrial customers in accordance

with tariffs based on the commercial costs in each city.
Minister Al-Farsi reported that the cabinet then endorsed the broad outlines of the State's

general objectives and strategic bases for the Seventh Five-Year Development Plan, which is

scheduled to commence next year. The cabinet also authorized the Saudi Arabian Monetary

Agency (SAMA) to undertake the licensing of all ATM cards, and to supervise their use

according to standards and conditions to be issued by SAMA.