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 and gave thanks to God Almighty for the bounties he has bestowed on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, praying that the Saudi people may always adhere to the teachings of Islam. King Fahd went on to recall the historic day on which King Abdul Aziz, with a small band of followers, reclaimed Riyadh, one hundred [Hijrah] years ago. From Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz began his progress that led to the founding of the modern Kingdom, ending disunity in the Arabian Peninsula and paving the way for the establishment of a state based on Islamic principles.

Information Minister Dr. Fuad Al-Farsi reported that King Fahd remarked that the celebration of this 100th anniversary recognizes the heroic role played by King Abdul Aziz, and provides a good opportunity to learn lessons from history. He recounted how King Abdul Aziz set a strong foundation for the country and adopted a clear and straight policy on the basis of Islamic principles; how he did his best to settle the nomads and to develop the educational and agricultural sectors; and how he gave utmost attention to the pilgrims, to enable them to perform their rituals in comfort, ease, and safety. King Abdul Aziz spared no effort in the service of Islam and the Muslims, supporting Arab causes and in particular that of Palestine. In addition, declared King Fahd, he adopted moderation in his foreign policy, cooperating with brothers and earning the respect of all. King Fahd expressed appreciation for the heartfelt messages sent by brothers and friends all over the world, on the occasion of the centennial.
The cabinet then adopted a number of resolutions. Permission was granted to the private sector to extend airlifting services to the sick and injured both within and outside the Kingdom, provided that certain conditions are met; these include obtaining approval from the Presidency of Civil Aviation, and ensuring that the planes are equipped with the required medical equipment and qualified human cadres. The Minister of Defense and Aviation will issue a decision in this respect, including the procedures and instructions to be followed in the light of recommendations submitted by a committee that will comprise representatives from the Ministry of Defense and Aviation, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Health, the Presidency of Civil Aviation, and the Experts Commission. Another resolution concerned the drivers of buses transporting pilgrims: if any such driver fails to perform his duty, certain penalties will be imposed on him, including a fine and termination of his contract. Any foreign driver will be deported from the Kingdom in addition to these penalties. Judgements will be made by special committees comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Pilgrimage, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice, and the syndicate of the owners of the vehicles.