2000 News Story

Council of Ministers meeting

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, chairing the regular weekly meeting of the

Council of Ministers today, began by expressing satisfaction at the outcome of the recent tour of North and

South America by Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin

Abdulaziz. He said the talks that the Crown Prince held with the leaders of Brazil, Argentina, and

Venezuela, have positively promoted bilateral relations with these countries.

The cabinet went on to renew its call for Israel to put an end to its brutal and inhuman actions that are

carried out shamelessly before the whole world, and reiterated the Kingdom's firm and constant position in

support of the Palestinian people for the restoration of their legitimate rights to return to their homes and

establish their independent state with Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital in accordance with the relevant

United Nations resolutions. Reviewing current consultations regarding convoking an extraordinary Arab

Summit to discuss the latest developments in the Middle East, including the recent savage Israeli attacks

and provocative practices of the Israeli occupying forces, the cabinet welcomed such a meeting,

emphasizing that the Kingdom has sought and always would seek whatever supports Arab causes and

mobilizes capabilities that would be a tool for Arab and Islamic peoples.
The cabinet was then briefed by Crown Prince Abdullah on his recent visit to disease-stricken Jizan

Province. He assured them that the epidemic of Rift Valley Fever has been contained, and that the various

concerned ministries are carrying out a practical and scientific campaign to completely eradicate the

disease as soon as possible. The cabinet agreed to certain regulations regarding the expenses of patients

and those accompanying them, who are seeking medical treatment outside their residential areas.
Further discussing domestic matters, the cabinet made a number of resolutions, including amendment of

the chairmanship of the Saudi-Korean Joint Committee to be the Minister of Commerce, and approval of

the articles of incorporation of the utilities company 'Marafiq' that is to supply electricity and water to

Jubail and Yanbu.
The cabinet also amended the fee structure for electric power service that it issued in 1998. According to

the new classification, hospitals and private dispensaries as well as private educational establishments,

institutes and schools fall within the category of industry; mosques and charitable associations fall within

the category of agriculture, while their investments fall within the section 'secondly' of Paragraph (10) of

the cabinet decree mentioned above; and furnished apartments fall within the category of independent

residential units. The new charges will take effect on the first day of next month [the Hijrah month of

Sha'ban, which begins on October 28, 2000].
The cabinet also ordered a review of residence permits and work regulations in order to comply with

guidelines, attached to the order, concerning the residence and travel of foreign workers; and requested

the Manpower Council to be concerned with saudization, restricting new jobs and activities to Saudi

nationals, and setting up a new strategy for recruitment of foreigners that takes into consideration

developments in the local labor market, the increased numbers of Saudis seeking employment, the

appropriateness of the need for foreign workers, and a ceiling for their numbers compared to those of