Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers. Briefing the cabinet on talks held yesterday with visiting Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, he reiterated the Kingdom's support for the people of Palestine in obtaining their fair rights. The cabinet, having closely followed the progress of the recent Camp David Summit between the Palestinians and the Israelis under the auspices of the United States, declared that its outcome had proved the Kingdom's repeated assertion that the issue of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) remains the core of the Middle East problem. Saudi Arabia still maintains that East Jerusalem should be dealt with in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which consider it an integral part of the Occupied Territories, and that Israel should refrain from taking unilateral measures aimed at altering the demography of the Holy City.
The Kingdom therefore continues to urge the Arab and Islamic worlds to keep highlighting this important aspect of the Middle East peace process, and hopes that the current efforts being exerted in this regard will lead to the restoration of all legitimate national rights to the Palestinian people, including that of establishing an independent state with Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital.
Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz then briefed the cabinet on his recent domestic trip to Taif where he opened a number of development projects.
Turning to domestic matters, the cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including approval of a draft agreement on air transportation between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, initially signed by the two parties in Tehran on May 2, 1999; and endorsement of a recommendation submitted by the Minister of Interior, who is also Chairman of the Manpower Council, concerning the decision taken by the Supreme Economic Council to establish a fund for the training and recruitment of Saudi nationals for private sector activities. The cabinet also authorized the Minister of Health to run the fund that has been set up to enable the authorities to spend monies raised from the revenues of medical services provided by governmental health authorities for beneficiaries of the cooperative health insurance to meet additional expenditure and improve the performance of its facilities; the Health Minister is to report back to the cabinet after three years, at which time the experiment will be assessed.