Chairing the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers today, Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz briefed the cabinet on this trip to the Republic of Yemen to participate in the celebrations of the tenth anniversary of that country's unification.
The cabinet then discussed the latest developments in the Arab arena, including the withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon, indicating that Saudi Arabia is following the news closely and with interest and satisfaction. The cabinet congratulated the government and people of Lebanon on this historical achievement, which would have not taken place if it were not for Lebanese resistance over the years of contemptible occupation. Saudi Arabia hopes that Israel will abide by the United Nations Security Council resolutions 425 and 426 with respect to the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon so that it will no longer make security of its northern border a pretext for launching attacks against Lebanon's territory and people. The Kingdom also underscores the importance of the role to be played by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and pledges support for all efforts aimed at reinforcing and augmenting it to perform its duties completely and effectively.
The cabinet then expressed concern at the continuing hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and drew attention to the negative impact that can be expected to result from them not only to the two warring countries but the entire region. The cabinet declared that Eritrea's acceptance of the peace plan designed by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for its withdrawal from the disputed border area should contribute to ending the war between the two countries, and praised Ethiopia's acceptance of the mediation efforts launched by the current OAU chairman President Abdulaziz Bouteflika of the Republic of Algeria. Saudi Arabia calls on the two parties to work for the success of the proposed peace plan, resume bilateral negotiations and normalize relations.
Turning to domestic issues, the cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including approval of a legal age of 18 years for an adult to open a business, practice a profession, or provide a public service; and endorsement of the Kingdom's joining the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) of the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).