Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers and spoke of the blessing to the people of Saudi Arabia of the fact that shariah (Islamic Law) governs their day-to-day life. Islam, he declared, is "a religion of mercy, love and respect for humanity, that calls for reconciliation and amity among nations; that protects the rights and determines the duties for everyone, promoting justice and preventing evil-doing and aggression against the rights of others; that calls for prudence and temperance in all matters, including the status of the individual, in a way that benefits both him and his Muslim community". He went on to appeal to God to help Muslims unify their ranks, achieve solidarity, work for the interest of the Muslim World and accomplish the aspirations of its peoples in accordance with Islamic shariah.
King Fahd then briefed the cabinet on his recent talks with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, Eritrean President Isaias Aferworki, Austrian President Dr. Thomas Klestil and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia; and on telephone calls and messages from a number of Arab and friendly countries. All these contacts, he said, serve the interests of the Arab and Muslim Worlds.
Turning to domestic matters, the cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including authorization for the head of civil aviation to sign a draft agreement on air services with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and for the Minister of Communications or his deputy to sign an agreement on overland transportation of passengers and goods between the Kingdom and the Syrian Arab Republic. The cabinet also approved a new mechanism for levying work permit fees, a process currently undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs alone. The new system will be implemented by that ministry in coordination with the ministries of Interior, Finance and National Economy, and Labor and Social Affairs. The cabinet further decided to allow civil service personnel to acquire overseas bachelor degrees in health and computer fields according to the needs of government bodies, appropriating SR 600 million [U.S. $ 160 million] annually over the next five years for scholarship and training programs, effective FY 1422/1423 , and urging the concerned ministers of Planning, Civil Service, and Finance and National Economy to coordinate for the effective execution of this order.