Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers yesterday evening, and in the name of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, congratulated all Muslims as well as the Saudi people on the advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan. The Crown Prince then briefed the cabinet on recent contacts with leaders of brotherly Arab, Islamic and friendly countries, aimed at promoting peace and stability in the region and worldwide, including King Fahd's consultations with visiting French President Jacques Chirac during which they reviewed recent events, and discussed in particular the Palestinians' right to establish their independent state with Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital.
Reviewing current events in Afghanistan, the cabinet stressed the importance of forming a government in which all parties are represented, and reiterated the Kingdom's stance that a political solution is essential under the present circumstances, and that Afghanistan should be rebuilt as soon as a transitional government is formed. The cabinet urged the United Nations to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the Afghan people in their towns and villages to avert a refugee crisis.
Turning to domestic issues, the cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including continued support for the scientific research programs of the King Abdulaziz Darat (Foundation), after review of a document presented by Riyadh Governor Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, who is its chairman. The cabinet also reviewed a report on the General Investment Fund (GIF) by its chairman, Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, concerning the sale of the government's share in joint ventures with other states, and passed resolutions to approve that GIF offer for sale to the private sector the government's shares in such joint venture companies; and to authorize the chairman of GIF to coordinate with the host country the necessary arrangements, including discussions on the preparation of a draft amendment of the charter of joint bilateral companies.