Addressing the third meeting of the United Nations committee on the world's least-developed nations, head of the Saudi delegation and undersecretary of the foreign ministry for economic and cultural affairs Dr. Yousef Al-Saadoun reported that Saudi Arabia had, from 1973 to 2000, provided assistance to such countries worth U.S. $76 billion. This represents four percent of the annual average of the Kingdom's gross domestic product. A total of 73 developing countries have benefited, 44 of them classified as least-developed. In addition, the Kingdom has, for 11 countries, written off debts amounting to $6 billion. Dr. Al-Saadoun went on to urge the advanced industrial nations to meet their commitments to the developing world.
Meanwhile, it was announced today that the Saudi Red Crescent Society, as an affiliate of the Joint Committee for the Relief of Kosovo and Chechnya, has opened a school in its camp at Ingusheta for children of Chechen refugees. Facilities for the school are being provided in collaboration with UNICEF, with the Society paying the salaries of the eight teachers. In addition, the Society has set up round-the-clock medical services in the camp for refugees from Chechnya.