Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, which was briefed on the media reports concerning bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Crown Prince Abdullah reaffirmed the strength of the relations between the two countries, describing them as "historical relations based on mutual respect, common interests, and concerted efforts to realize stability, peace and justice in the world in accordance with international norms and laws". The cabinet praised the official statements issued by members of the U.S. administration in this respect.
The cabinet then discussed the latest developments in the Palestinian issue, noting that the achievement of peace requires a responsible stance by all parties concerned, including the international community, which has denounced all forms of violence and destruction. Crown Prince Abdullah told the cabinet that the core of the problem and the reason for its deflagration is the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and its aggressive actions against the Palestinian people. Ending this occupation, he said, solves the problem. The cabinet underscored the importance of a resolution recently approved by the United Nations General Assembly requesting Israel to pull back its forces immediately from the Palestinian cities to their pre-Intifada positions and put a halt to all acts of violence. This would be a step towards full Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian territories.
Turning to domestic matters, the cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including authorization for the Minister of Foreign Affairs or his deputy to sign with the Republic of Sri Lanka a draft cooperation agreement in the areas of economy, commerce, investment, science, technology, culture, sports, and youth; for the President of Youth Welfare or his deputy to sign a draft agreement on cooperation in sports with the Republic of South Africa; and for the Minister of Commerce or his deputy to discuss with the People's Republic of China the draft of a technical cooperation program with China's National Commission for Quality Control, Tests and Quarantine.