Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, and briefed the cabinet on talks he and Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz had held with visiting Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Mahmoud Abbas, and with the European Union's special envoy on the Middle East peace process, Marc Otte, as well as consultations with a number of other officials of Arab and friendly countries on international developments, especially in the field of establishing peace in the region. The King went on to praise Crown Prince Abdullah's ongoing tour [visiting Syria, Egypt and Morocco], referring to it as part of the Kingdom's firm policy based on boosting Arab solidarity and strengthening ties among Arab countries.
King Fahd reiterated the Kingdom's position calling for the establishment of peace in the Middle East in a way that guarantees for the Palestinian people all their rights including that of setting up their independent state on their national soil with Al-Quds [East Jerusalem] as its capital, as called for in the Crown Prince's initiative that was adopted by the 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut as an Arab initiative for peace. The cabinet reiterated the Kingdom's denunciation not only of Israel's procrastination as regards implementation of the roadmap, but also of the actions it is taking on the ground, constructing what it calls a "security" wall, with the aim of seizing more Palestinian lands and turning them into sporadic residential communities, thereby destroying any efforts or possibilities of establishing the State of Palestine. The cabinet emphasized that these actions by the Israeli authorities, and the fact that they are not releasing prisoners and detainees, require from the international community a firm stand to force Israel to respect all international decisions relevant to establishing peace in the region, especially in view of the Palestinian side's clear and constructive cooperation to implement the 'roadmap' plan.
Turning to domestic issues, the cabinet expressed appreciation for the citizens' positive reactions concerning the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, which will boost dialogue through adherence to the Islamic religion and the unity of the homeland, and which will be a platform for wise dialogue among scholars, intellectuals and thinkers. The cabinet then passed a number of resolutions, including approval of model guidelines for drafting memoranda on scientific and educational cooperation between the Ministry of Higher Education and similar ministries in other countries; authorization for the President of Youth Welfare or his deputy to discuss a draft memorandum of understanding to replace the current draft of agreement of cooperation with the Russian Federation in the area of sports; and authorization for the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources or his deputy to sign a draft agreement of cooperation with the Russian Federation in the petroleum and gas sectors.