Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz chaired the regular weekly session of the Council of Ministers today, and welcomed the ministers following last Wednesday's reshuffle of the cabinet.
The cabinet was then briefed on the latest international developments, notably the situation in Iraq and the occupied Palestinian territories. In this regard, King Fahd informed the cabinet of the results of consultations, meetings and contacts held last week by himself and by Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. The cabinet expressed its satisfaction over the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two neighborly countries of Pakistan and India, stressing that this positive step will contribute to creating an appropriate atmosphere for dealing with the outstanding issues between them and provide a solid ground for the enhancement of stability and peace in the region.
Turning to domestic issues, the cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including authorization for the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources to conclude an agreement with the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden) and Saudi Oger to conduct an economic feasibility study for a phosphates mine and a purification unit in the Northern Borders Province and for a fertilizer factory in Jubail; approval for the formation of a high-level task force of representatives from the Ministry of Transport, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Fund (SAGIA) and the Ma'aden Company, to conclude agreements on technical studies for the project of the north-south expansion of the railway system, the necessary documents to be prepared for international tender before June 30, 2004; authorization for the Secretary-General of King Abdulaziz Foundation for Archives and Research (Darat Almalik Abdulaziz) to sign a draft cooperation agreement with Yemen's National Center for Documents; authorization for the Minister of Interior or his deputy to discuss a draft security agreement with the Republic of Ukraine; and approval for representatives from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Water and Electricity, and the Ministry of Agriculture to be added to the Board of Directors of the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO).