Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz today chaired the weekly session of the Council of Ministers, which reviewed the Kingdom's efforts through various diplomatic channels at the highest level to avert war and the use of force and to reach a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis. Since, however, these efforts have not achieved the desired result, the cabinet stressed the need to halt military action as soon as possible, and reaffirmed its position that solution of the Iraqi crisis and its consequences should emanate from joint international efforts within the framework of the United Nations. Saudi Arabia again emphasized its rejection of any military occupation of Iraq, urged implementation of the Security Council resolutions, and stressed the need to maintain Iraq's security, unity, independence, and territorial integrity, and to preserve the civil institutions serving the Iraqi people.
Turning to domestic issues, the cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including authorization for the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development (NCWCD) to join the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; and approval of the renewal of the agreement on cooperation in veterinary services with the Arab Republic of Egypt for five more years, effective July 12, 2003. The cabinet also endorsed the establishment of a national commission for the elderly, to undertake welfare programs and conduct research on issues pertaining to the aged. The commission is to be chaired by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs with members from various bodies, governmental and semi-governmental, including representatives from the Retirement Pension Department; the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce; and the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Charitable Organization; as well as the ministries of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance; Education; Health; Information; Labor and Social Affairs; and Planning.