Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly session of the Council of Ministers, and praised the activities and achievements of the Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura) in its study of regulations and agreements, review of the performance of government bodies, and discussion of the Kingdom's internal and external affairs and relationships. These achievements, he said, have led to the passing of resolutions that are of great concern to the homeland and its citizens. On the occasion of the inauguration of the fourth year of its third session, he also expressed his appreciation to its chairman and all its members for their success in enhancing parliamentary relations and participating in conferences of international federations, associations and forums; and commended their sincere efforts in faithfully carrying out their duties.
The Cabinet then reviewed the recommendations in the final statement of the Third National Forum for Intellectual Dialogue held in Madinah on the topic ‘Women’s Rights, Duties, and Education’. Crown Prince Abdullah commented that these important recommendations enhance the principles of Islam that have sanctioned women's rights for over fourteen centuries. The Cabinet praised what the Crown Prince had said during his audience with participants in the Forum concerning commitment to Islamic teachings, and to brotherhood, love and cooperation among all; concern for continuing the practice and ethics of dialogue; protection against any infringement of the teachings of Islam; and cooperation among the various sectors of society to confront anyone who tries to harm the security and safety of the homeland.
On the homeland’s fight against terrorism, the Cabinet expressed its appreciation of the security forces for their achievements in pursuing, hunting down, and arresting fugitives from the deviant group that has been perpetrating crimes of murder and kidnap, and intimidating people who think themselves safe. The Cabinet affirmed that the achievements of the last few days are the results of the great efforts exerted by brave security officers who have sacrificed themselves for the security of the country and the safety of both citizens and residents; and hailed the good cooperation that exists between the citizens and the security forces in the effort to eradicate this criminal group.
Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions concerning public education, including approval of merging the Higher Commission for Education Policy and the Higher Education Council into one body, the Higher Council for Education, which will be chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz with the Minister of Higher Education as Deputy; approval of the establishment of a national center for assessing and developing public and secondary technical education under the supervision of the newly-formed Higher Council for Education; and approval for the departments for the affairs of girls’ colleges affairs and for teachers and training colleges to be transferred to the Ministry of Higher Education. The Cabinet also approved that an endowment fund be set up to raise funds for the renovation of mosques; and that the Muscat Bank, which is based in the Sultanate of Oman, open a branch in the city of Riyadh, provided it adheres to the regulations of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).