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, and began by briefing the Cabinet on recent consultations with a number of world leaders, and on the latest international developments. The Cabinet praised the efforts exerted by the interior ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in their recent consultative meeting in Kuwait during which they signed an agreement to combat terrorism, as well as expressing their full support to the Kingdom for the measures it has taken to confront terrorist acts. The signing of this agreement, the Cabinet stated, came within the GCC’s strategy to fight extremism, which leads to terrorism. The Cabinet affirmed support for all regional and international efforts aimed at combating terrorism, which threatens the security and stability of all countries, and thanked all those who have expressed their sympathy with and support for the Kingdom and the efforts it has exerted to combat terrorism internally and externally.
On Iraq and the Palestinian territories, the Cabinet affirmed that utilization of all international efforts and potentials is necessary in order to confront the extremely dangerous developments that are buffeting the region. The Cabinet stressed that the delay in the Middle East peace process is clearly the result of the Israeli government's obstinate stance in continuing to try to destroy it and to oppose the Palestinian people and their right to set up an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds [East Jerusalem] as its capital. In this regard, the Cabinet reviewed the statements of U.S. President George W. Bush in which he declared that the date of 2005 for the setting up of an independent Palestinian state as stipulated in the ‘roadmap’, is more than likely to be unrealistic; and expressed the hope that President Bush’ statements will not disrupt the ‘roadmap’, and especially the timetable for Israel’s withdrawal, indicating that such statements serve Israel's demands and practices, which have since the beginning broken down the foundations of the peace process, as well as enhancing its unilateral decisions that obstruct the credibility of the United Nations and its resolutions.
Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including endorsement of new regulations governing housing for the families of armed services personnel killed, injured or missing in action; authorization for the Minister of Interior or his deputy to sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); and approval of the adoption of a maximum remuneration of SR 15,000 [U.S. $ 4,000] per annum for members of the board of directors of the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).