2004 News Story

Cabinet meeting: Middle East, terrorism, Iraq, and Iraqi prisoners

Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz today chaired the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, and briefed the Cabinet on recent consultations with a number of world leaders and officials, including talks he and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz had with President of Sudan Omar Hassan Basheer and with Prime Minister of Palestine Ahmed Qurie during their visits to the Kingdom. As to the latest developments in the occupied Palestinian territories, the situation has become even more volatile because of Israel's aggressive practices and its persistent escalation against the unarmed Palestinian people and evident pursuit of a policy aimed at aborting any attempt to achieve progress towards peace. Crown Prince Abdullah stressed the importance of a strong international stance in confronting Israel’s intransigence, enforcing implementation of United Nations resolutions, enabling the Palestinian people to set up their independent state on their national land with Al-Quds [East Jerusalem] as its capital, and according the Palestinians all their legitimate rights including that of return of refugees to their land usurped by Israel's arbitrary violence.

The Cabinet then focused on the statement on terrorism made by Crown Prince Abdullah during an audience on May 1 attended by a number of university professors as well as princes, ministers, and senior officials. The Kingdom, he said, stands firm against criminal terrorist acts perpetrated by those who have devoted themselves to the service of Satan and the enemies of Islam, and who are devoid of all principles and values. The Cabinet reaffirmed the Crown Prince's statement that the Kingdom will strike with an iron fist anyone who tries to destabilize its security, and will continue fighting terrorism until it is eradicated.

Going over the acts of terrorism that have been perpetrated by deviant criminals who have sold themselves to the devil with the aim of destabilizing the Kingdom's security, the Cabinet affirmed that Islam is remote from such practices, which are contrary to religion, to Shariah [Islamic Law], and to benevolent Islamic ethics. In this regard, there is a saying by Prophet Muhammad that expressly forbids the killing of people and the destruction of their property.  The Cabinet noted that the evildoers have committed their actions as a result of deviant thinking, and expressed the belief that hidden inimical powers are behind this deviation, supporting it with money and equipment, with interest in promoting anarchy in various parts of the world.

The Cabinet also expressed great distress at and condemnation of the inhuman and humiliating treatment of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of the allied forces in Iraq, as disclosed by the media, and described these practices as contrary to the simplest religious and moral principles and against all international laws and norms. Attributing these practices to the extended occupation, the Cabinet called for a speedy transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis and handing over to them actual authority, through reactivation of all Iraqi institutions, both civil and military. These institutions have experienced and qualified cadres to enable them to assume responsibilities to run civil, political, economic, and security affairs, for the protection of their own security and to preserve their own rights within the framework of Iraq's territorial integrity. In this regard, the Kingdom looks forward to the expected role of the United Nations to contribute to the effective transfer of authority and sovereignty to the Iraqis, stressing the importance of this vital role within the framework of the requirements of the relevant United Nations resolutions.

Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including endorsement of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime; transfer of all secretariat positions in the now-dissolved Manpower Council, including their financial appropriations, to a new department at the Ministry of Labor to be called the Agency for Planning and Development, with Dr. Abdulwahed bin Khalid Al-Homaid appointed as its Undersecretary; and approval of a sample contract for the operation, cleaning and maintenance of public roads that prevents subcontracting to a third party, and in certain cases specifies the hiring of Saudi nationals only.