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, which resumed following the break for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. He praised all government agencies involved in the Hajj for the way they had provided services and facilities enabling the pilgrims to perform their rituals in ease and comfort. He then briefed the Cabinet on consultations held recently with leaders of brotherly and friendly countries, dealing notably with the Iraqi situation and that in the occupied Palestinian territories, and referred to his talks with visiting Prince Charles, Heir Apparent of the United Kingdom, which, he said, had enhanced relations between the two friendly countries.
The Cabinet then reviewed developments in the occupied Palestinian territories, noting Israel’s persistence in practicing flagrant aggression, and the continuation of a cycle of violence against the unarmed Palestinian people: killing innocent children, women and the elderly; blatantly challenging all international norms and conventions, and agreements concluded with the Palestinians; and continuing to construct the wall of segregation. The Cabinet again urged the international community in general and the United States of America in particular to intervene promptly and firmly to confront Israel’s unilateral policies and practices that are undermining any opportunity for peace and aborting any pursuit of a peaceful settlement to the conflict.
As regards Iraq, the Cabinet expressed the hope that the United Nations' fact-finding mission will contribute to the UN’s return to its vital role in that country, and that the mission will achieve the desired results in support of the options the brotherly Iraqi people will choose for the political transfer of authority from interim to permanent status on the prescribed date, an authority that should represent all sectors of the Iraqi people, with Iraq regaining its territorial integrity and full sovereignty over all its national land.
Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including ratification of the draft agreement on cooperation in the field of technical education and vocational training with the Republic of Yemen that was signed in Sanaa on July 6, 2003; and authorization for the Minister of Finance or his deputy to sign the draft agreement on encouragement and mutual protection of investment with the Republic of Hungary.