Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz today chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers. Stressing the Kingdom’s concern to facilitate the pilgrims’ performance of their rituals, King Abdullah spoke of the projects for the development of the area around Al-Jamarat in Mina, one of the holy sites near Makkah, about which he was briefed last Friday and for which a sum of SR 4.2 billion [U.S. $1.12 billion] has been allocated. He then briefed the Cabinet on his talks with the President of Somalia, the Prime Minister of Lebanon, and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, which focused on current international issues as well as bilateral relations.
The Cabinet then discussed the situation in the Middle East, and Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip; and reiterated the Kingdom’s hope that this will be the first step towards full withdrawal from all occupied Arab lands so that the Palestinian people can build their State with Al-Quds [East Jerusalem] as its capital. The Cabinet again condemned the acts of provocation carried out by some of the Israeli settlers against Palestinian citizens, and urged all concerned parties and the international community to stand firm against these destructive moves, especially since the current situation requires a cessation of violence in order to complete the withdrawal and restore the peace process.
The Cabinet expressed the hope that Iraq’s Constitution will meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people, bolster their national unity, and preserve their Islamic Arab identity; thereby achieving their goals of security, stability, and prosperity, and the return of Iraq as an effective member of the Arab World and of the international community.
Turning to its agenda, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including authorization for the Minister of Foreign Affairs or his deputy to discuss with the GCC organization for standards the draft agreement for the hosting of its headquarters; authorization for the Minister of Justice or his deputy to discuss a draft cooperation agreement with the Republic of Lebanon; the formation of a Tax Appeal Panel, emanating from the Income Tax Regulations, with Dr Abdulrahman bin Ibrahim Al-Homaid as Chairman, Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Waheebi as Deputy Chairman, and as members, Dr Wabel bin Ali Al-Wabel, Dr Saad bin Salih Al-Riwaite'a, Dr Salih bin Ibrahim Alsayari, and Hamad bin Abdullah Aldosari; and approval of the recommendation submitted by the Minister of Agriculture that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia join the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which aims at fair sharing of the benefits yielded from the use of such resources, and urges the treaty's parties to conduct surveys and take the necessary steps to lessen the risks surrounding them.
The Cabinet also approved the draft of the Weapons and Ammunition Act submitted by the Minister of Interior. The Act permits the carrying of weapons for military servicemen working in the National Guard, the Ministry of Defense and Aviation, the Ministry of Interior, and General Intelligence, and for government personnel authorized to do so. According to the regulations, the importation, sale and purchase of personal guns and hunting weapons and their spare parts and ammunition are confined to those authorized by the concerned authorities; and anyone who has acquired such weapons through inheritance must report this to the nearest authority.