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 briefed the Cabinet on the outcome of the Summit of South American and Arab countries that concluded last week in Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil. The Cabinet commended the Summit's commitment to peace, security and stability in the world, and its assertion that this should be based on adherence to multilateral relations, respect for international law and human rights, the banning of proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, and peaceful settlement through diplomatic channels of all international, regional and bilateral conflicts in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations. The Cabinet noted that the Brasilia Summit has achieved understanding of and laid new foundations for a strategic partnership between the Arab world and South American countries, not only on a political level, but in particular in the areas of economy and commerce.
The Cabinet was also briefed on meetings held by the Saudi leadership with visiting Prime Minister of Lebanon Najib Miqati. The talks covered regional developments and the situation in Lebanon, which call for solidarity among the Lebanese people in order to enhance their country's security and stability, as well as the strong and brotherly relations that bind the two countries.
Turning to its agenda, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including approval of a draft agreement for economic, commercial, investment and technical cooperation between the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the People’s Republic of China, with the aim of expanding and liberalizing commercial relations and exchanging economic and commercial visits; and authorization for the Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) or his deputy to sign a draft agreement with the Republic of Singapore aimed at encouraging, mutually protecting and facilitating the flow of investments between the two countries.
The Cabinet also, based on recommendations from the Ministers of Finance and of Commerce and Industry concerning increased demand on the Kingdom’s cement market, and taking into consideration the resolution of the 25th Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allowing member states to exempt from customs tariffs for one year, effective January 1, 2005, imported cement coming from non-GCC countries, ordered that the GCC resolution be carried out by levying on cement a 5 percent customs fee instead of the current protectionist fee of 20 percent, effective January 1, 2006 [1/12/1426 H], provided that the State shoulder this fee as from May 18, 2005 [9/4/1426 H] until that date.