Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah yesterday.
King Abdullah opened the meeting by briefing the Cabinet on his contacts and consultations with world leaders and their envoys. He noted his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, during which Saudi Arabia reaffirmed its support for Palestinian unity and highlighted the importance of peace efforts that address core issues with the ultimate goal of regaining the rights of the Palestinian people.
The King praised the Somali national reconciliation conference held in Jeddah over the weekend and the resulting landmark peace agreement. He urged all Somali factions as well as neighboring countries to support the agreement. For its part, the Cabinet expressed the hope that the agreement would put Somalia on the road towards stability and prevent terrorists from exploiting the unrest there.
The Cabinet also approved a measure making it easier for foreign businessmen to visit the Kingdom. It allows Saudi embassies, consulates and point-of-entry immigration authorities to issue business visas without requiring a letter of invitation or sponsorship from a Saudi host. The visas will be multiple entry and valid for 12 months.
In other decisions, the Cabinet authorized the negotiation of Memoranda of Understanding on technological and vocational training with Great Britain and health cooperation with Yemen. It also opted to continue subsidizing the customs charges for Palestinian goods and products entering the Kingdom for one more year.
Finally, the Cabinet reformed the Health Services Council for three years, effective September 17, 2007.