Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh today.
The King opened the meeting by briefing the Cabinet on his meetings with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad during their visits to the Kingdom this past week.
King Abdullah affirmed that Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy is rooted in the following principles: action to enhance the Arab world; reinforcement of Arab identity among all Arabs regardless of race, religion or ideology; strengthening Muslim unity and promoting understanding among cultures; promoting understanding and cooperation among nations; and contributing to global stability.
In this context, the Cabinet welcomed the upcoming Arab Summit in Riyadh. It expressed the hope that Palestine would be represented at the summit by a national unity government and that it would participate in actions based on resolutions reached at previous summits.
The summit must reach effective decisions on a number of issues, the Cabinet said. Regarding Palestine, the summit must support Palestinian unity and a lifting of the siege imposed on the Palestinian people, as well as compel Israel to abide by international law.
On Lebanon, the Cabinet called on the summit to help the Lebanese people strengthen their legitimate political institutions and foster unity among them.
As for Iraq, the summit should affirm the country’s unity and independence, and promote equality among all Iraqis.
Finally, the summit should promote development, reform and economic integration in the Arab world, the Cabinet said.
Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet praised the Kingdom’s achievements in the health sector, particularly children’s health and vaccination programs. It welcomed the World Health Organization’s certification of the Kingdom as a country free of polio.
The Cabinet issued a number of decisions. It approved the establishment of a government commission to promote Saudi non-oil exports and help formulate policy in that area. The commission will be chaired by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, with members from a variety of government agencies and four Saudi exporters. The Saudi Development Fund will remain responsible for financing and guaranteeing exports, the Cabinet added.
Agreements were approved, including a draft agreement for security cooperation with China, originally signed on April 22, 2006; the negotiation of a draft agreement on judicial cooperation with South Africa; and an accord on the avoidance of double taxation with Austria.
The Cabinet also approved the establishment of a National Industrial Cluster Development Program. The five-year program aims to create a new industrial infrastructure in the Kingdom to diversify the economy. It will be financed annually by the State under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Cabinet said.
The establishment of the Al-Saqr Company for Cooperative Insurance was approved, as was the formation of a board of directors for the Irrigation and Sewage Commission.