Cabinet discusses Lebanon, Palestinians, rising prices in the Kingdom

January 28, 2008

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 recent contacts and consultations with world leaders and their envoys, in particular Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal also briefed the Cabinet on yesterday’s extraordinary meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo, which was convened to discuss the situations in Lebanon and Gaza.

On Lebanon, the Cabinet condemned the recent riots and violence in the country, and warned that such fighting will lead to suffering and only serves the interest of Lebanon’s enemies. The Cabinet urged Lebanese parties to commit themselves to the Arab League initiative to end the political crisis, beginning with a presidential election.

Regarding the Palestinian situation, the Cabinet highlighted that Israeli policies are responsible for the suffering of the Palestinian people, and called on countries in the region to safeguard their rights. It urged Palestinian leaders to unify their ranks, renounce their differences and form a national unity government.

Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet approved a number of recommendations made by the General Committee to combat the rising prices and increasing cost of living in the Kingdom.

These recommendations include subsidizing fees for ports, passports, traffic licenses, ownership transfers, and residence permit renewals for domestic workers; an annual 5 percent cost of living adjustment for government workers; a 10 percent increase in Social Security benefits; subsidizing basic commodities; expediting the construction of public housing; activating the National Housing Authority; issuing a system for real estate mortgages and associated regulations; and educating citizens about the new Consumer Protection Association.

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