King Abdullah chairs Cabinet session

August 30, 2010

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz chaired the Cabinet session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah today. At the outset, he was briefed on the services provided by government agencies for Umrah performers and visitors of the holy places, particularly during the last ten days of Ramadan, when visitor volume increases. The King directed officials to make every effort to enable visitors of the Kaaba and the Two Holy Mosques to perform Umrah comfortably.

The Cabinet listened to a report by Second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz on the outcome of the 17th meeting of Provincial Governors, which was held in Makkah yesterday. Then the Minister of Finance delivered a briefing on the 2010 Article IV Consultations between the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund and Saudi Arabia. The Fund praised Saudi fiscal and monetary policies, which have eased the effects of the global financial crisis on the Kingdom’s economy. The Fund positively evaluated the durability and safety of the Saudi banking system, as well as the role of governmental specialized lending institutions in providing credit for small and medium enterprises. The Fund praised the government’s strategy for enhancing the efficient use of resources and investment in renewable energy, as well as the Saudi Riyal exchange rate policy and the progress made by the Kingdom in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.

The Cabinet reviewed a number of reports on regional and international developments, including the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iraq and Somalia. The Cabinet reiterated Saudi Arabia’s condemnation of Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people, including the ongoing arrests and violations of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the continued Judaization of Al-Quds [Jerusalem]. The Cabinet stressed that the continuation of such practices will affect direct negotiations and undermine efforts to bring about peace and stability in the region. The Cabinet also condemned the spate of bombings and terrorist attacks in Iraq, which have killed and wounded hundreds of people. The Cabinet called on everyone to renounce violence and to unite to face terrorist acts that aim at undermining security and stability in Iraq. The Cabinet also condemned the terrorist attack in Somalia that killed 15 Somali parliamentarians.

After reviewing a number of issues on its agenda, the Cabinet approved an increase in the salaries of non-commissioned officers holding the ranks of Private to Master Sergeant, as well as the salaries of commissioned officers holding the ranks of Lieutenant to Major General; authorized the President of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy to sign the Statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); approved a number of measures pertaining to changing the electrical voltage from 127/220 Volt to 230/400 Volt; authorized the Minister of Finance to sign a draft agreement on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of income tax evasion with the Czech Republic; and authorized the Ministry of Culture and Information to license non-government bodies that are certified and specialized in legal affairs to gather the systems from their own sources and classify, reprint and publish them in accordance with the regulations set by the Ministry in coordination with the Ministry of Finance and the National Center for Documents and Archives.