Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques receives Arab League chief Moussa, Qatari premier, message from Sarkozy, congratulates Bashir over presidential election win

Saudi Cabinet establishes general awqaf authority

Second Deputy Premier Prince Naif calls for information exchange among nations over combating narcotics

Secretary General of World Muslim League asserts King Abdullah’s initiative for dialogue among religions established principles of dialogue among peoples

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Moussa and the accompanying delegation.

During the audience, they discussed a number of issues concerning the joint Arab work.

The audience was attended by a number of princes.

Moussa had arrived earlier in Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport, where he was received by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a number of officials.

King Abdullah also received in Riyadh Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, Qatar's Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the accompanying delegation.

At the outset of the audience, the king conveyed greetings of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah Al Thani to the king who in turn sent his greeting to him.

Then, a number of issues of interest to the two countries were discussed.

The audience was attended by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs; and a number of officials.

King Abdullah also received a message from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The message was delivered to the king by French ambassador to the kingdom Bertrand Bezanson during an audience.

The ambassador conveyed greetings of the French president to the king who in turn sent his greetings to the president.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also has sent a cable of congratulations to Sudan's President Umar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir on his victory in the presidential elections in Sudan.

In his own name and on behalf of the people and government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the King congratulated the President and wished him all success. The King praised the close ties between the two brotherly countries and looked forward to enhance such relations in all fields.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques wished the President permanent good health and happiness and Sudan's people steady progress and prosperity.

On the other hand, King Abdullah chaired the Cabinet session held at Al-Yamamah Palace.

At the outset of the session, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques briefed the Cabinet on his official visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques praised the warm welcoming and generous hospitality he and the accompanying delegation received from King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the government and people of Bahrain, describing such welcoming and hospitality as reflecting the depth of relations between the two countries.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques hailed the convergence of views on various issues that were discussed during the visit. Also, the King briefed the Cabinet on the talks he held with the Secretary General of Arab League Amr Moussa as well as the message he received from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session, the Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja said that the Cabinet listened to a report on the development at Arab, regional and international arenas, particularly the developments in the occupied Palestinian territories and Iraq. The Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom's condemnation of the Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territory as well as the Kingdom's denunciation of the terrorist bombings in Iraq which claimed the lives of many innocent people.

Dr. Khoja also said that the Cabinet discussed a number of domestic issues, praising the visit paid by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the Eastern Region during which he received a group of citizens and viewed the progress of development projects in the region that will promote more prosperity for citizens.

The Cabinet was informed about the signing of the first contract of the first project out of the five projects for the housing of displaced persons in Jazan Region. The first project includes 2200 residential units out of 6000 housing units of the five projects which the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques ordered to be built during his visit to Jazan Region.

The Cabinet listened to a report by the Minister of Economy and Planning on the preparations to launch the general census of population and housing in the Kingdom which will start on Tuesday 27 April 2010. The Cabinet calls upon all citizens and expatriates to cooperate and pay attention to this process as its results will be of great importance in putting plans for the state in order to provide all necessary public services to the citizens. Dr. Khoja said that the Cabinet reviewed a number of issues on its agenda and issued the following decisions:

First,

The Cabinet approved an agreement on air services between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Uzbekistan signed in Jeddah on 07/04/2009.

Second,

After reviewing the minutes of the Ministerial Committee for Administrative Organization on the study of establishing a national authority for endowments, the cabinet approved a number of measures including:

1- Establishment of a general authority for endowments of legal character called the 'General Authority of Endowments'.

2- Abolition of the Undersecretariat of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance for Endowments Affairs and the transfer of tasks concerning endowments from the Ministry, the Supreme Council of Endowments and sub-councils to the General Authority of Endowments after the authority assumes its tasks and forms its board of directors.

3- The General Authority of Endowments shall assume a number of tasks, including:

A - Proposal of plans, policies and regulations concerning the activity of endowments, their implementation after their approval, review and evaluation, and work to develop and update them.

B - Administering endowments under the supervision of the authority and investing them on economic bases and methods of business with the aim of preserving and growing them.

C - Identification and registration of endowments with the use of the best available methods and technical systems and creation of a database of endowments.

D - Protection and maintenance of endowments under the supervision of the authority and prevention of any transgression against them.

4- The authority shall have a board of directors chaired by the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance and the membership of representatives of a number of government agencies and non-governmental organizations.

5- The authority shall have a governor at the 'excellent-rank' appointed by a royal order.

Third,

After viewing the minutes of the committee formed to study the provision of Saudi aid to international organizations and bodies and the prospect of spending it in ways harmful to the Islamic status of the kingdom and its interests, the cabinet approved a number of measures including that the body representing the kingdom at international organizations and bodies should be taking into account the kingdom's Islamic status and its interests when providing Saudi contributions, and should be cognizant of organizations that are not legible for donations or aid.

Fourth,

After review of the submission by Minister of Water and Electricity concerning a request to take urgent action to address the financial situation of the electricity sector, the cabinet decided to grant the Saudi Electricity Company a free-interest loan of SR15 billion for a duration of 25 years to be paid to the company over two years according to an agreement that shall be signed for this purpose between the Ministry of Finance and the company.

Fifth,

After consideration of the Shoura Council's resolution No. (90/63) dated 10/1/1431 AH, the Cabinet decided to approve the amendment to the text of paragraph (4) of Article (III) of the General Regulations for the Environment, issued by Royal Decree No. (M 34) and dated of 28/7/1422 H, to read as follows:

'4- Preparation of environmental draft regulations relating to its responsibilities without prejudice to the powers of the Environmental Council.'

Sixth,

The cabinet approved appointments at the 15th and 14th ranks and at the post of Minister Plenipotentiary as follows:

1- Ibrahim Bin Abdulkarim Bin Ali Al-Muhaimeed is appointed to the position of management consultant (Rank 15) at the Ministry of Finance,

2- Dr. Mohammed bin Ibrahim bin Mohammed Alsaud is appointed to the position of undersecretary of the ministry for water affairs (Rank 15) at the Ministry of Water and Electricity,

3- Fahd bin Mohammed bin Abdullah Alhidayan is appointed to the position of security adviser (Rank 14) at the Ministry of the Interior,

4- Khaled bin Saad bin Abdulrahman Al-Jaber is appointed to the position of Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

5- Hammad bin Ghanim bin Musaiwil Alruwaili is appointed to the position of Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

6- Fouad bin Abdulaziz bin Abdulhamid Rajeh is appointed to the position of Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, the Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, inaugurated the opening ceremony of the First Regional Symposium on Drug Combating and Exchange of Information, organized by the General Directorate for Drug Combating.

At the venue, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz was received by Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs, and Major General Othman bin Nasser Al-Muhrej Director General of Anti-drug Authority.

Addressing the gathering, Prince Naif expressed pleasure to see this domestic, regional and international interest to collectively fight the epidemic.

He said the Kingdom has successfully carried out preemptive operations to prevent drugs from being smuggled into the country on one hand and conducted successful programs designed to illuminate people in the Kingdom on the dangers of drugs on the other.

He added that holding this symposium with this high-profile local, regional and international participation, reflects the keenness of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz; and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, for doubling the efforts and enhancing international cooperation to confront this phenomenon which threatens the humanitarian world community, necessitating the exchange of experience and information between the concerned authorities all over the world.

He wished the gathering every success.

The event was attended by Prince Miqren bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; Prince Saud bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz; Prince Saud bin Thinayyan Al Saud, President of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu; Ulema, ministers and senior civil and military officials.

Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdul-Mohsin Al-Turki, the Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL), chaired in the Egyptian Mediterranean city of Alexandria last week the meeting of the Executive Council for the League of the Islamic Universities.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Al-Turki underscored the importance of coordination to confront challenges facing the Muslim nation.

He called for activation and development of the league of Islamic universities as well as confronting challenges facing the Muslim nation.

The participants in the meeting reviewed the League's budget and final account for last year as well as the agreements which should be approved, reports of the specialized committees and new proposals in this respect.

Turki has affirmed the importance of the role being played by the universities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the field of scientific research notably King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and King Abdullah University for Science and Technology.

The remarks of Dr Al-Turki came at a workshop organized by Alexandria University last night on the role of the Islamic universities in the current stage.

Dr. Al-Turki called for cooperation among the Islamic universities in the field of research pointing out to the responsibility of the universities as regards graduation of a generation which is aware of its duty towards its religion and nation far away from extremism.

He noted that the universities should play an effective role as regards the development of the societies.

Turki met with Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb.

During the meeting, they discussed a number of Islamic and Arab causes as well as the challenges which are faced by the Islamic Ummah.

Turki underscored the importance of the Islamic Western Dialogue to which MWL attaches great interest, given the increasing number of Muslims in Europe.

In press remarks following his arrival in Alexandria, Egypt, to take part in the meeting of the Executive Council of the Islamic Universities League to be held in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, Al-Turki said the purpose of the Islamic Western Dialogue is to remind Muslims in Europe of their duties and to remind Europeans of the Muslim communities rights in Europe on one hand and to portray the real picture of Islam and erase the western misunderstanding of our religion on the other.