Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Crown Prince receives Lebanese Premier Hariri, discuss developments in the region

Prince Salman patronizes ceremonies to graduate King Saud University students

Saudi Finance Minister affirms strength of Kingdom’s economy

Albanian president hails Saudi Arabia’s support for his country’s development projects

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud 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 the consultations, meetings and contacts that took place during the past few days, including the talks he held with the Leaders and Heads of Delegations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States during their 12th Consultative Meeting held in Riyadh last Tuesday. The talks addressed the positions of GCC Member States on various regional and international issues.

The King also briefed the Cabinet on the meetings he held with Crown Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg and Quartet Envoy Tony Blair as well as the telephone call he received from President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir of The Sudan.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session, the Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja said the Cabinet reviewed reports on regional and international developments.

The Cabinet addressed a number of cultural, political and economic activities held in the Kingdom during the last week.

The Cabinet expressed the Kingdom's appreciation for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for hosting the Ceremony of the Translation Award of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, hailing the great success of the award as well as the welcome given to the it by the UNESCO.

Dr. Khoja said the Cabinet then reviewed a number of issues on its agenda and issued the following decisions:

The Cabinet approved a Memorandum of Understanding on political consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federative Republic of Brazil signed in Riyadh on 16/05/2009.

The Cabinet approved the addition of Clause (IV) to the decision of the Cabinet No. (198) dated 01/08/1426H., as regards compelling owners of all unplanned vacant lands, when they desire to plan their lands, to lay sewerage network, to link it to the public sanitation network, to install a network and means of sewage treatment for the lands that have no public sanitation network. The clause shall read as follows:

'IV: The provisions of Clauses (I) and (II) of this decision shall not include the following:

'A- (The unplanned lands located in Phase I of the urban boundary that are not adjacent to the lines of main sanitation network, unless the lines of main sanitation network are delivered to these lands according to a contract under execution or being awarded). This shall be in accordance with the procedures established by this paragraph.

'B- Small properties, provided that the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs shall establish, in coordination with the Ministry of Water and Electricity, controls to determine which properties are small. This shall be made within three months from the date of approving this clause.'

The Cabinet approved a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Islamic Affairs between the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Tunisia signed in Tunis on 06/08/2009.

The Cabinet authorized the Minister of Finance (or his deputy) to sign a draft agreement and protocol between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Poland on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of tax evasion with respect to taxes on income.

The Cabinet authorized the Minister of Finance (or his deputy) to sign a draft agreement between the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government of the Republic of the Philippines on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of tax evasion with respect to taxes on income.

The Cabinet approved the following:

1- Appointing Abdulrahman bin Mohammed bin Ghunaim Al-Ghunaim at the position of Social Consultant (Rank 15) at the Ministry of Social Affairs.

2- Appointing Eng. Mohammed bin Suleiman bin Abdullah Al-Urayydh at the position of Civil Engineer Consultant (Rank 14) at the Ministry of Education.

3- Appointing Abdullah bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Hassan Nahas at the position of Director General of Customs at King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah (Rank 14) at the Customs Department.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah received a telephone call from Sudanese President Omar Hasan Albashir.

During the call, they reviewed Saudi-Sudanese relations and current developments.

The monarch also received Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Alhariri and the accompanying delegation.

During the audience, they discussed developments in the region and Saudi-Lebanese cooperation.

The audience was attended by Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Commander of the National Guard for Executive Affairs,

Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, received at his palace 'Al-Aziziyyah' Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the accompanying delegation.

During the meeting, they exchanged cordial talks and discussed prospects of cooperation between the two countries as well as regional and international developments.

The meeting was attended by a number of officials.

On the other hand, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Governor of Riyadh province, patronized on Monday evening the graduation ceremony of the 49th batch of students at King Saud University for the academic year 1430-1431H.

On arrival at the venue of the graduation ceremony, Prince Salman was greeted by a number of senior officials.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Al-Abdullah Al-Othman, the Rector of the University, highlighted the aspirations of the Saudi Leadership to enable the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to match with the progress of the advanced countries through developing the Kingdom's economy and diversifying its sources of income.

He lauded the support extended by Prince Salman to the KSU.

On his part, Prince Salman thanked Allah Almighty who has enabled the Kingdom to make big strides in the educational sector.

He pointed out to the support being extended by the Saudi Leadership to the educational sector.

Later, Prince Salman honored winners of the prize of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for translation.

He received a memorial shield from the Rector of the university.

The ceremony was attended by Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the Deputy Commander of the National Guard for Executive Affairs, a number of other princes and senior officials as well as parents of the students.

In Riyadh, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf affirmed the strength and safeness of the Saudi economy.

In an inaugural address at 'Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference 2010,' in Riyadh, which attracted a large number of global attendance of economic experts, Dr. Al-Assaf said that the strength of Saudi economy has been due to fine-tuned economic policies of the government, which enabled it to surpass international financial crises.

The Minister of Finance noted that the Saudi economy had a meager impact due to the appropriate economic policies pursued by the government of Saudi Arabia during the past years, stressing that the Saudi policies and their results had been praised by international financial institutions and observers of developments of the international financial crisis.

He pointed out that the government continues implementation of its investment programs to stimulate growth and create more jobs for citizens, indicating that investment expenditures increased by 16% in this year's budget in 2010 in comparison with in 2009, which in turn increased by 36% from the previous year in 2008.

Dr. Al-Assaf said that an amount of about SR 180 billion was spent on projects last year, an increase of 37% in comparison with the year 2008, adding that the Ministry of Finance approved contracts amounting to SR 126.88 billion, an increase of 24% in comparison with the year 2008.

He indicated that the Ministry of Finance approved 652 contracts valued at about SR 40 billion since the beginning of this year until the end of April.

For his part, Dr. Mohammed Al-Jasser, Governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), said that any complicated financial system is able to detect any fragile financial risks.

He added that there is a need to expand the range by which risks can be detected, pointing out that in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a number of measures is used avoid such risks.

'Saudi financial and banking system managed to avoid the substantial negative impact of the global financial crisis in the international market because it applies strict regulations governing the effectiveness of the principles of justice on deposits and assets of liquidity', Dr. Al-Jasser stressed.

Meanwhile, Albanian President Bamir Topi has highlighted the great support extended by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to his country so as to enable it carry out its development programs in various domains.

The remarks of the Albanian President were made during a meeting with the delegation of Saudi Majlis Al-Shura led by Dr Mohammed Al-Salim, the Chairman of the Saudi-Albanian Friendship Committee.

He hailed the support extended by the Kingdom to Kosovo in a manner that has realized security and stability in Kosovo.

The Albanian President lauded the recognition of Kosovo's independence by the Kingdom and said it was an important development in supporting the cause of the Muslim people in the Balkan country.

Topi described the Saudi-Albanian relations as 'strong' and said these bilateral ties are based on solid foundation.

During the meeting, Dr Al-Salim conveyed to the Albanian President the greetings of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz.

The Delegation reviewed with the Albanian President bilateral relations in various domains notably in the parliamentary domain in addition to other issues of mutual interest.

The meeting was attended by Saudi ambassador to Albanian Abdullah Al Abdel-Karim and a number of Albanian officials.

Dr. Sali Berisha, Albania's prime minister, has expressed thanks to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, for the support provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Albania.

The prime minister's remarks came when he received in Tirana members of the Shoura Council currently visiting Albania.

During the meeting, the prime minister also hailed the strong Saudi-Albanian relations.

The Shoura Council's delegation currently visiting Albania paid a visit to the Islamic Mashiakhah (commission of Muslim community) in Albania and met with its president Sheikh Saleem Moka, who welcomed them and valued their visit to the headquarters of the mashiakhah.

Sheikh Moka hailed Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's efforts to serve Islam and Muslims and defend their just causes in various international arenas.

Sheikh Moka also hailed Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's support for dialogue among followers of religions, cultures and civilizations.

Meanwhile, members of the delegation visited a number of Albanian cities as part of their current visit to Albania.