Crown Prince Sultan receives King of Bahrain, Prime Minister of Lebanon in Agadir

Prince Sultan reviews with Arab leaders bilateral relations, recent Gulf, Arab and international developments

Saudi Cabinet under Second Deputy Premier hears report on services to pilgrims, discusses regional developments, efforts to revive peace and combating terrorism

Shura Council ratifies code of conduct on fighting pirates

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain paid a visit to Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at his residence in the Moroccan city of Agadir.

During the audience, they reviewed the fraternal relations between the two sisterly countries, ways of enhancing them in all fields and the latest developments at the Arab Gulf, Arab world and international arenas.

Following the meeting, Crown Prince Sultan gave a luncheon in honor of visiting King of Bahrain and the accompanying delegation.

The reception and the banquet were attended by Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Riyadh; Prince Khalid bin Fahd bin Khalid; Prince Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, Governor of the Eastern Region; Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General for Military Affairs; Prince Khalid bin Saad bin Fahd; Prince Sattam bin Saud bin Abdulaziz; Prince Faisal bin Saud bin Mohammed; Prince Faisal bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Secretary General of Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Charity Foundation; Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz; Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Special Advisor to the Governor of Riyadh; Prince Bandar bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Abdullah Al-Nimir and senior protocol officials.

King of Bahrain was accompanied by a powerful delegation. The King arrived in Agadir.

At the airport, he was received by Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Riyadh; Prince Khalid bin Fahd bin Khalid; Prince Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, Governor of the Eastern Region; Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General for Military Affairs; Prince Khalid bin Saad bin Fahd; Prince Sattam bin Saud bin Abdulaziz; Prince Faisal bin Saud bin Mohammed; Prince Faisal bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Secretary General of Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Charity Foundation; Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz; Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Special Advisor to the Governor of Riyadh; Prince Bandar bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Mohammed Busaeed, Governor of Agadir; Abdullah Al-Nimir; senior protocol officials and civil and military officials.

Also, Prime Minister Saad Hariri held talks with Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz in Agadir hours after wrapping up a state visit to the United Kingdom.

While little information emerged from the meeting, the talks gained significance in light of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to break the deadlock in Lebanon over a UN-backed court. Saudi Arabia and Syria have worked on easing mounting tensions in Lebanon over the indictment to be issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, probing the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Hariri had told students at the London School of Economics that he sought the adoption of a security strategy to protect Lebanon from being drawn into war every few years.

Hariri said Lebanon was growing economically, despite political turmoil, but could only achieve its potential if stability was strengthened.

“While this may sound impressive, it only points to even greater heights that the Lebanese can reach if they are provided with … a secure environment where state authority prevails. A state and a national security strategy which protects them from being dragged to war every few years,” he said.

Hariri added that his government sought to strengthen Lebanon’s state institutions and to enforce the rule of law as a prerequisite to boost economic growth and aid Lebanon.

“But a lot also depends on regional players and whether they will refrain from abusing Lebanon’s fragile diversity, something that has characterized Lebanon’s modern history,” he added.

Hariri said Lebanon’s stability and economic growth also depended on the success of global powers in pushing for a comprehensive peace resolution that would spare the country from “another decade of violence.”

Lebanon’s cultural and religious diversity, despite rendering the country fragile at certain times, according to Hariri, continues to make “an exceptional cultural contribution to the Arab and Muslim world and to human civilization at large.” “But complex as Lebanon is, [the Lebanese] want peace, security and the opportunity to lead their lives normally. You give them that and they can take care of the rest,” Hariri said.

Hariri said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the major force driving extremism and fueling cycles of violence in the Middle East region.

“It is a simple but profoundly important fact that for over half a century, most of our region has suffered from vicious and protracted cycles of violence, fear, anger and deep frustration. At the heart of these cycles lies the unresolved tragedy of Palestine,” he said.

Hariri called on the international community, particularly Britain, to assume its responsibility as a major power to pave the road for a peace resolution.

“The UK, as a major power, and as a permanent member of the Security Council, has a moral – and historical – responsibility to play a more active and effective role in reaching a viable settlement,” Hariri said.

“But I do not claim that if, and when, an Arab-Israeli settlement is reached and a Palestinian state is created, that all our problems will disappear. But this does not change the fact that a lot of the anger and frustration and readiness to respond to angry or defiant calls are indeed fueled by the powerful sights and sounds of the continuous tragedy in Palestine,” he added.

The prime minister said world powers should pressure Israel to halt its settlement building and back down on a new citizenship law to pave the way for peace efforts.

The Israeli Cabinet passed a bill earlier this month that would require non-Jewish immigrants to pledge allegiance to the “Jewish and democratic” state of Israel in order to receive citizenship.

“The insistence on continuing settlement building and the introduction of a new citizenship law by the [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu government … are bound to frustrate the peace efforts and make extremist messages even more appealing to Palestinian, Arab and Muslim ears,” Hariri said.

Meanwhile, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, chaired the Cabinet session held at Al-Yamamah Palace.

At the outset of the session and on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the Second Deputy Premier expressed the welcome of the government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the pilgrims of Allah's House who started arriving at the holy sites from all parts of the world to perform the fifth pillar of Islam. The Second Deputy Premier asked Allah Almighty to accept the Hajj of pilgrims, thanking Allah Almighty for honoring this country to serve the Two Holy Mosques, holy sites, and pilgrims.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session, Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja said that the Second Deputy Premier listened to a report on all preparations for serving the pilgrims, urging all to be keen and dedicated in providing the services for the pilgrims of Allah's House.

Dr. Khoja said that the Second Deputy Premier briefed the Cabinet on the consultations, messages and contacts the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques held with a number of leaders of friendly countries and their envoys on regional and international developments, including the message the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques received from King Abdullah ll of Jordan which was handed over by Prime Minister Samir Al-Rifai of Jordan; the telephone call he received from King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain; and the audience he held for Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani of Qatar.

The Minister of Culture and Information also said that the Cabinet addressed a number of regional and international issues, including the efforts being exerted to revive the peace process in the region; the situations in Iraq, Sudan and Lebanon; and the recent international efforts to foil a number of terrorist attacks. The Cabinet praised these efforts and stressed the importance of international cooperation, particularly in the field of information exchange among states to counter terrorism.

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

Regarding the legal study submitted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on protecting the rights of GCC Members States in case of a nuclear and radiation leak resulting from nuclear reactors, the Cabinet approved the following:

1- The Kingdom's accession to the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage adopted on May 21, 1963.

2- The Kingdom's accession to the Protocol to Amend the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage adopted on September 12, 1997.

The Cabinet approved a number of measures pertaining to the study submitted by the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs on the lands allocated to governmental bodies.

The Cabinet approved the formation of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Credit and Saving Bank for three years as of the date of this decision as follows:

1- Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. Hamad bin Sulaiman Al-Bazai, Chairman.

2- Director General of Saudi Credit and Saving Bank, Member.

3- Representative of the Ministry of Finance Ali bin Abdullah Al-Ayed, Member.

4- Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labor for Employment of Saudis and Representative of the Ministry of Labor, Member.

5- Representative of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Hassan bin Fadhel Aqeel, Member.

6- Representative of the Ministry of Social Affairs Abdulaziz bin Ibrahim Al-Hadlaq, Member.

7- Representative of the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Hunaishel, Member.

8- Representative of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Ibrahim bin Abdullah Al-Nassar, Member.

9- Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al-Habib, Member from the Private Sector.

10- Maher bin Abdullatif Al-Jabr, Member from the Private Sector.

The Cabinet approved a number of measures regarding the study submitted by the Minister of Agriculture on distributing agriculture lands.

The Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding in the field of technical and vocational training between the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ireland signed in Dublin on 16/11/2009.

The Cabinet approved a number of appointments as follows:

1- Dr. Samir bin Abdul-Ilah bin Hassan Bukhari is appointed to the post of Director General of Administrative and Financial Affairs (Rank 14) at the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment.

2- Abdullah bin Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Al-Khunain is appointed to the post of Assistant Undersecretary for Teacher Affairs (Rank 14) at the Ministry of Education.

3- Eng. Nasser bin Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Fawzan is appointed to the post of Assistant Undersecretary for Company Affairs (Rank 14) at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

4- Eng. Adeeb bin Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Khunaizi is appointed to the post of Petroleum Engineer Advisor (Rank 14) at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

On the other hand, the Shoura Council, presided over by its Deputy Speaker Dr. Bandar bin Mohammed bin Hamza Hajjar, held its 57th ordinary session.

Following the session and in a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the Secretary General of the Shoura Council, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Ghamdi said that the Council discussed a report submitted by the committee of economic and energy affairs on a draft on standardization and metrology system, in order to make Saudi regulations in tandem with internationally recognized standards.

This step will eventually boost the competitiveness of Saudi products, he added.

On another issue, the Shoura Council also discussed an amendment to the agreement on establishing Saudi-Syrian joint committee to serve the interests of the two brotherly countries, supporting the cooperation projects among Arab countries in various fields.

The Council also approved during its 58th ordinary session, an anti piracy and armed robbery code of conduct which may target ships in western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

Al-Shura, also, endorsed a draft memorandum of educational and scientific cooperation between the Ministry of Higher Education of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Education in New Zealand.

Following the session, the Secretary General of Al-Shura Dr. Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Ghamdi said, in a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said the code would boost regional and international maritime cooperation, enhance regional security and embody the strategic status of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to maintain world peace and security through its practical participation in securing maritime transport and conservation of marine environment.