Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques stresses deep ties with Syria, backing energy security during cabinet session

Crown Prince Sultan approves statute to ban smoking in kingdom’s airports

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman: Kingdom’s role in founding, sustaining OPEC historic

Saudi role praised at Islamic, global levels

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 talks he held with President Bashar Al-Asad of Syria on the developments at Islamic and Arab arenas as well as the stance of the two countries on such developments.

The talks also dealt with the latest developments at the international arena as well as the ways of enhancing cooperation between the two countries in all fields in a way that serves the interests of the two brotherly people.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques emphasized the depth of relations between the two countries and stressed his keenness on developing such relations.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also briefed the Cabinet on the contacts and consultations he made with a number of brotherly countries, including the message he sent to President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and the telephone call he received from President Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session, Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja said that the Cabinet listened to a number of reports on regional and international developments, including the developments in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iraq and Sudan.

The Cabinet reiterated the firm stances of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards them and stressed the Kingdom's keenness on promoting all means that support security and stability in the region and the world.

The Cabinet addressed a number of international conferences and meetings in which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia participated, including the Friends of Pakistan Conference, the 8th Joint Ministerial Meeting of the GCC-Turkey High Level Strategic Dialogue, the OPEC Ministerial Conference, and the Standing Committee for Information and Cultural Affairs 'COMIAC'.

The Cabinet renewed the Kingdom's call on the international community to support Pakistan in facing the consequences of floods.

Dr. Khoja pointed out that the Cabinet highly appreciated the efforts and charitable and humanitarian initiatives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, praising in this regard the founding of 'Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Program for the Culture of Dialogue and Peace' on which a memorandum of understanding was signed by Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Saud, the Minister of Education, and the Director General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Cabinet also addressed the workshop organized by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency on 'Energy Security' in which representatives of G-20 member states and international organizations and institutions participated. The Cabinet renewed the Kingdom's keenness on supporting all efforts and means that ensure energy security which is a vital issue addressed in the framework of the G-20.

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

The Cabinet approved a protocol amending a memorandum of understanding between the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office (UNHCR).

The Cabinet authorized the General President of Youth Welfare -or his deputy- to discuss and sign with the Lebanese side a draft agreement on cooperation in the field of youth and sports between the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government of the Republic of Lebanon.

The Cabinet approved a framework agreement for cooperation in the fields of agriculture, animal resources and fisheries between the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam signed in Riyadh on 10/04/2010.

The Cabinet authorized the Minister of Water and Electricity -or his deputy- to sign a draft memorandum of understanding in the field of water sources between the Ministry of Water and Electricity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Korea.

The Cabinet approved the final accounts of the General Organization of King Fahd Causeway for the fiscal year 1428/1429H.

The Cabinet approved two appointments as follows:

1- Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Suwailem is appointed to the post of Vice President of King Abdulaziz City for Sciences and Technology for Scientific Research Support (Rank 15) on an acting basis for four years at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

2- Sulaiman bin Mohammed bin Sulaiman Al-Sayiari is appointed to the post of Director General of the Minister's Office (Rank 14) at the Ministry of Agriculture.

Crown Prince Sultan Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, who is also Chairman of Board of Directors of Civil Aviation Authority has approved the Authority's regulations based on the Cabinet's decision to prevent smoking inside the Kingdom's airports and their facilities and to impose a fine of SR 200 on any violators.

The Authority's President Eng. Abdullah bin Mohammed Nour Rahimi, has pointed out that the Authority started issuing instructions to all airports to implement the directives of the Crown Prince starting from 01/12/1431H.

Meanwhile, concluding its Ministerial Conference, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) approved a new long-term strategy on a clear and harmonious framework concerning the future of the organization.

The task of formulating the new strategy was implemented by the Deputy Ministers of Petroleum and Energy of OPEC Member States, who held a series of high-level meetings.

These meetings were held under the chairmanship of Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Petroleum Affairs.

The Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Ali Al-Naimi affirmed that oil producing countries consider that a price ranging between $70 and $80 per barrel is a fair one, stressing that the price is no longer in the hands of producers, but it is subject to the mechanism of the market and its varied and changing factors.

In a joint press conference held with the Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries 'OPEC' Eng. Abdullah Al-Badri after the opening of the International Symposium on Energy, Al-Naimi said, 'We hope that producers, whether countries or companies, work together to make the supplies of oil available in the market,' noting that in the events of the global financial crisis, OPEC tried to bring about the required balance.

'The future role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia takes into account that it is one among the five major founders of OPEC and that the Kingdom has been working to support OPEC through various means and methods,' Al-Naimi said.

He also stressed that the Saudi oil policy is absolutely clear as regards OPEC because this policy has been based on moderation in all its decision-making concerning the market and the continuation of development of its oil fields; raising its production capacity until it had reached 12 million barrels per day. 'Currently, it is producing 8 million barrels per day,' he said and noting that this part of the Kingdom's policy is aimed at providing a reserve capacity to cope up with any price fluctuations in the oil whatever might be the causes.

As for the role being played by the General Secretariat of the International Energy Forum, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources indicated that the Secretariat was incepted upon the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz in a meeting held in the year 2000 to discuss ways to find a General Secretariat in Riyadh to frame dialogue between oil producing and consuming countries, indicating that in 2002 a framework for the Initial Charter project was set, and it was renewed in the meetings of the forum this year.

Al-Naimi said Prince Abdulaziz Ibn Salman Ibn Abdulaziz is heading a working team, which is setting the Charter in its final framework to be ratified next year, stressing that 66 countries among 90, have approved the Charter.

He indicated that fossil fuels will be the present and future during the next thirty years.

Al-Naimi indicated that there are researches and studies carried out by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to discuss ways of using sea water for the cultivation of wheat by changing the genes of wheat by advanced technology, the expansion of renewable energy sources, and promoting energy sources of fossil fuels.

He pointed to the great challenges facing producing countries now on how to manage and develop oil reservoirs by oil producers and how they can develop successful methods to get a larger proportion than 50% of the quantities discovered now, especially as we have experiences in the region that produced 70% of the available oil market.

On his part, OPEC Secretary General Eng. Abdullah Al-Badri said that OPEC has developed its means and policies, noting that the new vision of the Organization, as an international organization of energy, is based on providing good supplies to make price at the international market fair and balanced, taking into account the importance of investing in the oil field in the upcoming period.

With regard to the extent of commitment to production quotas by OPEC members, he pointed out that the average percentage of commitment to the production quotas is 61%, while in some Member States it is 90% and others 50%, stressing that the next meeting of the Organization will examine the necessity of significant commitment by other countries with their production quotas.

Participants in the International Energy Symposium highlighted OPEC's contribution to world stability.

The participants in the symposium, currently organized by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of OPEC's establishment, underlined OPEC's role in development in oil-producing countries.

In working papers presented, the participants stressed the kingdom's support for OPEC.

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Alnaimi highlighted Saudi keenness on the continued responsible and pioneering role of OPEC in providing energy to the world.

The minister reviewed efforts to employ and train Saudis in the Saudi oil industry.