In its weekly session under Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques:

Saudi Cabinet renews denunciation of Israel’s practices, attacks targeting diplomatic missions

Crown Prince Naif thanks Food and Drugs Authority over presidency of Asian Harmonization Working Party (AHWP)

Prince Saud al-Faisal explains kingdom’s position on regional developments, means to combat terrorist groups

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud chaired the meeting of the cabinet on Monday afternoon in the Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh.

At the beginning of the meeting, the cabinet heard a number of reports on the developments of events and their implications in a number of Arab countries and the latest developments at the international arena.

In his statement to Saudi Press Agency following the session, the Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja said in this regard, the cabinet reviewed efforts on the situation in Syria at both Arab and Muslim levels, commending the continuing the cooperative efforts of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to contain the Syrian crisis.

The cabinet reiterated the Kingdom's condemnation of all attacks aimed at diplomatic missions, without exception, and called for the need to adhere strictly and precisely to international agreements which guarantee the inviolability of diplomatic missions and the safety of their employees.

The cabinet condemned the illegal Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel's violations and aggressions against the Palestinian people, including the approval of the construction of six hundred and fifty new settlement units and the building of a road to link the settlements with occupied Alquds in order to isolate the holy city from its Palestinian surroundings and change its demographic nature.

On the occasion of observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the cabinet called on the international community to take a firm and united stand toward the Palestinian people's winning of their freedom, independence and their legitimate rights; to end the injustice they suffer, and to firmly pressure Israel to abandon the logic of force, opt for the choice of peace, and recognize the Palestinian people's right to establish their independent state with Alquds as its capital in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and international law.

On domestic affairs, the Minister of Culture and Information said the cabinet valued the launch of the first edition of the Encyclopedia of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Arabic under the auspices of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

The Encyclopedia offers a comprehensive, scientific knowledge documented with photos, maps and statistical data on all the details of life in the Kingdom in the old and modern times. It is with appreciation that the Cabinet notes this cultural and scientific project that took King Abdulaziz Public Library ten years to bring about.

The cabinet noted the convening of the conference on 'the Gulf and the World', organized in Riyadh by the Diplomatic Studies Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Gulf Research Center in Dubai with the participation of a group of officials and specialists interested in Gulf issues from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and various countries of the world as well as senior officials of regional and international organizations.

Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja said the cabinet then discussed its agenda and approved two appointments at Rank Fourteen:

1- Othman bin Abdullah bin Dakhaeel Alzoman is appointed to the position of Director General of Administration and Finance (rank 14) at the General Directorate of Prisons;

2- Mohammed bin Ali bin Shaman Al-Otaibi is appointed to the position of Planning and Human Resources Development Adviser (rank 14) at the Ministry of Labor.

Meanwhile, Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, thanked the Executive President of Saudi Food and Drug Authority Dr. Mohammed bin Ahmed Al-Kanhal and employees of the authority on the occasion of the Kingdom's unanimous victory in the elections of the presidency of the Asian Harmonization Working Party (AHWP) on harmonizing medical device regulations led by Executive Vice President of the Sector of Equipment and Medical Products Dr. Saleh bin Sulaiman Altayyar for a period of three years beginning next year, 2012 as well as the election of the Executive Vice President of the Pharmaceutical Sector Dr. Saleh bin Abdullah Bawazir as President of the 46th meeting of the Committee of Experts on the Specifications of Pharmaceutical Products at the World Health Organization.

The thanks came in a reply cable by Crown Prince Naif after viewing the letter of Dr. Al-Kanhal in this regard.

The AHWP has a membership of 22 Asian countries, South Africa and Chile from South America including manufacturers such as China, India, Malaysia and Taiwan.

The AHWP seeks to harmonize medical device regulations among member states. The Committee of Experts on the Specifications of Pharmaceutical Products at the World Health Organization is the highest advisory body to the World Health Organization in the fields of medicines.

On the other hand, On behalf of Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Dr. Turki bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Relations opened the 'Forum of the Gulf and the World', organized by the Ministry's Institute of Diplomatic Studies, in cooperation with the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center.

The opening ceremony was attended by Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Information Technology Prince Mohammad bin Saud bin Khalid; Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf; Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja; the President of Human Rights Commission Dr. Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Eiban; and a number of senior officials from other countries.

Prince Turki delivered a speech in which he said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have been seeking for the achievement of peace and stability in the Middle East, including their support for a Palestinian state, the ban of weapons of mass destruction, and building relationships dominated by the principles of mutual respect and cooperation with neighboring countries, notably Iran, pointing out that the GCC states have no expansionist interests or orientations for intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, but they are determined to protect the security of their peoples, stability and achievements in confronting risks and threats.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs said, 'I assert our permanent quest to build relationships dominated by the principles of mutual respect and cooperation with neighboring countries, notably Iran, which, unfortunately, acts in a manner indifferent to these principles. Iranian interference in the internal affairs of GCC States is still going on, while Iran continues to develop its nuclear program, ignoring the demands of the world and its legitimate concerns of its pursuit to develop such a lethal weapon, and create a serious threat to the security and stability at the regional and international levels'.

He indicated that with the support of the right of Iran and other countries of the region in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, this must be done under the supervision and control of International Atomic Energy Agency, and according to its regulations, which will help to defuse the crisis and build confidence between Iran and its neighbors in the Gulf on one hand and the international community on the other hand.

Prince Saud Al-Faisal reaffirmed the Kingdom's support for ongoing efforts to make the Middle East free from all weapons of mass destruction, pointing out that Israel's constant refusal to join Non-Proliferation Treaty and keeping its nuclear programs outside the international control are considered as ones of the key obstacles to achieve this legitimate goal for the peoples of the region and the world.

He explained that the Arab region is witnessing profound changes which have never been seen before this time, which requires that all should stand in a responsible manner for maintaining the region's countries, their territorial integrity, and civil peace, without overlooking the legitimate demands of the peoples of the region, adding that in view of the great importance of the Arab Gulf Region linking to its strategic location and large reserves of oil and gas, which are the most important sources of energy in the world, these challenges and threats facing the Arab Gulf region form undoubtedly threats to security and stability.

Under the chairmanship of former Minister of Social Affairs Abdulmohsen bin Abdulaziz Al-Akkass, the Gulf and World Forum held its second session under the theme of 'Regional Security Dynamics.'

Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence, participated in the session by delivering a speech in which he pointed out that the developments witnessed by the gulf region destabilized the regional balance of power, a matter that explained the readiness of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states to confront the possibility of turning the region into a nuclear zone as a result of the role Iran is seeking to play in the future through possessing a nuclear program with ambiguous ambitions and objectives.

The recent security developments in the gulf region, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan have asserted the importance of recognizing that radical changes swept the world during the last two decades, resulting in the fall of old rules and the emergence of new cases, Prince Muqrin stated.

'The Arab system is no more as it used to be before two decades, since the Arab Spring has swept a number of Arab countries bringing a phenomenon that draw attention. This is a matter that indicates the important role of reforms. Arab governments and peoples should shoulder the responsibility together in order to prevent reform claims from transforming into chaos that may affect the peoples and the governments, particularly that these changes did not take their final form,' Prince Muqrin said.

Prince Muqrin hailed the cohesion of the GCC system in the framework of carrying out unified strategic policies on which the regional security is based. This is a matter that proved the success of GCC member states in maintaining their regional security despite the great challenges and events they encountered.

Prince Muqrin drew attention to the factors that contributed to the strength and continuity of the GCC, among which is the enough political commitment to pursue Gulf security system which faced various wars and events at regional level, pointing out that the gulf region is a strategic region in terms of world transport and energy reserves.

The emergence of sectarianism, religious extremism and terrorist-oriented trends as well as the fall of Saddam Hussein regime in addition to Iran's ascendance as a military power with nuclear ambitions, have contributed to the cohesion of GCC member states to face renewed challenges, Prince Muqrin emphasized, calling the GCC countries to deal with the situation with a clear and calm policy in order to rein in Iranian drive.

Regarding the Iranian possession of a military nuclear power, Prince Muqrin called for searching for new strategies that guarantee regional security in the gulf region, through mechanisms designed to stop interference in the internal affairs of other countries, respect the sovereignty of states, and refrain from the threat of force in international and regional relations.