Saudi Cabinet denounces Israel’s seizure of Karama ship, continued settlements building

King issues royal orders, including post of deputy foreign minister

King Abdullah of Jordan sends message to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques thanking him over Saudi Arabia’s supportive stances

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud chaired the Cabinet session held at Al-Salam Palace.

At the outset of the session, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques briefed the Cabinet on the talks he held with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, praising the depth of relations between the two countries as well as their keenness on enhancing these relations in a way that serves the two brotherly peoples and the Islamic nation.

The King also briefed the Cabinet on the message he received from King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session, the Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja said that the Cabinet reviewed a number of reports on the latest developments and their repercussions in a number of Arab countries in addition to the developments at international arena.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expressed anxiety and grief over the continuation of civilian casualties -women and children- as a result of incidents taking place in some Arab countries, calling upon all parties concerned to resort to wisdom, dialogue and reform and to protect the rights and dignity of Arab people.

The Cabinet expressed the Kingdom's sorrow over the very bad security and living conditions suffered by the people of Somalia, which resulted in the death of thousands, mostly children, as well as the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Somalis in search of food and water.

The Cabinet urged the international community to rapidly intervene and work together to stop this humanitarian crisis which was exacerbated by the civil wars and drought gripping the Horn of Africa. It also urged all warring Somalis to discard differences and immediately cease combat operations in order to open roads for humanitarian assistance to save the Somali people.

The Cabinet appreciated the order issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques allocating $50 million for buying Somali refugees food to be provided through the World Food Program, in addition to allocating $10 million for providing drugs and vaccines in coordination between the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.

The King also ordered the provision of quantities of dates for the Somali refugees in coordination between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Cabinet denounced the takeover of French Ship Dignite-Al Karama by the Israeli authorities, which was carrying humanitarian aid and showing solidarity with the besieged Palestinian people in Gaza.

The Cabinet also denounced Israeli government's decision to build 336 housing units in settlements in the West Bank, stressing that such practices, which coincide with the escalation of Israeli military aggression against the Gaza Strip as well as the continuation of aggressive arrests against unarmed Palestinian people, do require the international community to firmly stand against Israel's frequent crimes and violations of the international laws and resolutions.

The Cabinet also expressed strong condemnation of Norway's terrorist attacks which killed and injured several people, renewing the Kingdom's strong condemnation of all forms of terrorism and offering the Kingdom's condolences to the government and people of Norway as well as the families of the victims.

The Minister of Culture and Information said the Cabinet addressed a number of issues on local front, appreciating the order issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques increasing the subsidy for fodders and their components by 50% and instructing the tightening of control on markets and goods prices through imposing tough penalties on violators.

The Cabinet was briefed on the preparations made by various bodies in Makkah and Madinah to serve visitors of the Two Holy Mosques as well as Umrah performers during the holy month of Ramadan.

The King directed the concerned authorities to redouble efforts in the holy month of Ramadan and to serve all visitors of the Two Holy Mosques as well as Umrah performers upon their arrival in the Kingdom until departure.

The Cabinet hailed the opening of the conference on 'Muslim World: Issues and Solutions' held by the Muslim World League (MWL) under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, stressing the importance of the speech of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in which he called for cooperation by the MWL and intellectuals in all Muslim countries to formulate an Islamic working program for tackling the problems of the nation.

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

The Cabinet approved the amended agreement for Arab cooperation in the field of organizing and facilitating relief operations.

The Cabinet approved the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Guyana at Non-Resident Ambassador level, and authorized the Foreign Minister -or his deputy- to sign the related protocol.

The Cabinet approved a memorandum of cooperation between the Institute of Public Administration of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the National School of Management of the French Republic which was signed in Paris on 15/12/2010.

The Cabinet approved a cooperation agreement in the field of research and peaceful uses of outer space between the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government of the Republic of Ukraine which was signed in Riyadh on 03/11/2010.

The Cabinet approved the final accounts of the Human Resources Development Fund for the fiscal year 1430/1431H.

The cabinet approved a number of appointments as follows:

1- Dr. Ahmed bin Hamoud bin Ghaithan Al-Rodan appointed to the post of Director General of Operations (Rank 15) at the Ministry of Interior.

2- Abdulmajeed bin Abdulrahman bin Suleiman Al-Shumaisy appointed to the post of Assistant Undersecretary (Rank 14) at the Ministry of Interior.

3- Mohammed bin Musleh bin Hussein Al-Harbi appointed to the post of Minister Plenipotentiary at Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

4- Fawaz bin Mohammed bin Fawaz Al-Fawaz appointed to the post of Director General of the Branch of the Ministry of Civil Service in Riyadh Region (Rank 14) at the Ministry of Civil Service.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has granted Jordan some $1 billion to help reduce its budget deficit, Jordanian newspaper, Al Arab Al Yawm, reported Tuesday.

The new grant brings Saudi Arabia's total financial support to Jordan to $1.4 billion. Last month Jordan received a $400 million grant from Saudi Arabia to support its budget.

The paper also said that Saudi Arabia would render more support to Jordan through supplying the kingdom with Saudi crude oil at discounted prices.

The paper didn't elaborate.

Jordan's King Abdullah II praised Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah for the grant.

"Saudi Arabia stands by Jordan at a time of difficult global economic conditions and a sharp increase in fuel prices," the Jordanian monarch said in a letter he sent to the Saudi King.

"Your generous and brotherly gestures is a back up for us all," the official Petra news agency quoted the King saying.

His Majesty King Abdullah II on Monday thanked King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia for his country's economic aid and for "honorable" stances toward Jordan.

In a message to the Saudi Monarch, the King voiced his pride in the growing ties between the two brotherly Kingdoms "that have peaked to new levels of solidarity and integration", lauding the Saudi leader for his keen interest in solidifying cooperation.

"Your honorable stance toward Jordan is the product of your wise vision and administration that is capable of doing good in the service of the entire (Arab) nation and supporting its steadfastness to secure a decent life for its people and lay the foundations for a genuine state of solidarity among brethren", the king wrote in a message to the Saudi Monarch.

"Saudi Arabia's stand at Jordan's side during the difficult global economic circumstances, that witnessed a sharp rise in oil prices that adversely affected Jordan's economy, underscores your true vision for the nation's solidarity and integration among its states and peoples and the right of their peoples to a promising future.

They are cognizant that they have a common destiny and bonds that bolster the future, pillars that we draw from a tolerant Islam and bright Arabism and devote for the defense of right and human dignity," said the message.

"Your generous support and brotherly contributions are a boost to us as we face these economic conditions. So, based on this attitude that we hold dear, I send to my brother and the brethren in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, government and people, greetings and gratitude," added the letter.

"Your support has been translated into meaningful economic aid that will enable Jordan, the country that is standing steadfast in its defense of Arab rights and interests and sacrifices for the good of our Arab-Islamic nation," King Abdullah wrote.

The letter hailed Riyadh's backing of Jordan's bid to join the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council GCC, a gesture that reflected the Saudi leader's faith in brotherly bonds among Arab states.

It noted that the Saudi stance should serve as a broad framework for Arab integration, maximize common values and pool resources for the service of its peoples.

The letter hailed the Saudi leader's relentless efforts to close Arab ranks and serve the Arab and Muslim world.