Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques orders court of presidency is annexed to the Cabinet of Royal Court

Second Deputy Premier calls on Saudi universities to lay anti-unemployment strategy

Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council drops objections to women’s participation in municipal elections

Egyptian FM asserts Gulf security is never subject to bargaining

In order to reorganize both the Royal Court and the Court of Presidency of the Cabinet and to revamp their performance, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued an order annexing the Court of Presidency of the Cabinet to the Royal Court and considering them as a single apparatus under the name of The Royal Court.

The order also stipulated to form a panel to be presided over by the President of the Royal Court to complement the procedures by introducing the required amendments to the Cabinet Regulation, and that the panel should submit its report within 6 months to the King.

Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Tuwaijri was appointed to the position of the President of the Royal Court and as the Private Secretary of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque, at ministerial rank, the order said.

The President of the Royal Court was asked to submit his nominations to the leading positions in the Royal Court to the King, the order concluded.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah has directed that the network of the Saudi Railways Company 'SAR' at Ras Alzoor be linked with the city of Dammam passing through the city of the Industrial Jubail to be part of the network of SAR.

This was stated by Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Investments Fund Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Ala'ssaf.

On this occasion, the minister thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for supporting this vital project and for his trust in SAR by charging it with implementation of this link between the city of Industrial Jubail, the ports and the city of Dammam.

In Jeddah, Prince Naif Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior received the President of King Saud University (KSU) Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al-Othman, his Deputies, the Deans of Faculties, Members of the University Council, and the Supervisor of Prince Naif Center for Health Science Research, and the Supervisor of Prince Naif Chair for Intellectual Security Studies.

At the outset of the meeting, Prince Naif welcomed them, thanking them for their good efforts that have advanced the University to a scientific status comparable to advanced universities at Arab and international arenas.

He highlighted that the level of progress and development of any country is measured by the development of its scientific and technical institutions, pointing out that the scientific level is the criterion for assessing the development of the world.

Prince Naif said, 'We need that our universities set a strategy to find a job for each graduate according to needs of labor markets as the phenomena of unemployment is an evil and a cause for the spread of crime in its various types topped by the abuse of drugs and their trafficking. Professors should qualify the youth properly and prepare them to work according to the needs of the markets.'

On his part, the University's President expressed his thanks to and appreciation of Prince Naif for supporting the university's project in the fields of science, research and education.

The reception was attended by a number of officials.

On the other hand, a majority of the Shoura Council members voted for an amendment to a draft resolution on Sunday to allow women to vote in the municipal elections.

There was a difference of opinion on an article in the annual report of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, which was tabled Sunday during the council's 44th regular session, chaired by the Shoura Council Vice President Bandar Hajjar.

The voting took place during a closed-door session.

Women will not be able to either vote or contest in the upcoming elections in September for half of the members of the country's municipal councils.

"This was a general recommendation," Mohammed Almuhanna, media spokesman for the Shoura Council, was quoted as saying in an earlier statement. "It has nothing to do with the current elections but is rather a recommendation for future elections."

Hundreds of women around the Kingdom have joined an online campaign called Baladi, Arabic for "My Country", in protest at their exclusion from the municipal elections.

In April, dozens showed up at voting registration centers in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam to demand their right to vote but were turned down by officials.

The house also approved the draft penal code designed to counter terrorism and financing terror-related activities. The suggestions for the draft penal code were tabled by the council's Security Affairs Committee.

Shoura Council Secretary-General Muhammad Al-Ghamdi explained that it is part of the Kingdom's efforts to fight terror in the Kingdom. He added that Saudi Arabia is framing a national strategy to fight terrorism and terror-related activities.

The penal code will also help the Kingdom coordinate actions against terrorist activities with other countries to ensure security and stability in the region, he added.

In Cairo, Egypt appointed a new foreign minister Sunday to replace Nabil Elaraby, who was picked as the new Arab League chief last month, a cabinet official said.

"We have named our former ambassador in Berlin, Mohammed el-Orabi, as the new foreign minister," the official told Reuters. The government confirmed the appointment in a statement.

El-Orabi was Egypt's deputy foreign minister for economic affairs and previously served in embassies in Kuwait, London and Washington, according to Egypt's state news agency.

Elaraby was made foreign minister in a cabinet reshuffle in early March. He takes over at the Arab League from Amr Moussa, who led the 22-nation Cairo-based body for 10 years.

Since veteran leader Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February, the army-backed interim government has upheld an alliance with the United States and Israel but sought to calm tensions with regional rival Iran.

The improvement in relations with Tehran has alarmed Gulf Arab states which relied on Mubarak's support in their disputes with Iran.

Elaraby said on June 13 that Iran must not meddle in the internal affairs of Gulf states, saying Egypt considered the internal security of fellow Arab countries a "red line."

Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says Tehran and Riyadh have no major problems and the two sides only differ in their perspective on regional developments.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the two-day International Conference on the Global Fight against Terrorism in Tehran on Sunday, Salehi said the difference in perspective does not affect bilateral relations.

“I have told Saudi officials to sit at a table with Iranian officials and to try and resolve existing misunderstandings,” IRNA quoted him as saying.

“I believe if an opportunity presents itself for the officials of both countries to sit at a [negotiating] table most of the misunderstandings will be resolved,” Salehi added.

The Iranian foreign minister's remarks come as Tehran has repeatedly condemned the Saudi invasion of Bahrain to help Manama quash popular protests in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of meddling and destabilizing efforts in Bahrain. Tehran has vehemently rejected the allegations and described them as baseless.

Since the beginning of Bahrain's revolution, thousands of anti-government protesters have poured into the streets across the country, calling on the ruling Al Khalifa family to cede power.

According to local sources, dozens of people have been killed and hundreds arrested so far during the government clampdown on the peaceful demonstrations.

In late may, a senior Iranian official said Iran's precondition for holding talks with Saudi Arabia over the political crises spreading across the Middle East region is that Riyadh withdraws its troops from Bahrain.

“Iran's condition for holding talks with Saudi Arabia is that that country withdraws its troops from Bahrain. As long as Saudi forces do not leave Bahrain and the Saudis do not end their behavior with regards to Bahrain, there would be no justification for holding talks with Riyadh,” Amir Hossein Abdollahian, the director of Iranian Foreign Ministry's Persian Gulf and Middle East Department, said.