Saudi Cabinet condemns Israeli government plans to build 1500 settlement units in Jerusalem

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques directs that development projects are finalized on scheduled time

Saudi Arabia emphasizes the importance of dialogue for peaceful coexistence among religions and cultures

The 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 two telephone calls he received from King Juan Carlos of Spain and the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi.

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

The Cabinet reviewed the outcomes of the Extraordinary Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States held in Riyadh which addressed the GCC initiative to resolve the crisis in Yemen, and decided the suspension of the initiative for the lack of appropriate circumstances for its approval.

In this regard, the Cabinet expressed hope that all parties will sign the initiative as soon as possible in order to ensure the implementation of the agreement, overcome the crisis in Yemen and achieve comprehensive consensus that maintains security and stability in Yemen.

The Cabinet denounced the intention of Israeli government to build 1500 settler units in East Al-Quds, describing this action as a continuation of the Israeli policies of renouncing peace requirements and closing all doors to any opportunity to resume the stalled negotiations with the Palestinian side.

The Cabinet expressed the Kingdom's hope that the international community would exert serious efforts for resuming negotiations and moving rapidly towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, within the borders of 1967 with Al-Quds as its capital, in accordance with international conventions, particularly the Roadmap and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Dr. Khoja said the Cabinet reviewed a number of issues on the local front, including the workflow of a number of developmental projects throughout the Kingdom. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques directed to have these projects finished on time without any delay.

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

The Cabinet appointed the following persons as members of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities for a period of three years as of the effective date of this decision:

1- Dr. Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Samari.

2- Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Saif.

3- Dr. Saad bin Mohammed Mareq.

4- Eng. Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Sugair.

5- Abdulkarim bin As'ad Abu Al-Nasr.

6- Mazyad bin Sulaiman Al-Mazyad.

7- Dr. Abdalkhaleq bin Hamza Al-Sahli.

The membership of the persons appointed by the Cabinet Decision No. 124 dated 29/04/1429 H. may continue until the effective date of this decision.

The Cabinet authorized the Minister of Finance - or his deputy - to sign a draft agreement on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income as well as the annexed draft protocol between the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government of the Kingdom of Morocco.

The Cabinet authorized the Minister of Water and Electricity - or his deputy - to discuss and sign with the Japanese side a draft memorandum of cooperation in the field of water and sanitation management between the Ministry of Water and Electricity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan.

The Cabinet approved the renewal of the membership to the Board of Directors of the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) of both Abdulrahman bin Rashid Al-Rashid as a representative of employers and Dr. Samir bin Abdulaziz Al-Tubayyeb as a representative of contributors for a period of three years as of 29/06/1432H.

The Cabinet appointed the following to the membership of GOSI Board of Directors for a period of three years as of 29/06/1432H.:

1- Dr. Mufarej bin Saad Al-Haqbani, Representative of the Ministry of Labor.

2- Ibrahim bin Mohammed Al-Miflih, Representative of the Ministry of Finance.

3- Saad bin Abdullah Al-Mifraih, Representative of the Ministry of Health.

4- Nasser bin Mohammed Al-Subaiey, Representative of employers.

5- Musa bin Umran Al-Umran, Representative of employers.

6- Dr. Abdulraouf bin Mohammed Manna'a, Representative of contributors.

7- Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Abdulqadir, Representative of contributors.

The Cabinet authorized the President of King Abdulaziz City for Sciences and Technology - or his deputy - to discuss and sign with the Kazakh side a draft agreement on cooperation in the exploration and use of the outer space for peaceful purposes between King Abdulaziz City for Sciences and Technology of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Cabinet approved a number of appointments as follows:

1- Ahmed bin Munif bin Ahmed Al-Munaifi appointed to the post of Governorate Undersecretary (Rank 15) at the Governorate of Baha Region, who will retire on 01/07/1432H.

2- Dr. Hamid bin Malih bin Ghazi Al-Shammari appointed to the post of Governorate Undersecretary (Rank 15) at the Governorate of Baha Region, succeeding Ahmed Al-Munaifi on 01/07/1432H.

3- Fahd bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al-Ajlan appointed to the post of Director General of Follow-up (Rank 14) at the Ministry of Interior.

4- Hisham bin Misha'al bin Suwailim Al-Suwailim appointed to the post of Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, Deputy Education Minister Faisal bin Muammar emphasized the importance of interfaith dialogue in order to promote peaceful coexistence among the followers of different religions and cultures.

"It is also essential to make joint efforts to stop the deterioration of moral values and fight poverty, terrorism and other crimes," the minister said while addressing the Bordeaux Religious Leaders Summit.

He announced the plan to establish an international interfaith dialogue center in Vienna. "Saudi Arabia, Austria and Spain have agreed to sign an agreement to establish the center within a few weeks," he said.

The new center will be named after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who initiated the dialogue between various faith communities.

"The world is badly in need of peace, security and prosperity and establishment of justice and love and Saudi Arabia gives utmost importance to these principles and values," Muammar said.

He referred to the growing number of crimes, cases of poverty in different parts of the world and the damage caused to the environment, adding that these challenges required joint action by all faith groups.

Muammar emphasized the importance of promoting dialogue between followers of the various religions and cultures in order to create understanding and make use of their synergy for the progress and prosperity of the whole humanity.

"Dialogue is essential to understand the similarities of the various religions and cultures and strengthen cooperation among peoples," he said.

King Abdullah visited the Vatican in Rome and held talks with Pope Benedict XVI in July 2007. The historic meeting, the first between a Roman Catholic pope and a Saudi king, took place during his European tour.

In June 2008, King Abdullah invited 500 Islamic scholars and Muslim leaders from the different parts of the world to discuss the need for promoting interfaith dialogue.

He launched the first dialogue conference in Madrid on July 16, 2008 attended by 300 leaders representing Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. "If we want to make this gathering successful, we have to look at the things that unite us, most importantly the faith in God and the noble values and morals that represent the basis of religions."