Saudi cabinet condemns Israel’s continued construction of settlements to implode pillars of Palestinian statehood bid

Second Deputy Premier gives instructions to offer aid for flood-stricken Sindh and Baluchistan

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques patronizes ceremony to hand translation awards

6,000 employees to implement hajj season plan

Investigations reveal plan by al-Qaeda to spark sectarian sedition in Saudi Arabia

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 talks, consultations and contacts he recently held with a number of leaders of brotherly and friendly countries and their envoys on means of enhancing cooperation and on the latest developments at regional and international levels. The King briefed the Cabinet on the talks he held with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also briefed the Cabinet on the telephone call he received from King Juan Carlos of Spain and the audience he held for U.S. President's Advisor for National Security Thomas Donilon. The King hailed the depth of relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and those countries, expressing his keenness to promote them to serve the mutual interests, peace, and international stability.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session, Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja said the Cabinet reviewed a number of reports on the latest developments in Arab countries and the world, renewing the firm stances of the Kingdom towards them, stressing the contents of the Kingdom's speech in the meetings of the 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The Cabinet condemned the continuation of Israeli authorities in violating the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and the continued acquisition of more Palestinian territories, including the building of 1100 housing units in 'Jello' in Eastern Al-Quds, adding that such practices and others reflect the absence of the good will of the Israeli government and its insistence on displacement of the Palestinian people as well as its confiscation of their territories and properties to undermine the prospects for creating a contiguous and viable Palestinian state.

Then, the cabinet discussed a number of domestic issues and activities, conferences and scientific, cultural, literary, social and economic forums held locally.

The cabinet expressed great appreciation for the donation by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of the amount of thirty seven million dollars for ten years for the project of Messengers of Peace, which was launched during the celebration of the conclusion of the Second World Peace Camp which was held at King Abdullah University for Sciences and Technology in the presence of Carl XVI Gustaf, King of the Kingdom of Sweden, the Honorary President of the World Scout Fund, which awarded the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques the Bronze Wolf Medal, the highest honor in Scouting.

The cabinet noted the opening of the Third Quality Meeting- 'Towards Globally Competitive National Products and Services'-and valued the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' speech to the conference which stressed that quality has become in our time a strategic option for progress and advancement of the economy, and that the only way for competition and active participation globally is when quality is our basic standard in everything we offer to the world.

The cabinet noted the opening of the Eighth Technical Conference of the Association of Tax Authorities of Islamic Countries with participation of 25 countries and five regional and international organizations, wishing the participants in the conference success in achieving fruitful results for all participating countries.

The cabinet commended the advancement of the Kingdom to the sixteenth rank globally from the twenty sixth place in 2010, according to Global Competitiveness Report prepared and published by the World Economic Forum in Geneva.

The cabinet congratulated winners of membership of municipal councils at the second session in all regions of the kingdom, and wished all success in serving their cities, provinces and centers and fulfilling the aspirations of their constituents regarding the development of services provided by municipalities to all citizens in various regions of the Kingdom.

Dr. Khoja said the Cabinet then continued discussion of its agenda and issued the following decisions:

The Cabinet authorized Chairman of the board of Directors of King Abdulaziz Foundation-or his Deputy-to sign with the Indian side a draft cooperation agreement between King Abdulaziz Foundation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Millia Islamia University in India.

The Cabinet approved a continuation of applying the current nominal rent of lands occupied by the electricity industry.

The Cabinet approved a free trade agreement among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States and the countries of European Free Trade Association (EFTA) signed in Norway, 22/6/2009.

The Cabinet approved the addition of a representative of the Ministry of Higher Education to the National Committee for Welfare of Inmates, the Released and Their Families.

The Cabinet approved the organization of the National Commission for the Implementation of the Conventions Prohibiting Chemical and Biological Weapons.

The Cabinet approved a transfer and appointments as follows:

1- Saad bin Ali Al Dawood is transferred from the post of Security Consultant (Rank 14) to the post of Director General of Administrative and Financial Affairs (Rank 14) at Riyadh Principality.

2- Abdulrahman bin Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Abanmy is appointed as Security Consultant at Riyadh Principality.

3- Mohammed bin Omar Badawood is appointed as Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

4- Waleed bin Hussain Abu Alhamail is appointed as Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

5- Mohammed bin Suleiman Al-Hudaithi is transferred from the post of Director General of the Minister's Office (Rank 14) to the post of Director General of the Private Education (Rank 14) at the Ministry of Higher Education.

6- Abdullatif bin Abdulrahman Al Faris is appointed as Director General of the Minister's Office at the Ministry of Higher Education.

7- Mohammed bin Ali Al-Marshad is appointed as Legal Consultant (Rank 14) at the Ministry of Finance.

8- Mohammed bin Zaid Al-Nikhilan is appointed as Director General of the National Center of Financial and Economic Information (Rank 14) at the Ministry of Finance.

Meanwhile, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is the General Supervisor of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Campaign for the Relief of the Brotherly Pakistani People has directed provision of aid to victims of floods in Sindh and Baluchistan regions of Pakistan.

The aid includes 5,000 tents, 30,000 blankets and 50,000 food baskets.

Under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King Abdulaziz Public Library will hold a handing-over ceremony of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques 4th International Award for Translation in the People's Republic of China next Tuesday in the presence of Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Member of the Library's Board of Directors and Chairman of the Award's Board of Trustees.

The General Supervisor of the Library and Member of the Award's Board of Trustees, Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muammar, has commended the King's patronage of the ceremony for honoring the winners of the Award and that this international cultural and scientific project is aimed at promoting cultural dialogue and scientific communication among all peoples.

He has expressed his thanks to the Government of the Republic of China to welcome and host the handing-over ceremony of the Award in recognition of its noble objectives in achieving communications between cultures.

As many as 96 works have been nominated for the Award in its five fields this year.

Chinese ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Yang Honglin has expressed happiness for holding the ceremony of handing the 4th Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Translation Prize in Beijing, the capital city of China.

In a statement on this occasion, the ambassador said this event, which will be organized on Tuesday by King Abdulaziz Public Library, reflects the strength and development of Saudi-Chinese trade, relations and cooperation in the scientific and cultural fields.

On the other hand, Prince Dr. Mansour bin Miteb bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs, is inspecting the Project of Mashaer Train in the Holy Sites to be briefed on the progress of this project implemented by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs.

The total cost of the Project is about SR 6.7 billion. It includes 15 trains; each one has 12 wagons; and can carry 3000 people.

The second stage of the Project is being implemented on schedule so that it can work at full capacity in Hajj season this year for carrying 72,000 pilgrims per hour. Last year, the project worked in the first stage by 35 per cent of its capacity.

The Commander of Passports Forces in Hajj, Brigadier General Ayedh bin Taghleeb Al-Harbi, has inspected Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah where he has been briefed on the progress of works and preparations for receiving pilgrims coming from abroad.

Addressing passports officers and personnel, he urged them to provide the best services and facilities to pilgrims to perform their rituals easily and comfortably in implementation of the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince and Second Deputy Premier.

Meanwhile, the Specialized Penal Court of Riyadh resumed on Monday the trial of a terrorist cell comprising 16 Saudis and one Yemeni after the Court of Appeals dismissed the preliminary verdict in the case.

Members of the cell are facing several charges, all related to terrorism. The first of the charges leveled against the cell, and which amount to around 97 charges, is its affiliation to al-Qaeda and following direct instructions from the group’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri; it is also charged for links to al-Qaeda’s affiliates in Syria.

According to the official spokesman of the Saudi Ministry of Justice, Abdullah al-Saadan, the prosecution directed several charges at the defendants, including planning a series of terrorist attacks inside Saudi Arabia and targeting oil wells with mortars.

They are also charged with planning to assassinate a prominent Shiite cleric with the aim of creating sectarian sedition in the country and distracting the authorities from the hunt for al-Qaeda operatives.

The accused, according to court records, were planning to kill the cleric, who is from the eastern province, by firing on his car or by poisoning him with cyanide.

Members of the cell were reportedly brainwashed by an al-Qaeda operative in Syria, Abu Walid, who convinced them that the cleric supports Shiite militias in Iraq who are using violence against Sunnis.

Members of the group were also accused of planning to set up a training camp at which recruits were taught how to use hand grenades and other weapons.

They were also charged with forming an army and recruiting youth and taking them to Iraq to take part in operations carried out by the Islamic Army in that country.

Another charge relates to covering up for a man who was prepared to sell chemical substances to al-Qaeda and who headed a cell that collected money to fund terrorist operations in Syria and Iraq. This charge was specifically leveled at defendant number one.

Defendant number two is accused of collecting 1.1 million riyals ($293,000) from supporters of al-Qaeda; the funds were to be sent to Syria.

He is believed to have collaborated with Yemeni gangs involved in the sale and trafficking of weapons to Saudi Arabia, from whom he brought arms and weapons for use in the kingdom. He was also planning to travel to Sudan with two al-Qaeda operatives to receive training.

The defendants are also accused of funding a TV channel that incites violence and promotes terrorist activities, and were charged with the illegal possession of weapons, most of which were purchased from Yemen.

The court session was attended by lawyers representing several of the defendants; some of the defendants chose to represent themselves. A representative of the Human Rights Association was also in court, but members of the press were not allowed to attend the proceedings.

The court presented defendants number four, five, 15, and 16 with their documented confessions, which, barring a few exceptions, they acknowledged.

Another session is expected to be held shortly at which the judge will listen to the defense of all 17 members of the cell.