Saudi cabinet announces talks with Turkey on cooperation in defense industries area

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques discusses with Emir of Qatar bilateral relations, regional, international developments

Arab foreign ministers support King Abdullah’s proposal to set up international anti-terrorism center

Prince Khalid al-Faisal discusses recent steps in Makkah construction projects

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 thanked God Almighty for gracing all Muslims for having fasted the holy month of Ramadan.

He expressed his appreciation for the efforts the relevant bodies extended to help pilgrims perform successfully their Umrah, and he said: 'The successes achieved are due to God Almighty and then to the efforts of the sons of the Kingdom in serving the visitors of the Two Holy Mosques, and are a motivation for everyone to exert more efforts in preparation for the coming Hajj season, and to provide all services to help pilgrims and visitors who come to the Kingdom to perform their rituals easily.'

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also expressed thanks to and appreciation of the noble feelings Ramadan guests of the Kingdom, including those of Presidents and Ulmas, expressed on the efforts exerted by the Kingdom to serve the Two Holy Mosques including the new expansions the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques ordered in Makkah and Al-Madinah.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques briefed the Cabinet on the talks, meetings, consultations and contacts he recently made with a number of leaders of friendly and brotherly countries and their envoys on bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and those countries in addition to ways of enhancing them as well as the latest developments at Islamic, Arab and international levels. These included his meetings with President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also briefed the Cabinet on the messages he exchanged with Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency following the session, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja, Minister of Culture and Information, said the Cabinet listened to a number of reports on the latest developments in a number of Arab countries, renewing the firm stances of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards those events and emphasizing the importance of giving priority to wisdom in dealing with them to stop bloodshed and preserve the security, unity and stability of those Arab countries.

Dr. Khoja said the Cabinet hailed the statement issued by the 120th ministerial session of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States which expressed the stances of GCC member states towards the latest regional and international developments and the march of the GCC joint action in various fields.

The Cabinet also hailed the fraternal and constructive atmosphere that prevailed in the meeting of the GCC Foreign Ministers with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasir Judah, and Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Al-Taib Al-Fassi Al-Fehri, he added.

Dr. Khoja also pointed out that the Cabinet hailed the statement issued by members of United Nations Security Council on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of 11/9 terrorist attacks, adding in this regard that the Cabinet stressed the importance of concerted international efforts at various levels to combat terrorism and eradicate its roots since terrorism in all its forms threatens the international peace and security.

At domestic affairs, Dr. Khoja pointed out that the Cabinet congratulated the Saudi male and female students at all educational grades and in different regions on the occasion of the new academic year.

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

The Cabinet authorized Crown Prince, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General -or his deputy- to discuss and sign with the Turkish side a draft cooperation agreement in the field of industrial defense between the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government of the Republic of Turkey.

The Cabinet authorized the Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior -or his deputy- to renew another three years the membership to the National Committee to Combat Drugs of Dr. Nasser bin Ibrahim Al-Rasheed, Mohammed bin Abdullatif Jamil, Abdullah bin Salem Bahamdan, and Engineer Saud bin Majed Al-Duwaish.

The Cabinet authorized the Minister of Foreign Affairs -or his deputy- to discuss and sign with the Spanish and Austrian sides and other countries as well as international organizations a draft agreement of establishing King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Global Center for Dialogue among Followers of Religions and Cultures.

The Cabinet approved the financial regulations of the cultural activities of the Ministry of Culture and Information.

The Cabinet approved an amendment of articles (6) and (8) of the system of Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF).

The Cabinet approved the addition of a representative of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to the formation of the National Committee for Geographic Information Systems.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah received at his palace Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar.

During the meeting, the overall current events at the regional and international arenas and the position of the two countries of them in addition to the prospects of cooperation between the two countries and ways of enhancing them in various fields were discussed.

The audience was attended by Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior; Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Makkah Province and Prince Meqrin bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence.

It was also attended by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Personal Representative of Emir of Qatar; Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar Foundation for Media; Qatar's Ambassador to the Kingdom Ali bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud and Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, General Supervisor of the Special Court, from the Qatari side.

In Jeddah, Foreign Ministers of Gulf Cooperation Council Concluded this week their 120th ministerial session.

A press release was issued at the end of the meeting.

The press release contained the ministers' positions on issues covering joint cooperation, human and environment affairs, peaceful use of nuclear energy, views of the Consultative Commission of the Supreme Council, fighting terrorism, relations with Iran, the Iranian nuclear file, the current Arab situation including the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as the Yemeni, Iraqi, Syrian, Libyan, Lebanese, Sudanese, South Sudanese and Somali issues.

In the fight against terrorism, the Council affirmed the positions of the GCC member States to renounce terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whatever the motives and justifications, and whatever its source.

The Council also noted its efforts to give effect to the relevant decisions in this area, supporting all regional and international efforts aimed at combating terrorism and calling on the international community to activate the call by the states of the Council to establish an international center to combat terrorism, to exchange information and expertise, and coordinate among States to monitor and control the movement of organizations and terrorist elements and thwart their plans.

Concerning relations with Iran, the Ministerial Council reviewed the relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and reiterated the importance of adhering to basic principles of relations between the two sides, the principles of good neighborliness, mutual respect, noninterference in internal affairs, peaceful settlement of disputes and non-use or threat of force, expressing deep concern for the continuation of provocative statements by Iranian officials and media about a number of countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council which is a breach of the rules of good neighborliness and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and calling on Iran to halt these statements and media campaigns that do not serve to improve relations between the two sides and achieve security and stability in the region.

On the Iranian nuclear file, the Ministerial Council followed the Iranian nuclear issue with great concern, reaffirming its steadfast position on the importance of adherence to the principles of international legitimacy, resolving conflicts by peaceful means, making the Middle East, including the Arab Gulf region, free of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons, welcoming efforts made by the group (5 +1), to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis through peaceful means, and expressing hope that Iran will respond to these efforts.

The Council affirmed the right of countries in the region to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant international convention, and according to the standards and procedures of the International Atomic Energy Agency and under its supervision, and applying these standards to all countries in the region, including Israel, with full transparency, and stressing the necessity of Israel's joining of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and placing all its nuclear facilities under international inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

On the current Arab situation, the Council reviewed developments in the Palestinian issue and developments in the current situation, stressing that comprehensive, just and lasting peace will not be achieved without a full Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories to the lines of the fourth of June 1967 in Palestine, the occupied Syrian Arab Golan, and the land still occupied in southern Lebanon and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem.

The Ministerial Council condemned the Israeli aggressive violations against the Gaza Strip and the Egyptian territories, which resulted in numerous deaths and injuries of innocent citizens.

The Council also condemned Israel's demolishing and desecration of houses of worship, saying it represents a violation of all international laws and norms, and endangers the security and stability in the region.

The Council urged the international community, represented by the UN Security Council and the Quartet to intervene and carry out their responsibilities to take action to pressure Israel to stop such aggressive practices, and to hold Israel responsible legally and materially for it.

The Ministerial Council urged the international community to compel Israel to break the unjust siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, and open the crossings, to and from the sector.

The Council condemned the Israeli government's continued building of thousands of settlement units in East Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian territories considering them as a continuation of Israeli policies of avoiding peace and negotiations with the Palestinian side.

The Ministerial Council commended the efforts by the Committee of Ministers of the Arab peace initiative in its meetings held in Doha on July 14, 2011, and August 23, 2011, designed to invite Member States of the United Nations to recognize the State of Palestine on the line of the fourth of June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.

On the Yemeni affairs, the Council reaffirmed its deep concern for the continued deterioration of the situation in the Republic of Yemen, and urged all parties to exercise restraint and boost confidence for the peaceful transition of power.

On the Iraqi affairs, the Council affirmed its support for the position of the State of Kuwait on the establishment of the port of Mubarak Alkabeer as it is being built on the territory of Kuwait and within the territorial waters, and on the borders drawn in accordance with resolutions of the United Nations.

The Council expressed confidence that Iraq's implementation of its international obligations toward Kuwait will contribute to building trust between the two countries and strengthen relations between the two.

The Ministerial Council reaffirmed its firm positions toward the brotherly Iraq including respect for Iraq's unity, independence and territorial integrity; non-interference in its internal affairs; and maintenance of its Arab and Islamic identity; and that achieving security and stability in Iraq requires the speedy completion of overall national reconciliation in Iraq.

The Council stressed the need for Iraq to complete the implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

On the Syrian affairs, the Ministerial Council expressed its deep regret at the continuing events in the sisterly Syrian Arab Republic, which resulted in the fall of large numbers of dead and wounded civilians, emphasizing the GCC countries' keenness on the security, stability and the unity of Syria and at the same time expressing deep concern at the continuing bloodshed in Syria, the increasing acts of violence, and the use of the military machine and demands an immediate end to the killing machine, removal of any military manifestations, putting an end to bloodshed blood, resorting to wisdom, activation of serious and immediate reforms, meeting the aspirations of the Syrian people and working on the application of all the Arab initiative adopted by the Arab League Council at its extraordinary session on 28/8/2011, and looks forward to discussing the report by the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States on his recent visit to Syria.

On the Libyan affairs, the Ministerial Council expressed its satisfaction for the Libyan people's realization of their will and choices, valuing their sacrifices to achieve this and stressed confidence in the ability of the Libyan people to carry out the functions of the new phase.

The Council expressed its support for the Transitional National Council.

With regard to Lebanon, the Council reaffirmed its full support for security and stability and national unity of Lebanon, and called upon all Lebanese political parties to address issues with wisdom and prudence hoping the government of President Najib Mikati will achieve security and stability.

On the Sudanese issue, the Ministerial Council commended the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement and expressed concern over the unrest in the states of Kordofan and Blue Nile.

On South Sudan, the Ministerial Council welcomed the establishment of the State of South Sudan, wishing the friendly state to exercise its role effectively as a new member of the international community.

On the Affairs of Somalia, the Ministerial Council commended the generous support provided to the Somali people by the GCC countries.

Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz, the Governor of Makkah Region, presiding over the 5th Meeting of the Executive Committee for Makkah and Sacred Places Development Authority, was briefed on the latest developments of Makkah Development Project, including the Comprehensive Plan for the development of Makkah and Sacred Places, the expansion of the authority's headquarters in addition to the necessary measures for implementing King Abdullah Project for Makkah Construction.

During the meeting, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal suggested that King Abdullah Project for Makkah Construction is more than a mere giant construction project, saying that it should be conceived within the hospitality for the visitors of the holy capital aiming at providing the genuine Islamic hospitality, accommodation and other life facilities.

He gave a grace until early next year for the presentation of necessary feasibility studies of the project.

First phases of the project are expected to be completed within the coming four years to coincide with King Abdullah northern expansion of the Grand Haram in Makkah as well as the completion of a network of ring roads, totaling four, and other exits and inlets and developing of Makkah unplanned neighborhoods, planners said.