Saudi cabinet highly esteems content of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ address at Shura Council

Cabinet considers speech as roadmap for state’s positions and orientations in Islamic, Arab and international arenas

King Abdullah discusses with King of Bahrain means to further bilateral ties

Second Deputy Premier Prince Naif says women’s participation in Shura Council, municipal councils is key step on the road to building

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 expressed his appreciation of what have been expressed by the leaders of friendly and brotherly countries of noble feelings on the occasion of the 81st anniversary of the National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The King also expressed his appreciation of what have been expressed by the sons of the Kingdom on this occasion of jubilant feelings throughout the country, asking Allah Almighty to perpetuate security and stability on this country so that it continues its role and march in serving its sons as well as Islamic and Arab nations.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques briefed the Cabinet on the meeting he held with President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, stressing the Kingdom's stance supporting a unified, safe and stable Yemen.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session, Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja said the Cabinet highly appreciated the comprehensive speech addressed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the works of the third year of the fifth term of Majlis Al-Shura this week.

The speech addressed the external and internal policies of the Kingdom and voiced important message for members of Al-Majlis and the citizens. The Cabinet considered his speech as a document and course of action for the Kingdom's stances and policies on many issues and the latest developments at Islamic, Arab and International arenas.

The Cabinet also appreciated the decisions issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques within the framework of his believing in the role of women in the Saudi society, in all fields of work, according to the (Islamic) Sharia guidelines; women will serve in the Majlis Al-Shura as members beginning next session in accordance with the Sharia guidelines and, as of the next session, they will have the right to nominate themselves for the membership of Municipal Councils, and have also the right to participate in the nomination of candidates in accordance with Islamic guidelines.

The Minister said the cabinet praised the Shura Council's efforts and its significant presence at the international parliamentary arenas as well as the consultative and right decisions it issued in the interest of the homeland, citizens and the Kingdom's domestic and foreign policy.

Then, the cabinet heard reports on various local activities that took place over the past week including the activities of the international conference "The Phenomenon of Takfir (labeling opponents as infidels): Reasons, Impact and Treatment," which was held in Madinah and was opened on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques by Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior.

In that regard, the cabinet expressed great appreciation for the speech made by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the participants of this conference which was attended by more than 500 scholars and researchers from 23 countries who discussed more than 120 papers.

The cabinet appreciated its results and recommendations including the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-based Association of Muslim Scholars whose establishment will be supervised by Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud International Prize for the Prophet's Sunnah and Contemporary Islamic Studies.

The cabinet expressed gratitude for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' patronization of the Suk Okaz cultural activities in its fourth session currently hosted by Taif province due to its significant role in strengthening the cultural movement experienced by the Kingdom in this prosperous era.

Then, the cabinet reviewed the most prominent current developments at the Arab, regional and international arenas, including the current extensive activity in the corridors of the United Nations on the occasion of the 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in deliberations of which the delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia participated actively.

The Cabinet welcomed the United Nations' launching of the Center for Combating Terrorism where an agreement is signed by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon.

The Kingdom announced a $10 million donation to its budget for three years. This center was proposed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques at the International Conference for Counter Terrorism held in Riyadh in 2005 in the presence of more than 60 countries and international organizations.

This center, the first international organization to specialize in combating terrorism, contributes to defining the phenomenon of terrorism without selectivity or double standards and addresses the causes of and better effective ways of combating terrorism firmly to enhance international security and stability.

The Cabinet followed with great interest the latest Palestinian cause after an application submitted by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority to the UN Security Council to vote in favor of a full membership of the State of Palestine to the UN, stressing the support of the Kingdom to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people in achieving their independent state with Al-Quds as its capital.

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

The Cabinet authorized the President of Saudi Red Crescent Authority - or his deputy- to discuss and sign with the Turkish side a memorandum of understanding between the Saudi Red Crescent Authority and the Turkish Red Crescent Society.

The cabinet authorized the Minister of Higher Education-or his deputy-to discuss and sign with the Hungarian side a draft memorandum of scientific and educational cooperation between the Ministry of Higher Education in Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of National Resources in the Republic of Hungary.

The cabinet decided to approve the final accounts of the Saudi Ports Authority for the fiscal year (1430/1431AH).

The cabinet approved a transfer and appointments as follows:

1- Dr. Abdullah bin Mahmoud Fakhri Ansari is appointed as Director General of Legal Affairs and International Cooperation (rank 15) at the Ministry of Interior,

2- Ahmad bin Ali bin Ahmed al-Zahrani is transferred from the post of Administrative Consultant (rank 15) to the post of Director General of the branch of the ministry in Mecca at the same rank at the Ministry of Justice,

3- Abdulaziz bin Mohammed bin Saad Mefleh is appointed Administrative Consultant (rank 15) at the Ministry of Justice,

4- Dr. Riyadh Al Kamal bin Khadr Najm is appointed as Undersecretary of Ministry for Media Affairs (rank 15) at the Ministry of Culture and Information,

5- Hamad bin Aqeel bin Thamer al-Sadoun is appointed as Scientific Research Expert (rank 14) at King Abdulaziz City for Sciences and Technology.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah received King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

During the audience, they discussed prospects of cooperation between the two countries and ways of enhancing them in all fields in the interest of the two countries and two brotherly peoples. They also discussed the latest regional and international developments.

The audience was attended by Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior; Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Acting Governor of Riyadh Region; Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chief of General Intelligence; and Prince Meteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Minister of State, Member of the Cabinet and Commander of the National Guard.

On Bahraini side, the audience was attended by Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa; Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa; Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Deputy Bahraini Prime Minister; and a number of Bahraini senior officials.

Meanwhile, Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, said that King Abdullah’s speech to the Shura Council Sunday reflects the personal and unlimited care he gives to the country and people’s affairs.

“The historic announcement made by King Abdullah for the participation of Saudi women in the Shura Council and the elections of the municipal councils reflects his strong belief in the significant role being played by Saudi women in the country’s development process,” Prince Naif was quoted by Arabic newspapers as saying.

The Kingdom, he said, has a cadre of efficient and competent women that can contribute to the country’s cultural and socioeconomic activities in a way that serves the country and its faith.

Commenting on the rumors that some Saudi students in the US were being Christianized, he said he had not heard of any such news or development urging those who have proof to present it. “If we get any evidence, we will certainly have a stand in this matter.”

In reply to a question about the political upheavals taking place in some Arab countries, he said, “The Kingdom regrets the incidents taking place in some Arab countries pointing out that this is happening at a time when the Kingdom’s people are celebrating the Kingdom’s 81st National Day. “Being Arabs, the killings and chaos taking place in these countries really hurt us. We thank Almighty Allah we are not experiencing such painful incidents in our country.”

About the possibility of electing Shura members, Prince Naif said the current system meets our requirements pointing out that everything is possible in the future as long as it does not contravene Islamic teachings.