Saudi Cabinet asserts kingdom’s keenness to be at the vanguard of any international effort aimed at protecting Syrian people

Cabinet: Kingdom holds international parties stalling world action ethically responsible if they stuck to their slacking positions

Prince Khaled al-Faisal patronizes workshop on successful experiments in implementation of projects

Saudi Arabia says it is keen on enhancing principles of justice and equality in the society

More than 700 economists participate in foreign investors forum in Jeddah

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud chaired the Cabinet session which was held at Al-Yamamah palace in Riyadh.

At the outset of the session, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques briefed the Cabinet on the discussions, messages, and contacts he made with a number of leaders of brotherly and friendly countries on bilateral relations, and the events in a number of Arab countries and their repercussions as well as the latest developments at regional and international arenas, including the audience with Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Al-Jebali and the messages he received from Iraqi President Jalal Al-Talbani and Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The King briefed the Cabinet on the telephone conversations he received from Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques stressed the depth of relations between the Kingdom and these countries as well as the keenness of all of them to serve the mutual interests and global security and stability.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja, Minister of Culture and Information, said the Cabinet reviewed the Arab and international efforts on the situation in Syria, expressing appreciation of the Kingdom for what has been achieved during the International Conference of the Friends of the Syrian People.

The Cabinet reiterated that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be at the forefront of any international effort aiming to achieve urgent, comprehensive and effective solutions to protect the Syrian people, and that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia holds the international parties that disrupt the international move morally responsible for the way things turned out, especially if these parties continued in their disappointing and heedless stances on the interests of the Syrian people.

The Cabinet congratulated Yemeni President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi on being elected President of Yemen by the Yemeni people, wishing the people of Yemen more progress, prosperity and stability.

The Cabinet lauded the statement issued by London Conference on Somalia which underscored the importance of achieving political stability in that country and the cooperation voiced by the world community during the conference to combat terrorism, piracy and starvation, hoping that the implementation of what has been agreed upon in the conference would constitute a step forward to put an end to the tragedy to which Somali people have paid the price.

The Minister of Culture and Information stated that the Cabinet has praised the efforts being exerted by the specialist commission assigned to study the proposals relating to the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for transforming the GCC from the state of cooperation to that of union among the GCC member countries.

The specialist commission held its first meeting in Riyadh the other day, thanking the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and other GCC leaders for their decision to form this commission, a move that the Cabinet said embodies the unity of vision and reflects the aspirations of the peoples of the GCC countries.

On the domestic arena, the Cabinet highly appreciated the valuable contents of the speech of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques during an audience he held for the participants in the 9th Meeting for National Dialogue which was concluded in Hail under the theme 'Saudi Media: Reality and Means of Promotion: Bases, Roles and Future Potentials', noting that the speech of the monarch reflected his sincere commitment towards the people of the Kingdom and the tolerant Islamic faith and the importance of dialogue in serving religion and nation.

The Cabinet also underscored the importance of the 3rd Consultative Meeting of the Speakers of G20 Parliaments, hosted by the Shoura Council in Riyadh under the motif of 'Sustainable Economic Growth for a Safe World.' This is one of the most important international meetings owing to the current developments the world is witnessing today in all arenas, particularly the financial and economic crisis currently affecting some countries which calls for the concerted efforts of the world community to forge decisive solutions.

The Cabinet also welcomed the achievement of the Ministry of Justice for being ranked first in the world in the rate of speedy transfer of real estate ownership which comes as part of the outcome of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Project for the Judiciary Development.

Dr. Khoja said the Cabinet then discussed its domestic agenda and issued the following decisions:

The Cabinet approved implementing a convention on the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons and approved the manner in which they should be destroyed.

The Cabinet authorized President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation, or his deputy, to prepare, discuss and sign with the Kuwaiti side a draft agreement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the field of Air Transport Services.

The Cabinet approved a protocol attached to the already signed convention between the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Government of the Republic of France for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes on income, inheritance, and capital signed in Paris on 18/2/2011.

The Cabinet approved seeds and seedlings system in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States which was approved in the 29th session of GCC summit held in Oman 29-30/12/2008.

The Cabinet approved a number of appointments of high-ranking government officials and a transference of one official as follows:

1- Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Drees is appointed to the post of Ambassador at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

2- Abdulkareem bin Mahmoud Hilal is appointed to the post of Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

3- Dr. Zuhair bin Hassan Zahed is appointed to the post of Assistant Undersecretary of Cities Planning (rank 14) at the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs;

4- Ahmad bin Mohammed Al-Abdulqader is transferred from the post of Assistant Deputy President of the General Auditing Bureau for Performance Control Department (rank 15) to the post of Financial Advisor at the same rank in the same organization.

Meanwhile, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah region and Chairman of the Sub-committee for Rainwater and Flood Drainage Project, said Sunday that officials will not compromise on the quality of work to fix the flooding problem and called for more efforts to accomplish the projects with skill and commitment to achieve top quality results, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Prince Khaled commented on the issue during a meeting with public- and private-sector officials to review a report on Al-Samer and Umm Al-Khair projects.

Al-Mabani Company started work on these projects last month under a SR264 million contract that requires work to be completed within 197 days.

The work is progressing according to plan, Al-Mabani Company officials said during the meeting.

Prince Khaled held the review session with Hani Abu Ras, Jeddah Mayor; Ahmad Al-Saleem, Director General of Rainwater and Flood Drainage Project in Jeddah; Mazin Matar, Director General of AECOM in the Kingdom; and a number of officials from the Al-Mabani Company.

Last week, Prince Khaled signed a contract with the Nesma Holding Company to execute within 110 days 12 projects worth over SR795 million to tackle flooding in Jeddah.

The Sub-committee has approved 14 projects to address the flooding problem. The projects that are to be executed by Nesma will focus on creating tunnels to ensure water does not accumulate.

Meanwhile, the second session of the second workshop for discussing permanent solutions for flooding in Jeddah was concluded on Sunday.

All reports, views and suggestions from the workshop will be referred to AECOM – the project consultant – so it can select the best solutions at a reasonable cost before tendering them to international companies, officials said.

In Geneva, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stressed that it always endeavors to enhance the principles of justice and equality among all members of the society, and to preserve all legitimate rights. This is emanating from its belief that economic and social prosperity as well as political stability are important pillars of building societies and promoting their rights.

This came in a speech delivered by the President of Saudi Human Rights Commission Dr. Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Aiban at the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council currently held in Geneva.

Dr. Al-Aiban also said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has paid most attention to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development with the aim to raise the standard of living, ensure the prosperity and stability, and provide work opportunities. Therefore, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has allocated 24% of the approved expenditures in its 2012 budget for education and training sector; and 26% for health services and social development.

He also highlighted the efforts exerted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to promote human dignity and preserve human rights, noting that the Saudi government has established the National Anti-Corruption Commission to promote the principle of transparency and protection of human rights.

'As part of enhancing the active participation of Saudi women in the comprehensive development witnessed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued a decision granting the women the right to the membership of Majlis Al-Shura,' Dr. Al-Aiban said.

Dr. Al-Aiban stressed that the current session of Human Rights Council is held in very critical circumstances, in light of the serious deterioration of the human rights situation in Syria. He also said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has earlier warned against the serious and tragic consequences for the human rights situation in Syria.

The first annual foreign investors’ forum opened with the participation of 700 participants and government officials in Jeddah.

The event, organized by the Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) is scheduled to discuss problems faced by foreign investors besides giving an opportunity to investors to come up with new ideas.

According to official figures more than 7,400 licenses involving SR552 billion investments were issued for foreigners until 2009. The study also said 4,000 investments were made in Jeddah.

The FIC serves as a liaison between investors and government departments and organizations governing foreign investments, according to JCCI’s Assistant secretary general Mohyuddin Hakami.

“The annual Jeddah forum of foreign investors will have a big role to play in creating a climate of investment,” he said.

FIC Chairman Mahdi Al-Nahari said the reason why Saudi Arabia is included among the economically advanced countries is because its market is always attractive to foreign investors.

Opportunities for foreign investors in the Kingdom are plenty, he said. The unlimited governmental support and encouragement, security and stability are major factors that promote investments and economic progress, he said.

He added that the holy cities such as Makkah and Madinah also provided vast potential for investments especially in religious tourism.

The location of the Kingdom with openings to the Red Sea in the west and the Arabian Gulf in the east, and proximity to international shipping routes is another factor favorable to industrial investments in the Kingdom, he said.

Bandar Al-Harithy, director of projects’ follow-up at the General Investment Authority, said the meeting opens the door of dialogue between foreign investors and the officials related to foreign investments in addition to solving the obstacles and difficulties faced by investors. The meeting also announced the launch of a website of the committee

The Governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), Dr. Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Mubarak, has met at his office with a number of members of Economic Information Committee of Riyadh's Chamber of Commerce and Industry headed by Dr. Khalid Al-Khudher.

During the meeting, they exchanged viewpoints on ways of strengthening economic media in the service of the national economy as well as the promotion of development projects for enhancing the roles of the private sector as an essential partner in economic development.