Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, chaired the Cabinet’s session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on yesterday.
At the outset of the session, the Cabinet was briefed on the outcome of talks held by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud with President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt, expressing its thanks to the President for his appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his noble feelings and positions in support for Egypt's safety, stability and the unity of Egypt and its people.
The Cabinet expressed its thanks and gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his order to establish 11 sport stadiums at the highest international standards and specifications in the regions of the Kingdom, similar to King Abdullah Sport City in Jeddah, emphasizing that this comes as an extension of the King's keenness and interest in support of Sports and the youth who enjoy a special status in his self and in continuation of his keenness on providing each region of its right of development in all fields.
The Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohiuddin Khoja said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session that the Cabinet discussed a number of reports on the latest developments and events at Islamic, Arab and international arenas. The Cabinet was briefed on the results of the discussions with Foreign Minister of Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov on bilateral relations and the situations in Syria and Iraq, stressing the Kingdom's explanation on the importance of agreement to work within the framework of existing efforts to implement the agreement of 'Geneva 1' aiming to achieve a peaceful transition of power in Syria along with the importance of unifying efforts towards combating terrorist organizations that have exploited the crisis in Syria, as well as focusing on efforts at this stage to ensure Iraq's security and territorial integrity, achieve national unity between all the components of the Iraqi people and ensure equality among them in rights and duties alike.
The council of ministers welcomed the results of the 41st session of the Conference of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation which was held under the title of 'Exploring the Areas of Islamic Cooperation,' which was hosted by the Kingdom, stressing the contents of the conference's Jeddah Declaration which renewed the participants' commitment to the goals and principles of the Charter of the Organization and coordination of joint efforts to address all the challenges and threats facing the Islamic countries.
The council expressed the kingdom's appreciation for the thanks and gratitude expressed by the participants on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his patronage of the conference and the kingdom-provided facilities which contributed to the success of its work.
The cabinet was briefed on the results of the visit of Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Minister of the National Guard, to the Republic of France, commending the two countries' close, historical ties which are based on mutual respect; their progress and development in various fields; and the two countries' weight and importance at the international level.
The minister said that the Council of Ministers, then discussed a number of topics on local affairs. On the occasion of the forthcoming month of Ramadan, the Crown Prince stressed the importance of implementing the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to make preparations and arrangements by various bodies to serve visitors and Umrah performers and facilitate their performance of Umrah and visit to the Prophet's Mosque during the holy month, and boost efforts to provide all that would make it easier for worshipper sto perform their Umrah and maintain their security, safety and comfort at the Two Holy Mosques along with the roads leading to them.
The Cabinet appreciated the resolution taken by UNESCO World Heritage Committee of registration of historic Jeddah on its World Heritage List during the meetings of its 38th session, held earlier this week, in 'recognition of Jeddah's cultural value and urban distinction as an exceptional example of its distinguished urban and heritage model of the Red Sea basin, and an important national symbol.'
It commended the efforts of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) in the completion of the nomination file, and its work in partnership with relevant government agencies and the local society in maintaining and developing historical Jeddah as one of the cultural heritage sites that are abound in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to which the State attaches considerable attention culminated recently with the issuance of the Cabinet's resolution on the approval of 'King Abdullah Project of Taking Care of Cultural Heritage' as an important national and historical project.
The Cabinet also hailed the efforts made by the Ministry of Interior in thwarting a smuggling attempt of more than a half ton of cocaine, also expressing appreciation for the efforts of the men working in battling drugs to protect society's members of their scourge.
Moreover, the Cabinet congratulated the start of the distribution and delivery of the first housing units for the deserved families in Jazan region by the Ministry of Housing, according to the regulation of residential support issued by the Council of Ministers, dated 06/01/2014, wishing all success to the Ministry in handling its business and steps to enable the citizen to get an adequate housing.
The Cabinet also congratulated the successful launch of the XIII Saudi industrial satellite (Saudi SAT 4) last Friday as being the first of the new generation of Saudi satellites, which has fully been designed in the laboratories of the National Center for Satellite Technology at the Research of Aerospace Institute in King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) by national Saudi hands, to be compatible with the different space tasks that would meet the needs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the national program for satellites, which launched the first two satellites in 2000.
In this context, the Cabinet commended the efforts being exerted by KACST, its Saudi researchers and engineers who have contributed mainly to the development of multiple technologies, particularly in the field of design of satellites and control them in space and data analysis.
Dr. Khoja, said that, based on the king's directive, the cabinet was briefed during its meeting held on 25.8.1435 H. on a number of topics and took the following decisions:
The Council of Ministers approved a draft model of a memorandum of understanding regarding the political consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the foreign ministries of other countries.
The cabinet approved the Regulation on Antiquities, Museums and Architectural Heritage.
Among the most prominent features of the regulation are:
1- The regulation gives the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities jurisdiction over deciding archaeological monuments and architectural heritage and determining what needs to be recorded of them. Registration of an item of archaeological monuments shall make the state approve of its national, historical, cultural or artistic importance and preserve, maintain and display it.
2- The regulation considers all fixed and movable antiquities in the Kingdom or in the marine areas subject to its sovereignty or jurisdiction of public property of the state, with the exception of fixed antiquities whose owners prove their ownership, and movable antiquities registered by their owners with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, and the antiquities that the SCTA deems no need for their registration. The regulation states that anyone having a movable relic should submit it to the SCTA for registration within two years from the date of entry into force of this regulation.
3- The regulation punishes whoever transgresses on a relic, archaeological site, heritage site or architectural heritage, surveys or searches for antiquities without a license with a term of imprisonment of not less than one month and not more than one year and with a fine of not less than ten thousand riyals and not more than a hundred thousand riyals, or either of the two punishments.
After reviewing the report submitted by the Minister of Finance, the Cabinet approved that the Ministry of Finance shall submit the Kingdom's subscription application to get the permanent membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and pay the share of the Kingdom in the budget of the group on an annual basis, in addition to bear the costs of hosting the general meeting and the accompanying work teams during the year in which the Kingdom takes over the presidency of FATF.
After reviewing the report submitted by the Minister of Labor, the Cabinet approved a number of actions, including:
1 - Exempting small-sized establishment - which has a total staff of nine workers or less, including the owner - from paying the fees due under item (ii) of the Cabinet's Resolution No. (353) dated 21/11/2011.
2 - Exempting the establishment from paying the due fees - under item (ii) of the Cabinet's resolution referred to - if its workers are non-Saudis married to Saudi females and vice versa, and their children and employees hold nationalities exempted from deportation or others, according to the criteria approved by the Ministry of the Interior.
3 - Ministry of Labor shall submit to the King periodical reports regarding the financial charges referred to, including the results of its implementation and the obstacles and difficulties it encountered in this regard, and what it views of proposals to address them, to achieve the intended purpose of the imposition of that fees.
The Cabinet approved transfer and appointments as follows:
1- Transfer of Engineer Abdulaziz bin Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Jarrah from the post of Administrative Advisor (rank 15th) to the post of Undersecretary the National Guard for Technical Affairs in the same rank at the Ministry of National Guard.
2- Appointment of Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Nasser Al-Wahaib as Director General of Follow-up at the Ministry of Interior (rank 14th).
3- Appointment of Hamad bin Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Nafie' as Director General of Health Affairs Department in Madinah region (rank 14th) at the Ministry of Health.
The Cabinet was briefed on the annual reports of King Fahd National Library, Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta, and Saline Water Conversion Corporation for the previous fiscal years, and issued its directives.
The Cabinet's General Secretariat will submit the results of today's session to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his directives in this regard.