Saudi king grants $200 million fund for Palestinian cities

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Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has issued directives to allocate $200 million to help Palestinian cities resist infringements on their territories.

The funding will cover all Palestinian cities and municipalities that are members of the Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities, said Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Prince Mansour Bin Miteb on Sunday.

Prince Mansour, addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Organization of Islamic Cities and Capitals’ 13th general conference, said the funding was to help Palestinian cities resist infringements such as the construction of settlements.

It will also help them to carry out maintenance and renovation work; expand drinking water, power generating and sanitary drainage treatment facilities; develop and expand hospitals; and maintain health, education and social service centers.

The prince expressed thanks to King Abdullah for approving the scheme. Prince Mansour said the three-day conference, hosted by the holy city's municipality at the Mecca Clock Royal Tower Fairmont Hotel, demonstrates the King’s support for the organization’s work so that it is able to carry out its role in achieving sustainable development in Islamic capitals and cities, safeguarding their identity and boosting and developing programs to build the capabilities of Islamic capitals and cities.

The aim is to keep pace with the cities’ developments and benefit their populations.

He said the conference would deal with sustainable development, stress the importance of agriculture and acquaint people with the basic needs and primary issues in dealing with the environment.

It will also facilitate the exchange of expertise and demonstrate the best practices and experiments in environmental protection.

Meanwhile, conference chairman Ahmad Muhammad Al-Sayyid, also director of the Doha Municipality, said the conference comes at an important stage in the history of Islamic capitals and cities, which he said are in dire need of protecting their identity and Islamic heritage given their current challenges.

In his speech, Mecca Mayor Osama Al-Bar said the holy city first held the organization’s inaugural conference in 1980.

He said this year’s event was an opportunity to review and reconsider the organization’s course and direction and how far it has achieved the goals on which it was founded.

The organization’s Secretary General Omar Abdullah Qadhi said 50 personalities representing 30 Islamic and international organizations and institutions are participating in the conference.

Prince Mansour honored the mayors of Mecca as well as those of Islamic capitals and cities from 1925 until 2013.

Qadhi signed two memorandums of cooperation with the Heritage Studies Center in Cairo University and the International Alliance Organization.

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