Saudi Arabia slams Israeli move to build synagogue in Jerusalem

The Council of Ministers on Monday condemned Israel’s decision to build a synagogue in occupied Jerusalem

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The Council of Ministers on Monday condemned Israel’s decision to build a synagogue in occupied Jerusalem.

The council, chaired by Crown Prince Salman, also denounced the move to construct 50 new housing units at the Jewish settlement in Mount Abu Ghneim.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency following the session, Minister of Culture and Information Abdulaziz Khoja said the council called on the international community to stand firmly against Israel’s violations of various laws and international conventions and its continued aggression on the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, which Muslims call Al-Quds, and the Islamic holy sites.

Khoja said the council was briefed on the outcome of the meeting of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah with King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

Their talks figured mainly on the prospects of cooperation between the two countries and ways to enhance them, besides latest developments in the Islamic, Arab and international arenas.

Commending the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the King Abdullah Interreligious Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue and UNESCO to emphasize the commitment to the principle of promoting a culture of dialogue, the council reiterated the Kingdom’s assertion that dialogue is the ideal channel to address any differences with others.

The council also vowed its support for all initiatives taken in this regard.

It also welcomed the outcome of the 22nd session of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), held recently in Tunis, and the adoption of its action plans, programs, projects, events and activities for the next phase.

The council reiterated the Kingdom’s emphasis on the importance of improving and taking care of education and its outputs.

Khoja said the council authorized Prince Salman, also minister of defense, to discuss and sign with Comoros a draft memorandum of understanding between the two countries’ ministries of defense to enhance bilateral cooperation and then submit the final version for completion of statutory procedures.

It also approved a cooperation agreement between the governments of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Gabon, signed in Riyadh last year.

The objectives of the agreement include promotion of economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries and their citizens, besides encouraging the exchange of visits by economic, commercial and technical representatives, delegations and missions.

The council authorized the minister of transport or his deputy to discuss and sign with South Korean a draft agreement on cooperation between the two governments in the field of maritime transport and then submit its final version for the completion of the statutory procedures.

It approved the final account of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) for the fiscal year 2012-2013.

Khoja said the council approved the appointment of Abdulaziz al-Quwaiz, Khaled al-Rajhi and Saeed Bin Taradh Bin Garman as members of the board of Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) taking up the posts of representatives of the private sector for a period of three years.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on June 3, 2014.