Saudi Arabia calls for global action to stop bloodshed

Minister of Culture and Information Abdulaziz Khoja said the council called on the international community

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Saudi Arabia on Monday renewed its appeal to the international community to shoulder its humanitarian and moral responsibilities to halt the continuing bloodshed in the occupied Palestinian territories and a number of Arab countries.

Voicing “resentment and regret” over the tragic incidents that resulted in the killing and wounding of many people, including women and children, and destruction of infrastructure on a daily basis, the weekly session of the Council of Ministers called it an “unprecedented brutality and mass destruction exceeding all limits of humanity”.

Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz, deputy crown prince and second deputy premier, chaired the session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah Monday afternoon.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency following the session, Minister of Culture and Information Abdulaziz Khoja said the council called on the international community, represented by its various organizations, to assume an active role in ensuring a decent living for all people in an environment with security and stability, besides enabling their peaceful coexistence.

In this context, the Cabinet appreciated the grand mufti’s recent statement clarifying the great purposes of the religion of Islam, characterized by its tolerance and moderation, and his warning against extremism, militancy and terrorism that he said had nothing to do with the faith.

The council was briefed on the telephone call received by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah from British Prime Minister David Cameron that mainly focused on the latest developments and events in a number of Arab countries.

Khoja said the council condemned the terrorist attack that targeted worshippers at a mosque in Iraq’s Diyala province, claiming the lives of scores of innocent people.

The meeting reiterated the Kingdom’s denunciation and condemnation of all acts of terrorism and its call for concerted efforts to eradicate terrorism in all forms.

The council appreciated the United States for commending Saudi Arabia for its efforts in the fight against terrorism, as well as its programs that have achieved great success in reducing the capabilities of the terrorists, in addition to its constructive cooperation at international level in combating terrorist activities.

It also appreciated the gesture of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in thanking the Kingdom for its generous assistance that helped the World Food Program provide food aid to hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis.

The minister said the council welcomed the outcome of the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Arab countries, held in Jeddah on Sunday, which dealt with the overall situation in the region and the developments in Syria.

The Cabinet ratified the defense cooperation agreement signed with the Polish government in December 2013.

The provisions of the agreement include cooperation in a number of areas, including military education training; defense-related technology transfer; research and development in the field of military technical information; logistics; and military medical and health services.

The two countries also agreed to exchange military information and experiences; exchange of military experts and staff; and attendance of military conferences, scientific symposiums, exhibitions, exercises and other official events organized by either party.

After reviewing a report of minister of municipal and rural affairs, the council endorsed an amendment to an earlier decision that read as follows: “Mayoralties involved in investment projects of municipal real estate sites allocated for multistory parking shall set a portion that does not exceed 25 percent of the parking building for external use.”

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014.