Saudi Arabia underscores joint GCC work

Government and private sectors to make available all services to pilgrims

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The Council of Ministers on Monday emphasized the firm position of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states with regard to a number of regional and international political issues, including ongoing terrorist activities in the region.

The weekly session of the council, chaired by Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz, deputy crown prince and second deputy premier, also underscored the joint work of the GCC in achieving political and economic integration.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session, Minister of Hajj and Acting Minister of Culture and Information Bandar Hajjar said the council took this position after reviewing the final communiqué approved by the recently held 132nd session of the GCC foreign ministers.

At the outset of the session, Prince Muqrin, on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, welcomed the pilgrims who started arriving in the Kingdom from all over the world to perform Haj, the fifth pillar of Islam.

The deputy crown prince conveyed the directives of the King and the crown prince to both government and private sectors to make available all services to pilgrims since their arrival until their departure from Kingdom after performing their rituals.

He said: “What the Kingdom has made available in terms of services and gigantic projects in Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites, as well as the expansion of the two holy mosques, are a source of pride for the Kingdom in serving Islam and Muslims.

“The Kingdom aims at nothing other than the pleasure of God by giving all these facilities and services.”

Hajjar said the council underscored the King’s recent statement warning against terrorism and the need to fight against it as well as the King’s warning that such activities would spread throughout the world unless there are joint efforts to eliminate them.

The council also congratulated girl and boy students in all phases of education on the start of the new academic year.

The council prayed to Allah to guide them in their education and wished that they would be armed with proper education and skills to enable them to qualify and contribute to more successes in the fields of education, science and knowledge.

The council also lauded the opening of specialized courts to expedite the procedures for the resolution of cases, especially facilitating family case procedures and supporting litigants through reconciliation centers.

Welcoming the ceasefire agreement reached between Israel and Palestinians and the subsequent ending of the Israeli aggression in Gaza, the council praised the role played by Egypt in brokering the deal.

It also stressed the importance of providing relief aid to the Gaza Strip in order to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.

Hajjar said the council approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Civil Defense cooperation between the Ministry of Interior and Morocco’s ministry of interior.

It also authorized the minister of interior or his deputy to discuss with the Georgian side a draft Civil Defense cooperation agreement, sign it, and then submit the final version to complete the statutory procedures.

The council approved the amended GCC Unified Law on substances that deplete the ozone layer, adopted by the GCC summit in Bahrain in December 2012.

The most prominent features of the law include total phase-out of the consumption of ozone-depleting materials and substituting them with safe alternatives in accordance with the national interests of the GCC countries, and facilitation of the exchange of information and data among the GCC countries on trade and circulation of controlled materials, machines, equipment and products for intra-regional trade and fighting illegal operations.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on Monday, Sep. 01, 2014.

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