By Arab News
By P.K. Abdul Ghafour
The Council of Ministers on Monday emphasized the Gulf Cooperation Council’s leading role in preserving the security and stability of the region over the past three decades while calling for greater GCC coordination to counter “dangerous” developments.
The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah at Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, made the statement while reviewing the resolutions taken by GCC defense ministers during a meeting in Abu Dhabi and a meeting of GCC foreign ministers in Riyadh last week.
The Abu Dhabi meeting had decided to strengthen joint GCC defense systems in the face of increasing threats to member countries. It also decided to set up a GCC marine security coordination center in Manama to confront challenges being faced by navigation in the Arabian Gulf, Oman Sea and Red Sea.
The Cabinet commended Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh for signing a Gulf initiative to end the country’s political crisis during a ceremony in Riyadh last week, while praising the roles played by King Abdullah and other GCC leaders to reach an agreement between the Yemeni government and opposition groups.
“Saudi Arabia hopes that the signing of the initiative would put an end to the conflict and help the Yemenis enjoy security and stability and realize their hopes and aspirations for a brighter future,” said a statement issued after the Cabinet meeting.
Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said the Cabinet reorganized the powers of the Control & Investigation Board (CIB) and Bureau of Investigation & Prosecution (BIP) to avoid overlapping. It canceled Article 2 of the Royal Decree No. 51 dated 17/7/1402AH that had stated the CIB, in addition to its powers, will investigate bribery, forgery and other crimes mentioned in Royal Decree No. 43 dated 29/11/1377AH.
The Cabinet transferred to the BIP the powers of CIB and other monitoring agencies in investigation and public prosecution with regard to criminal cases. However, the CIB and other agencies will continue to investigate crimes until those powers are transferred to the BIP. The criminal investigation jobs at the CIB and other agencies will be transferred to the BIP. Transferred CIB staff should meet the BIP standards.
The Cabinet also decided to transfer financial monitoring activities of the CIB to the General Auditing Bureau. At the same time, the CIB will continue its administrative monitoring activities, administrative investigation and take up prosecution of administrative and financial violators. According to the new Cabinet decision, field auditing activities have been transferred from the Ministry of Civil Affairs to the CIB.
Khoja said the Cabinet agreed to increase the Kingdom’s contribution to the capital of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), an affiliate of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, from 13,500 to 60,000 shares valued at 46.5 million Islamic dinars.
“Of these shares 13,500 will be the Kingdom’s contribution to 50,000 shares floated for subscription by the IDB member countries while the remaining 33,000 will be the Kingdom’s contribution to the additional shares allocated for subscription by member countries who wanted to have more shares in the ICIEC. The Cabinet authorized Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf to subscribe necessary shares to preserve the Kingdom’s position as the largest stakeholder in the ICIEC after IDB.
The Cabinet also endorsed the national transport strategy aimed at setting up an integrated and efficient transport system that would be provided with all required means to ensure the security and safety of the public, boost economic development and strengthen the Kingdom’s competitiveness. “The strategy calls for greater cooperation and coordination among related departments,” Khoja said.
The Cabinet also made the Ministry of Social Affairs a permanent member of the committee for combating money laundering.
Earlier, King Abdullah congratulated the Muslim Ummah on the advent of the Hijrah year 1433, and expressed hope the new year would bring greater progress and prosperity to the Arab and Islamic world and end violence and financial crises in many countries, reinforcing security and stability all over the world.
The Cabinet welcomed the speech made by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa after receiving the final report from an independent committee that investigated recent incidents in the country. “We take this opportunity to commend the Bahraini king’s desire to reveal the facts with transparency and fairness, ensuring the rule of law and justice,” the statement added.