Kingdom supports Palestine’s UN bid

A Palestinian farmer in the northern West Bank village of Qusra inspects an olive tree destroyed on Sunday by suspected hardline Jewish settlers. (AP )

RIYADH: The Council of Ministers on Monday reiterated the Kingdom’s support for the Palestinians’ efforts to win UN recognition of their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Saudi support comes after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas presented to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday a formal request for full membership of the United Nations.
The UN Security Council was meeting behind closed doors Monday to discuss the Palestinian bid for statehood. The council will hold a formal meeting Wednesday to transmit the bid to a committee on admission of new members which includes all 15 council nations, The Associated Press quoted diplomats in New York as saying.
The Saudi Cabinet meeting, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, expressed its satisfaction over the launch of a UN counterterrorism center in New York.
Saudi Arabia has agreed to pay $10 million to meet the center’s budget for three years.
The center is the brainchild of King Abdullah who proposed it when opening an international anti-terror conference in Riyadh in 2005 attended by delegates from 60 countries.
Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said the Cabinet authorized Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, president of the Saudi Red Crescent Authority to sign an agreement for cooperation with the Turkish Red Crescent Society.
It also decided to sign a memorandum of understanding with Hungary for educational and scientific cooperation. Higher Education Minister Khaled Al-Anqari will hold talks with his Hungarian counterpart on the MoU, the Saudi Press Agency said.
Earlier the Cabinet commended the announcement made by King Abdullah on Sunday allowing women to join the Shoura Council and take part in municipal elections as candidates and voters from their next terms.
King Abdullah briefed ministers on his talks with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and reaffirmed the Kingdom’s backing for a united, secure and stable Yemen.
The Cabinet welcomed a proposal made by the international conference on takfir (declaring opponents as infidels) in Madinah to establish a league of Muslim scholars based in Saudi Arabia while the Prince Naif International Prize for Sunnah and Islamic Studies will supervise its formation.

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