KSA calls for end to violence in Lebanon

fp01_bigCustodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah addresses the Council of Ministers’ session in Jeddah on Monday. – SPA

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH – The Council of Ministers Monday voiced deep concern over the worsening situation in southern Lebanon and the incidents taking place in the city of Sidon.

The Cabinet, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, called on all parties concerned to halt clashes and not to escalate the situation so as to safeguard the security and stability of Lebanon.

Lebanese soldiers stormed a complex in Sidon on Monday and arrested dozens of gunmen, Lebanese security sources said, in a second day of clashes fueled by neighboring Syria’s civil war.

The army said 16 soldiers had been killed in the southern Mediterranean port city, while security sources gave a higher army death toll of 18 and said 20 gunmen were killed.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) after the session, Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz Khoja said that the Cabinet also took note of the events in Syria where bloodshed, destruction and systematic displacement of people continue unabated.

The Cabinet hoped that the ongoing efforts at the international arena would help end the crisis, and in this context, it specially noted the statement issued at the end of the recent G8 Summit held in Northern Ireland.

Dr. Khoja said the Cabinet highlighted the outcome of the “Friends of Syria” Ministerial Meeting, which concluded in Doha on Saturday, especially the joint statement, which was issued in light of the intervention of foreign elements in Syria and their participation in the killing of Syrians.

“This undermines security and safety of Syrians and threatens the unity of Syria and scuttle efforts to end the crisis.”

Referring to the Palestine issue, the Cabinet warned against the continued attacks and transgressions perpetrated by the Israeli authorities, especially in the occupied Jerusalem city. “All violations, including seizure of land, construction of settlements, excavations at the holy sites, their desecration, and attempts to Judaize the holy city and displace its people and fabricate its history are null and void under the international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions,” the Cabinet noted while urging the international community to shoulder its responsibility to stop such attacks and racist practices against the Palestinian people and the holy sites.

At the outset of the session, Dr. Khoja said, the Cabinet thanked King Abdullah for issuing the Royal order to switch the official weekend to Friday-Saturday. The Cabinet appreciated the King’s vision to serve the Kingdom’s general interests through this directive.

“The order will serve the obvious interests of the Kingdom besides bringing in significant economic benefits. This shows the Kingdom’s economic position and its international and regional commitments as well as its orientation toward the optimum utilization of this status for its interests as well as for the welfare of its citizens.”

The Cabinet noted that the King’s order is also significant in achieving greater homogeneity on workweek between government departments and national institutions with their counterparts at the regional and international levels.

Dr. Khoja said the Cabinet approved the basic law for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) center for the management of emergency situations.

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