Cabinet reshuffle in Bahrain



The decree also ordered the establishment of an Electricity and Water Authority affiliated with the cabinet, and tasked Public Works Minister Fahmi Al-Jodar with its management until a minister is appointed.

Furthermore, Sheikh Abdullah bin Salman Al-Khalifa was appointed Director of the King’s Military Office with a post equivalent to that of minister.

A cabinet reshuffle had taken place in September, whereby new health and information ministers were appointed.



Israel settlement move against Annapolis: Saud
Arab News: Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said that a conference of donor states will be held in Paris  this week to  raise funds for the Palestinians and help them develop their infrastructure and other facilities.

During a press conference held at the Foreign Ministry yesterday, Prince Saud blasted the Israeli government’s decision to expand settlements in East Jerusalem soon after the Annapolis Peace Conference on Nov. 27. He said it was contrary to the principles of the peace conference, which called for addressing the key issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including Israeli settlements on the occupied territories.

“On our part, we stressed the importance of standing firmly against these colonial practices that would empty the peace process of its content, and undermine dedicated international efforts to launch serious negotiations between the concerned parties on … clear basis and within a comprehensive framework,” Prince Saud said, adding that the Kingdom took part in the peace conference only after being assured that such settlements on occupied territory would stop.

Referring to the upcoming donors’ conference, the foreign minister stressed the Kingdom’s position that the aid should be extended to all Palestinian territories without exception. Furthermore, Israel should help overcome all obstacles that stand in the way of the Palestinian people, alleviate their sufferings, and “most importantly, lift all blockades imposed by Israel and (help secure the) release of all Palestinian financial entitlements with Israel.”

The Kingdom said “normalization” of ties with Israel would only come with a final peace settlement that includes the return of all occupied Arab land. The foreign minister called on the Palestinian government led by the Fatah faction and Islamist opposition group Hamas to set aside their differences.

On the situation in Lebanon, the prince said the Kingdom appeals to all parties to reach a negotiated settlement concerning the election of the president on the basis of their national interest taking precedence over other interests for the sake of Lebanon’s security, unity and stability.

Prince Saud also referred to the US intelligence report (which said Iran had ceased its nuclear program since 2003) and the international reaction to it. “We reaffirm our position calling for the importance of continued diplomatic negotiations between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and with the permanent members of the Security Council and Germany,” he said. “This is necessary to address this issue peacefully so that the region is free of nuclear weapons, and the right of countries in the region to possess nuclear energy for peaceful purposes would be ensured in accordance with the standards of the IAEA, together with the application of these standards to all countries of the region, including Israel.”

Turning to the situation in Iraq, the foreign minister said the Kingdom hopes that the Iraqi government would move ahead with the goal of national reconciliation, which is fundamental for social justice among Iraqis, irrespective of their beliefs, ethnicities and political affiliations. They should be entitled to equal participation in their rights, duties and participation in wealth within the framework of maintaining Iraq’s Arab and Islamic identity.

Prince Saud expressed the Kingdom’s satisfaction with the outcome of the 28th GCC summit held in Doha and said it would help promote cooperation in all fields, including the launch of the GCC Common Market in early 2008.

Prince Saud, responding to question about whether Gulf Arab finance ministers would meet to discuss revaluation, said Saudi Arabia will not revalue its currency. Gulf finance ministers meet regularly to discuss “all aspects” of interest, but “there was no decision” to revalue their dollar-pegged currencies, Prince Saud said.

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