An agreement signed by Saudi Arabia and France two years ago on the peaceful use of nuclear energy in the kingdom has gotten the nod of the Saudi Council of Ministers.
Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said the endorsement was among the actions taken by the Cabinet during its meeting on Monday in Riyadh.
Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, who chaired the meeting, welcomed Prince Muqrin, second deputy premier and the king’s adviser and special envoy and wished him success. The Cabinet congratulated Prince Muqrin for winning the trust of the Saudi leadership.
The Cabinet also:
• expressed its satisfaction over the success of an international conference of donors to support Syria under the leadership of Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait.
• welcomed the invitation by King Hamad of Bahrain for a national dialogue with the participation of all groups of Bahraini society, expressing hope that the dialogue would contribute to ensuring and strengthening national unity and maintaining the country’s sovereignty and gains for the benefit and welfare of all its citizens.
• welcomed the report issued by the international committee formed by the World Council for Human Rights on Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories and considered it a legal document clearly condemning the Israeli occupation and documenting its inhumane practices.
• approved an agreement with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan in the field of water management and sanitation, which was signed in Riyadh on Sept. 18, 2011.
• approved another agreement with the Islamic Development Bank to cooperate in social and humanitarian fields, signed in Jeddah on May 21, 2011. It also decided to raise the level of the presidency of the Saudi side in the Saudi-Malaysian Joint Committee to the level of a minister headed by the Minister of Economy and Planning.
• appointed Dr. Mufleh bin Dughaiman Al-Rashidi minister plenipotentiary at the Foreign Ministry; Fahd bin Faleh Al-Omani director general of Information Technology at the Ministry of Agriculture; Ahmed bin Ali Al-Matroudi administrative advisor at Control and Investigation Board; Saeed bin Ghurmullah Al-Ghamdi administrative advisor at Control and Investigation Board; and Saeed bin Saad Al-Shahrani legal adviser at General Auditing Bureau.
After reviewing what has been submitted by the Minister of Commerce and Industry and the Chairman of Real Estate Contributions Committee regarding his request to the amendment of Cabinet’s Decision No. (130) dated on 07/05/1429 AH on special regulations relating to offering real estate contributions, the Cabinet approved the insertion of the phrase ‘two experienced and competent officials chosen by the Minister of Commerce and Industry" in place of the phrase, "as well as the Secretary General of the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants and the Secretary General of the Saudi Council of Engineers."
17 gigawatts of energy eyed
The Cabinet endorsement of the nuclear energy pact between Saudi Arabia and France followed discussions between Saudi officials with French Minister of Industry Arnaud Montebourg last month in Riyadh.
Montebourg met with Saudi officials and representatives of the French utility EDF EDF and Areva, who opened a joint office in Riyadh six months ago to lay the groundwork for a French nuclear offer.
In 2011, France signed an agreement to offer atomic know-how and training for local staff in the kingdom as Saudi Arabia seeks to meet growing demand for electricity.
According to the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy's (KA-CARE) website, the kingdom is considering building 17 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2032.
The agreement allows the two countries to cooperate in the fields of production, use and transfer of knowledge of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
“Saudi Arabia will only deploy the most advanced and thoroughly tested technologies, paying maximum attention to safety, security and safeguards of the highest international standards,” KA-CARE said.