Saudi Cabinet lauds king’s orders on easing citizens’ living conditions

King Salman presides over a cabinet meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS)
Updated 10 January 2018

Saudi Cabinet lauds king’s orders on easing citizens’ living conditions

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet has expressed its appreciation of King Salman’s royal decrees on the payment of annual bonuses and cost of living allowances for civilians and military employees in the Kingdom.
Chaired by King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh Tuesday, the Cabinet also praised the king’s orders on the payment of financial rewards to military personnel serving at the Kingdom’s southern frontline, and cost of living allowances for retired employees and social security beneficiaries, as well as the increase of stipend payments for students.
The Cabinet also appreciated the king’s orders on the government’s bearing the value-added tax (VAT) of citizens benefiting from private health and education services and the payment of VAT in the purchasing price of a citizen’s first house, as long as it does not exceed SR850,000 ($226,636).
The Cabinet stressed that the king’s orders came from his keen desire to care for the country’s citizens and provide continued support to them toward a decent life, and to ensure a distinct living standard for all segments of society.
King Salman also briefed the Cabinet on the phone call made to Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; his talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammed Najib Abdul Razzaq and President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus, during which agreements of cooperation were signed; and the results of his meeting with the Speaker of House of Representatives of Arab Republic of Egypt Dr. Abdel-Aal.
At the regional level, the Cabinet welcomed the statement issued by Arab foreign ministers at their meeting in Jordan on the consequences of a US decision to recognize Al-Quds as a capital of Israel, which stressed that Al-Quds will remain a central issue for the Arabs and key to peace in the region. It also supported the reference in the statement that no peace or stability will be achieved unless an independent Palestinian state is established with its capital in East Quds.
The Cabinet further expressed the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of a terrorist attack on a mosque in Nigeria and renewed the Kingdom’s rejection of such terrorist acts.
Later, the Cabinet approved a series of memos of understanding on cooperation in the areas of Islamic affairs, minerals and energy, education and science, telecoms and information technology between the Kingdom and Djibouti, China, Sweden and Russia, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet ordered the activation of anti-begging offices at the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and continuation of the security forces at the two holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah to fully undertake their responsibility in fighting begging at the Two Holy Mosques.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.