P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Tue, 2005-10-18 03:00

JEDDAH, 18 October 2005 — The newly upgraded National Security Council (NSC), which will be chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, will set out and implement the Kingdom’s domestic and foreign policies.

“The council will focus on social, political, economic, military, security, media and international affairs in order to guarantee the country’s comprehensive national security,” informed sources said.

Crown Prince Sultan is the deputy chairman of the council while Prince Bandar ibn Sultan is its secretary-general. NSC’s members include the ministers of interior, foreign, health and education.

The NSC, which is one of the country’s top decision-making bodies, also includes representatives from the Defense Ministry, the National Guard and general intelligence department as well as ministries in charge of services and infrastructure.

The sources also pointed out that the Strategic Studies Center (SSC) would be merged with the NSC. Prince Mamdouh, SSC’s director general, has been relieved of his duties upon his request.

The NSC works out plans for the protection of the country’s political, economic, military, security, scientific and media interests.

The National Security Council was first established during the reign of King Faisal and was under the supervision of the interior minister. The NSC has been vested with major powers including the right to declare war.

By upgrading the NSC and bringing it under his direct supervision, King Abdullah wants to strengthen the council in order to enable it to play a more effective role in preserving national security. He issued a royal decree on Sunday approving the council’s rules and regulations.

The appointment of Prince Bandar ibn Sultan, who had been the Kingdom’s ambassador to the United States for 22 years, as NSC’s secretary-general reflects the government’s resolve to activate the council.

Saad Nasser Al-Sudairy, who was previously in charge of the NSC, has been appointed adviser to the interior minister. Sudairy said the NSC had worked for achieving food and economic security. “We have carried out a number of important research works,” he added.

Sudairy has been in charge of the NSC ever since he left the post of undersecretary at the Madinah governorate. The NSC has played a big role in drafting the Kingdom’s anti-terrorism strategy, he said.

The Kingdom launched a massive campaign against Al-Qaeda-led terrorism which threatened its national security. Security forces have killed a number of Al-Qaeda leaders in the country in encounters and arrested more than 500 militants suspected of involvement in terrorist activities.

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