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Cabinet OKs state's role in development of heritage hotels

RIYADH: The Cabinet on Monday approved in principle the entry of the government, represented by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), as a partner in the development of heritage hotels across the kingdom.
In a session chaired by Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, deputy prime minister and minister of defense, the Cabinet also approved a measure requiring the kingdom's criminal courts to apply penalties prescribed in the Unified Customs Regulation (Law) of Gulf Cooperation Council Countries in cases related to drug and alcohol smuggling.
The actions taken by the Cabinet were outlined in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), quoting Culture and Information Minister Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja.
As recommended by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, the PIF would establish a holding stock company to invest in the development of state-owned heritage hotels in accordance with the following guidelines:
• The percentage of the state's contribution shall be decided after determining the contribution rates by others,
• After its founding, the company shall prepare feasibility studies for each heritage project separately.
• Participation of local investors shall be taken into account in every project that proves its usefulness.
• Development of heritage hotels shall aim to encourage domestic tourism and attract citizens to visit these sites.
On the Ministry of Finance's report regarding cases of drug and alcohol trafficking in which final judicial sentences are issues by Sharia courts, the Cabinet also approved a measure mandating the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution to take charge of filing cases before the criminal courts, taking into account what is stated in the Unified Customs Regulation (Law) and its by-laws as part of the public criminal case.
Khoja said a royal decree has been prepared in this regard.

Other actions taken
Also during the session, the Cabinet reviewed a number of reports on the course of events and developments at Arab, regional and international arenas, namely:
• Hailed the valuable implications included in the speech of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah before the 12th Islamic Summit session in Cairo.
• Praised the efforts made by Egypt in hosting the summit, and the summit's final communiqué, which covered various issues of concern to the Muslim world in all their political, economic and humanitarian dimensions, expressing hope of Saudi Arabia that the summit's results will help achieve the aspirations of the Islamic nation and improve joint Islamic action.
• Cited the work of the Third Ministerial Meeting on Security Council Reform, which was held in Italy under the title "New Approaches to Reforming the Security Council" and stressed in this regard the importance of the road map for reforms of the Security Council presented by the Kingdom to the conference and which relies on six bases of the principle of transparency and clear vision required for addressing the issue of reform of the Security Council and the United Nations.
• Approved the MOU on bilateral political consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia and of Austria, signed in Vienna on Oct. 12, 2011.
• Approved the MOU between King Abdulaziz Public Library and China's University of Beijing on the establishment of a branch of the library at the university, which was signed in Riyadh on Feb. 10, 2009.
• Approved the agreement between King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and the National Space Agency of Kazakhstan for cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, signed in Riyadh Nov. 19, 2011.
The Cabinet approved appointments and transfer as follows:
• Appointment of Saad bin Muqbil as assistant undersecretary at Principality of Makkah region (rank 14th).
• Appointment of Mohammed bin Abdullah as planning Adviser at the Ministry of Economy and Planning (rank 14th).
• Appointment of Abdulaziz bin Mohammed bin Omar as director general of the branch of General Presidency for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Commission (rank 14th).
• Transfer of Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Hamad Al-Jarba from his post as assistant undersecretary of President General to the post of legal adviser at General Presidency for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Commission (at the same rank 14th).
5 - Appointment of Sami bin Saleh bin Mohammed Al-Turayif as assistant undersecretary of president general at General Presidency for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Commission (rank 14th).

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