Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- It was announced in Saudi Arabia yesterday that next Sunday was set as the date for a discussion in the Shura Council with Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin-Abdulaziz of matters related to his ministry’s work and specifically the efforts being made to fight terror and crush “Al-Qaeda” organization.
A source in the “Shura” told “Asharq Al-Awsat” that the reason for inviting the interior minister to the council is in response to requests by members’ seeking clarification of some information relating to the terrorist group and the ministry’s efforts in tracking them and foiling their schemes.
Saudi Arabia has been battling the “Al-Qaeda” organization locally since May 2003 following the bombings which shook three residential compounds in Riyadh where Westerners and Arabs lived.
A group of Shura members had expressed to the council’s chairmanship their desire to invite Prince Naif to the Shura session, a request that was submitted and approved by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
Prince Naif will be the first minister to be questioned at the third year of the council’s current session followed by the foreign, finance, and labor ministers in the coming months. The same source said the dates for discussions have yet to be finalized. The requests to summon Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, Labor Minister Ghazi al-Gosaibi, and Finance Minister Dr.Ibrahim al-Assaf have already been forwarded to the king. The council is expected to summon one of the three ministers before its official recess. The session with Minister al-Gosaibi is expected to be heated as several businessmen are council members and quite often voice a clear opposition to the minister’s policy of granting visas [to bring in foreign workers].
The reasons for the council’s summoning of the foreign minister are the deteriorating situation in general in the Middle East and the tension in the region which prompted the members to summon the minister to brief them on the international events in general and the latest developments in the region.
As to the Saudi finance minister, his attendance will focus entirely on the regional impact of the Saudi economy, other issues related to the common Gulf market, linkage of the riyal to the dollar, and recent developments, particularly after countries that are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council disengaged their currency from the US dollar.