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Middle East

Saudi king vows social reforms

media King Abdullah addresses the nation from his office at the Royal Palace … Reuters/Saudi Press Agency/Handout

Saudi King Abdullah II on Friday announced a large programme of social benefits, including two months' extra salary for workers, higher unemployment payments, better health care and improved housing.

 

He set a minimum wage of 3,000 riyals (565 euros) a month for government employees and announced the government is allocating 250 billion riyals to 500,000 new housing units.

He also warned against protests.

"You are the hitting hand against whoever considers undermining the nation's security and stability," the king told security forces.

King Abdullah also announced the creation of 60,000 more military and security jobs and the establishment of an anti-corruption committee to fight graft.

Shias in Eastern Province protested Thursday in solidarity with Bahraini Shias, who have been protesting against the government for the last month. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have sent troops to Bahrain to help quell the protests.

Last month King Abdullah announced a package of social benefits worth an estimated 26 billion euros, mostly aimed at youth, civil servants and the unemployed.

 

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