Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the new Minister of Commerce and Industries, honored on Tuesday outgoing Minister Abdullah Zainal Alireza at The Ritz-Carlton here at a function attended by former ministers, head of Saudi chambers and businessmen. Alireza received a number of plaques and souvenirs from various heads of the Saudi chambers of commerce and industry for his outstanding achievements during his tenure. As one of the most successful private sector leaders in the Arab world, Alireza headed the team that successfully negotiated with the World Trade Organization for the Kingdom’s accession to the WTO that became a reality when the Kingdom became a full WTO member on Dec. 11, 2005. The outgoing minister thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for the opportunity given to him to serve his country. “I am pleased to express my thanks and gratitude to the father of all for giving me the opportunity to serve my religion, my king and my country,” Alireza said, adding that his service will always be at the disposal of the Kingdom. He also expressed his gratitude to the Crown Prince and Minister of Interior Prince Naif for his participation and support to the ministry on many occasions, including the problems of dishonored checks and price fluctuations in the market. He also thanked Prince Salman, minister of defense, and members of the commerce and industry for their support. Outlining his achievements, the new Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said Alireza was in the forefront of the Commerce Ministry’s drive in the implementation of e-commerce and e-governance initiatives. “The honoree’s achievements can not be told in this very limited time, but he has done many things for the ministry,” Tawfiq said, adding that this is the time to honor the man who has done remarkable achievements for his country.” On his part, Saleh Kamel, the founder and board chairman of the Dallah Al-Barakha Group (DBG), described the achievements of Alireza as unforgettable and the act of honoring of an outgoing minister by an incoming minister as a commendable act. “I hope this noble act will be taken into consideration by others because it shows the spirit of cooperation and respect.” He said one of Alireza’s unforgettable achievements was the election for the president and two vice presidents for the Saudi chambers of commerce and expressing his views in the Saudi chambers for the first time which, he said, had been non-existent during the past 30 years — a disorganized period in the chambers, as he called it. He hoped that the new minister will remain true to the meaning of his good name “Tawfiq” or success. He should also prove by word and by deed the meaning of his middle name “Fouzan” (winning) by emerging successful in the battle against unemployment. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah appointed on Dec. 13 Tawfiq Al-Rabiah as the new commerce and industries minister in place of Abdullah Zainal Alireza in a cabinet reshuffle involving commerce and other ministries. New Haj Minister Bandar Al-Hajjar replaced Fouad Al-Farsy, while Muhammad Al-Jasser replaced Khaled Al-Gosaiby as minister of economy and planning. Abdul Rahman Al-Barrak was appointed minister of civil service in place of Muhammad Al-Faiz. Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Mubarak became the new governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, while Khaled Al-Sabti was inducted as the new deputy minister of education.