The General Council Chair, Ambassador Amina Mohamed of Kenya, congratulated Members for approving the accession of Saudi Arabia. Ambassador Mohamed stated that it is a great honour for me to witness the constructive spirit in which these negotiations have been completed. Members have taken not only a major step towards better international economic cooperation but they have also allowed the World Trade Organization to become more universal.Mr. Lamy informed that the conclusion of those negotiations was also welcomed by Director-General Pascal Lamy. The decision is a historic event for the WTO. Saudi Arabia is on its way to becoming the WTO 149th Member, paving the way for a stronger multilateral trading system. He looks forward with great optimism to the Kingdom’s participation in the Hong Kong Ministerial meeting.Saudi Arabia has been negotiating its membership since July 1993. It has completed its package of documents presenting the Kingdom’s terms of accession at the Working Party meeting on 28 October 2005. The legal texts, which run to some 600 pages, were formally accepted by the 148 Member Governments of the WTO at today’s special session of the General Council. Dr. Hashim A. Yamani, Minister of Industry and Commerce, signed the Protocol of Accession with full powers, thus acceptingthe Protocol on behalf of the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia will become the 149th Member of the WTO thirty days later, on 11 December 2005.