1st Term 2nd Year, 1415 - 1416 A.H.
The speech of the King of Saudi Arabia 1415-1416 A.H.
Today, we meet dear brothers at the beginning of the National Shura Council meetings in its first term of the second year. The bond between our government and citizens has always been based on love, trust and consultation, without limits or barriers. Our open doors and open councils were still a real daily feature of consultation and the exchange of opinions, which the basic law of ruling stresses on.
Your Council, along with provinces councils, constitute additional links of contact and participation to convey opinions and consultations, and to allow citizens to express their opinions in an organized way and to assume all that fulfils public interest and serves the country.
Last year we formed your council together with the provinces councils and other laws. These laws did not come out of the blue. They proved to be the outcome of our realistic and practical experiences since the foundation of this country. We did not use the laws of others; laws in fact should be assessed in terms of their achievements, not in terms of their differences from other laws. Our laws arise from the basis of our Islamic creed. Everything that contradicts or opposes it is rejected. Here we want to stress our intention to support its march, fortify its goals and to get utmost benefit of its purposes in accordance with its law. The Council still has great missions to fulfill, being praised by everybody inside and abroad for its law and good choice of its members. Dear brothers:
Your state which was established more than 250 years ago, and unified 60 years ago in this kingdom, is based on following the Islamic creed. Out of duty, your government works to utilizing the wealth of this country via developing all aspects of life which concern the citizen, and to providing him with prosperous life in education, agriculture, industry, services, construction, transportation, communications, and all fields of development.
Relying on the concern of the state to provide comfort for the citizens and ensuring their benefits and welfare, development offices were established in the fields of industry, agriculture, real estate, and investment and granted citizens with long term interest-free loans.
Moreover, the government worked on ensuring security for citizens, residents and visitors of the Two Holy Mosques, and on applying the due penalties of Islam that provide people by ease and stability.
In order to preserve this security and achieved accomplishments, the government has been developing its armed forces in all sectors and responsibilities, supplying them with the needs of defending the country against any assault in a world that respect s only the strong, depending on Allah Almighty, and on our citizens to defend our faith and gains of our country.
In the past decade, the world suffered from unsteady economic circumstances, which influenced countries worldwide, along with this country. This was more complicated by the costs of war that took place in the region. A lot has been paid to resist the attack, eliminate its effects and protect the country.
On this occasion, and on behalf of Saudi Arabia government and people, I would like to thank all brotherly Arabic and Islamic countries, as well as friend countries for their military, political, spiritual assistance along with Saudi Arabia to confront the brutal Iraqi occupation of Kuwait.
These unstable economic circumstances were accompanied by the drop in oil prices, which resulted in duplicated effects on the economy of Saudi Arabia. Despite all that, the Saudi economy could recover according to the observation of many international experts in economy. The government is working hard to advance and develop the Saudi economy. To achieve that, the government adopted in the current fiscal year a balance that is based on less expenditure in sectors that are less important for citizens. The government also intends to privatize some productive projects and services so that the citizen could collaborate in updating production facilities in this country, and to encourage private sector, expanding its range, support its base and find out new sources for income.
In order to abide by Islamic society morals, social care institutions would continue to provide services to people who deserve them. Industrial, agricultural and real estate banks would continue also offering services to citizens.
Due to the importance of ensuring food supply, the government had encouraged agriculture, and supported farmers till a firm and modern agricultural base was established. The government established many projects in education, health, desalination, communication, highways including bridges and tunnels. The government would not only develop already available life aspects, rather it would fulfill all needs of citizens in all aspects of life. This country is doing its best to facilitate religious affairs for citizens. Therefore, it established the Ministry of Islamic affairs, Endowments, Dawa’a and guidance, a specialized ministry that is concerned with such matters, along with already established institutions like administration of scientific research and Iftaa, General Presidency of the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, and universities specialized in legitimate studies.
It did not ignore the importance of Islamic call; the country has undertaken the mission of promoting it. Thus the higher council for Islamic affairs and council of Dawa’a and guidance were established to contribute together in organizing and promoting such affairs, and to facilitate the mission of callers and building of mosques.
Our country enjoys the blessing of hosting the two holy mosques, which Allah granted us the honor of serving them, and accommodating their visitors. Recently, the biggest expansion of the holy mosque in Mecca and that in Median is over, Thanks be to Allah. Moreover many projects concerned with holy rituals were executed. By the will of Allah, we will be working on improving and developing performance of holy rituals to facilitate pilgrimages for the visitors of the House of Allah.
The sixth five-year plan, which starts this year, is the successor of five plans that concentrated on building, construction, and establishing the basic structure in all fields. Current plan focuses on economical balance, procuring variety of income sources, and concentrating on vocational education to fulfill the lack of local qualifications. Administrative reform would accompany all that to facilitate measurements for citizens.
In foreign policy, our country adopted the principal of non-interference in other’s affairs, or attacking them, since it was established by King AbdulAziz,. It would continue working with this policy on one hand. On the other hand, it would support every effort for the sake of unifying Islamic countries and bringing them together. KSA also made efforts to contact all world countries, to assist Palestinian people, to advocate people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and support them to gain their legitimate rights.
Out of Islamic duty, KSA has started offering financial and material aids to Moslems undergoing catastrophes, war or obligatory immigration.
Regionally speaking, we seek with brothers in cooperation council of Gulf States, to boost the course of the Council with purpose of achieving security, stability and welfare for its people, and backing the unity and strength of Islamic nation, as we always want.
Due to the fixed policy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is involved with supporting Arab league, and fortifying its position and efficiency so that it would be always able to serve the Arab Nation. Concerning issues of Islamic nation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always been exerting efforts to attain and firmly establish Islamic solidarity. It was specifically interested with issues of Islamic minorities around the world.
In this regard, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continued its support of Islamic conference organization being the one that takes care of Islamic goals and benefits that serve the Islamic Nation issues and succeeds them.
Out of our belief in the importance of peace in attaining security, stability and economical growth, and arising from the fixed policy of the kingdom in rejecting wars to solve troubles due to the catastrophes and disasters that result from them, we support peace process in Middle East, since it aims to achieve comprehensive and fair peace that is acceptable to concerned Arab parties. Stemming from this policy, the kingdom backs all peace efforts that aim to stop killing, let stability prevail and withstand injustice worldwide.
During last years, we were confronted with successive hardships, and big challenges. However, we could oversome them all. We trust Saudi citizens a lot, and have great hopes in them in building up the country via serious work, feeling national responsibility, accuracy and regulation, known about our people. We will go on building up our modern nation that sticks to the values and teachings of Islam. I wish success to everybody in fulfilling their jobs.
End of Speech
Then, the King of Saudi Arabia delivered the following word:
It is my pleasure to meet you dear brothers every year in the inaugurating day of the council session.
Our meeting today would be a fortune for the Council to attain all that has the benefit of the country and goes in hand with Islamic faith. No doubt that the Cabinet, along with me myself want to help members of Shura Council in all important matters for this country, which are creditable and unambiguous. Sometimes important events take place, and Shura council examines them. It is of great benefit for us that it totally considers great and significant transactions submitted to it, and that it provides us with absolute view about them, which is the desire of believers.
This country and its people find it impossible to approach or accept what contradicts with Islamic faith in heart and soul. This has been its principle for 100 years. Yes we hear and see, yet we never interfere in others’ affairs. It is sufficient for us to have this country stable and safe for its people and wealth. I don’t claim that I would fulfill all of my duties completely, yet I might be able to perform what should be done, albeit limitedly. Many countries wish to have the same status of KSA in many respects.
The country was unwillingly involved into troubles as result of Iraq conduct. I think you know completely about it and no need to tell more. Saudi Arabia received the military help of other countries as they offered their sons and military possibilities. Thus we should only serve and accommodate them. We had to choose to ask for the help of someone able to support us, whose power is quite known for us. It was totally difficult to convince these countries of Saudi Arabia point of view. Yet at end they were convinced and were able to realize the big mistake committed by an Arabian country against Kuwait.
We love our brothers in Kuwait and in Gulf States as well, and we would never fall short of our duties towards them. These duties are result of past events and they cost a lot.
As it is the duty of the Arabic nations to help any injured Arabian country as much as possible, the most important help a country would offer is via men and money. This we did, and we had our losses whether human or financial.
I am hopeful that we well serve the Muslim pilgrims, as well as those who seek deep learning of Islamic belief in our universities and colleges. Our recent losses are estimated of thousands millions. We are trying to settle them. There was a rise in the prices and it is the duty of the country and citizens to bear with what had happened as it was out of our will. Our country paid the price for the sake of advocating Islamic belief and resisting the enemy. It is really against our will that our country has been burdened with debts. Yet war is a necessary evil. We had to spend thousands millions of all currencies to purchase basic military supplies necessary for every country. Foreign troops came here; this was objected to by many people. Again I reiterate: it is a necessity.
We are relieved that the battle was. We received help from every foreign man, whether Arabian, African, Asian, American, Britain, or European through knowledge, arms, troops. Some of these men were killed, others were not. We fulfilled our duty completely for their services.
They provided us with their souls. I think it is reasonable and rational that we provide them with services that might help them. We could only do that under those circumstances. What matters is that they fulfilled their duty as they are stronger than us. It is their arms that provide them with strength.
We fulfilled our duty towards them via services we offered them before they went back home.
So it is a divine power that Allah put in the service of Saudi Arabia to save Kuwait along with our forces. No need to elaborate about what happened in Kuwait and its people and money on the hands of someone that claims Arabism, and friendliness with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. We provided him with many helps, not because we love “Saddam”, yet to keep our country safe.
Our country and Kuwait offered great help and capacities to Iraq, but it responded by killing, destroying and violating, which was an unprecedented event in history. Yet what matters is that our duties were completely fulfilled.
Before I come to an end with this short statement, I want to absolutely thank our virtuous scholars for their efforts whether in universities, mosques, or even in talking in public. Thanks to them, as well as to the citizens who defended this country by good words.
Some of you might talk about the increase of prices of consumptive items; the country believes that it could only recover via these increases. Maybe some would interpret them as an obstacle of agricultural, constructional, or industrial production. Unless we do that, we would be obliged one day to comply with international or local banks, or to ask for the help of internal or external money to fill our needs.
I wish that you compare between increases in the balance of our government with them in similar countries whose finance is better than us. I myself asked persons in charge to hold a comparison in the fields of oil, diesel, water, electricity, and all other vital needs, this helps us realize that the increases here are merely relative.
We had to choose either solution: to overload ourselves with payable loans or to seek the help of citizens for a while till matters are restored to their original condition. I ordered people of specialization to gradually and slightly raise the prices of these products that Shura council and the Cabinet decided to increase, where a lot of little money makes much.
The country is indebted to private sector and to foreign countries. These debts should be paid. At the same time, we have to completely adhere to already initiated projects in the country. Our goal is that development goes on rather than revenues are gained for the country. What we did was the only available solution and it was not done without integrated and careful study. So, the only way out of this is to seek the patience of citizens just for a little period of time,.
I asked people of specialization to compare increased services prices in our country with them in neighbor prestigious countries that we respect. If you compare costs of oil, diesel, water, and electricity in this country with them in those countries that are financially comfortable, you would know whether we are right or mistaken.
People would completely know why the country was led this way. It is the easiest and best way. Raising the prices is better than being indebted. After a long term of consultation with many citizens in Saudi Arabia and with Shura Council, such a solution was concluded to be the best.
Our country was the first one to lower the prices of water, electricity and many other things before any other Arabic country did. We will keep on this way till we are restored into our original conditions. I think citizens have to observe this comparison of price increases that were done after consulting Shura Council and specialists in finance. Is it better for us to fulfill our needs by ourselves, or to take loans that entitle paying interests and long term debts?
Absolutely this is not what we desire. Nor does the Cabinet wish for such an increase or profits for anybody. It is not our wish to be harmful for anybody.
Sometimes man offers the most valuable things he has. He might offer his soul to defend Islam, or to fight against corruption, occupation, or against insulting one’s country.
Our people need to be patient. A real comparison would be done to show the differences in prices along with the increases, which are considered to be excessive in some items. We were convinced that this is the best solution. Offering one’s soul is greater than paying some more pennies. Anyway, I commanded to compare retail prices of items sold to citizens and farmers, with them in financially comfortable Arabic countries and to compare increases in the balance of Saudi Arabia for this year.
You would see that the difference is very little if not equivalent.
I am stating that for every citizen who should know about the increase, and that it was for two reasons:
For the benefit of citizens
To decrease the debts of the country, which were about 40 thousand millions. Now I think they are down to 15 thousand millions.
Creditors are not patients, nor do they accept excuses. They usually ask for their money after a little while.
Dear brothers: we will hold real comparison between differences and increases that are reported to be excessive in some matters in this country. Increases are viewed to be the best solution. I commanded to hold a real comparison with significant countries in terms of goods prices sold to their citizens and farmers, and market prices, and in terms of the increase in the balance of Saudi Arabia. The difference would be turn to be little, if available.
I confirm again that this increase is temporary till matters are balanced again.
I said that we are able to ask for loans from international banks. Yet banks give you some money and take by usury, not to mention the taxes that increases if the due amount is not paid annually.
Since the government and citizens are able to bear that patiently and thoroughly, I think it is better not to fall into external debts. All banks, governments, or foundation accepted to lend Saudi Arabia any amount of money even if it was thousand millions. Yet we know exactly the result of these loans. Bigger amounts to be paid back; at the same time, citizens would be overburdened.
I want you to be patient. You know that your country equals a continent. We need more hospitals, more roads; we need to improve all fields in the country. Thus we found ourselves obliged to choose this solution. It is better to let citizens bear a little in a convenient and easeful way than to borrow from international banks and hear foreign TVs and radios talking about big amounts lent to Saudi Arabia. We don’t know what would they think or how would they interpret it. Our country is considered to be wealthy. It fulfilled many duties such as building roads, hospitals and factories. Now we have thousands factories which many of you visited and saw their production. We wish that this industrial rise to be continued.
I mentioned before that some governmental foundations would be partially privatized. The government would have some shares of them. This proved to be the best way as citizens’ participation in significant foundations is proved to be better for them.
Matters are stable now. It doesn’t matter if some of you complain over the prices of water, oil or diesel are increased. Instead I urge them to convince themselves that it is a mistake to charge citizens with the responsibility of helping the government. This solution is, I reiterate, better than to borrow form foreigners.
Despite all inconveniences, the government spent thousands millions on projects, whether in agriculture, or local and cheaper manufacture of usually imported items.
The Saudi citizens are not only asked to assist their country by money, but also by souls. They offer their souls and fight for the sake of their religion.
My greeting and regards are to my brothers in this meeting. And I thank citizens who gathered now, headed by Sheikh AbdulAziz bin Baz, and virtuous academics that were really of great skill in demonstrating all critical matters in the country for Moslems. Moslems all round the world benefited from them. My great thanks are for them. It was their duty anyway.
All of us know that the country was worthless ten years ago. Why? We had no possibilities. When possibilities were available, we could achieve useful and positive development. I don’t claim that, by doing se, we exceeded the world yet we have in fact achieved many developments in industry, and agriculture.
At the end, I wish you success and health. I wish success for academics headed by Sheikh AbdulAziz bin Baz for efforts he exerted and for hardships he endures along with heads of courts, higher councils, and higher council of judiciary. I wish success for every fruitful meeting. We are humans. We tend to commit mistakes. Yet it is better for he who is responsible of a country to listen, to lend ears to advice and recommendations.
Thank you again.
The statement of his highness, head of National Shura Council, Sheikh Mohammad bin Ibrahim Jubair:
Your Majesty, King Fahad bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud,
Royal highness of second deputy of prime minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and state attorney,
Your royal highness of princes,
Your Eminence scholars ,
Your highness ministers,
Dear colleagues at Shura Council
Last year, your Majesty, King Fahad inaugurated the session of Shura Council in its new structure under your reign. Your majesty delivered a statement addressing the nation, which turned to be as guidance for the council.
Today, your majesty, renew inaugurating the first session of the council in its second year where it goes on in its course, to fulfill its tasks and duties.
The first year was marked by working on many organizational and procedural matters, ratifying the organizational framework and financial, administrational and technical rules, and setting the basics and principles for the mechanism of the Council, and its general presidency and eight specialized committees.
The council was also interested in filling its vacancies, and choosing consultants and researchers. It also fulfilled many invitations of similar councils. It held thirty sessions in its first year.
The Council used to hold sessions once in fortnight, which is the minimum limit according to its rules of procedures. Two months ago, the Council started holding a two-day session every. The eight specialized committees have been holding regular weekly sessions since they were established a year ago. The number of these sessions is more than two hundred and sixty.
Regarding executing its basic tasks, the Council, up till now, have considered more than forty five regulations, draft laws, agreements, and cases submitted to it according to your command. Suitable resolutions regarding them were taken and submitted to your majesty.
Your Majesty, King Fahad ,
This council, which you developed its new framework, continues its course so purposefully. No doubt that the Council could only establish or institute most methods, frameworks, and regulatory and administrative procedures, and start fulfilling its responsibilities by the favor of abundant continuous support. Your technical, administrative, and financial support for all bodies of the government and their desire of fruitful and constructive cooperation with the Council to achieve its responsibilities come in the second rank.
At the end, I feel that I have to submit thanks to you for right directions, financial and ethical custody, and for conquering all difficulties.
I have to praise the cooperation of the highness of vice president of the Council as well as all of its members, general secretary and pro-executive bodies for all their faithfulness in optimal fulfilling of duties.
End of Speech