2nd Term 3rd Year, 1420 - 1421 A.H.
Royal speech of the King of Saudi Arabia :
It is our pleasure to inaugurate the sessions of third year of the Shura National Council in its second term. We hope that we are –together- lead to the right path to continue the course of the Council in the way that serves and benefits this country and its people.
I am glad that the Shura National Council has occupied an appropriate position among other national institutions that are concerned with development in the country and that it has won more appreciation in objective political and media circles all round the world.
This council has attained good and effective achievements over the past six years. These achievements were shown in regulations, draft laws and agreements that the Council considered and in loyal consultation that has taken many decisions for the welfare of our country.
The amendment of the third article of the council’s law that took place in the second term had an evident benefit in its increase of the number of the Council members to 90. This procedure aims at expanding development responsibilities in the country as it addresses its need for experiences and various specializations among members.
Consultation in our country proved to be effective. It was attributed by justice, honesty and loyalty and it aims to attain goodness for the nation. Besides being part of our Islamic law, it has achieved all we sought for our country. Therefore, we are proud of what our country realized in the course of consultation and we are proud of its flawless application.
We are also proud that our country was among the first countries to implement all aspects of Islamic consultation, which led other countries to learn from our experience in this respect. Thus I reiterate here the appreciation of the state of actual and concrete accomplishments that are being done in your Council
Our country enters, this year, a new century since established by King Abdul Aziz one hundred years ago. Meeting today, we must remember his efforts in uniting, building and achieving stability for this country.
As you know, the internal affairs of our country are of great significance. Internal matters in our countries have 2 grounds:
First: the citizen whose benefit is the priority in all measurements or actions the country undertakes.
Secondly: the resources and economy of the country. These resources help the state to fulfill its commitments and to achieve its ambitions towards its people.
You must be aware of the recent challenges in the face of global economy, not to mention the difficulties it has been subjected to. Oil prices in specific underwent heavy disruption which influenced profits. This was not the case only in our country; it rather existed in all oil countries.
In this regard, the Kingdom worked hard, whether inside or outside OPEC, to restore balance to oil prices within its known strategy. We always stressed the concern of the kingdom in cooperation with other parties to do our best to eliminate the causes of disruption in oil prices and to bring balance back to them in a way that achieve the benefit of both producers and consumers. Efforts by the Kingdom were so influential in achieving the desired effects in oil prices.
Economically speaking, I must refer to the evident efforts made by private sector in our country to achieve inclusive goals of development, developing national labor force, and establishing hard economical base. Private sector proved its ability to handle the economical updates, something we always wish for.
Because the state trusts the abilities and experiences of private sector, it started, 2 years ago, to prepare to apply the idea of privatization so that private sector could take its role in administrating some big service facilities such as communications.
By delegating the private sector with greater role in administrating and operating some important facilities, the state issued a decision by which private sector assumes all works of operating, maintaining, and managing docks and equipment of harbors through renting.
The state re-organized the electricity sector. This included establishing a joint company for electricity for the whole kingdom: the Saudi Company for Electricity. It merged all working local electricity companies, as well as electricity projects of public foundation of electricity. The decision issued in this regard has enabled the private sector to partake of establishing and managing projects of electricity in the kingdom.
The state has financially granted some cement companies and others concessions of petrifaction in many locations in the Kingdom, which would help in increasing and enriching the activities of those companies. This would, we hope, benefit both the private sector as well the country.
The fortunes of your country are abundant. Our country witnessed, this year, the discovery of new oil fields such as Alshuaiba field. The Saudi Arabian Mining Company –Maaden- was also granted a concession of mining to exploit raw gold and silver.
The Kingdom is going forward to join World Trade Organization since we are aware of the main changes in the global economy and its mechanisms. We should therefore deal with the new reality of human society being part of it, in a way that does not contradict our beliefs or evident benefits of our country and citizens.
In all cases, we stress the necessity of going forward to achieve Arabic economic integration in a time of increasing economic clusters, and to facilitate what might help in achieving it via supporting and encouraging.
The state found that encouraging foreign investments in the country and transferring technology are beneficial. Big companies and corporations in the world, therefore, have chances to invest in industrial fields in the Kingdom.
You know that your country is about to start the seventh five-year-plan that would be announced six years later. The Cabinet had studied with the Shura National Council the public principles of this plan that we wish to achieve. Accordingly, the government is going forward in applying its program of achieving diversification of income sources of the Kingdom, and finding other sources to moderate our reliance on oil. As you know, oil prices in recent years witnessed some backward fluctuation. Yet, the Kingdom succeeded in improving its oil conditions in recent months. The Kingdom is going forward in its policy that aims to cooperate with oil producing and exporting countries to maintain the stability of the market without giving up its due share of oil profits.
I am not going to refer to all actions or intentions of the state to overcome current and future economic challenges. I just wanted to mention some examples that could assure to everybody that one of your state’s concerns is to let Saudis continue the course of building and establishing to achieve required luxury whether for present or for future generations. It is our duty to scheme the best future for these generations.
It is our commitment to bring our people various due services. We have been alerting all influential persons in the government to the necessity of fulfilling all needs and requirements of citizens in all regions, cities and municipalities. We as well as all persons in charge in this country have a desire to upgrade and develop these regions.
It is our commitment towards youths to ensure job vacancies for them whether in pubic or private sector. Therefore we always stressed training and rehabilitation of youths via specialized courses in various ministries and relevant governmental sectors as well as in private foundations and companies, and in chambers of commerce and industry and others. We always cared to encourage youths to enter specializations that are consistent with the needs of development and society. Establishing a new ministry for civil services is an active tool to raise the quality of performance in occupations, developing civil service, and reorganizing job vacancies.
Here we re-assure the role of private sector in offering jobs for graduates of our universities. Offering jobs for graduates is a national responsibility; the private sector is aware of that. We point out with relief all measurements, symposia, conferences and campaigns that the governmental bodies undertook recently to urge employment of Saudis in private and public jobs.
One of the policies of the state is expanding the field of preparing next generations to serve their country. This is first achieved via education. We are promoting education and taking care of it because we are convinced that young people of this country are an integral part of its economic and social growth. The course of education in the country is a witness to the growth of high education as well: what we achieved last year is consistent with our ultimate goals. Some branches of King Saud University and Islamic university of Imam Mohammad bin Saud in Abha were merged in one university named King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz.
The comprehensive rise in various fields of education, health, industry, agriculture, transportation, communication, desalination, building tens of dams and others was achieved by the persistent work of people of this country. We would like to also point out the outlines set to water preservation. These outlines were jotted down by cooperation between the Cabinet and the Shura National Council during the past year, stressing at the same time the significant role of citizens and expatriates in fulfilling these targets whether in water used for drinking or for irrigation.
All of us know that attaining all these accomplishments does not represent all that is required from citizens towards them. It is our duty to optimally maintain these accomplishments and gains by taking care of them and protecting them against all kinds of tamper. Safety of these accomplishments is the responsibility of every resident in this country who is welcomed and respected by its people.
Because of the distinct position of our country, amidst Arabic Islamic countries, it is aware of the responsibilities it has towards surrounding countries. It is also aware of the big role it should play in various issues and problems that face the nation. Therefore it had a fixed and established policy in this field. It depends on continuous consultation with brothers and friends all round the world about current and updated circumstances. This is done through our continuous meetings with presidents and leaders of the world, whether visiting our country or whom crown prince my brother prince Abdallah Bin AbdulAziz visits in his successful world rounds.
The most significant issues discussed with Arab leaders are the sufficient ways to support the course of Arabic solidarity by uniting Arabs, activating the idea of mutual Arabic work, and maintaining higher interests of the nation.
We assured our Palestinian brothers in our meetings of the unchanging attitude of the Kingdom towards Palestinian people and their causes. We stress the necessity of applying resolutions of international legitimacy by Israel so that it is possible to establish Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. We consider the decision of United Nations to raise the level of Palestinian representation in the International organization an important step on the right path towards approving full membership of Palestine in United Nations.
We always show our concern towards the Peace Process in the region. We always called to make it active in accordance with agreements of Madrid, Oslo, and Washington. These agreements are based on resolutions of Security Council 242, 338, and 425 as well as the principle of land for peace. All this indicates the necessity of resuming negotiations on both Syrian and Lebanese tracks. We called the international society and specifically the sponsor of peace process in the USA to exert every possible effort to push Peace Process forward and to do its best to stop the Israeli arrogance that only gave omens of collapse to Peace projects in the region.
While the world was awaiting Israel to support efforts for peace, Israel went on hindering and curbing all efforts done, not to mention killing civil people, kids, women and old people. It never stopped threatening Lebanon’s Western Beqa’a and it occupied frontier stripe region.
We always asked the international society to work to stop the Israeli violations in Jerusalem. We stressed the necessity of retaining the legal and demographic condition of the city because changing the identity or extending the borders of the city and expanding the authorities of its municipality would never cancel or eliminate anyway the right of Arabs and Muslims in the city. Change however is invalid, and it contradicts the resolution of international legitimacy. It is a breach to the grounds of peace in the Middle East, and it threatens international peace and security.
It is needless to stress that the kingdom supports the course of Gulf States Council of Cooperation, Arab League, organization of Islamic conference, United Nations and all that guarantees execution of international resolutions, serves justice and peace and achieves security, welfare, and stability to people around the world.
During the past year, the Islamic world witnessed evident challenges to peace such as the tension between India and Pakistan and the conflict between some Islamic countries. Here in the Kingdom, we were concerned about these inflamed areas that forecast endangering capacities of the nation. We always called to self control, to hold debates and to understanding each other, to employ rationalism and overriding interests, to consider neighborhood rights and joint ties. We are interested in sustaining stability in the region and to peacefully solve all problems according to justice and credibility.
Our policy in this field is quite clear. The Kingdom is working directly or indirectly via its role in the Arab league and organization of Islamic conference to solidify Arabic and Islamic unity, to bolster the ties of brotherhood, to establish security and stability in both Arabic and Islamic countries.
Achieving peace in the region is important for us, as previously mentioned, since it achieves welfare to our people. Peace in every single area in this world is also important because it guarantees innocent people necessary security and stability to live pleasantly. That’s why the Kingdom retained a fixed and well-known attitude that calls to peace everywhere. This necessarily entails the call to banning the spread of arms of mass destruction weapons including nuclear weapons. In this regard, everybody remembers that we showed our concern towards nuclear explosions. We always considered that it would negatively influence international security and stability, as well as the efforts to found nuclear-weapon-free regions. This moreover endangers and threatens all neighboring countries.
We did not forget the crisis of Islamic Kosovo people. We consider what is going on there one of the most difficult challenges to our Islamic nation. A little time ago we were confronted with the crisis of the innocent Moslems in Bosnia which we eventually managed to overcome.
Actions of Serbia are an evident assault. They are totally brutal. Before the military involvement of the NATO, we called international society to take critical measurements to stop massacres and acts of terrorism that the Serbian forces practice in Kosovo province against civil and innocents.
While security is back to Kosovo province, we wish that the homeless are back to their country. We wish as well that Kosovo people have their targets and goals fulfilled under security and peace.
Unfortunately, the conflict and tension in Islamic World are not the only concern that curbs the course of the nation. We should be aware of the inescapable danger represented in terrorism actions that take place in some countries under false pretexts and dishonest emblems. The Kingdom emphasizes its principles and fixed attitudes that condemn all kinds and images of terrorism. It disowns Islam and believing Moslems of such bad acts and practices. We are pleased with the conclusions by Arab interior ministers and ministers of Justice in the conference held in Cairo recently, where the final edition of Arabic agreement to fight terrorism was signed. This agreement would hopefully bolster cooperation between Arab countries to combat all kinds and images of terrorism.
All efforts should be united to eliminate this dangerous phenomenon. I don’t only refer to the just efforts of security bodies; I refer to efforts of all foundations that are related to developing the awareness of people, and confirming their religious and national responsibilities because killing innocent people and frightening them is rejected by our religion, refused by straight logic, and denied by all ethical codes in all human civilizations.
Dear brothers, it is not always that dark. While our region and the surrounding regions are endangered or threatened, there are some accomplishments that are mention-worthy.
When six Gulf countries thought to organize relations of understanding and cooperation between each other, they established Gulf States Council of Cooperation. During the past years, the Council achieved good accomplishments with positive impacts on the countries and people of the region. Furthermore, it confirmed brotherly and developmental ties between these people. We look forward to achieving more for this solid establishment.
You might have recently witnessed the positive developments in Saudi-Iranian relations. These relations were developed to serve both parties, the Gulf, and Arabic and Islamic world as well.
Our relation with Iran is that of religion and neighborhood, not to mention the obvious joint benefits. We are sure that people in charge in these two countries would continue the good steps that are based on mutual confidence and steadfast respect. All this would be widely reflected to include Gulf-Iranian relations as well as all activities in Arabic-Iranian relations.
We should not forget to mention the positive developments in Lockerbie case. Saudi Arabia and Republic of South Africa were lucky to reach a just form of agreement that relieved Libya from a heavy burden that lasted for years. What has been concluded is the just and fair solution for this case. Here we should praise all participant parties for their understanding and cooperation that sought justice.
Efforts that our country exerts for the sake of the nation are an inescapable duty imposed by religious, historical and civilized responsibilities
We are aware of local and regional problems that are still unsolved. However, they need more time and more debate and exchange of opinions.
On this annual meeting, I would like to stress our pride of the youths of this country whether males or females. The government would remain highly focused on with education, training and employment. The government would go on offering education, and guidance for these youths, ensuring their welfare, and equipping them with religion, science and good manners. Qualified human force is the main pillar in national development. We hope that all efforts work together to overcome all obstacles and difficulties that hinder fulfilling these targets and ambitions.
We would like to remind again of the significant role of regions’ Councils in local development. They must be aware of the needs and priorities of each region. They are in fact important channels for communication and participation, and for conveying concerns, desires and notes of citizens. It is very important to activate their functions to serve our country.
At end we acknowledge good efforts of the Chief of the Council, his deputy, General Secretary, and all members of the Council. We wish them continuous luck and success.
End of Speech