3rd Term 2nd Year, 1423 - 1424 A.H.
The Speech of Prince Abdallah Bin AbdulAziz
The Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the commencement of the works of second year of third session of The Shura National Council on the 17th Rabea Alawal 1423 A.H.
Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you:
Meeting today, we don’t forget to mention in deep appreciation the former chief of the Council Sheikh Mohammad Bin Jubair, who witnessed the beginnings of this council, and efficiently participated in founding it. His efforts in this regard were evident and commended, may Allah surround him with mercy.
Since its establishment by King Abdul Aziz, this country was based on the principles of Islam which are our reference. We abide by the rules of Islam as manifested in the Quran and in the way of Prophet Mohammed.
Upon this ground, the country has adopted consultation as a method of ruling, and style of work. Consultation is a ruling approach that the Kingdom follows in accordance with its commitment in applying Islam in all matters. The Kingdom derives its legitimacy from the texts of the Holy Book, and from the guide of Prophet Mohammed. This ground was confirmed by the second article of The Shura National Council law stating that “the Council should commit to the sources of Islamic legislation. The members of the Council should be concerned in serving the public benefit, maintain the unity of community, the essence of the country and the benefits of the nation."
As you know, this practice has passed through various stages. The last of which was this version of The Shura National council assuming the law issued in 1412 A.H, which is revealed in the composition during the first two sessions and during this third session that we start today its second year. The Kingdom, in practicing consultation, contributed deeply in confirming it as a method of ruling and an approach of work. The positive activity of the Council, the efforts it exerted, the achievements it attained in various levels and the relationships and communications it established had a main role in originating the jurisprudence of consultation in enriching the human heritage in the fields of philosophy and ruling. These efforts resulted in an appropriate and an exceptional position of the Council among Arabian and Islamic parliaments in specific and worldwide in general. The ability of this religion to deal positively with the variables of the time, taking up the requisites of civilization and interacting with them productively and actively is shown in overriding negatives, if not correcting them, and in taking positives and developing them.
Meeting you today is an annual custom and a fulfillment of the articles of the law of the Council so that we preview the accomplishments done so far both internally and externally, the potential policies in this regard, and the projects intended for that aim to serve public benefit and contribute for the benefit of people, the ultimate target of all developmental plans and programs. These plans and projects are part of an approach that is based on a balanced growth, on fixed pillars of security and stability, on attaining comprehensive development for all sectors and categories.
The Kingdom witnesses today a comprehensive rise in all fields economically and socially. This rise is the result of ambitious developmental plans that could achieve a lot. Now we aim to promote these various gains in achieving higher living standard for people, widening the base of economy, increasing non-oil exports, keeping social stability, attaining a balanced economical growth, developing human resources, strengthening the role of private sector and maintaining the infrastructure and working on completing it.
We live today the second year of the seventh developmental plan. It is appropriate to remember here some aims that that plan focused on such as providing educational services, training Saudi cadres who mainly contribute in bolstering productive capabilities of national qualifications, raising the levels of economical development in the light of variables and updates locally, regionally and internationally, throughout activating private, national and foreign investment, taking necessary procedures to promote enhancement in the environment of investment, setting regulations and means that serve this direction, updating economical policies in order to conform to the requirements of the time and its circumstances and the realization of prompt response, and necessary flexibility to deal with variables and changes on all levels.
Among the foremost means that were invented, and regulations that were set, the Higher Economical Council was established in 1420 A.H. It is founded as a means of suggesting policies and procedures that target the economical climate for private investments both national and foreign. The establishment of the higher economical council was followed by the law of foreign investment including the incentives, advantages and exemptions as well as establishing the public corporation for investment.
Despite fluctuations in oil returns which led to the continuous commitment of the state in achieving financial balance, the state was careful to continue financing the programs of the developmental plan and its projects, and providing good economical and social services that conform to the requirements of growth, and that advance the living standard of our citizens.
The state tried to exploit the wealth of our country to accelerate further development in all aspects of life. No need here to mention the achievements done in the field of infrastructure and the development in the economical resources such as transportations and communications, rural and municipal affairs, development in industry, agriculture and water, or human, social and health developments etc. The reports about achievements of the current seventh plan are replete with examples of these achievements which reflect the grounds of development in the Kingdom. They are based on three basic routes, first of which is the concern with the citizen, the development of human resources, and the realization of economical sufficiency in both governmental and private sectors.
The achievements that have been done are fundamentally realized through Islamic principle. Moreover, maintaining social security and stability for the country and preparing productive working people via providing the necessary means would result in developing human resources. We also strive to ensure the increased chances of human resources, to raise the sufficiency to serve all sectors, in order to make an effective difference in economical structure, to move towards variation in the base of production, to concentrate on industry and agriculture, to develop mineral wealth, and also to promote its exploration and investment by stressing the qualitative development in enhancing the performance of profits, ground-works that have been done so far.
The government is interested too in regulatory achievements to come up with services through continuous development of managerial regulations in order to enhance the quality of public services, and to establish rational methods of taking decisions and acting on them.
The government is always occupied with providing more vacancies to our male and female youths. Despite the efforts of the private sector in this field, we wish that its role is increased in employing national labor force. We also wish that bodies of education and training work at the same time to narrow the gap between programs of education and training on one side, and the requirements of job market on the other side, so that there is more harmony between these programs and the needs of private sector.
There are some issues that we want to focus on, among which is the issue of technology. Technology in recent times is one of the most important matters that need be dealt with seriously. This requires finding an active and effective industry that is internationally competitive, establishing a qualified information community, and setting national plans for that while specifying priorities and suggesting policies and relevant activities, products, services and internet-related applications, E-trade and vital technology and the like.
Nationalizing technology in the Kingdom is based on having evident and scheduled plans that specify various stages in this process, on setting a clear target in dealing with it, on the initiatives to increase opportunities of employment, and on benefiting from Saudi human forces in technology and information.
The Kingdom has also a promoting climate that is supported by motivations to invest in many fields. The growth of private sector in the Kingdom and its ambitious investments are clear evidence. In addition to the relative advantages of the Kingdom, and the availability of necessary raw materials for many industries, the regulations of the Kingdom contain no restrictions on the freedom of money flow. Moreover, the tax law for foreign investor that includes many incentives and facilities. The charter also prohibited public confiscating of money in its nineteenth article. It restricted the penalty of private confiscating to a sentence issued proportionately with each case. The issuance of foreign investment law and establishing the public body for investment both are basic grounds in its field.
The Kingdom also has necessary potentials and expertise to employ tourism as an income source. Tourism is an important motive to widen the economical activity: it provides job opportunities for small and medium national money capitals, it also invites the money invested abroad to be invested here in the country. The concept of tourism is widely accepted and agreeable in society, not to mention the cultural heritage of the Kingdom that is considered a good means to produce distinct localized services in the field of tourism whether in form or content, within the frame of Islamic legitimacy.
In the field of regulation, many regulations were issued and updated such as the rules of proceedings, the rule of penalty procedures, the law of real estate ownership, the law of property registration, the law of legal practice, the law of social securities, law of cooperative health insurance, law of journalistic foundations and others. All these regulations issued are considered a remarkable movement that its results are positively reflected on the country and citizens.
The recent achievements in the field of foreign policy confirm the effective role of the Kingdom in steering its foreign policy, and its ability to formulate attitudes through which it faces events. The foreign policy of the Kingdom is based on certain fixed points that stem from its Islamic, Arabic and international commitments. It is based on respecting the sovereignty of countries, non-interfering in is internal affairs, and on initiatives in solving problems and international and regional emergencies. All this has deemed the Kingdom a country of wisdom and prudence. Thus it occupied its appropriate position among Arabic, Islamic and worldwide countries. .
The Kingdom has not saved an effort to undertake its duties towards other countries, whether through offering help or sustenance to human issues, or in adopting issues of justice and righteousness and supporting them. The world of today with all its civilizations and cultures is stepping towards increased proximity, and towards more mutual cooperation among countries and societies. We realize this but we still abide with commands of Islam.
The kingdom is occupied with the Palestinian issue. We never forget the worries of the Palestinian people. The concern of Saudi Arabia with the Palestinian issue stands at the heart of the Saudi policy. The Kingdom offered all its powers to advocate the Palestinian rights according to fixed points set by King Abdul Aziz, may Allah have mercy upon him. All of us followed his path. The attitude of the Kingdom towards Palestinian cause is a fixed one; it supports the Palestinians to restore their land, determine their destiny, and establish their independent country with Jerusalem as its capital. The kingdom always strongly backed the struggle of the Palestinian people in its legitimate fight throughout all phases of Palestinian strife.
The Israeli aggression against the Palestinians, as well as all the crimes of killing, burning, destroying the infrastructure and buildings, and using all kinds of destructive weapons take place while the international society is completely unable to deter the arrogance and prejudice of this enemy.
That’s why we proposed the Saudi peace initiative in Arabic Summit in Beirut. The summit adopted it. It became then an Arabic peace initiative to solve this problem, which reflects the real image of Arabs who have always been peace callers.
This initiative aims at just, comprehensive and constant peace without losing the entitlements of the Palestinian people and its right in establishing an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital via applying international resolutions. The initiative aims at the refugees' return, and putting an end to the occupation of all Syrian and Lebanese lands. During our visit to USA, we found that president George W. Bush understands the Arabic attitude, pursues an acceptable solution, and desires an active role for the USA to conclude such solution.
We call the international community and peace-loving countries to interfere to protect the Palestinian people from this hostile aggression. We ask the international community to apply relevant resolutions of international legitimacy, to withdraw Israeli forces from occupied lands, and to activate necessary means to achieve security and stability in the Middle East.
Concerning our role among Arabic and Islamic countries, you know how concerned Saudi Arabia is in unifying Arabic countries, strengthening Islamic solidarity, and investing all potentials of the Kingdom in various levels for goodness, for reassuring the stability to our Arabic and Islamic nation, and for provides luxury and peace opportunities worldwide. We are happy with the integration achieved in many fields gradually, quietly and rationally and with coordination in politics, economics, and social affairs in the GCC, and in Arab league.
We take the opportunity of this meeting to thank the princes of regions and to praise what councils of regions do to strengthen development in the country, to push the wheel of development forward in various regions. We also acknowledge the efforts of the president of the Council, his deputy, the general secretary and all members of the Council. We wish them all success.
End of Speech