4th Term 3rd Year, 1428 - 1429 A.H.
Following is the text of the speech delivered by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques before the Shoura Council:
"in the name of Allah the Almighty the most merciful most compassionate
My brothers the Shoura Council members
Accept all of you my best greetings
In the blessings and with the help of god, let us open the third year of the fourth session of the Shoura Council, appealing to Allah to make all our deeds true and faithful to him and let him help us give the best service for our religion, nation and nationals.
We meet here today as customary every year to review what achievements your government has accomplished, internally, contributing to the achievement of security and welfare as well as the participation of citizens and what positions and policies it has adopted, externally, causing a tangible impact on maintaining the national interest, and enhancing regional and international peace and stability.
Among the graces God has bestowed on us, is the religion of Islam and its noble principles including Shoura (consultation) principle that leads to rationalization of decision-making in the areas that touch the interests of the nation and people.
Your council has practiced this principle with all transparency and objectiveness, winning the trust of the leadership and meeting the aspirations of the people gearing towards development.
The shoura council, accommodating skilled members belonging to all parts of the kingdom and sectors of the society, has become the government's right arm in decision-making.
It has also won the citizen's interest and appreciation as you manage to discuss vital issues in-depth and objectively.
The shoura council has also contributed through its participation in regional and international parliamentary gatherings as well as friendship committees to well-introducing the kingdom's views and positions towards regional and international issues on one hand and highlighting the achievements reached inside the country in all fields on the other.
Late King Abdulaziz founded and united this state on the basis of Islamic Sharia.
Consequently, unity replaced division; love replaced enmity and cooperation replaced antagonism.
The kingdom became the homeland of stability in an environment surrounded by troubles and wars.
The challenge facing us lies in maintaining this national unity and deepening its implications.
The incitement of religious struggles, revival of regional disputes and preference of one stratum of a society to another, are all in contravention of Islam's implications and tolerance and pose a threat to the national unity and the security of the society and the state.
I hope that the national unity tops the council's interests.
The homeland is still facing the phenomenon of terrorism in spite of recent retreat of the deviating group.
It is regrettable to attribute criminal acts of aggression to Islam, the religion of mercy, love, tolerance, moderation and peace.
The perpetrators of these acts have sought to destabilize security in the most important stronghold of Islam.
I stress that cohesion and cooperation between the people and the government and vigilance and courage of security forces will withstand this deviating group.
Peace and security are the most important pillars of the stability of the society and requisites of development.
We are firmly determined to confront terrorism in all its forms however it might last and whatever it might cost until this deviating group comes to its sense or is uprooted from the Saudi society.
The eighth five-year plan 1425-1430 is to build on what has been achieved in the previous plans and to embody a new development boost.
It has been designed according to a strategic perspective aiming at achieving sustainable development.
The plan has focused on a package of priorities, led by the preservation of Islamic values, enhancement of national unity, national security and social stability, upgrading standards of living, provision of job opportunities for Saudi job-seekers, development of human labor force, upgrading his skills, diversification of economic base, increase of private sector contribution to the development, achievement of balanced development in all parts of the kingdom, development of sciences, technology and informatics, support and encouragement of scientific research and technological development, preservation and development of water resources and protection of environment.
A follow-up report on the performance of the plan's first year has revealed that in 1425-1426 h. All, and sometimes even more, the targeted goals of the plan have been accomplished.
Due to the importance of investment in the national development, we are planning to continue our support for the private sector to become a strategic partner in the economic development and we are planning to remove all obstacles facing Saudi and foreign investors to make them benefit, whatever possible, from the proportional privileges in the Saudi economy.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has even over passed the prescribed ceiling in a number of developmental goals stated in the united nation's millennium declaration 2000.
The kingdom is also on its way to score new goals in this field even before their set dates.
What characterizes the Saudi experiment in its endeavor to achieve the millennium's developmental targets is the great momentum of the distinguished efforts successfully reaching the stated goals before their timed ceilings and successfully merging the developmental goals of the millennium into the eighth development plan's goals and making the developmental goals of the millennium part of the developmental address and phased and long-term policies of the kingdom.
During my visits to the regions of the kingdom, I was pleased to see a vast and comprehensive development but I noticed that some parts of the country still need much care and interest before we reach a balanced development, a matter that we will do.
We have allocated part of the surplus of the budgets of the last three years to reduce the public debit which has come down from sr660 billion in 1423 - 1424 h., equivalent to 82 % of the gross domestic product, to sr366 billion in 1426 - 1427 H, which represents 28% of the GDP?
A number of new developmental programs and projects have been accredited in addition to what has been decided in the 8th five-year plan or the state's budget.
These programs and projects include the holy mosque and sacred places projects, improvement of the country's infrastructure, primary health care, general, higher and technical education, popular housing, and upgrading development funds' capital.
The state's reserves were also enhanced and the general investments fund was supported.
This year's budget augurs well as big amounts of money have been appropriated for achieving a qualitative leap in the field of human force development which represents the basic pillar for comprehensive development and for supporting health and social care by increasing the appropriations of orphans, disabled and the poor.
In the political field, the system of pledge of allegiance commission has been issued to enhance the constitutional dimension of assuming power.
Municipal Councils have practiced their local responsibilities following impartial and honorable election.
The number of civil institutions has increased.
They have contributed to making decisions of social and economic dimensions.
Human rights commission has been formed and its regulation has been issued and board of directors has been appointed.
King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue has played its role in propagating the culture of dialogue in the society.
The coming year will witness more challenges and opportunities and the state will continue its developmental way inside and it is hoped that the next stage will witness the launch of important national projects including comprehensive project of education development, great economic cities, a system of sciences and technology, structuring of judiciary and its development, establishment of national commission of anti-corruption and combating unemployment through giving priority in employment to qualified Saudis, expansion of training and propagation of the culture of labor.
We will continue development and we will assume the principles of wise ruling in running the state and the society and we will work in the interest of the religion, homeland and citizens.
Our region is passing a critical stage of various struggles and crises. This matter necessitates to double efforts of Saudi Diplomacy at regional and international arenas.
We have pursued dialogue, consultation and prevalence of mind and wisdom to confront threats, to prevent their escalation, to calm down situations, to avoid destructive struggles, and to peacefully solve problems according to teachings dictated by our religion, conscience and sense of responsibility.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has assumed its responsibility during this critical stage.
The kingdom hosted the Extraordinary Summit in Makkah.
The kingdom assumed the presidency of gulf cooperation council's summit held in Riyadh and current session of Arab Summit held in Riyadh.
Emanating from its keenness on reforming the situations of Arabs and Muslims and uniting their word, the kingdom has played an active role at gulf, Arab and Islamic arenas to activate the bases of cooperation to preserve the identity of Arab and Muslim nations, to defend their issues, to maintain their interests, to confront the dangers of division and struggles threatening their entities topped by disputes among religious factions of Sunnah and Shia and incitement of sectarian disputes in various places of the Muslim world particularly in Iraq and Lebanon.
Realizing its important position and role in the Muslim and Arab world , the kingdom has been keen on non-intervention in the internal affairs of Arab, Islamic and other countries, has equally treated all ideologies, factions and sects forming other societies and called for dialogue, understanding and reconciliation in any region witnessing seeds of sedition and division.
GCC "Sheikh Jaber" summit has formed a good opportunity to review the path of the GCC and cut the gap between the gulf region's people's aspirations and what has exactly been achieved.
It is legitimate for the GCC citizens to dream for activating the cross relations and achieving economic unity among the GCC countries and obtaining economic citizenship.
heikh Jaber Summit has adopted what meets these aspirations including the customs union, joint market and monetary union and has enhanced cooperation and integration in other strategic fields
We are going to work with our brothers in the GCC to overcome all obstacles derailing the march of the group and to invigorate the momentum towards integration.
The welfare of GCC citizens taking priority of their governments, the emergence of regional challenges in the geography around the GCC member states and the emergence of international blocs made the option of cooperation and integration a sole option.
On the Arab arena, the Palestinian issue remains the Arabs first issue and core of the political movement of the kingdom at the regional and international arenas.
As is the case for the Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic nations, we, in Saudi Arabia, have deeply been concerned over the incidents witnessed by the internal Palestinian field as aggravation of the Palestinian internal squabble and its continuation represent negative impacts over the entire cause, including the palest Iain and Arab legitimate demands.
Emanating from this situation, we called for Makkah meeting of the Palestinian factions to stop bloodshed and unify their ranks.
Thanks to Allah Almighty, our brothers the Palestinians have reached agreement upon their own will to form a national unity government.
However, the Palestinian issue will continue to be the core of our efforts aiming to reach a fair, comprehensive and permanent solution according to Arab Summit resolutions which confirmed peace as a strategic option, including the Arab peace initiative adopted by Beirut Summit and reconfirmed by other Arab Summits particularly the last Riyadh Summit.
The internal troubles in Lebanon were a source of great concern to us as their negative repercussions threaten the cohesion of Lebanon and its people, not only that but its sovereignty and independence, a matter which will have its ramifications on the entire region, its stability and security.
To this effect, a strenuous effort was exerted to contain the crisis and defuse the explosion through a policy of dialogue and consultation among all Lebanese without exception, aiming at rapprochement among the foes and stoppage of escalation in word and deed.
Now, I avail myself of this opportunity and call on the Lebanese factions to invest the environment of current quietness to tackle the matter through dialogue and understanding and to maintain the country's integrity, and sovereignty.
We are going to spare no effort to provide support on the bilateral and international levels for Lebanon's economy and rehabilitation of its country.
I think all of us share the same feelings to see Iraq smashed with violence and massacres on daily bases.
The kingdom was keen to take part in all meetings, conferences and regional, Arab and international meetings held on the issue of Iraq and aimed at the restoration of security and bringing about stability of Iraq and building of its national unity on the principles of equality and parity of rights and duties and share of national wealth regardless of Iraq's sects, races and cultures.
As for Darfur, we were also keen to convoke a meeting on the fringes of Riyadh Summit between Sudanese leaders, led by President Omer Albasheir, with United Nations secretary general and attendance of African concerned parties, hoping that that meeting could have made a step further towards agreement on Darfur issue.
On Somalia, we called on all Somalis warring factions to meet to solve their problems and expressed our welcome to them in the kingdom, if they opted so, hoping that such a meeting would forge restoration of stability in Somalia.
The Saudi diplomacy was keen to treat this file in a peaceful manner with the utmost wisdom and objectivity and avoidance of tension and frustration aiming at guaranteeing that the middle east countries remain mass destruction weapons free while observing the right of all countries of the region to obtain nuclear energy for peaceful purposes according to IAEA standards without the exception of any country in the region, including Israel.
In the 27th GCC Riyadh Summit, we adopted a strategic resolution calling for introducing nuclear technology to the GCC member states and we vow to present a good example of the peaceful usage of nuclear technology and not to misuse it militarily.
The Saudi foreign policy was based on firm beliefs taking into consideration the continuing importance of seeking the unity of Arab ranks, enhancing solidarity among the Arab countries and consolidating the values of Islamic fraternity between all Muslims, regardless of their origins and sects.
Based on awareness of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia of its international liabilities towards world peacekeeping and enhancement of cooperation and rapprochement among countries and peoples, I visited a number of Islamic and friendly Asian countries, including china, India, Malaysia and Pakistan.
These visits contributed to boosting the relations with these countries through numerous agreements covering economic, security, cultural, and scientific fields and view points were exchanged with the leaders of those countries on regional issues.
Expanding the framework of the kingdom's relations eastwards was dedicated upon national interest considerations as well as the developments which took place in the international political system as the kingdom is china's biggest trade partner in west Asia and North Africa while India is the kingdom's fourth trade partner.
In addition to this, china, and India have their leverage on regional and international policies.
Meanwhile, the religion link is shared between us and each of Pakistan and Malaysia in addition to diplomatic and economic relations.
I also visited turkey and the visit was culminated by signing a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding, aiming at enhancing relations between our two countries and Islamic cooperation and rapprochement.
Summit diplomacy has shaped its own map in today's world as an effective means to enhance relations between countries and a tool to achieve international peace. Based on this, such visits will be repeated in future (by Will of God).
In the field of petroleum, the kingdom is well aware of its international responsibilities.
Hence, it works for achieving fair oil prices, taking into consideration the interests of both producers and consumers.
The kingdom also seeks to enhance its productivity capacity of oil to enable it to meet its obligations towards the national development on one hand and the requirements of the world economy.
International peace faces new unprecedented challenge represented in the cultural confrontation among nations.
Such provocations, sometimes accompanied by defaming the prophets, would definitely aggravate the situation among the world's peoples and increase hostilities among its nations.
Humanitarian interest and world peace enhancement require confrontation against these negative concepts with all means.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a peace-loving country that respects human rights and works for exploiting its wealth to achieve the aspirations of its own people as well as those of Arab and Islamic countries within a joint humanitarian concept that puts it in the same boat with all worlds' peace-loving countries.
In conclusion, let me appeal to Allah Almighty to preserve our country and let it continue to enjoy security and stability.
Wa alsalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu".