Prince Saud address at the Afghanistan: The London Conference

January 28, 2010

Foreign Minister address at the Afghanistan: The London Conference 28 January 2010

Allow me to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Honorable Gordon Brown, for hosting this important meeting, and to welcome the participation of President Hamid Karazai of Afghanistan and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Saudi Arabia hopes that a new policy is being adapted towards Afghanistan so that the people of Afghanistan will soon enjoy the security, stability and prosperity they so clearly deserve. We should all agree that there is no military solution to the problems facing Afghanistan today. Certainly the security of Afghanistan must be achieved and maintained, and the fight against terrorism must be continued, but even these objectives cannot be achieved by reliance exclusively on military means.

The new policy should emphasize national reconciliation as a necessary pre-requisite for achieving security and stability, which will enable Afghanistan to develop economically and socially. That in turn will create suitable conditions for a speedy withdrawal of foreign troops, and giving the people of Afghanistan the full responsibility for the affairs of their country.

What Afghanistan needs is our collective commitment to seek and support a political solution inside Afghanistan itself. This requires an all inclusive political process that achieves national reconciliation and national unity based on the peaceful and active participation of all the people of Afghanistan. This would achieve the further goal of isolating the terrorists. Separating the terrorists from the various components of the people of Afghanistan is the surest way of defeating terrorism.

We are optimistic that such a change in policy is in the offing. No effort should be spared to help achieve these goals. Saudi Arabia is fully committed to maintain its long lasting policies of offering help and assistance to Afghanistan both politically and materially. In addition to the 200 million dollars of assistance pledged in Tokyo, the Saudi Arabian government pledges an additional 150 million dollars over three years through the Saudi Development Fund, aimed at financing development projects in Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia wishes every success to President Karazai's efforts for establishing an Afghan-led Peace and Reintegration program, so that the people of Afghanistan can play a constructive and peaceful role in building a prosperous and united Afghanistan free from terror and conflict, and at peace with its neighbors.

Thank you for listening.