I would like to welcome and thank you for attending this important meeting in response to our invitation, and I consider your attendance reflects your feeling with the responsibility and the importance of international cooperation in the topic of energy which concerns all nations of the world, and I wish you every success.
Our invitation has not come from void. The policy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since the establishment of OPEC was based on adopting a fair price for petroleum in a manner that harms neither the producers nor the consumers.
We were keen on preserving the interests of the entire world as we are keen on preserving our national interests, and for that policy we faced many attacks and accepted a lot of harm.
Starting from this policy, we have been allocating a great part of our income for development assistance. Starting from the same policy, in the last few months we increased our daily production of petroleum from nine million barrels to 9,700,000 barrels, and we are ready to meet any additional requirements in the future.
Brothers and sisters: There are several factors for the recent quick and unjustified increase of petroleum prices. They include the frivolity of the speculators in the market for selfish interests, an increase of consumption in a number of rising economies, and increasing taxes on petroleum in a number of consuming countries.
Despite these factors, despite the fact that OPEC has not issued a decision on pricing for many decades and has left the issue of price to the market, and despite its keenness on meeting increasing demand, we find some people accusing OPEC alone.
In the light of this, your great mission becomes clear: Uncovering the truth. Your mission is to rule out biased rumors and reach the real causes for the increase in price, determine how to address that development clearly and transparently, and disclose the outcome to the international community so that the innocent will not be treated as a wrongdoer. Only then the truth will survive.
Brothers and sisters:
The Kingdom realizes its historical role in the field of energy, the importance of international cooperation in the energy affairs, and the necessity of assisting the poor nations in these difficult circumstances when they are suffering from the hike in prices of all commodities, and food commodities in particular. I am pleased to announce the following in the name of the Kingdom:
First, I call for the launch of an energy initiative for impoverished countries with the aim of enabling them to confront the increasing cost of energy. I urge the World Bank to organize a meeting as soon as possible for donor countries as well as regional and international financial institutions to discuss and act on this initiative.
Second: I call upon the Ministerial Council of OPEC Fund for International Development to meet and consider the approval of a program parallel to the previous one with continual characteristic, and I propose an allocation of US $1 billion for this program.
Third: I announce the readiness of the Kingdom to contribute to financing the two abovementioned programs within a framework to be agreed upon.
Fourth: I announce the allocation of US $500 million for soft loans through the Saudi Fund for Development for financing projects to help developing countries to obtain needed energy and development projects.
Fifth: I ask your meeting to form a working group of countries and organizations which participated in this meeting under the umbrella of the General Secretariat of the International Energy Forum. The working group shall follow up and implement recommendations to be issued by this conference in addition to monitoring developments in the oil market. I announce the Kingdom’s readiness to support the working group so that it can carry out its mission successfully.
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
In this critical hour, the international community must rise to the level of responsibility. Cooperation must be the cornerstone of any effort, and we all must have a comprehensive, profound and humanitarian vision in our perspective of the present and future. Such a vision shall be liberated from selfishness and shall transcend to horizons of fraternity and solidarity and this is the secret of success.
Wa salam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatu.