1990 Speech

Prince Saud Al-Faisal to 42nd UN General Assembly, 1987
Statement of Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the Forty-Second Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York, 28 September 1987

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Mr. President:
I have the pleasure to congratulate you on your election to the Presidency of the Forty-Second Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Your election reflects the personal esteem you enjoy, and reinforces the role that your country is undertaking in supporting international efforts and strengthening the bonds of international cooperation.   I have no doubt whatsoever that your competence will be an effective factor in enabling the General Assembly to conclude its work in the best possible manner. United Nations circles have always recognized you as one of the most prominent personalities.

I should also like to take this opportunity to express to Mr. Humayan Choudhury, the President of the Forty-First Plenary Session of the General Assembly and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, our deep appreciation for his effective role in dealing with the various problems that occurred, including the contingent administrative and financial crisis that faced the United Nations, as well as his role in promoting the emergence of the United Nations at the end of that Session, stronger in our conscience and in the conscience of the nations of the world.

In this respect, I would like to reiterate our appreciation to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, who worked and is still working, with sincerity and diligence, towards solving the internal problems of the United Nations and guiding its international efforts in order to achieve its basic objectives. He does that with impartiality, objectivity, and a sense of the great responsibility he shoulders, which we support and uphold.

Mr. President:
The foreign policy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country that embraces the religion of Islam and applies the tolerant Islamic Shariah [Law], is implemented on the basis of the principles upon which the United Nations Organization was founded, and the noble objectives for which its Charter was promulgated, this being a reaffirmation of what Islamic Law stipulates for the conduct of international relations. As the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz noted in an address he delivered on the eve of Saudi Arabia's National Day last week, that Islamic belief is an integral doctrine which is based on mercy, compassion, solidarity, brotherhood and mutual respect, and is devoid of oppression, deceit, and treachery.

On this basis we reaffirm our determination to work in support of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, as they are the proper framework for cooperation between nations and peoples, and the effective means for settling conflicts between states.

The United Nations Organizations has brought together various peoples and states in one framework, between whom dealings were enumerated in the Charter, as a means and as an objective. It gave to the universality of this framework the power of moral obligation and the respect of international legitimacy, in all the dimensions that bear upon world interests at large. It has left no dimension of human endeavor where it does not forge a constructive role, and where it strives to be in congruence with the tremendous scientific, technological, and economic strides that have occurred in the twentieth century. This development has reduced differences between peoples and converged the chasm between states. It has narrowed the gaps between communities and opened a wide door for international cooperation, to the extent that the United Nations has become, through all its agencies, bodies, and branches, a basic, indispensable requirement in international affairs, posing at its core and by its objectives, a challenge to the ability of its members to realize the principles and objectives of the Charter.

The basic demand of the peoples of the world today is peace and stability. The use of war as a means for resolving conflicts is totally rejected. It is certain, however, that continued success in this direction must be linked to a commitment by member states to the Charter, in letter and spirit. This commitment is the only guarantee for the realization of international peace and security, because it guarantees the establishment of normal, fair, and balanced relations between all states, irrespective of their sizes, locations, and military strengths, or their political, economic and social regimes. Perhaps one of the most formidable challenges that confronts the United Nations today is the wide gap that exists between commitment to the principles of the Charter and the actual behavior of states in their international relations, especially those states that persist in aggression, oppression, terrorism and discrimination, such as Israel and South Africa. Should the Organization fail to take timely and definitive responsible action, then it shall jeopardize its credibility and effectiveness to assure the commitment of its members to the Charter and the principles and objectives it enshrines.

Mr. President:
While we are seeking enhanced cooperation, we should seek the knowledge of recent experience and examine the obstacles that confront the United Nations and hinder the prospects of greater cooperation, a process which is vital for peace, stability, and growth. The countries whose practices violate the Charter must bear the full responsibility for creating these obstacles. We should henceforth consider the means enumerated by our Charter for addressing these violations.

The insistence upon aggression, the violation of the principles of the Charter, and the rejection of the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, indicate a challenge to the Charter which should prompt us to take a firm stand for compliance with the principles and aims of the Charter. Reluctance to do so is an abdication of responsibility and an abandonment of one of the most fundamental principles of that Charter.

While we have before us a substantial series of international violations and aggressions upon the rights and freedoms of peoples, we also have before us a long list of economic and social problems that still need wise remedies based on a sense of communal responsibility, and a balanced approach to cooperation which is matched by a sense of commitment for the moral and legal responsibilities that all of us should respect and adhere to.

Mr. President:
We face this year, as we have faced for the past forty years, the question of Palestine and the Middle East problem, and the core of that conflict, the question of Al-Quds Al-Shareef, which emanates from Israeli aggressions upon Arab lands, upon the Arab inhabitants in Palestine and other peoples in the neighboring Arab countries, and aggression upon the Islamic nations and the Islamic Umma, especially in Al-Quds Al-Shareef, the first Kibla and the third holiest shrine. We do not think that there is a problem or a question that has become clearer and more evident in all its aspects to the whole world, than the problem of Palestine. There is no problem where wrong challenges right every day that the problem of Palestine. The United Nations has never before witnessed a challenge to its will or an assault upon its Charter, as it has witnessed, and still continues to witness, in the perpetuation of Zionist aggression upon the Arab people inside and outside Palestine. The tragic circumstances and sad situation that Lebanon is suffering from is in reality one of the acute consequences of this problem. Peace is the demand of all humanity today, a peace based on justice, and justice is the foundation of stability and the basis for its continuation. But the objective of peace has become a victim of those who reject it. Israel has spared no effort in order to thwart peace initiatives. It has persisted with aggression and its concerted efforts in disrupting possibilities for peace. It has become clear and evident that the establishment of peace in our region will not be realized except through the recognition of the inalienable and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

Israel's obstinacy and its persistent attempts to disrupt peace initiatives in order to gain time to achieve its objectives and designs will only lead to more troubles and to consequences which will increase the difficulties of solving the problem, with all the risks and dangers that may results form that. There is no clearer proof of this than Israel's deliberate acts to put obstacles and difficulties in the path of the efforts aimed at convening an international conference.

Perhaps there is no need here for me to reaffirm the fact that no solution could meet success unless it includes the Palestine Liberation Organization - being the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people - as a party and a factor in negotiations and dialogue. The Arab countries have risen up to their historic responsibility toward peace and offered what they can for the establishment of peace and stability in the region, when they proclaimed their framework for the peace process in the historic decisions issued in Fez in 1982, which emphasized the Arab consensus on a peace based upon justice in accordance with international legitimacy, and in compliance with the international will as it is represented by United Nations resolutions.

Mr. President:
The war between Iraq and Iran, which is entering its eighth year, has assumed new dimensions which threaten the security of the region and world peace. The recent developments which occurred in the past months carry ominous overtones as to what continuous obstinacy in the war might lead to, and as to what continued disregard for conventions and international resolutions to put an end to it, might result in.

We call for the termination of this destructive war afflicting the people of Iraq and Iran not only for the sake of the interests of both peoples, but also for the sake of the peace and stability of the region, and the preservation of the vital interests of the countries of the region. Those who work for its continuation are sacrificing the basic interests of the Iraqi and Iranian peoples and are exposing regional and world peace to the gravest of dangers.

Iran continues to extend its war with Iraq to non-participants in that war by giving itself the right to attack non-belligerent countries, to assault the interests of other countries and to threaten international navigation in the Gulf.

This perverted and dangerous logic is the main reason that has led to instability, extreme tension, and the deplorable deterioration of the situation in the Gulf region. If Iran gives itself the right to attack countries that are not parties to the conflict, then it is only natural that each country in the region has the full right to defend itself against aggression.

The continuation of the conflict and the threat by which Iran is attempting to extend its scope in the Gulf Region, and allowing itself to attack the ships of other countries that are not parties to the conflict, as well as its continuous threat to the freedom of navigation in the Gulf, are the cause of the presence of international fleets in the waters of the Gulf. The meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers in Tunisia has unanimously asked Iran not to make its actions a cause for drawing international conflicts to the region, but, rather, a cause for establishing peace and stability. It also called upon all peace-loving nations in the world to urge Iran to accept the will of the international community to arrive at a quick end to its war with Iraq.

We take this opportunity to call upon Iran again, from this international rostrum, to refrain from its aggressions and threats to the Arab Gulf countries and to take part in the quest to establish peace and stability in the region, which is the responsibility of the countries of the region and the member states of the United Nations.

While we express our appreciation for Iraq's position and readiness to halt the war and to terminate the conflict in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations, I should also like to reiterate the support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for resolution 598 of the Security Council, which provides for the peace and security of the parties to the conflict as well as of regional and international stability. The Arab countries unanimously supported that resolution, and urged the United Nations and the Secretary-General to intensify their endeavors and responsibilities to implement the resolution. It is regrettable that the Iranian response, in the speech delivered by Iran's President a few days ago, to that resolution and to the efforts of the United Nations aimed at putting an end to the war and establishing peace, completely closes the door in the path of these attempts, and destroys hopes for an end to this tragic and destructive war. This requires the United Nations to take a firm and decisive stand, through the securing of the necessary measures to implement the aforementioned resolution, and requires the Security Council in particular, to take a decision without delay in implementing resolution 598, which includes the imposition of sanctions on the party that does not implement the resolution, in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

Mr. President:
Iran was not content just with its war with Iraq, a war which went on to spread disruption and chaos in the region, exposing it to the risks of foreign intervention, and ultimately propelling it to international conflict. Iran has threatened the security and stability of not only its Arab neighbors, but also of those outside the Gulf. It has spared no opportunity over the past few years by which it has not demonstrated a hostile attitude toward these countries. It carried out its destructive activities in the State of Kuwait, and launched its rockets against fully populated civilian areas. It placed mines in the Gulf's waters and helped push the region into a storm of hostility and turmoil. The Iranian regime has become a unique case in rejecting international conventions and violating the laws, norms, and traditions guiding the international community, as well as in deviating from the proper course of diplomatic relations. There is no clearer evidence of this than the Iranian authorities' violation of the sanctity of the Saudi and Kuwaiti embassies in Tehran, their flagrant occupation, plundering, destruction and the mistreatment of their staff, which led to the death of a Saudi diplomat.

Islam is devoid of such an approach and from all these practices. Never since the light of guidance accompanied the Message of the Prophet Muhammad, May Peace and the Blessing of God be Upon Him, has Islam been a source of extremism and terrorism. This just religion has never been a religion of intolerance, hate and fanaticism, but a religion of openness, tolerance and goodwill between all peoples.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia tried, during the past eight years, to maintain a normal relationship with Iran, in the hope of preserving links and maintaining good neighborliness. It has tolerated many acts and provocations against itself and its people. But Iran left no opportunity, during these years, where it did not demonstrate a hostile attitude towards the Kingdom and the Arab Gulf countries.

It is regrettable that the President of Iran has, from this international rostrum, accused the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of allegations that he knows, and we know, are untrue, and which evidence has proved to be false. It is also regrettable for the President of this country, which has a civilization steeped in the roots of history and whose Muslim population has always been a stronghold of Islam and a builder of civilization, to come and list before this international forum, which represents the world conscience, a series of falsifications and mischievous accusations, in clear defiance of the tolerant principles of Islam and the noble and original ethics of the Iranian people, in flagrant violation and disregard of the values and norms of Islam. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was, and still is, careful to keep the difference between Islamic countries within their proper Islamic framework. It always dealt with these problems guided by the teachings of its rightful Islamic religion, and away from demagoguery and vituperation. On that basis, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes that the complete isolation and the unanimous Arab and Islamic condemnation of Iran today is the proper response to such false allegations and practices. Because allegation and falsification cannot remove the evidence of the horrendous crime that the Iranian authorities have committed in Makkah, in the vicinity of the Holy Mosque of God, during the Holy Month. It is a sacred shrine that represents the Great Islamic Symbol which hearts yearn for. This atrocious crime did not take place in the dark or in secret, but it took place under the eyes and ears of millions of Muslims. All the countries and Islamic institutions, organizations and centers, as well as the world community in its entirety, have condemned these criminal acts that Iran has perpetrated. We hope that the international reaction, and particularly the Islamic reaction, would give the Iranian leaders cause to realize that they cannot convince people by force, terrorism, and violence. They can only get their message across by becoming advocates of peace, brotherhood, and kindness, the objectives whose core and foundation represent the real message of Islam, taking example in doing so from the divine revelation:

"Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching;
And argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious;
For thy Lord knoweth best,
Who have strayed from His Path And who receive guidance."


Mr. President:
We were optimistic after the last Session that there would be a just solution to the problem of Afghanistan. However, it is regrettable that the situation is still continuing, and the Muslim Afghani people are struggling with all the means at their disposal, sacrificing the blood of their sons in defense of their religion and homeland, and sustaining the most extreme difficulties in order to resist the occupation, demanding withdrawal from their land, and the establishment of a governmental system which is acceptable to them.

While we reaffirm our fullest support for the just struggle of the Mujahideen, we still look forward to a positive response from the Soviet Union, the superpower, to United Nations decisions, to the decisions of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to the stipulations of the United Nations Charter, as well as to the appeals of the world, for a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan, the free and independent country throughout history.

While we support the efforts of the United Nations to arrive at an acceptable solution which can guarantee the return of all the refugees to their homes, non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, and the preservation of its Islamic identity, we still hope that should such a solution become possible, the relations between the two neighboring countries of the Soviet Union and Afghanistan will evolve into good neighborliness and mutual respect.

We also take this opportunity to reiterate our appreciation for the important role undertaken by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the sacrifices being borne by its people in hosting more than 3.5 million Afghani refugees on its soil, despite the economic and security pressures which Pakistan is trying to shoulder. We call upon the nations of the world to cooperate with Pakistan in this great effort.

Mr. President:
The problem of Namibia and the racist policy adopted by South Africa are amongst the issues that we greatly care for, and it falls within the realm of responsibilities that we share with the African nations. On this basis, we call upon the international community of the United Nations to intensify its efforts to end the era of apartheid and colonialism in that part of the world. The cooperation and alliance between the Zionist regime in Palestine and the Pretoria regime in South Africa, which are united by similar designs and common means and ideas, puts a double responsibility on the shoulder of the United Nations to implement the requirements of its Charter, as well as on the shoulder of member states to be committed to their obligation to end the era of oppression, apartheid, violation of international conventions, and the use of brute force against peaceful peoples. The attacks of South Africa on neighboring African states will only increase the isolation of this racist regime, and will not save it, for the final reckoning which is the ultimate fate of all oppressors.

We, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, stand by the African states, with which we are linked by the closest historical, religious, and geographical ties in their firm position of rejecting the policy of South Africa, and in demanding full independence for Namibia. We call for a firm implementation of the resolutions for an economic and political boycott of the Pretoria regime, until the government of Pretoria adheres to the decisions of the United Nations. We also deplore the close alliance between South Africa and Israel, whether over or covert, in all economic, nuclear, strategic, and political fields.

Mr. President:
Economic problems are still amongst the most important obstacles facing international understanding, at a time when they should be amongst the most important bridges for cooperation between nations. It is regrettable that last year was not better than its predecessor, because despite the recent attempts in this respect, economic recovery is still facing concrete obstacles, and the international monetary system is still suffering from many problems. The instability of exchange rates is also causing substantial disruption in the economies of the developing countries in particular. Moreover, the decline in the prices of raw materials in the developing countries, despite the rise in the prices of manufactured products imported by them from industrial countries, stands as an important obstacle to development of these countries and for the growth of international trade. The continuation of protectionist trends in some industrial countries is also increasing the difficulties confronting the expansion of international trade.

On the other hand, the attempts to activate the negotiations between North and South are also still stumbling. The developing countries are facing increased difficulties in meeting the responsibilities of development, because the fully-developed countries have not adequately upheld their duty to cooperate with them in solving their problems. We all know that a large number of the developing countries inherited their economic burdens and the consequences of economic backwardness from foreign regimes which used to occupy their land and manage their affairs, until their independence over the course of the past forty years.

In this regard, we look forward to a strengthening of the role of the International Monetary Fun and the World Bank in addressing the problems I have referred to, in a manner that enhances the solution of monetary problems, facilitates and frees international trade by removing the impediments and obstacles that have caused the sufferings of the developing countries, in order to arrive at a fair adjustment between developing nations and the fully-developed ones.

The collective responsibility for solving these problems should be reaffirmed, in order to avoid confrontations which we know would ultimately lead to further problems, whether in the economic or political fields.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always been careful to fulfill its commitments and carry out its obligations within the collective responsibility for the economic stability and development of the world. We hope to continue this with the cooperation of other countries. We have always called for a revival of North-South negotiations, and for the exertion of diligent efforts in dealing with the economic problems facing the developing countries.

The conference on the relationship between disarmament and development was held recently and it provoked a great deal of interest, because the two subjects have a direct bearing upon international peace and security, while both of them are linked to the development and the welfare of nations. We should reaffirm here that development, by its own momentum, and disarmament with its serious effects, are two important and effective factors for stability, the removal of fears and doubts between nations, and for channeling the potentials of nations towards ends more beneficial than weapons of slaughter and destruction. For this to be possible, it ms be accompanied by a sense of international responsibility form all countries in working towards the elimination of the causes of oppression and tyranny that we referred to, as well as for the removal of the causes of injustices that are the grievances of all peoples vulnerable to occupation and aggression. Directing the potentials of nations, whether capable financially or not, from military production to economic production will increase the possibilities of international cooperation in all its forms.

Mr. President:
As we start a new year in the calendar of the United Nations, we look forward to a new era of international cooperation to solve the political and social problems that go beyond the narrow constraints of every state, we look forward to overcoming the obstacles and difficulties facing international cooperation, in attempting to solve problems and to guide the international community to advanced stages of cooperation that would lead to political and economic stability, and enable all of us to face the challenges of the future with confidence and optimism.

Thank-you, Mr. President.

May Peace and Mercy of God be upon you.