1993 Speech

Statement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the General Debate of the Forty-Eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations by Ambassador Gaafar M. Allagany, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, New York, October 13, 1993

In the name of God, most compassionate, most merciful. Blessings and peace be upon the most noble of prophets.

Mr. President:
It is with pleasure that I convey to Your Excellency, at the outset of my speech, our sincerest congratulations on the occasion of your election to the presidency of the forty-eighth session of the general assembly of the United Nations.  Your selection reflects appreciation for you personally, as well as for the positive role played by your country in the international arena.  May you be successful in the pursuit of your mission.   

On this occasion, I also wish to congratulate your predecessor for his effective conduct of the affairs of the general assembly during its previous session.

I also wish to acknowledge the sincere efforts continually exerted by His Excellency, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr. Boutros-Boutros-Ghali, to enhance the prospects for peace and reduce elements of tension which prevail in many parts of the world.

I am also pleased, on behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to welcome all the states which have joined our distinguished organization to participate, along with all other member states, in realizing the noble objectives towards which we strive.

Mr. President:
The convening of the general assembly of the United Nations is taking place amidst important developments in the international arena which require us to strive to conclude this session with successful resolutions on the problems and crisis we face.  These resolutions must be within the context of our efforts to benefit from the opportunities provided by the emergence of what has come to be known as the new international order.
We have all contributed through the United Nations organization to establishing the new international order whose foundations are based on the principles enshrined in the U.N. charter and inherent in international legitimacy.  This new order respects the sovereignty and independence of nations, and assures the sanctity of international borders.  It guarantees the territorial integrity of states and rejects interference in their domestic affairs.  It is based on equity among nations, small and large, rich and poor, whose goal is to bring about cooperation among nations and peoples rather than war and destruction.  The new international order strives for the peaceful resolution of conflict and rejects the use of force or coercion.  It operates to preserve the dignity of man and to spread security, stability, prosperity, and development to all corners of our world.
The emergence of this order brought optimism and hope to the international community, particularly when serious and constructive international cooperation succeeded in confronting the Iraqi aggression against the State of Kuwait. Today, we are saddened and pained by the inability of this order to confront the aggression committed against the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a member state of our international organization.  This crisis, if not resolved in a manner compatible with the principles of the new world order, will cause this new order to lose its credibility and effectiveness.  We therefore call for enhancing the role of the United Nations from simply managing crises and preserving peace, to actively and effectively working to make peace.

Mr. President:
A general overview of the current international situation reveals that there still remain pockets of tension which threaten security and stability in many regions of the world.  The role of the United Nations is becoming increasingly more important, not only for the preservation of peace, but as an effective means for the creation of proper conditions for peace and stability throughout the world.

Without a doubt, the achievement of such conditions will be easier whenever opportunities for cooperation among nations and enhanced support for the United Nations is achieved.  The organization must operate in a manner which assures that no nation commits aggression against another or threatens its security and sovereignty.

The United Nations played an honorable role more than three years ago when it stood firmly in the face of Iraq's aggression against its neighbor Kuwait.  It passed resolutions and took firm positions, which led to the reversal of the aggression and the restoration of legitimacy to Kuwait, a peace-loving nation.  This role reflects positively our perception of what we expect of this international body during times of tension.  We hope and ask that this role continue and is enhanced through efforts to assure the complete implementation of all Security Council resolutions regarding the Iraqi regime, a regime which continues to flaunt international legality.  Two years after the liberation of Kuwait, the Baghdad regime continues to practice a behavior of threats and false accusations against Kuwait.  It continues to delay efforts to implement United Nations resolutions, and rejects all international obligations.  We point to the Iraqi regime's objection to the recommendations of the United Nations Commission on the demarcation of the boundary between the State of Kuwait and Iraq, and the Iraqi regime's rejection of UN Security Council Resolution 833, as well as the continuation of this regime's detention of Kuwaiti hostages and POWs.

This regime has given itself the right, on the basis of sovereignty, to starve and abuse its people and subject Iraq to dangers which threaten its unity and security.  It falsely blames the international community for the dangers and tragedies to which Iraq and its people have become subject.  The means for dealing with the dangers of this regime to the region in general, and the Iraqi people in particular, depend first and foremost on the full and complete implementation of the resolutions of the Security Council.

Mr. President:
The declaration of principles between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Israeli government, signed in Washington on September 13th of this year, has raised expectations and hopes which signal the possibility of achieving a just and permanent settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict; a conflict which has persisted for too long.  This development, though it represents only an agreement on self-government in the occupied Palestinian territories, beginning with Gaza and Jericho, nevertheless represents a step towards the establishment of a just, comprehensive and permanent peace between the Arab States and Israel.  It is natural that a solution to the Palestinian question will contribute to a just and comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict because it represents the core of this conflict.

The welcome with which the Palestinian-Israeli agreement was received within Palestinian, Arab and international circles genuinely and clearly reflects the desire of the Arabs for the establishment of a permanent, just and comprehensive peace in the Middle-East.  It also indicates the seriousness with which the Arab side has pursued the current peace process, which was launched in Madrid in October of 1991 under the sponsorship of the United States of America and the Federated Russian Republic.

We are witnessing today the optimism generated by the Palestinian-Israeli agreement, and we feel it is incumbent upon the international community to lend support to the progress which has been achieved in this area by providing the necessary economic and developmental assistance required to build the administrative structures needed to make the agreement on self-government succeed.  At the same time, it is also incumbent upon us to work diligently to exploit the opportunity generated by this agreement to further the cause of peace.

Consolidation of this agreement requires the achievement of concrete and positive results in the areas of negotiation between Palestinians and Israelis, at the forefront of which is the issue of Jerusalem, which is an integral part of the occupied Arab territories, as well as the issue of the return of Palestinian refugees, and the settlements erected by Israel in the occupied Arab territories contrary to international law and the Geneva Conventions.  At the same time, genuine progress in all other bilateral negotiating tracks is needed.
The issue of the occupied Golan Heights is clear, and governed by the principle of respect for international borders.  The preservation of security is not achieved, as the reality of our contemporary history shows, through the occupation of territory by force, but through the establishment of peace.  Therefore, the achievement of peace on this front will only be realized by the complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights.

Likewise, the Lebanese-Israeli negotiating track is governed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 425 which clearly calls for the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from all Lebanese territory.

Mr. President:
I wish to express the appreciation of the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to President Clinton for his prudent initiative in calling for, and hosting, an International Donors Conference to solicit political and financial support for the Palestinians as they prepare to assume the responsibilities of self government in the occupied territories.  I also wish to take this opportunity to express our pleasure with the positive results generated at this conference.  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has, and continues, to fully support the Middle East peace process by all means.  It has participated effectively in the multilateral talks, and genuinely hopes that the process will lead to a just, permanent and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question and the Arab conflict with Israel on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.  Despite the financial burdens the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia faces in building an advanced economy in which the expectations of its citizens for a better future are fulfilled, and despite its current international obligations at a time of difficulty in the international economic system, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia participated in the International Donors Conference which recently concluded its meeting in Washington, D.C. The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques bestowed upon me the honor of announcing the Kingdom's commitment to provide substantial developmental assistance to improve the infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza strip in coordination with the World Bank's special five-year program for the occupied territories.  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will participate, through the Saudi Development Fund, in the amount of one hundred million U.S. dollars for the year 1994.  We believe that this assistance will improve the living conditions of our Palestinian brothers in the occupied Arab territories as well as contribute positively to the peace process.

Mr. President:
The Lebanese government has made great strides in its efforts to implement the Taif accords.  It has taken the necessary political and constitutional measures to achieve this aim.  We must continue our support for the efforts of the Lebanese legal authority and contribute to the process of reconstruction in Lebanon.  In this regard, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia appeals to the international community to help Lebanon by all available means to enable the current government to continue moving forward with the process of reconstruction to allow Lebanon to restore its material and cultural position.  It is important, for the realization of this goal, to reiterate the need for an Israeli commitment to fully and unconditionally implement UN Security Council Resolution 425, which requires Israel to withdraw from Lebanese territory to enable the Lebanese government to extend its legal authority over all of Lebanon.

Mr. President:
We would like to emphasize our desire that the Middle East region obtain its legitimate share of security, peace and stability, to so that it will be able to direct all its energies towards development, and devote all its resources towards prosperity for its people.  One of the most important tasks facing us is to strive towards the elimination of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a signatory to the convention on the non-proliferation of chemical weapons and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.  We continue to believe that the goal of making the Middle East a region free of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction; whether nuclear, chemical or biological, will only be realized when all states in the region, including Israel, refrain from the production, stockpiling, or possession of any kind of weapon of mass destruction.

Mr. President:
The situation in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina is worsened by the continuation of a genocidal war committed by Serb forces supported by Serbia and Montenegro against this young republic.  The continuing tragedy of the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has resulted in the death of thousands of innocent civilians and the displacement of a large portion of its citizens, would have occurred were it not for the apparent indifference of the international community.  This attitude allowed the forces of aggression to benefit from their aggression, and to continue their abhorable policy of ethnic cleansing without fear of retribution.  The weak stand of the international community was reflected in the inability to implement comprehensively the resolutions of the London conference, upon which we placed great hopes.  It is also reflected in the failure of the 'Vance-Owen' plan and the collapse of the subsequent Geneva talks on refugees.  The abandonment by the international community of its responsibilities with regard to the Serbian aggression has emboldened the Croats to embark upon a similar course of realizing gains by means of force and coercion.  We wonder why, when Croatia was subjected to Serbian aggression, the international community, and especially the European Nations, stood by Croatia and provided military assistance which contributed to the success of international efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement, while the international community's weak position toward the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina prevented this young republic from exercising its legitimate right to self-defense, and restricted itself to the implementation of international resolutions to impose economic sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro.  These resolutions remained only on paper and were not implemented seriously until after the swords of aggression were drawn and the Serbs rejected the "Vance-Owen" plan which the Bosnians and Croats accepted.  What causes us shock and amazement is that this war of aggression is waged on European territory, and history has clearly shown that wars waged in Europe have never been limited wars, but have spread without bounds.  This reality is now being ignored.

We hope that the history of warfare in Europe will not repeat itself, and that the solutions currently proposed do not plant the seeds for future conflict, and that the International Community will give serious consideration to the demands of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina to prevent it from being subjected to policies of aggression and ethnic cleansing, and to satisfy the geographical demands of this young nation by granting it access to the seas as well as the means for legitimate self-defense as enshrined in the UN Charter.

Mr. President:
The people and the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have taken a principled stand in support of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina which emanates from their strong and complete adherence to international legitimacy and respect for international law.  This position was not taken because of religious or ethnic affinity, but rather represents the same principled stand taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in support of Kuwait when it was subjected to aggression by the Iraqi regime.

Mr. President:
Somalia continues to experience instability and political chaos complemented by acts of violence and bloodshed in spite of all the efforts expended to extract this nation from its dilemma.  International efforts during the conference for national reconciliation held in Addis Ababa have focused on the preservation of the Somali State and the maintenance of its independence and territorial integrity.  Unfortunately, the required steps have not been taken to seriously implement this agreement.  The role of the United Nations has been limited to the distribution of humanitarian assistance to those in need, at a time when the role expected of it within the new world order is to contribute to peace-making and stabilization of the Somali State.  Such measure should help establish a Somali government which can spread its authority throughout Somalia.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has undertaken a number of attempts at containing the conflict in Somalia and tried to bring about national reconciliation between the various parties.  It continues to exert efforts to stop the bloodshed and provide humanitarian assistance and relief.  My government supports the recommendations of H.E. the Secretary-General of the United Nations which were presented in a report to the Security Council and which deal with the issue of helping establish Somali institutions and undertaking efforts to achieve national reconciliation and the rebuilding of Somalia.

Mr. President:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has stood by the fraternal people of Afghanistan during their Jihad and celebrated their victory over the forces of brutal occupation and the restoration of their national identity.  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has initiated sincere efforts when the fighting between the various Mujaheddin factions began.  These efforts were aimed at establishing national reconciliation, and were crowned with the signing of the "Makkah Agreement" and the initiation of steps required for its implementation.  A national government representing all factions of the Afghan Mujaheddin was established.  We take this opportunity to urge our brothers in Afghanistan to comply with the agreement to enable Afghanistan to move towards rebuilding and development and the restoration of its place and role in the international community.
It must be noted that this part of the world continues to suffer as a result of the Jami-Kashmir problem, which continues to be an element of instability in the region.

The government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques follows, with great concern, the violence which continues to occur, and is anxious for a solution, based on UN Resolutions, to this long-standing problem which has cast its shadow upon relations between two neighbors, India and Pakistan.  Of the other conflicts in Asia, the tragic developments in the struggle between two member states of the United Nations, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, has resulted in the occupation by Armenia of parts of Azerbaijan.  We view this occupation as a violation of the principle of peaceful resolution of conflicts, and emphasize the importance of the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijani territory and the transfer of this issue to the negotiating tables to achieve a peaceful and just settlement assuring the legitimate rights of the people of Azerbaijan.

Mr. President:
Our joint and serious efforts towards strengthening the foundations of the new world order which seeks to deal with the issue of development and the creation of an international economic environment in which financial resources are redirected from arms races to economic and social development is in line with our ambitions and the aspirations of our peoples for a better life permeated by peace, prosperity and security.  This undertaking requires the cooperation of the developed industrial nations by way of opening their markets for products from developing nations, and the elemination of protectionist measures.  The industrial nations can cooperate to accelerate a successful outcome of the "Uruguay Round" of multilateral trade talks, and to find an urgent solution to the debt problem.  Furthermore, economic cooperation between developing countries is a paramount issue and represents a fundamental tool for consolidating international economic development.

My government accords great interest and attention to issues relating to the world economic system.  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represents a state open to the world, interacting with all the trends and developments which affect it.  It is keen on preserving the health and strength of the world economy and is concerned with disruptions and turmoil which affect its course and development.  It is from this basis that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has positively joined the ongoing discussions on energy and environment.  It has assumed its responsibilities in this regard and participated actively in international discussions to find workable and balanced solutions to global warming based on proven scientific evidence.  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is convinced that the future of this world and the prosperity of its inhabitants depend on a clear understanding of the environmental problems facing the world as well as an understanding of the consequences of the policies taken to deal with these problems.  This requires a delicate balance.  The impact of environmental policies on the economic growth of developing countries must be examined for the purpose of highlighting the investment needed to achieve comprehensive development and enhancement of the standard of living of our people so they may enjoy prosperity, peace, security, and stability.  The current international circumstances which have led to the end of the cold war, and the progress achieved in arms control, have provided a rare opportunity for channeling the financial windfall towards solving the problems of development and underdevelopment.

Mr. President:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was in the forefront of Islamic States which have ratified the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, issued by the Organization of the Islamic Conference on August 4, 1990, and known as the "Cairo Declaration".  This declaration should be regarded as a tributary which provides the proper foundation for positive and practical international cooperation, and which flows into the main stream of universal support for human rights and freedoms.  The Cairo Declaration expresses the will of over one billion people, which grants it, by any measure, a universal character.  While the principles and objectives of human rights are universal in nature, their application must take into consideration the diversity of societies, and their historical, cultural, and religious backgrounds and legal systems.  We should not rush to the creation of mechanisms which would only deepen differences and disregard sensitivities which emerged during the world conference on human rights recently held in Vienna.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a developing society firmly based on the rules which constitute the pillars of Islamic civilization.  It is a society which has firmly set itself to face the challenges of our times with determination and confidence.  It is a society undergoing evolution and significant reform.  Its reforms are guided by the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, and embodies in the basic laws of governance, the charter of the Majlis Al-Shura (Consultative Council) and the laws of the provinces.  These laws place upon the state the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights in accordance with the Islamic Shari'a, and determine the relationship between the ruler and the ruled on the basis of brotherhood, consultation, loyalty and cooperation.  I am pleased to inform this august body that the members of the Majlis Al-Shura (Consultative Council) and the members of the provincial councils have been named.  These institutions are now seriously preparing to embark upon their planned tasks to serve their faith, their King, and their nation.  This important step in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's development paves the way for the participation of Saudi citizens in sharing the responsibility for confidently building a promising and hopeful future.

Mr. President:
The political and economic challenges we face, which are the subject of our agenda for this session, represent a great responsibility for us towards our people and nations.  Our future depends on the way we respond to these challenges.  We have great hope, in light of the current international situation and the emergence of international trends rejecting extremism and confirming the desire for openness and progress, that we will be able to overcome these challenges.  We must take into consideration that the new international order will not be able to provide us peace, justice and development unless we manage to grant it the means to do so.

Thank you.