1995 Speech

Prince Saud Al-Faisal's speech at Non-Aligned Movement in Cartagena

HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Address to the
11th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement
Cartagena, Colombia
October 14-20, 1995

In the name of God, the most merciful, the most gracious,
and peace be upon the most Honorable of Prophets and Messengers

Mr. President,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
On behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia, I am pleased to express to you our greetings and best wishes. I would also like to convey to you his regret for not being able to participate in person in this conference.

I am further pleased to express, in the name of my country, our appreciation and gratitude to H.E. the President, the Government and the people of Colombia for their hospitality and warm welcome. I am quite confident that Your Excellency’s election as chairman of our conference will have a positive impact on the success of our deliberations, thanks to Your Excellency’s known wisdom and experience.

I would also like to express our great appreciation for the efforts exerted by H.E. President Suharto, and the Government of Indonesia, on numerous international developments during Indonesia’s Presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. President:

The Eleventh Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement is being held while our world is witnessing a series of important developments and changes in the aftermath of the Cold War, and the end of the bi-polar system which had impacted international relations following the Second World War. That situation led to the emergence of our Non-Aligned Movement which played a positive role in keeping international peace and security throughout a period of intense competition between the two blocs.

If the Non-Aligned Movement emerged as a response to the desires of our nations to curb the consequences of the escalating conflicts between the two competing blocs, the end of the Cold War, and the emergence of a new international order based on new realities, will not diminish the importance of our movement or cancel its principles. Today, more than at any time, we need to uphold and confirm these principles.

Since its emergence, the Non-Aligned Movement has highlighted the values of justice and equality among states, called for refraining from the use of force in the resolution of conflicts, and endeavored to preserve human dignity and to enhance security and welfare for all humanity. As these principles and goals represent the pillars of international legality, our movement is called upon today, more than at any time, to uphold these principles and to realize these goals. This is particularly so, since the developments and changes of the last decade are all pointed towards this direction and are also based on the very principles and goals upheld by the Non-Aligned Movement.

We proudly recall the prominent role played by our movement in support of national liberation movements and de-colonialization as well as the exercise of the peoples’ rights to self-determination, sovereignty and control of their destiny. We invite our movement to continue the exercise of this important role towards all peoples who are victims of oppression or aggression, such as the aggression experienced by the State of Kuwait five years ago and the one currently confronting the people of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as to support the continuing struggle of the Palestinian people to attain their legitimate rights.

Mr. President:

The prompt and courageous decision of the international community to confront the Iraqi aggression against the State of Kuwait was a unique example, which must be emulated every time the international community faces a similar aggression. This principled position was manifested in a series of historic resolutions adopted by the Security Council with a view to reversing the Iraqi aggression, restoring legitimacy and sovereignty to the State of Kuwait and preventing a recurrence of such aggression. We have therefore consistently considered these resolutions as a cohesive legal structure, the full and comprehensive implementation of which constitutes a basic requirement for any possible consideration of easing or lifting the sanctions imposed in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

The suffering of the Iraqi people is not the result of the sanctions imposed by the security Council but rather it is caused by the refusal of the Iraqi Government to comply with international resolutions. We therefore demand full and comprehensive implementation by the Government of Iraq of all Security Council resolutions including Resolutions 706, 712 and 986 which deal with the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people.

Reports of the Chairman of the U.N. Special Commission for the Elimination of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (UNSCOM), Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, and what was revealed recently about the intentions and designs of the Iraqi regime by one of its pillars who has defected to Jordan, require us to insist on the strict compliance by Iraq of these resolutions and to reassure ourselves of the real intentions of the Iraqi Government prior to any review of the sanctions. While we note with full appreciation the efforts exerted by Ambassador Ekeus and his esteemed committee, we cannot ignore the fact that the serious information revealed by the Iraqi defector greatly exceeded in magnitude all that UNSCOM was able to gather during five years of its continued operation. This fact requires us to embark immediately on the improvement of the work of the committee and to enhance its capabilities. It is in the best interest of our international organization to do its utmost to enable the UN monitoring and surveillance machinery to fulfill its mandate and to perform its duties efficiently and effectively in a manner commensurate with the importance of its task.

We look forward to the return of Iraq to the fold of the international community as a responsible member playing a constructive role in the international arena in recognition of what is known about its resourceful people. The suffering of the Iraqi people will continue to be a source of concern to us. We will continue to express our keen interest in the preservation of Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Mr. President,

Distinguished Delegates:

The Palestinian question and the Arab-Israeli conflict in general have always been among the most important items on the agenda of previous Non-Aligned Movement conferences. Our current conference is convened after the Middle East peace process has taken some steps in the direction of laying the foundations for a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to this chronic conflict. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has supported this process since its inception at the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991, and has actively worked to advance the bilateral talks between the Arab parties and Israel. It has also participated in the work of the various working groups emanating from the multilateral talks.

Our interest and participation reflect the genuine Arab desire and sincere intentions towards the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace in the region. We have repeatedly stated that the multilateral talks are not a substitute for the bilateral negotiations but a compliment to the peace process. It was on this basis that we participated in the working groups. Hence, any progress in the multilateral talks has to be assessed in the light of whatever progress has been achieved in the bilateral negotiations.

The signing in Washington in September 1993 of the Declaration of Principles between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Government of Israel gave rise to optimism on the ground that it represented the first step towards a peaceful and just settlement of the Palestinian question. However, the implementation of this agreement was soon to stumble over a series of Israeli obstacles and impediments in the way of enabling the Palestinian Authority to exercise its duties and expand its competence to cover the entire West Bank, as called for in that agreement.

The continued establishment of settlements in the Occupied Territories, the continued imprisonment of a large number of Palestinians, and the imposition of oppressive restrictions against the Palestinian people, are contrary to the spirit and letter of the agreement. It is therefore incumbent upon the two co-sponsors of the peace conference to prompt the Israeli Government to fulfill its commitments in accordance with the agreement recently signed in Washington on the second phase of the implementation of the Declaration of Principles. This agreement covers the redeployment of the Israeli occupation forces, the preparation for the first Palestinian elections, and the transfer of additional responsibilities to the Palestinian National Authority. Progress in the peace process will always depend on the responsiveness of this process to the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. Ignoring these rights will always hinder the peace process.

My country has already welcomed the progress realized on the Jordanian-Israeli track. We unfortunately fail to notice any concrete progress on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks. The question of the occupied Syrian Arab Golan is a clear-cut question governed by the principles of international law. Syria has gone a long way in creating the appropriate environment for the achievement of a settlement with Israel both with regard to the upgrading of the level of representation in the bilateral negotiations and the demonstration of seriousness and readiness to provide the objective requirements for a peaceful settlement. This constructive posture on the part of the Syrian Government has not so far been matched by a comparable Israeli response. As to the Lebanese track, it is governed by Security Council Resolution 425, which unequivocally demands immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the occupied Lebanese territories.

Mr. President:

The question of Jerusalem -- al-Quds al-Shareef -- is at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and is of utmost concern for the Arab and Muslim world. The future of the peace process depends entirely on the handling of this question. The decision to defer the consideration of this question to the final phase of the peace negotiations was not meant to undermine its importance. Quite the contrary, it was in response to the desire of giving the peace process a chance to create an atmosphere of confidence conducive to the successful handling of this highly sensitive issue. It is regrettable to note that the Israeli authorities continue to effect demographic and institutional changes of the status of Jerusalem that will prejudice the forthcoming negotiations on the final status of this city. Our position on this question was and continues to be that any settlement of this question has to be based on the resolutions of international legality, most notably Security Council Resolution 242 which requires Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967, and 252 relevant to Jerusalem. Equally, for any settlement to be comprehensive and durable, it must address the question of the return of the Palestinian refugees, the release of the Palestinian prisoners, and the question of Israeli settlements established in the occupied territories in violation of international law and the fourth Geneva Conventions as well as the letter and spirit of the Declaration of Principles.

Mr. President:

The Government of the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques has given great attention to the question of removing the danger of mass destruction weapons from the Middle East. That includes efforts to declare the Middle East as a zone free from all mass destruction weapons whether nuclear, chemical or biological. The constructive participation of my country in the Conference on the review and extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty held recently in New York, was indicative of this concern. This position of my country is consistent with its declared support for the efforts aiming at establishing the Middle East as a zone free from all mass destruction weapons. Accordingly, we regard the accession of Israel to this Treaty as well as subjecting its nuclear installations to the international inspection and surveillance regime constitutes a necessary step towards the realization of this objective.

While we firmly believe in the necessity to improve the effectiveness of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty through the enhancement of the international inspection and surveillance regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency and ensuring the universality of the said Treaty, we also deem it necessary to formulate similar regimes of controls and surveillance with a view to bringing about the desired progress in all fields pertaining to the elimination of all mass destruction weapons. This is in conformity with General Assembly Resolution #1 of 1946, which deals with the elimination off mass destruction weapons. In this respect, we call upon all countries which have not yet acceded to this Treaty to do so and thereby contributing to the enhancement of international security and stability.

Mr. President:

The question of the continued occupation of the three Emirati islands (Abu Musa, the Greater Tunbs and Lesser Tunbs) is a source of great concern not only to the United Arab Emirates, but also to the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council as a whole. All these countries are keen to maintain the best of relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. We have repeatedly urged the Islamic Republic of Iran to respond positively to the call of the United Arab Emirates to settle this problem peacefully through serious bilateral negotiations. However, as we have not yet seen such a response to these calls, we are left with the alternative of referring this matter to the International Court of Justice as the international body with competence to deal with disputes among states.

Mr. President:

The firm stand of the international community during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait is the kind of example that should be evoked to ensure the credibility of our organization. By contrast, the indecisiveness which branded the response of the international community to the Serbian aggression against the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina is an example that has to be avoided.

It seems that the lesson drawn by the international community from this war, is that any chance to put an end to this human tragedy continues to hinge on the ability of the international community to stand firmly and solidly against the Serbian aggression. The Serbs’ intransigence has always been associated with the indecisiveness of the international community. A limited response by the Serbs was recorded every time they were confronted with a degree of firmness and determination in responding to their aggression whether in Croatia or the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The situation created by NATO air strikes against military sites of the Bosnian Serbs around Sarajevo, has provided a real opportunity for extracting this war-torn nation from its tragic situation. It is to be noted, that any peace plan proposed for deliberation and consideration with a view to permanently resolving this conflict will not hold if it does not take fully into account the rights of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina to sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. Furthermore, aggressor must not be equated with the aggressed. It is also of utmost importance to prosecute and try war criminals for the crimes they commit against humanity.

I would like to seize this opportunity to commend the efforts exerted by President Clinton with a view to assisting parties to the conflict in reaching a just settlement. We also note with appreciation the endeavors of President Jacques Chirac of France aiming at the enhancement of cooperation and coordination between the International and the Islamic Contact Groups. We hope that consideration of any arrangements for the status of minorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina will also apply to other minorities in the Balkans, especially the Albanian minority in Kosovo.

Mr. President:

Somalia, a member state of our movement, continues to experience instability and political chaos complemented by acts of terrorism and bloodshed. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has attempted several times to contain the conflict in Somalia and to bring about national reconciliation between the various factions. It has extended a helping hand and provided humanitarian assistance and relief to the Somali people, and urged all the Somali factions to listen to the call of reason and to put the interest of the Somali people above all other considerations and to work towards national reconciliation.

We launch a similar appeal to the Afghan Mujaheddin, who have not been able to reap the fruits of their historic victory against foreign occupation because of the differences and disputes among their various factions. Since the outbreak of this conflict, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the guidance and pursuance of the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, has exerted earnest efforts with a view to ceasing the fighting. These efforts culminated in the signing of the Agreement of Makkah Al-Mukarramah of 1993. We call upon all the Afghan Mujaheddin factions to cease the fighting immediately and to abide sincerely by this agreement and turn towards the reconstruction and development of their country so that Afghanistan regains its respectable place in the international community.

Among the conflicts that continue to rage in Asia is the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that the appropriate solution to this conflict lies in the implementation of the relevant United Nations resolutions and to adopt dialogue and understanding that would eventually lead to an end to this long-standing dispute.

Within the context of the problems of this region we note with regret the continuation of another conflict, namely, Nagorno-Karabakh. The problem emanates from the occupation by Armenia of a part of the Azerbaijani territory. Despite all efforts of mediation exerted so far, the problem continues unabated. We see in this occupation a violation of the principle of inadmissibility of the use of force as a means to resolve conflicts. Consequently, Armenia must withdraw its forces from Azerbaijani territory, and recourse to negotiations for the purpose of achieving a peaceful settlement that preserves the legitimate rights of the people of Azerbaijan.

Mr. President:

This overview of crises in our world must not cause us to lose sight of the importance and positive developments which are taking place in our contemporary era and which have given rise to hope for a better future for humanity. We continue to have great expectations as a result of the positive developments in the aftermath of the Cold War, and the emergence of solutions to pressing problems in Cambodia, the Middle East and Northern Ireland. The positive historic change in South Africa has eradicated the abhorrent policies of Apartheid and has brought about a new South Africa under the leadership of President Nelson Mandela, based on justice, equality and democracy.

These important developments must contribute to the consecration of the current international trend which is based on the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the provisions of international legality. We must in this context emphasize the fundamental role of the Security Council as the competent organ directly responsible for the questions pertaining to the maintenance of international peace and security. It is our hope, therefore, that any efforts to introduce structural reforms of the Security Council will aim at the enhancement of the capacity of the Council to fulfill its mandate in accordance with the Charter and to avoid the introduction of what could undermine its effectiveness and hinder the performance of its prescribed role.

Mr. President:

The changes and developments in the international arena demand from us close cooperation within the United Nations between the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77. The purpose of such cooperation must be that of dealing with the questions of development and the creation of an international economic environment capable of assisting the developing countries in their quest for economic and social development and the realization of their aspirations and expectations towards a future of stability and prosperity. It is expected from the developed countries to play their role for this purpose by opening their markets for the products of the developing countries, terminating projectionist policies, endeavoring to formulate solutions to the problem of indebtedness and creating appropriate conditions for the success of the World Trade Organization.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, desirous to contribute to the development of the least developed countries, has participated and continues to participate in the international developmental efforts. In this context, we have provided sizable assistance to these countries to help them overcome the problems of hunger and under-development and place them on the path of stability and economic progress. Today more than ever before, developed countries are required to increase their assistance to the least developed countries.

Mr. President:

The Non-Aligned Movement was established more than thirty-four years ago. During this time, its role on the international arena was a function of the circumstances and developments it has confronted. One of the lessons drawn during this period of the history of the movement is that its vitality and influence will always depend on its adaptability to the prevailing circumstances and developments. In view of the present realities of the international situation, our movement must focus on a fruitful North-South cooperation and pay closer attention to economic and social development.

It is an undisputed fact that there can be no stability or security without an overall development. It is imperative upon our movement while it comprehends its present and envisions its future to take practical and effective steps in accordance with the principles and intents on the basis of which the movement was founded, to ensure against any member country waging or threatening to wage aggression against another member state. Any failure to observe these requirements cannot but result in the weakening of our movement and undermine its credibility and influence.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate our appreciation to H.E. Dr. Ernesto Samper Pizano, President of the Republic of Colombia, for his efforts in organizing and hosting this conference. We also wish to applaud the people of Colombia for their hospitality and cordiality and hope that the conference will achieve its objectives and contribute to the well-being of our peoples.