[Riyadh] -- In an address to the Consultative Council, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz pledged to expand the breadth and pace of reform in the country and affirmed the government’s resolve to crack down on terrorism.
“The people of Saudi Arabia oppose all forms of terrorism, and will never allow any faction of deviant terrorists to harm the country and undermine the safety of its citizens and residents. We will not allow any deviant ideology that encourages and feeds terrorism,” said King Fahd. “This nation is determined to eradicate all forms of terrorism.”
King Fahd went on to state that economic and political reform is critical to the future of the country, and commended the Council for its contributions to the many political, administrative, economic and social reforms now underway. This includes the streamlining of government institutions to improve performance in the public sector, and the setting up of a non-government Human Rights Commission, which will be an independent advocacy organization to enhance human rights in the Kingdom. In addition, new laws have been put in place to modernize civil and criminal judicial procedures. “New laws and regulations will provide equal access to justice for all citizens, prevent violations, and respect basic human rights,” stated King Fahd.
In King Fahd's words: “We will continue on the path of political and economic reform, and we will work to improve our system of government and the performance of the public sector. We will broaden popular participation in the political process and open wider horizons for women in the economy.”
Current economic reforms in the Kingdom have focused on modernizing laws and regulations that encourage trade and investment, as well as the removal of obstacles to encourage private sector investment from inside and outside the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia has taken steps to privatize around 20 different sectors.
“Economic reform is a continuous process and is of vital importance. The development of our country and the improvement of the quality of life for all citizens will depend on its success”, stated King Fahd.
Saudi Arabia, like many developing nations, continues to wrestle with problems of unemployment and poverty. To address these issues, the King pledged to increase resources for education and training as well as improve the overall educational system in the country.
The King also emphasized that public education is critical to religious moderation, tolerance and the peaceful teaching of Islam. The King called upon religious leaders to promote social harmony and unity.
In King Fahd's words:
“It is the responsibility of our religious leaders to save our youth from the evil of destructive thoughts that propagate extremism and hatred and only result in devastation and ruin.
“No one can ignore the seriousness of our move toward reform. And I say to every citizen that each one of us has a role and a responsibility in this endeavor. I say to each government official that public service is an honor, which has obligations to the public good, but does not convey any special privileges. I say to every businessman that our economy is not just a source of capital and profit, but it is an investment in national security and safety. I say to every woman that this nation is for all and you will be a partner in making its future. And I say to officials in education that they are shapers of future generations. Good education promotes character and instills values in the young for the benefit of this nation.
“And I say to every citizen that one of the most important obligations is to confront narrow mindedness, regionalism and social division. Confronting these ills is a requirement of our faith and contributes to national unity.
“The world we live in is at a crossroads. We are part of this world and cannot be disconnected from it. We cannot be mere spectators while the rest of the world is progressing towards a new global system. This country is the heart of the Muslim World, and the cradle of Arab identity. Therefore, we should rise to the challenges and support each other in carrying out responsibilities and duties.”