Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz gave his annual address in Jeddah today to the Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura) on the occasion of the start of the fourth year of their third session. Also present was Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
King Fahd began his address by affirming the Kingdom‘s base in Islam and the derivation of its Constitution from the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah [sayings of the Prophet Muhammad], reflecting justice, consultation, and equality in accordance with Shariah [Islamic Law]. Islam, he reiterated, is a religion of mercy and peace, calling for dialogue and peaceful coexistence among nations and forbidding aggression and havoc on earth. Referring to the recent acts of terrorism suffered by the Kingdom, he stated that although the perpetrators aim at destabilizing security, the strong unity between the leadership and the people and the brave efforts of the security forces will prevail, declaring: “We will not allow a wicked group driven by a deviant ideology to destabilize the Kingdom's security.”
King Fahd went on to give reassurance that Saudi Arabia has spared no effort in confronting terrorism in all its forms, fighting it at home and condemning it overseas. One of the first countries to call on the international community to combat terrorism, the Kingdom has ratified the Arab Agreement to Combat Terrorism, approved the unified security strategy of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and expressed its full commitment to the relevant United Nations resolutions.
As for reform, King Fahd declared that the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue was established in order to activate the role of the citizens in the country’s growth, modernization and development in accordance with its characteristics, its Arab identity and Islamic Law. The Center aims at strengthening dialogue based on various viewpoints on overall issues including the development of education, the tackling of violence and extremism, and the role of women in development. He also referred to the recently-established National Association for Human Rights, the upcoming elections for municipal councils, and the amendment to its bylaws giving the Consultative Council the right to propose draft regulations. Nevertheless, he added, a top priority for Saudi Arabia remains the security of the two holy mosques and the services provided to pilgrims.
Turning to achievements in the economic and social fields, King Fahd commented on the natural gas contracts signed with international oil companies, whose project workforce will be 75 percent Saudi. He also commented on the privatization strategy approved by the Supreme Economic Council, pointing out that the Eighth Development Plan (2005-09) focuses on technology and employment opportunities for university graduates as well as development and increased income. Commenting that human resources are the basis of social and economic development, he said the role of women is vital, and they should perform their duties and exercise their rights in accordance with Shariah [Islamic Law].
On foreign policy, King Fahd reiterated the Kingdom’s constant stance on the Palestinian issue, that Israel's practices have obstructed the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region; and stressed that for Iraq, there is an urgent need for international cooperation to enable that country to enjoy full sovereignty, security and stability.