Praise be to God, and may His peace and blessings be upon the noblest of Prophets and Messengers, the Prophet Muhammad.
At the beginning of this session, I have great pleasure to welcome you in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to convey to you my thanks and appreciation for accepting the invitation to participate in this Conference. Let me also express to you my best wishes of success for this Conference.
This Conference seeks to strengthen cooperation between states, elaborate clear views on this issue, and exchange experience and expertise in a bid to arrive at recommendations to serve the international community in combating the phenomenon of terrorism. The Conference will be focusing on the principal themes of clarifying the root causes, ideology, and culture of terrorism, as well as the link between terrorism and money laundering, arms trafficking, and drug smuggling. In addition, the Conference will explore the lessons learned from the experience of states in combating terrorism and the identification of terrorist organizations and their structures.
As you are well aware, terrorism has not just emerged today. In fact, down the ages societies have suffered this scourge and today it has become an organized crime with its own defining characteristics in terms of organization and financing. Therefore, the international community is today more than ever in dire need of strengthening cooperation between states at all domestic, regional, and international levels in order to tackle the motivation for terrorism and eradicate its root causes. The Council of Arab Ministers of the Interior has been perhaps one of the pioneers in adopting an Arab Convention on Combating Terrorism, which was ratified by both the Council of Arab Ministers of the Interior and the Council of Arab Ministers of Justice in 1998.
In calling for this international conference, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has acted on its awareness of the seriousness of terrorism and the need to fight it. That is because terrorism has become an international phenomenon that has nothing in common with any specific religion, society, or culture. Saudi Arabia has been among the targets of terrorism and the Saudi people have suffered its adversities. That is why the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been in the vanguard of states combating terrorism, acting in full conviction of its tolerant Islamic faith and its authentic Arab values.
The terrorist events that have been witnessed by this country have been perpetrated by a minority of miscreants who claimed that their crimes were motivated by religion. This is a patently false claim, because their crimes in reality have nothing to do with the true Islamic faith. In fact, they have just been the purveyors of a delinquent ideology that has lost its way and forsaken the tolerant teachings of Islam, feeding instead on alien ideas that have caused damage to human life and property.
In the last two years, Saudi Arabia has witnessed 22 criminal incidents – including explosions, attacks, and kidnapping – causing the death of 90 citizens and foreign nationals and injuring 507 people. Thirty nine security troops were martyred and 213 among them were injured, whereas 92 terrorists of this miscreant minority were killed and 17 of them wounded. Material losses in property and damage to facilities have exceeded one billion riyals. It is thanks to Allah’s grace and their alertness that the security forces have been able to foil a total of 52 terrorist operations in preemptive strikes that have thwarted the occurrence of any further loss in life or property.
The whole of the Saudi society without exception has successfully stood firm against these miscreants and has demonstrated resolute determination to strongly and ably defeat their purpose in conformity with the directives and affirmations of His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Commander of the National Guard.
In fact, terrorism is not just an act, but the product of an aberrant ideology that must be fought. That is why the onus of the responsibility lies with all societies, with all their institutions, to confront and combat terrorism since, just as the security institutions have their obligations, cultural - academic, mass media, and educational - institutions have a great responsibility to inculcate the right ideals and sound human values and to immunize societies against any delinquent ideas or evil deeds.
Early on, we fully realized the importance of conducting the necessary scientific studies and research on the phenomenon of terrorism, including its motivations, actions and remedies. We hope that efforts will be combined around the world to assume the responsibility of combating terrorism so that everyone can be assured of living in safety and dignity.
I thank you for your attention.