Mr. President, heads of delegations, respected members: It gives me great pleasure to convey to you the compliments of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and his best wishes for a successful meeting.
I would also like to extend my gratitude to His Excellency the President, His Excellency the President of the General Assembly as well as to His Excellency the Secretary-General and all who contributed to this distinguished international gathering.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by virtue of its role in the international arena and as the home of the Two Holy Mosques to which all Muslims turn, is determined to contribute to the success of this historic gathering.
Mr. President: This international summit is being held five years after the UN Millennium Summit, whose agreed-upon objectives still require more effort in order to be met.
Today we are in dire need of an effective United Nations, one that is capable of fulfilling its responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, fostering sustainable development and safeguarding human rights in a manner that respects the diversity of societies and cultures.
Mr. President: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia attaches great importance to the issues of sustainable development. The high priority given to human development in our budget allocation has allowed the Kingdom to realize major achievement in relevant sectors.
Saudi Arabia has generously supported development efforts in other developing countries. During the past three decades, it has contributed on average four percent of its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for development assistance to 83 developing countries throughout the world – becoming the first in the world in this category. Saudi Arabia also provides material and moral support to multilateral development organizations and institutions at the Arab, regional and international levels by contributing to their capital as well as by providing administrative and technical support to these institutions, which play an active role in spurring economic and social development in developing countries.
Indeed, Saudi Arabia is the largest subscriber to the capital of most Arab and regional financial institutions. The Kingdom’s total contributions to these institutions amount to approximately $24.27 billion.
With respect to reducing the debt burden of heavily indebted countries, Saudi Arabia has already forgiven over $6 billion in debt owed to it by a number of least developed countries, and has contributed its full share to the International Monetary Fund’s debt reduction initiative fund.
Another facet of Saudi Arabia’s support for economic and social development in developing countries is that Saudi Arabia is the second highest in the world in workers’ remittances after the United States. The importance of such remittances is apparent as a significant source of foreign exchange and financial resources for labor-exporting countries.
I would like to take this occasion to call on the developed countries to honor their commitment to allocate 0.7 percent of their Gross National Product (GNP) to development assistance.
In this respect we welcome the efforts being made to identify additional and innovative resources to finance development; however, at the same time we stress the importance of achieving international consensus with respect to these resources, which should not prejudice the resources of other developing countries or cause them to assume additional burdens.
We also call for opening the markets of developed countries to exports from developing countries and for enabling countries, including my own, that wish to join the World Trade Organization to do so by granting them sufficient flexibility in accordance with their development circumstances.
Mr. President: Terrorism threatens the entire world. It is imperative that we make a collective effort to combat it. The Kingdom has reaffirmed its rejection and condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It suffered from and forcefully confronted terrorism in keeping with our Islamic faith, heritage and moral values.
Islam is a faith of peace, security and cooperation among people. All principles of Islam prohibit aggression against human beings. Allah Almighty said in the Holy Qur’an: “Transgress not the limits. Truly, God likes not the transgressors”. He also said: “If anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.”
In order to promote international cooperation in this area, Saudi Arabia last February organized an international counter-terrorism conference. The final communiqué issued at this conference, known as the “Riyadh Declaration,” reaffirmed the unified global will in combating terrorism and extremism.
The conference also adopted practical recommendations for combating terrorism and drying up its sources of financing. In addition, it supported the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to establish an international counter-terrorism center, a proposal that has garnered wide international support.
Therefore, the Kingdom is pleased to present a draft resolution to the United Nations General Assembly calling for the establishment of a task force to review the recommendations of the Riyadh Declaration, including the creation of an international counter-terrorism center. We greatly hope that this draft resolution will be endorsed and that we can take yet another step towards improving international cooperation in fighting terrorism, which is not bound by any nationality, ethnicity or religion.
Mr. President: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia appreciates the vital role played by the agencies of the United Nations, and hopes that efforts to reform the world body will strengthen these agencies and enhance their efficiency to better meet the needs and aspirations of our peoples.
The Kingdom supports international consensus with regard to expanding the Security Council as well as restricting the veto power by prohibiting its use against the implementation of previously adopted resolutions. Saudi Arabia also calls for the General Assembly to regain its authority as the main body of the United Nations as prescribed by its Charter.
Mr. President: The realization of peace and security requires adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter without double standards in the adoption and enforcement of Security Council resolutions. The Kingdom renews its call for Middle East and Gulf regions free of weapons of mass destruction. It also reaffirms that respect for international legitimacy is the means for resolving global conflicts; therefore, it is important to support the Middle East peace process.
The Arab countries affirmed their commitment to a just peace by endorsing the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. We hope that concerted international efforts will lead to the realization of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people in ending the occupation and establishing their independent state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem) as its capital.
With respect to the situation in Iraq, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reaffirms Iraq’s territorial integrity and Arab identity. We hope that the fraternal Iraqi people will overcome their differences to achieve these desired objectives and that Iraq will regain its rightful place among Arab and Muslim nations.
Finally, I pray to God to grant us success in creating a world of harmony and peace.
Peace be upon you.