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The twenty-third of September marks the anniversary of a special event in our nation's history. On this day in 1932, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud founded the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Our National Day represents the end of one era and the beginning of another. The formation of the Kingdom signaled the successful conclusion of a 30-year campaign by King Abdul Aziz to end decades of division, enmity and disruption. It also marks the beginning of an era in which, after having successfully molded the disparate tribes of Arabia into a cohesive nation, King Abdul Aziz set the Kingdom on the path of stability, development and progress.

Saudi Arabia's achievements over the past 65 years speak for themselves. They attest to the sagacity of a system that while rooted in the principles of Islam has successfully adapted to the demands of a changing world, and to the rigors inherent in being an active player in the global economy and an integral member of the comity of nations.

Over this relatively short span of time, the Kingdom has successfully implemented one of the most far-reaching and comprehensive socioeconomic development plans in human history. A people once overwhelmed with the day-to-day struggle to survive in a harsh environment now take for granted access to the most modern amenities. Education, which once was the domain of only a privileged few, is now accessible to all Saudi citizens through the university level. Modern hospitals and health clinics are available to residents of all cities and towns, and mobile clinics visit citizens in isolated areas. A nation that lacked any industrial facilities is now a major producer of consumer and industrial goods, meeting most of its needs and exporting products to more than seventy countries. Saudi Arabia has achieved similar progress in agriculture, banking, commerce and other areas of human activity.

All of this has been made possible by the unwavering dedication of the Saudi leadership to the Islamic Shari'ah (law) and to serving the interests of its people. Indeed, much of the development already achieved would not have been possible without active cooperation between the public and private sectors. As the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz emphasized earlier this year, Saudi Arabia is determined to further expand the role of the private sector in the economy and national development. The role Saudi citizens play in the continuing development of their nation was recently enhanced by expanding the membership of the Majlis Al-Shura (Consultative Council) from sixty to ninety.

As we have done on past anniversaries of our National Day, we reflect on the security, stability and prosperity we have achieved and thank God for His bounties. We also look to the future with hope that with His blessings and our own tireless efforts we will continue to set an example for our children to emulate and build upon.

Bandar Ibn Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States

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