King Abdullah statement at the G-20 Summit

November 15, 2008

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz statement at the Summit on Financial Markets and World Economy Washington, DC November 15, 2008

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank you, Mr. President, for calling this critical meeting of this important group, which is considered the broadest international forum and the most representative of the global economy. Globalization and the increasing interdependence of countries have made it necessary to include major developing countries in the membership of this group, making its role all the more vital for dealing with global economic issues.  In past years the G-20 has demonstrated its ability to foster agreement between the industrial and developing countries, and on this basis, to participate in calling for reform of the International Monetary Fund, the application of international standards, providing a forum for constructive discussions concerning demographic changes, energy security, trade, and other critical issues.

I am pleased to participate in this summit and have the opportunity to exchange opinions concerning the best policies to deal with the global financial crisis.  I expect our meeting to produce positive results that will contribute to addressing this crisis and reducing its harmful effects, as well as helping to restore normal growth in the global economy and establish firm foundations for the global financial system that will prevent such a crisis from occurring in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
This global economic crisis, which is unprecedented in terms of scope, character, the speed of its spread, and the dangers it poses, underscores the importance of international and cooperation to find appropriate solutions to the crisis and its effects.  This crisis revealed that undisciplined globalization and inadequate control of the financial sectors contributed to its rapid spread around the globe.  Among the most important lessons it has taught us is that markets cannot regulate themselves; therefore, there is an urgent need to strengthen monitoring agencies and systems for the financial sectors and to strengthen the role of the IMF with respect to the monitoring of these sectors in the industrial countries.

It is no secret that this crisis has spread to the whole world and its adverse effects are apparent in the real economy, meaning that its impact will be deeper, more dangerous, and longer lasting unless all countries, in accordance with their circumstances and needs, take the necessary appropriate measures. What makes us optimistic is that many countries -- including those participating here today -- have taken unprecedented measures aimed at restoring confidence in financial markets.  We must also stress the importance of taking into consideration the adverse effects that the policies adopted by a particular country may have on other countries.

Unfortunately, however, the suffering of poor countries will increase, making them unable to bear the effects of this crisis. Their economic conditions will deteriorate, making it more difficult for them than at any time in the past to achieve their Millennium Development Goals. It is therefore our hope that the donor countries, the IMF, the World Bank, and other international financial institutions will fulfill their role in this crisis by supporting the developing countries, particular the poor countries, helping them to face the effects of the crisis on their economies. We must work together to continue efforts aimed at the liberalization of trade and investment, which in recent decades has helped to improve living standards and raise millions out of poverty.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our region is not immune to the effects of this crisis, and we in turn shall strive to adopt the economic policies necessary for the continued growth of our economies and to play a constructive role in the global economy.  To this end, we will continue the program for government investment in spending on basic projects and services, striving to enhance the absorptive capacity and role of the private sector. We expect this program for the government and oil sectors to exceed $400 billion over the next five years.

We shall also continue our coordination with the Arab countries to reduce the adverse effects of this crisis on our region.  And we will continue to fulfill our role in ensuring the stability of the oil market and assisting developing countries, in cooperation with the international community, to ensure the recovery and growth of the global economy.

Saudi Arabia is aware of the pivotal and critical role it plays in the global economy and in ensuring the stability of the international oil market.  Our country's oil policy is based on balanced principles, taking into consideration the interests of both the producing and consuming countries.  For this reason Saudi Arabia has made many sacrifices, including maintaining costly additional productive capacity amounting to about 2 million barrels per day, seeking to promote global economic growth in a manner that serves the interests of all parties. We have also established, in cooperation with other friendly countries, the International Energy Forum Secretariat in Riyadh to foster dialogue between the producing and consuming countries.  We look forward to the cooperation of the consuming countries by not adopting policies that adversely affect the oil sector.

Saudi Arabia is also generously providing assistance to developing countries, with the amount it provides exceeding the percentage established by the United Nations for assistance from industrial countries.  We shall continue our policy of providing assistance to developing countries bilaterally and through multilateral, regional, and international institutions. The initiative we announced in Jeddah this year, "Energy for the Poor", reflects this policy. We would like to thank the World Bank for its efforts to activate this initiative, and we call on the donor countries to support it.

Finally, I would like to reiterate my thanks to President Bush for inviting the G-20, which has played an important role in building consensus on a number of economic issues. I stress the importance of enhancing the role of this group given that its membership is more representative of the global economy in the international economic system, so as to continue its efforts, with the required flexibility, to enhance cooperation and coordination between the members of the group through the exchange of opinions on issues of local and global interest.