King inaugurates 5th session of Shura Council

March 24, 2009

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz inaugurated the first year of the 5th session of the consultative Shura Council at its headquarters in Riyadh today. During his address, the King wished the Council success on dealing with domestic and international challenges.

 

King Abdullah praised the government’s handling of the global financial crisis, noting that the Saudi economy has come out relatively unscathed thus far. "We are still watching the situation with caution and vigilance," he said, adding that domestic development projects have continued. The King called for greater monitoring of financial sectors around the world to prevent a recurrence of the crisis.

Moving on to regional issues, King Abdullah stressed the importance of the Arab reconciliation process. "We will continue – God willing – until every difference is eliminated, knowing that victory can not be achieved for the nation that engages in fighting itself," he declared.

In particular, the King called for a unified response to the plight of the Palestinians and demanded that the world community prevent further Israeli attacks. "If this aggression continues," he warned, "it will lead the whole region of the Middle East to the brink of abyss and this will threaten world peace." The King held up the Arab peace plan, which he proposed at an Arab summit in 2002, as the best solution to the conflict.

Finally, King Abdullah reflected on the success of his global dialogue initiative, which culminated in international conferences in Madrid and New York last year. Stressing the importance of promoting understanding between civilizations, he noted that the ultimate aim of the initiative is to refocus international relations on "the human commonality" among the peoples of the world. "Focusing on points of differences among the followers of religions and cultures leads to fanaticism and sows seeds of sedition and animosity," he said. "This creates conflicts that might take the form of destructive wars which are not justified by any divine religion or ethical principle."