Fourth anniversary of King Abdullah’s ascension to the throne celebrated

June 19, 2009

Saudi Arabia celebrated today the 4th anniversary of the allegiance-pledge to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who ascended to the throne on 26/6/1426 H. Speeches were delivered and articles written to mark the occasion by a number of governors, ministers and other officials.

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal reflected on the King’s commitment to cross-cultural understanding in an article entitled “The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Culture of Dialogue.” He highlighted King Abdullah’s sponsorship of the World Initiative for Dialogue between Followers of Religions and Cultures, which held two summits last year – one in Madrid in July and another at U.N. headquarters in New York in November.

Prince Saud noted that the conferences brought together top political and religious leaders from around the world and initiated an ongoing interfaith dialogue process. King Abdullah has often promoted constructive engagement, Prince Saud added, as evidenced by his call for dialogue between Palestinian factions and Iraqi sects, his plea for Arab reconciliation, and his creation of a National Dialogue Center at home.

In his own remarks, Chairman of the Allegiance-Pledge Commission Prince Misha’al bin Abdulaziz commended the major reform efforts led by King Abdullah in the political, economic, educational and social fields. “The Kingdom is no longer today an oil country affecting the world economy only, but it is a state that contributes to making decisions regionally and internationally,” said Prince Misha’al. He pointed to U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to begin his tour of the Arab world in Saudi Arabia as an indication of “the Kingdom’s position and the extent of the influence of its leader . . . in making the future of the region and the world.”

Assistant Minister of Culture and Information Prince Turki bin Abdulaziz commented on the Kingdom’s increasingly influential position in regional, Islamic and international arenas. He attributed that rise to the Kingdom’s policies of moderation, non-interference in the affairs of others, adoption of the language of dialogue, unity against terrorism in all its forms, and provision of energy in a way that balances the interests of both producers and consumers.

For his part, Minister of Health Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah noted that under the leadership of King Abdullah, the Kingdom has surpassed the development goals set by the U.N. Millennium Declaration in 2000. Minister of Economy and Planning Khalid Al-Qusaibi lauded the Kingdom’s economic growth during the reign of King Abdullah, noting that the Saudi economy “ranks 19 on the list of the world’s largest economies and is the largest in the Arab World.” He also detailed the large number of development projects currently underway in the Kingdom.