1990 Speech

Prince Saud Al-Faisal to 45th UN General Assembly, 1990
Statement by HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs during the General debate at the Forty-Fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York 13 Rabi Al-Awwal 1411 (2 October 1990)

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Mr. President:
I have the honor to convey to you and to this distinguished gathering the greetings of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, who wished to have been with you to address you personally, but current circumstances in the region necessitated his presence there. He has given me the honor of conveying to you the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's position concerning what is the most important in regard to what is happening in our region and in the international arena.

Mr. President:
It gives me pleasure to congratulate you on your election to the presidency of this forty-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly. It is an appreciation for you personally, and an appreciation of your country's important role, regionally and internationally. I am fully confident that your presidency of this session will be effective in realizing the objectives which the international community aspires to in these difficult international circumstances.

I avail myself of this opportunity to express thanks and appreciation to your predecessor, Mr. Joseph Garba, the president of the forty-fourth general assembly, who conducted its work, as well as the work of the special sessions during the past year, with efficiency, wisdom, and objectivity, for which he deserves praise and appreciation.

It also gives me pleasure to express thanks and appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his persistent and distinguished efforts in serving the cause of international peace and security, and his endeavor to develop the role and effectiveness of the United Nations Organization in realizing the high objectives for which it was established.

It also pleases me to welcome Liechtenstein to the membership of this international organization, coupled with our hope that her entry will consolidate the effectiveness and universality of joint international action, and our wishes to its friendly people for prosperity and progress.

Mr. President:
Here we stand today on the threshold of an overwhelming danger. Here is the situation teetering between the drums of war and the bells of peace. I cannot, coming to you from the heart of the Arab land, the cradle of Islam, the seat of the Two Holy Mosques, and the abode of the Messenger of God, but set out by saying "Peace be upon you", the call for peace and friendship which is exchanged by every Arab and Muslim when they meet.

How much we would wish that the march of peace, which accompanied the preceding session of the General Assembly, would have continued to proceed. Since the meeting here last year, glimpses of hope appeared and the features of a new international order emerged, whose pillar is cooperation between countries and whose foundation is understanding between peoples. The intifadah of the steadfast Palestinian people in the occupied territories was illuminating the road towards the hoped-for solution. It captivated the feelings of peoples and captured their consciousness. The Iraq-Iran war came to an end, we began to look forward to a new epoch of peace and concord in the Gulf region. Namibia won its independence. The trend began toward the elimination of apartheid in South Africa, and international conflicts began to move on the path of resolution. We carried the banner of establishing cooperation in the region, which is vibrant with suffering and hope so that states enjoy stability and peoples live in prosperity, but the catastrophe took us by surprise. And events that were never thought to be possible blew over the region.

We stand with you today from this international rostrum and grief overcomes us for what the State of Kuwait, a dear and neighborly sister state, is being subjected to.

We have listened, and you have listened, here, a few days ago, to His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, the Emir of the State of Kuwait, who conveyed to us in his historic statement a vivid and comprehensive picture of the catastrophe which befell brotherly Kuwait. The eloquent words of His Highness stirred the consciousness of everybody and evoked in this esteemed international gathering feelings of participation, firm solidarity and effective support.

Mr. President:
When the sudden aggression of the Iraqi regime dispersed the people of Kuwait, violated the inviolabilities, pillaged the assets and broke all the limits of trust; when it invaded and occupied the brotherly neighbor Kuwait, and amassed forces on the borders of Saudi Arabia: it was declaring war; when it deviated from the Arab order based on the Charter of the League of Arab States, and it deviated from the world order, when it violated the Charter of the United Nations Organization.

All peoples and governments of the world have rejected the aggression. It was condemned by the League of Arab States, and was deplored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and was reproached by the Non-Aligned Movement. As for the Security Council, it has monitored the invasion and occupation, rejected it in all its dimensions from the first day until now, and taken the necessary resolutions to oppose this invasion and erase its effects.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken a firm stand rejecting this aggression, rejecting all that came out of it and rejecting all its effects. The rulers of Iraq bear all its results and consequences. Today, Saudi Arabia declares from this rostrum of international legitimacy, that it stands with the whole world in opposition to the continued occupation. And from here, we extend a salute of admiration and esteem to the people of brotherly Kuwait. And from this very rostrum, we declare firm rejection of the occupation by any state of the lands of another state by the force of arms. We declare our firm insistence on the immediate withdrawal of the Iraqi forces from the territories of Kuwait without any restrictions or conditions, the restoration of its legitimate government, and the withdrawal of the Iraqi forces from the borders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Mr. President:
We have exerted every effort to contain the dispute that transpired between the two brotherly and neighboring states, Kuwait and Iraq. Thus, the Kingdom hosted the eminent officials of the two countries at the Jeddah meeting. Our objective, arising from the national responsibility of the Kingdom and the dictates of its Islamic religion and the lofty Arab ideals, the objective was to arrive at a solution in a brotherly manner and understanding which would have prevented events from deteriorating.

The Kingdom was taken by surprise, regrettably, by the Iraqi regime's resort to the invasion of Kuwait and the flagrant aggression against its sovereignty, its people and its possessions. We were taken by surprise, again with deep regret, by the build-up which the Iraqi regime has brought in proximity to its international borders.

The Kingdom has risen above the wounds and the "injustice of kinsmen' - and preferred patience, hoping that the Iraqi leadership would reflect on and withdraw. But the Iraqi leadership continued the plans of aggression by declaring the annexation of Kuwait to Iraq, and amassed its armed forces in offense formations along our country's borders, thus violating conventions and laws after it had violated traditions and revoked promises, exposing the Kingdom's security to extreme dangers and threatening international peace and security.

We Arabs - we in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - do not break promises, and accept no threats. Thus, our leadership has taken the firm decisions that will ensure the protection of land and man, the protection of vital economic assets and the consolidation of defensive capabilities.

The Kingdom was particular, at the most critical and threatening time, to initiate its steps based on genuine commitment to conventions and treaties. For Saudi Arabia, who participated in the founding of the United Nations Organization, could find no alternative for self-defense except to rely on Article (51) of the United Nations Charter, and participated in the building up of the League of Arab States, could find no alternative in opposing the threatening invader but to rely on the Treat of Mutual Arab Defense. And as a founding member of the Arab Gulf States Cooperation Council could not find any alternative in facing the absorption of a sister Gulf state but to rely on the Gulf Cooperation Council Charter. The Kingdom, the founding state and the host of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, could find no alternative but to rely on the Charter of that organization. Our leadership has carried out their responsibilities and accounted for the anticipated development of events so that the Kuwaiti catastrophe would not recur and that it will not be taken by the surprise of adventures.

Arab, Islamic and other friendly states hurried to the support of Saudi Arabia's armed forces in performing the duty of defending the state and safety of the citizens.

We have assured that the presence of sisterly and friendly forces on Saudi territory is a temporary one. It was in response to our request. We assured and were sure that this is a measure for defense only; it was necessitated by circumstances that were concocted by the ruling regime in Iraq, and will come to an end by the reversal of the circumstances that made it necessary. In spite of this, we were very patient.

The Kingdom, in its persistent Arab desire for peace, participated with the Arab family in the search for an Arab solution. It responded to the invitation of President Mohammad Husni Mubarak, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, to attend the emergency Arab Summit conference which was held in Cairo on the 19th of Muharram, 1411 A.H., corresponding to August 9th, 1990, which resulted in the desired Arab resolution.

But the government of Iraq did not respond. It displayed an arrogant behavior towards Arab and international legality by insisting on not reversing its annexation and occupation.

We the Arabs - we in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - wonder how an Arab solution can be reached on the ruins of another Arab state; and how to reach solutions when the government of Iraq has blocked all the roads; and how to join in the international march towards new international cooperation if we forgive the usurpation by an Arab of an Arab land. The acceptable solution to us is the one which is based on Arab legitimacy and on the Charter of the League of Arab States. It is one which comes from official institutions represented by the Arab Summit conference and the ministerial conference of the League of Arab States.

We the Arabs are people of friendship and of commitment - God honored us by carrying the message of Islam, we raised with humility and pride the banner of justice, helping the oppressed and rescuing the anxious. We stand above violating the rights of the neighbor and the sanctity of the brother, and pillaging for spoils. These are our genuine morals, and our magnanimous Islamic principles which define us, as Arabs and as Saudi Arabians. It is not acceptable or reasonable to apply to our behavior and actions as Arabs lower standards and formulae than those that other nations adhere to: for our nation has been endowed by God with the message, so it was the favored nation that has been raised up for mankind. It enjoins what is righteous and forbids what is evil. God has honored it with Islam; it carried the flame of civilization and knowledge to all nations and has spread the principle of mercy, sympathy, solidarity, justice and fairness among peoples. This nation must be an example in adhering to civilized and moral behavior emanating from its high ideals and principles.

It is an honor to declare here the great appreciation and deep thanks of the Kingdom to its brothers in the Arab state, to brothers in the Islamic countries and to friendly states in the five continents exceeding twenty-six in number who came to the support of the Saudi Arabian armed forces. Our primary dependence is on God Almighty who protected it and its people from all harm. We rely on the faithfulness and dutifulness of our people, and then on the brothers and friends who speeded to protect peace on the land of amity and peace.

We have sought to build the strength of Iraq, and we are intent on the sustenance and preservation of this strength; but we desire a strong Iraq that protects the Arab countries and is a pillar of Arab national security, and not an Iraq that threatens the security of the Arab countries and works to destroy the bases of Arab order.

The Iraq which attacks a sisterly and neighboring country, which violates its sanctities, squanders its capabilities, and threatens the whole Arab order, cannot be considered a force for the Arabs. Rather it is, in reality, a source of sowing discord and division in our ranks, and a cause for spreading feebleness and weakness in the Arab body.

We cannot accept the adventure of the Iraqi regime to veil the glow of the principal Arab cause, the Palestinian cause. It pains us that attention is being diverted from the intifadah of the heroic Palestinian people, the steps to search for a just solution are retreating and the dangers of Jewish immigration to the occupied territories are passing without outcry or protest. It pains us more than the Iraqi regime, which claims a monopoly over the salvation of Palestine, is following the same Israeli method of occupying the land, dispersing the people and refusing withdrawal. Rather, it offers Israel an international justification to consecrate occupation and to empty the homeland from its people and replace them with immigrants. Thus, it is for Palestine that Iraq should withdraw from Kuwait and adhere to international legitimacy so that we can mobilize international legality to realize for the people of Palestine what will be realized for the people of Kuwait.

We have welcomed, no matter what the circumstances were, the speedy settlement finally reached in the situation between Iraq and Iran after a decade of war. We ask that it be followed by a similar step in the direction of Kuwait. It is not embarrassing for him who hastens to make peace with an adversary if he rushes to be responsive to a brother.

Mr. President:
The grave damages which were caused by the Iraqi aggression against Kuwait encompass economic, social and human dimensions whose effect is not confined to the Middle East region, but rather reverberates to include most countries of the world.

The solid international stand that was taken by the world community against the Iraqi aggression upon Kuwait and the firm solidarity which the countries of the world have demonstrated in standing up to this aggression and to what has accrued as results and effects must be accompanied as well by effective cooperation with the states that suffered as a result of the aggression, because they have adhered with fortitude, determination and persistence to the implementation of Security Council resolutions, especially those pertaining to economic sanctions and the embargo against Iraq.

Within the framework of this cooperation and based on the feeling of international responsibility, Saudi Arabia has adopted, in cooperation with its partners in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), an oil production policy that will compensate as far as possible for the interruption of Iraqi and Kuwaiti exports, and to exert the effort possible to maintain stable and reasonable prices.

The government of Saudi Arabia has given urgent monetary and developmental assistance to many of the countries affected by the Iraqi aggression. In addition to what was announced in the United Nations about extending support to Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, it hopes that this support will include Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia, Djibouti and many other countries proven to have suffered.

The countries which honorably and firmly stood up to the Iraqi aggression and actively participated in implementing the measures of economic sanctions, and as a result have borne monetary, economic and social burdens, deserve to be the subject of appreciation and the care of the entire world community. Here, Saudi Arabia expresses its satisfaction for the steps taken by the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in their joint meeting which took place in Washington last week, to establish a coordinating group to assist the affected countries, and expressed their readiness to actively participate in this direction.

Mr. President:
We were hoping that we would be able to expound upon other critical issues in which we participated in addressing over the past few years: the continuous search for opportunities for peace in the Middle East, the international support for the heroes of the intifadah in the occupied territories, the Taif Agreement, and the hopes of Arabs in Lebanon, to a peaceful solution for Afghanistan, and to other common aspiration. But the preoccupation of the international community with the Gulf Crisis is almost monopolizing the efforts of the Security Council and the General Assembly to avoid a catastrophe. We all know how it began and we all hope that it will end on the basis of international legitimacy.

The international position is definitely clear. There is no ambiguity or vagueness in it. The successive Security Council resolutions have articulated it, and it was confirmed a few days ago by the foreign ministries of the five permanent members of the Security Council in their joint statement following their meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General.

There is no need for vacillation between word and deed or contradictions between declaration and implementation. There is no place for alternative proposals, or for the circulating initiatives which belong to the arena of wasted time. Decisive judgment on a sound position does not depend on the condemnation of invasion alone but on the proper choice of the solution; and the solution cannot be complete except by preventing the aggressor from reaping the fruits of his aggression. When Saudi Arabia declares its firm commitment to Security Council resolutions, it believes in the steadfastness of the international will; the solidarity of the international stand will force the rulers of Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait and lead to the restoration of the legitimate government.

Mr. President:
Forty-five years ago, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia participated in the founding of an international order which arose from the shattered ruins of the Second World War. It participated in founding this organization, the United Nations, which emerged after the collapse of the League of Nations when the international will was enfeebled at the time from standing steadfast in the face of the usurping of one its member states.

If the situation in our region today evokes our concern, we look forward to the future with determination and hope. The Kingdom undertakes to participate effectively in the vistas that will open up a new international order.

In this critical phase, through which our Arab world is passing, we must learn the lesson from what happened to avoid its taking place again, otherwise tragedies will recur in a region full of probabilities. The wheel of time must continue to turn, the caravan must continue to march and the march must proceed.

In looking forward towards the future, we turn to our brothers in the occupied Palestinian territory, and to the dispersed Palestinian people who are scattered all over the world: and say, your cause is our cause. Let us rise in our hearts and by deeds above the Arab disputes and divisions, for they are the focal place and the axis of gravitation. We say to them - stand as a solid barrier against those who attempt to exploit your feelings or to feed on your wrath in order to harm the Arab body, your body. We say to them - support legitimacy, for it is the basis of your cause, the cause of all Arabs, and the base which guarantees your legitimate rights in liberating the land and establishing the state. We say to them today, and more than any other day - we should preserve firm solidarity.

We in the Arab world, in Saudi Arabia - our commitment towards the people of Palestine was not born today or yesterday. It was born with the first heartbeat of the cause. Our solidarity with these people will continue today, and tomorrow, until victory is achieved, for Jerusalem is the first of our two kiblah, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third after the Two Holy Mosques.

We regard the aspirations of our Arab nation for the realization of a better tomorrow as the first priority. We realize that this nation must invest all its material and human resources in the march towards development, prosperity and progress, and Saudi Arabia will exert all that it can for this objective. In our developmental progress, we did not fail to cooperate with our brothers in the Arab world and to fulfill our obligations towards them. We participated in the efforts for comprehensive Arab development even when our material resources were limited. And we had more available resources to offer a larger volume of development assistance before the outbreak of the Iraq-Iran war. That long war has consumed it. Despite the decline in the revenues which that war caused, it is the right of the Arab citizen to wonder today over the causes of the diminished Arab development efforts in realizing his aspirations and ambitions. Maybe we have a lesson to derive from the experience of Eastern European countries which proved that the malaise lies in the sterility of the structure of economic policies rather than in the lack of resources, despite their significance. The solution should come through developing these structures and through improving these policies while providing the necessary resources.

In the face of this reality, we are required today to reorganize the Arab house, and to organize the relations among us at the universal Arab level. We must search for the appropriate solutions to treat this fissure which has afflicted the Arab order, so it can restore its health and regain the required balance.

Perhaps the foremost issue which we should review is the method of economic cooperation among the Arab states. Although it is not our habit to boast about our assistance to our brothers, the lesson we derived from what has happened is that cooperation should be through Arab institutions which operate in a secure scientific manner which the Arab citizens perceives, touches and judges.

We are part of this world in which we live. The resources which God has endowed the Arab world with do not benefit us alone but should benefit the whole world at large.

While we, as Arabs, acknowledge the need for the world's cooperation, we believe it is necessary for the rest of the world to cooperate with us.

In the final analysis, our Arab world cannot be excluded from the accelerating new trends which are altering the balance of relations between states, nations and peoples. We are part of this world, which is turning away today from axis, tension and division. And we are with this world in its new endeavor to overcome crises, overcome unresolved problems and to build a new world which relies on cooperation, understanding, freedom and peace.

In this we begin with ourselves and bear our responsibilities towards our region and the dynamic word. It is a duty in which the responsible leader and the citizen participate. And while rulers handle the functions of states, and the citizen faces the problems of daily life, all of us must build the contours of the future path.

We have always called for a unified Arab strategy which plans for a common future and avoids volatile reactions. We ask, from a position of responsibility, people of opinion and Arab intellectuals to participate in this endeavor, for they have to bear their responsibilities in supporting the new Arab order as the opportunity for education opens up in the Arab nation. Every Arab citizen and every responsible citizen - every official, has a duty and every intellectual has a place. We all have one objective which is a decent life for the Arab individual. The individual is the real asset and is the pulse of the nation for the future.

Mr. President:
In this very hall, the Kingdom participated with this distinguished gathering of heads of member states in the international declaration of children's rights. Our hearts were elated with the children as they stood with us innocently and enthusiastically - to declare by themselves the children's charter, the dream of today and the hope of tomorrow.

While we enter a new decade, with the world, a new decade that leads us to a new century which is the twenty-first century, we partake in confronting the concerns of today; we look forward to participate in making the dreams of tomorrow. We endeavor in our region to take steps for the revitalized Arab order to coincide with the new world order. We endeavor in our region for the gates of the new world to open up aspirations of states and the hopes of nations: a new world cooperating over understanding and justice. This new world which resolutely and persistently affirms the enduring rights of nations for independence on the soil of their land, rejecting the logic of force in annexation and the method of occupation. This new world that depends on magnanimous dialogue between nations refuses the logic of apartheid and the methods of oppression and expulsion. This new world with abundant resources around it, means of learning and modern scientific discoveries must ensure social and economic justice, which realizes progress and prosperity for nations and ensures security and stability for the world.

In this, we proceed from the United Nations Charter which we signed and complied with from the very beginning. We are still today faithful to that Charter.

We are with the Charter of the United Nations, with the Charter of the League of Arab States, with the Charter of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council, with the Charter of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and we are with the Charter of the Non-Aligned Movement.

We, the Arabs, we in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, are with the world.

We, Mr. President, are with you.

May God's peace, mercy and His blessing be upon you.