1990 Speech

King Fahd's statement to 43rd session of UN General Assembly, 1988
Statement of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, to the Forty-Third Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations delivered on his behalf by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, New York, 30 September 1988

In the Name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate. May Peace and Prayer be bestowed upon His Messenger

Mr. President:
I have the pleasure to congratulate you on your election to the Presidency of this session, which reflects the personal esteem you enjoy and is an expression of the important role that your friendly country, Argentina, plays in the international arena. We are confident that your competence in conducting the affairs of the General Assembly will provide new possibilities for dealing with international problems, and we are certain that your objectivity and far-sightedness will be reflected in the work of this session.


The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques was keen to participate with you, in this session, which coincides with an important juncture in the course of international relations and in the crucial role of the United Nations, had it not been for the present circumstances, which required continuous follow-up of the issue of peace and security in our region. Therefore, I have the honor to present the following statement on his behalf.

I wish also to express our thanks to your predecessor, Mr. Peter Florin, President of the Forty-Second session of the General Assembly, for the objectivity and wisdom with which he conducted the work of the last session, which has appropriately earned him the appreciation of all.

I take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, for his continuous endeavors to enhance the opportunities for establishing peace, and to lessen the sources of tension that prevail in various parts of the world. His personal qualities are, without doubt, of great influence in this regard.

It gives me please, on the occasion of the earning by the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces, of the Nobel Peace Prize for this year, to congratulate the United Nations, the Secretary-General, and the members of these forces, and to express our thanks to the countries participating in it. This appreciation reflects the increasing importance of the role of the United Nations in keeping the peace and maintaining it in different parts of the world.

Mr. President:
Our conviction in the principles and objectives of the United Nations as an international forum where all the peoples and government of the world gather is firm and is reinforced over time, in spite of the complicated problems and entangles crises which the world suffers from. Therefore, we return every year to this Organization to consider problems and crises and to cooperate in finding solutions to them for establishing an international community that enjoys stability and progress and where justice, security and peace prevail. We hope that our Organization can work for the consolidation of the basic objectives for which it was created, and for which the Charter was established, and to which we are all committed for establishing and preserving world peace, namely, for laying the foundations of equity in relations among states in the political, economic and social fields.

The ability of the United Nations to continue as a safety valve, trusted and respected for the preservation and affirmation of these goals, is dependent, to a large degree, upon its ability to find proper solutions for the problems threatening international peace and security.

During the past sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, we used to review the problems and enumerate the dangers and crises they posed. Every time, it seemed to us that the world is living under a cloud of ceaseless conflicts and wars with no peaceful end, and that the trend towards evil and its destructive effects would prevail. But today we stand to see a noticeable breakthrough in many problems and crises and to witness a distinctive and important role for the United Nations in this regard. On different occasions in the past, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia often expressed the view that the role of this Organization should not be only confined to identifying international conflicts and crises, but should also aim at formulating realistic conceptions that would enable the international community to face up to the dangers confronting it, and consequently to forge solutions based on justice and objectivity. Today, as we witness many breakthroughs in which the United Nations has played an effective role, we cannot but mention the great importance of what this Organization can undertake in this respect. We stress that the continuation and consecration of this role cannot be realized and accomplished unless the Organization can find ways and means to institutionalize this role through the organs of the United Nations system and in the core of its political activities, and not simply confine itself to the circumstantial improvements that take place in superpower relations, periodically. While we appreciate the importance of the role played by the members of the Security Council in making it possible to achieve such positive developments, we wish to mention also the special responsibility that the permanent members bear in this regard which should complement the responsibility of the United Nations, and not be an obstacle to it in any event.

The breakthroughs which the international arena is witnessing enhance the scope of hope for the accomplishment of increased peace, security and stability for the benefit of all.

Lately, relations between the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, have witnessed a noticeable rapprochement, one outcome of which was the realization of significant steps in the limitation of nuclear arms. However, there ought to be a positive and tangible relationship between the degree of the evolution of relations between the two superpowers and the role of the United Nations in this regard. Since the rapprochement in relations between these two powers has a definitive bearing upon on the opportunities and possibilities for the realization of other positive developments in the international arena, such a rapprochement should constitute a safety valve exercising its important influence whenever relations between the two superpowers deteriorate so that a direct confrontation or a change in either of their positions can be avoided. I have addressed a message in this regard to the leaders of these two states on the occasion of their meeting in Washington last year, in which we expressed our hope for the establishment of a new global order, supported by them, on the principles of solidarity and cooperation between all nations and peoples in order to provide security, stability and prosperity to the world.

On the other hand, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considered the breakthrough witnessed in the Iran-Iraq war as a good beginning for ending a painful tragedy which lasted eight years. As soon as it learned of the decision of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to fix a definite date for a ceasefire, with the consent of the two neighboring states of Iraq and Iran, it immediately expressed its deep satisfaction and its great hope that this agreement would be an effective beginning for the establishment of a permanent and comprehensive peace in which all the states and peoples of the region will enjoy security, stability and constructive cooperation.

While welcoming the decision for a ceasefire and the start of the direct negotiations, we express our hope that the negotiators will reach solutions that would help to overcome the obstacles by dealing with the points contained in resolution 598, stressing upon the stability of the ceasefire and for the strengthening of the foundations of peace. We also hope that the cessation in fighting between the two parties is a true and sincere beginning towards the accomplishment of the greater aim, which is the achievement of the desired permanent peace on the basis of good neighborly and constructive fraternal cooperation. While we appreciate the readiness Iraq has shown from the beginning in accepting resolution 598 after it was adopted, and its consequent readiness for an immediate ceasefire, which demonstrates to the world the credibility of the Iraqi government in its quest for peace, and its earnestness to achieve it, we hope that the acceptance by Iran of a ceasefire and its participation in direct negotiations indicates a systematic change in its policy in the region, so that it will return to being a source of civilization and a pillar for peace, stability and security, which are the responsibility of all states in the region, thus sharing in the message of goodness, brotherhood and amity, which are the goals constituting the essence and the core of the true message of Islam. We hope to abide in all this, as the Almighty says:

"Help ye one another in righteousness and piety
But help ye not one another in sin and rancor."

We also welcomed the Soviet decision to withdraw from Afghanistan and to leave the destiny of the country in their hands. We hope this will take place according to plan and that all the obstacles in the way of achievement of full political and economic stability in Afghanistan will disappear, and that a regime which reflects the wishes of its valiant Muslim people will be established, after a glorious struggle of nine years, during which they gave example of their strong belief in God, and sacrifice in the defense of their religion and rights. We expressed our hope for the cooperation of all concerned parties in restoring stability and tranquility to Afghanistan, because the emergence of a government which represents the true Afghani will is the firmest guarantee that Afghanistan will be the source of peace and stability to all its neighbors, capable of cooperation on a sound basis of mutual interest. The Geneva Accords have paved the way for the finding of a comprehensive solution to the situation in Afghanistan, which confers upon the United Nations a continued responsibility to work in this direction until final implementation of the Accords, and until the establishment of the desired transitional government, which will permit the Afghani refugees to return to their country and give the Afghani people the freedom of self-determination.

At the same time, we deplore the violations of the airspace of Pakistan by the Kabul regime, and express once again our appreciation for the great humanitarian role which the government and the people of Pakistan have undertaken, and are still undertaking, in hosting four million Afghans who look forward now to returning to their homes, after Pakistan, thanks to it, has borne their burdens over these years. In this critical period, Pakistan has lost its president the late General Mohamed Zia-Ul-Haq, who worked hard in the service of his country, in supporting the Afghani right, and in bolstering the causes of the Islamic World. With the passing away of the late president, the Islamic World lost one of its most zealous and sincere Muslim leaders, one of the most experienced and well versed in the affairs of the Islamic World, as witnessed by his stands in international arenas and in the Islamic Summit Conferences.

We are moreover following with deep interest and appreciation the breakthrough taking place in the Western Sahara problem where the wisdom and farsightedness of the leaders of the region has enabled the United Nations to accomplish its constructive role in reaching an end to this problem. I have the pleasure to personally convey my thanks to both His Majesty King Hassan the Second and His Excellency President Chedli Bin Jedid for their cooperation and their successful efforts in settling the situation and narrowing the points of view concerning this problem, in the hope of reaching a final formula, and the coming together of the two States and peoples on the basis of trust, amity and common effort for the welfare of the States of the great Arab Maghreb.

With regard to the problem of Cyprus, we have always expressed our support for the ongoing negotiations under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General to find a solution to this problem, which would protect the basic interests of the Turkish Cypriot brothers. What encourages us is that there are some positive signs which have emerged and whose results, we hope and look forward to, will be the desired and just solution. One of these signs is the growing understanding which has occurred in Greek-Turkish relations and the meetings which have recently taken place in Cyprus between the representatives of the two communities.

We are also observing with interest the efforts currently being undertaken to solve the problem of Namibia and to restore the rights to their owners. It is a problem which threatens stability and peace in Africa and draws great concern. We hope that the indications of the breakthrough taking place in this direction are genuine and will achieve their natural conclusion. We also support every effort approved by the international organization in support of the people of South Africa and in deterring aggression against the neighboring states. We stand with the African states in resisting the oppression inflicted upon the people of South Africa; we are with them in isolating the apartheid regime and in condemning its evil alliance with the Zionist entity in Palestine. It is a regime based upon the worst in the human soul of selfish traits, grudge and the abandonment of human values. A halt should be put to its oppressive and tyrannical measures against the black citizens, and to its aggression against the peace and security of neighboring states.

What is regrettable is that in this atmosphere of breakthrough which is taking place in different problems of the world, the question of Palestine and the Middle East, the question which was created in the arena of the United Nations itself, remains the most dangerous of problems undermining the progress of this breakthrough, and the most dangerous of threats confronting regional security and world peace. It is unfortunate that this problem has not moved nearer to the hope of a solution in one way or another.

Peace is an indivisible totality; it is a right which should not be the preserve of the one group or applied to one cause at the expense of another. Peace does not stand and does not endure unless it is based upon justice. Peace is not the acceptance of the status quo, nor a surrender to force and oppression, which do not create a right nor establish peace. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always believed that no real peace can prevail in the Middle East unless a just and permanent solution to the Palestinian problem, which is the core of the struggle taking place in the region, is found. Those who imagine that the passing of time is a guarantee that the status quo will become an accepted fact, seem to forget that the rights of peoples in their countries do not fade with the lapse of time and are never forfeited by forgetfulness. The Palestinians, after waiting for over forty years, without any glimmer of hope for a just peace, found only the stones of their land to express their rights and their rejection of the Israeli oppression.

Israel thought that by its continuous oppressive actions, it could eradicate the Palestinians from their roots while they are on their own land, and erase their history from the memory of their new generations, as well as from the annals of history. Then the intifada came, a revolution against oppression, a reminder that right never dies, and as a daily and unanimous action for their just demands. Through its determination and sacrifices the uprising has been able to create a new reality, proclaiming its identity and vitality on both the local and international levels.

With over nine months moving passed since its beginning, it is clear that the Israeli violence has only reinforced its determination, and that the logical result of the impossibility of things remaining as they are is the need for a movement towards a change. If the intifada has put an end to the false belief in the permanence of the status quo, and killed the illusion that Israel had worked to crate in regard to the question of Palestinian representation, it has at the same time paved the way for a concerted action which aims to attain a just and permanent solution to the Palestinian problem. The blood of the martyrs and the sufferings of the victims are too dear to be squandered or uselessly lost. Therefore there should be a conscious movement for the uprising of the Palestinian people to realize its desired objectives. The Palestinians have given all that they can for peace, and nothing demonstrates this better than the speech that was delivered recently by Mr. Yassir Arafat, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in Strasbourg.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has frequently expressed its full support and continued backing for whatever the Palestine Liberation Organization, as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, considers for the realization of its legitimate rights, and for the establishment of its independent state on its lands and the right to self-determination. The Kingdom will continue its efforts in this direction according to what the Palestine Liberation Organization will decide and considers to be a realization of these goals.

As Chairman of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council during its current session, I sent messages to the leaders of the permanent member states of the Security Council, to draw their attention that these developments do require from all parties a re-evaluation of the situation in a more realistic way, and a greater perception of the dimensions of what is taking place in the occupied Arab territories, for putting an end to this tragedy, in all its dimensions and in all that it entails of dangers, concerns and threats to security, peace and stability. This will not find a result except through a comprehensive and just solution to the Palestinian problem by the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East, as the ideal means for realizing this solution. It is worthy to mention that the two Arab Summit conferences which took place in Amman and Algiers adopted a clear position towards supporting the convening of an international conference without pre-conditions.

If the question of Palestine is our primary concern, the problem of Holy Jerusalem constitutes, in our view, the core of the Palestinian problem. In this regard the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia renews its support for the necessity to preserve the Islamic and Arab character of Jerusalem and to restore the Holy City to Arab sovereignty, so that it will return to being, as it always used to be, as the gathering place for the faithful of all the divine religions, and a sanctuary for forgiveness and creative co-existence between the different religions.

As for Lebanon, we hope that God will guide its people to be able to provide a suitable climate for free and fair elections emanating from the will of the Lebanese people, and based on the present constitutional formula so that a president can be elected who will endeavor to unify and to preserve the independence of the Lebanese territory and people, so that the shadow of the division which threatens Lebanon will fade away, denying continuous Israeli attempts to exploit these circumstances and to persist in perpetrating its aggression and in occupying Lebanese territory.

Mr. President:
While international relations are witnessing the beginning of different regional breakthroughs, we notice the continued deterioration of the economic situations of the developing countries, in spite of some positive signs witnessed recently in international economic relations. The industrialized states were able to realize a greater amount of coordination between their economic policies, a fact which allowed a relative stability in the exchange rate of the major currencies, as well as to achieve healthy rates in economic growth, while the economic circumstances in many developing countries continued to deteriorate as a result of the continuous decrease in the price of their primary commodities and the increase in the price of their imports of manufactured goods, as well as the increase in their debt burdens in a way which seriously threatens the course of their development.

It was hoped, at the commencement of the Uruguay Round for Multilateral Trade Negotiations, that the terms of international trade would be corrected and that the protectionist tendencies would be stopped. And that the trend towards freeing world trade in a meaningful way would be re-affirmed. But no tangible action has been forthcoming until now on the part of the industrialized states to eliminate the barriers which they have established on their imports from developing states. It is clear that some industrialized states are seeking to deprive the developing countries of many of the trade preferences required by their development circumstances.

It was hoped also that the initiatives aimed at easing the burden of international debt which weighs upon many of the poor developing countries, would take a positive direction in the meetings currently taking place in Berlin of the IMF and the World Bank. But no tangible result has been achieved yet on the part of the industrialized countries in this regard, a fact which precipitates a loss of hope in the developing countries participating in the Berlin meetings.

Mr. President:
While we welcome the progress realized by the industrialized states in coordinating their economic policies, we express our apprehension for the continued deterioration of the economic situation in developing countries, many of whom are facing heavy indebtedness on the one hand, and a weak economic growth rate on the other. This is a result of the failure in achieving practical measures for reducing the debt burden as well as the continue custom and administrative barriers imposed on their exports to the industrialized states, a fact which makes it very difficult to realize a reasonable level of growth in the developing countries. Therefore, while we emphasize the importance of expediting debt relief measures for the developing countries, we also stress the importance of eliminating custom and administrative barriers, and of giving developing countries the opportunity to promote their exports to the industrialized states. We believe that this is the exemplary way for helping the developing countries in correcting their economic development, which at the same time would benefit the industrialized countries themselves, because this means a real contribution toward the expansion of world trade.

Mr. President:
The deterioration in the situations of many of the developing countries has deepened as a result of a number of natural disasters which took the lives of thousands of people and left millions of them homeless in many regions of the world, the majority of whom were women, children and the elderly. We expressed our deep sorrow for what Sudan and Bangladesh suffered in devastation as a result of the destructive floods. We declared our full solidarity with the two fraternal peoples, and we have put at their disposal all that we can offer in emergency humanitarian assistance. The citizens in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hastened to present generous and continuous contributions to the Relief Committees in the different parts of the Kingdom, which enabled them to undertake their humanitarian duties towards the two fraternal peoples.

A quick and exploratory glance at the degree to which many developing countries are suffering from natural disasters clearly shows the importance of the need for solidarity with them and for helping them overcome their predicament. It at the same time demonstrates that the ability to face such catastrophes is linked to the economic strength of these states, where we realize that most of the states susceptible to such catastrophes are the weakest economically and the poorest. This truth compels us to increase awareness of the problems of development and not to neglect its humanitarian dimension. It also requires us to realize that our solidarity with the afflicted states cannot be confined to alleviating the suffering of the affected peoples, but should rather continue to permit these states to overcome their predicament and to stand on their feet, so that they may prevail in their path to development.

Mr. President:
The breakthroughs witnessed in international relations clearly demonstrate the importance of the role of the United Nations in the development of international relations. We are confident that the success realized by this Organization through these breakthroughs, entitles it, at the same time, to have our trust in dealing with the problems of development, in a comprehensive and integrated manner, without neglecting the humanitarian side of international economic cooperation.

Mr. President:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose principles derive from its compassionate Islamic shari'ah [Law] and its Hanif faith, which call for peace, justice, equality and brotherhood, has forged for itself the path of peace originating from these precepts and sublime values, and from its belief in the principles and objectives for which the Untied Nations has been created. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is continuing to fulfill its role and to bear its responsibilities in every endeavor for a just peace and charitable course. It will continue to work side by side with all the peace-loving states for the elimination of the shadows of war and for the development of friendly relations and fruitful cooperation between peoples, as well as for the establishment of an international society where justice and peace prevail.

From this standpoint, the decision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as a contribution on its part towards the consolidation of this peaceful objective reflects its intention to work within the framework of the efforts being undertaken by the United Nations in this regard. While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia urges other States to sign this Treaty, it hopes that this action will not be a voluntary one, but a basic requirement in international dealings. It also wishes to stress, in this regard, that the possession of nuclear weapons by States which do not respect the rules of international behavior and international agreements, and refuse to sign and joint the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treat, such as Israel, constitutes in fact a dangerous threat to international peace and security, especially in light of the development of the Israeli nuclear and military capabilities, in a manner that is considered to be a source of direct threat to the peace and security of the region.

Mr. President:
The phenomenon of terrorism is considered one of the most dangerous problems to the safety of societies, and to their peace and stability. The spread of this phenomenon throughout the international community has led to the disturbance of international relations and to the spread of anxiety, tension and troubles. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has contributed with all the means at its disposal to the efforts aimed at combating this phenomenon and suppressing its destructive effects. In this regard, the decree issued by the Council of the High Ulema [Religious Scholars] in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in implementing the death penalty upon terrorists, saboteurs and subversives, which also received the support of the Ulema, the Jurists, the Imams, and the great Muftis in the Islamic World, is a sign of the determination, and confirmation of the firm and well-known stand of the Kingdom against this phenomenon, which ahs begun to spread in our world today in a way that has become a threat to the foundations of stability in society. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's position toward the phenomenon of terrorism is in accordance and in conformity with the positions which have been adopted by the Summits of the Islamic and Arab Conferences, in this regard. At the same time, while joining those calling for an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations to define terrorism, it stresses the need for drawing a distinction between the phenomenon of terrorism which aims at the destruction of society from its foundations, and the rights of peoples to defend their existence and to struggle for their freedom and sovereignty when these peoples are subjected to occupation, domination, oppression and persecution, in a manner which disregards all international principles and norms.

Mr. President:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, presiding over the current session of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council, is proud to belong to this Council, whose establishment was in conformity with the Charters and resolutions of the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference; as well as in accordance with the principles of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Charter of the United Nations. The Council has undertaken effective and constructive roles in the realization of political, economic, security, social and cultural cooperation between its member states. While this Council expresses the free will of these States, and cooperation between themselves in the context of the common perception of their national interests, it does not in fact represent a bloc against anyone, but is a positive factor for stability in the region.

Mr. President:
I have already referred at the beginning of my statement to the great possibilities that the United Nations can undertake in the context of the breakthroughs witnessed in many of the current international problems, in which His Excellency, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has personally had a significant role in solving. The success of the United Nations in continuing to achieve further breakthroughs in the international arena is surely linked to its capability to consolidate and structure this trend and to make it an indivisible part of the political work of the Organization.

If I have concentrated at the beginning of my statement on the subject of conflicts and on what has been accomplished in breakthroughs in the international arena, it is because the realization of peace is our main concern and our principal preoccupation in the region; and because we are aware, as others should be, that instability, wherever it takes place, is a threat to security everywhere.

The time has come for all of us to fashion our thinking so that it corresponds to contemporary reality, and to recognize that all the efforts we are undertaking for the betterment of the life of Mankind, will be in vain if a lasting and just peace remains beyond our grasp.

Interests between States have become common and intertwined to such a degree that there are no limited conflicts whose effects can be confined to their immediate parties. We are all partners in the ebb and flow, in good and evil, in war and peace, in prosperity and adversity, and in development and under-development. Let us all work together for peace.

May peace and the blessings of God be bestowed upon you.