1991 Speech

Statement by HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs during the General debate at the Forty-Sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York 22 Rabi Al-Awwal 1412 (30 September 1991)

In the name of Allah, most compassionate, most merciful: blessing and peace be upon the most noble of prophets.

Mr. President:
I would like to begin by expressing our thanks and sincere appreciation to H.E. Guido de Marco, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Justice of the Republic of Malta, President of the Forty-Fifth Session of the General Assembly, for conducting the work of this body with such ability and wisdom. Our thanks and appreciation as well to the Secretary-General H.E. Javier Perez de Cuellar, for the continued efforts he and his assistants in the General Secretariat ceaselessly exerted in pursuit of the objectives of the United Nations.

I wish to take this opportunity to express on behalf of the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques our gratitude and appreciation to the international community represented by the General Assembly of the United Nations for the confidence it ahs entrusted in electing you to preside over this Forty-Sixth Session of the General Assembly. While we take great pride in this confidence and trust, we wish to assure this august body of the continued support of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and his government for the United Nations, and of his commitment to its noble goals and to all efforts aimed at strengthening the role of this body.

Moreover, it is indeed a pleasure to welcome the new members of the United Nations: the republics of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Korea and the Marshall Islands; the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the Federated States of Micronesia; hoping that their membership will enhance the effectiveness and universality of the collective international action. We also wish the peoples of these countries all prosperity and progress.

Mr. President:
The dramatic events and stunning changes we are witnessing today in the international arena portend the beginning of a historic transformation of the international order. Authoritarian regimes, which were based on futile ideological rivalry, have begun to collapse and disappear. The curtain has descended upon an era of international relations characterized by cold war and heated confrontation, an era in which vast human resources were wasted in a costly and terrifying arms race that intensified the suffering of a sizable portion of the international community. That era had negative impacts on the entire international community and especially upon developing countries.

Today we all witness a shaping of a new international order. Its foundations are the principles of the United Nations and its pillar, international legality. An international order in which all nations, large and small, rich and poor, are equal in exercising their right to sovereignty, independence and peaceful coexistence.

An international order which safeguards the internationally recognized boundaries of each country and does not tolerate interference by one nation in another nation's internal affairs and which recognizes and respects the right of all peoples to self-determination and sovereignty over their resources. An international order in which no place exists for hegemony and tyranny nor for political blackmail. An international order which adopts peaceful means for the settlement of disputes and renounces the use of force or the threat thereof for the purpose of realizing expansionist goals or economic ambitions. We as Muslims welcome these historic transformations and look forward to strengthening the foundation of this new order and employing its principles in the interest of regional security and stability, peaceful resolution of conflicts, spreading economic welfare, and consolidating world peace.

Mr. President:
Perhaps one of the most prominent indications that this new international order has indeed emerged is the unprecedented firm position taken by the international community toward the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. When we met here a year ago the world was experiencing a horrifying event and grave tragedy, the occupation by a member state of this organization, Iraq, of another small member, Kuwait, and the blatant attempt to destroy its sovereignty, identity and indeed its very existence as a nation. That was a horrifying event for everyone, but for Arabs and Muslims it was especially painful. We felt overwhelming bitterness to know that the stab in our back did not come from an enemy we were warily watching, or from a malevolent envier harboring hate toward our people. Rather, it came from a brother to whom we had offered our unlimited support and granted our unconditional trust, a brother we had stood by in time of hardship and toward whom we offered human and material sacrifices.

However, injustice cannot last nor aggression persist. The ordeal has revealed the true and noble mettle of our people in the entire Gulf region who stood in unity by their rightful and legitimate leadership under the banner of right and rallied to rescue the victim. It was a cause for pride to have our Arab and Muslim brothers and other friendly nations from across the globe standing by us and fighting on the battlefields of honor in support of justice and legitimacy.

The world community did not disappoint us either. The international community took a firm and courageous decision immediately to stand up in the face of aggression. This position was reflected in subsequent United Nations resolutions through a unique show of international consensus, which indicates that we are truly on the threshold of a new era in international relations. In this era there is no place for tyrants who suppress the will of the people or invaders who destroy other nations. We have seen the fullest expression of this will when the whole world, state after state, refused to recognize a de facto situation imposed by force and aggression.

I would like on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, to thank all the countries, peoples and organizations who stood against injustice and supported the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its defense of its security and territorial integrity, whether by material participation in repelling the Iraqi aggression or through support in international forums.

Mr. President:
It is necessary to recall these events in order to diagnose the ills which have befallen us so that we might deal with the results of the tragedy. The conclusion which must be drawn from this tragedy is that no benefit will accrue from aggression and that the aggressor shall be made to bear the consequences of his actions. Furthermore, we must establish such measures as would prevent the recurrence of such a tragedy.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has supported all Security Council resolutions pertaining to the invasion of the State of Kuwait by Iraq and has supported and continues to support all international measures aiming at the enforcement of these resolutions.

We are totally convinced that the prevention of the recurrence of such an aggression is not possible without complete implementation of the applicable UN Security Council resolutions.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia follows with grave concern and sorrow the suffering of the people of Iraq, which is an inevitable consequence of the oppressive policies pursued by the Iraqi regime. We are totally convinced that the ordeal of the people of Iraq is receiving the appropriate attention of the United Nations and especially the committee which was established by the Security Council to deal with the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people.

The full compliance by Iraq with all the Security Council resolutions and its cooperation with the special committee will ensure that such humanitarian needs will be taken care of and at the same time contribute to fostering the principles of peace and stability in the region.

Mr. President:
The new international order undoubtedly has its implications for international and regional relations as manifested in various political, security and economic fields.

Our experience in the Gulf area proved that the threat to our security has in fact emanated from within the region itself. The region had witnessed a devastating war between Iraq and Iran before it was again tormented by the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. It has become clear that establishing enduring stability in the Gulf region requires that the relations between the countries of the Gulf be based on solid and firm foundations and on the principles of international law.

They must be characterized by equality among nations and mutual commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue and non-interference in the internal affairs of each other. This should be accomplished on the basis of mutual respect and common interest.

It was therefore only natural that our experience should affect the way matters have evolved in the region and serve as a catalyst for a promising future vision for us. It is no longer acceptable to allow the security of our region to remain subject to the whims of those who have expansionist and subversive hegemonistic ambitions or the gamblers who are ready to risk away not only the interests of their own people but also those of the whole region and the world.

The leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council have given much attention and careful consideration to the future security arrangements of their region based on self-reliance and cooperation with brotherly and friendly countries in matters that serve the security and stability objectives.

Mr. President:
The Arab order has suffered a terrifying blow during the crisis of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The overhaul of this order has to become a necessity if it is to be able to prevent a recurrence of similar tragic events. It is in this context that the Arab countries that supported our international legality sought to establish a new Arab order which should be based on the spirit of brotherhood, solidarity and mutual interest. These concepts have been incorporated in the 'Damascus Declaration' which was adopted by the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Arab Republic of Syria, and with the member states of the GCC.

The 'Damascus Declaration' is based on the principles of international law for the purpose of establishing friendly relations and peaceful coexistence on the one hand, and bringing into reality the mutual desire to build real and serious cooperation and solidarity in political, economic, security and cultural fields on the other. This effort was not aimed against anyone. Rather, it represents a sincere call to reform the Arab order in accordance with these concepts within the framework of the Arab League.

Mr. President:
Our Arab region cannot alone remain unaffected by these new and fast-moving currents which are changing the patterns of relations between nations and peoples. While stressing, especially in the wake of the tragedy which has befallen the Arab world, that it is unreasonable or unacceptable to base our decisions and actions on measures and standards other than those adopted by the world community, we therefore urge that the Palestinian question which is the pivotal issue in our region benefit from these positive developments which are taking place in the international arena.

Today there exists a historic opportunity for the launching of a peace process aimed at ending the Arab-Israeli conflict and achieving a just and comprehensive settlement for the Palestinian question - a solution which conforms with the Untied Nations resolutions, restores and consecrates the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people - a solution which institutes permanent principles for security and stability in the Middle East based on the international legality and Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

There now exists a mechanism for achieving these goals, a peace conference which is expected to convene in the near future. Within this framework, the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques offers its full support for the efforts of President George Bush of the United States of America and carried out by Secretary of State James Baker to convene an international conference to achieve peace in the Middle East.

It is indeed our hope that the will for peace will prevail and that the international community will apply to the Palestinian question the same principles it applied to the Gulf crisis, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, so that the international legality will be firmly established and the principles of justice, freedom and the right of peoples to self-determination, strongly upheld.

The Arabs have chosen the road to peace. Within this framework we welcome the declaration issued by the Palestinian National Council in its last session, which confirms this attitude toward peace.

The Arabs have chosen the road to peace. Within this framework we welcome the declaration issued by the Palestinian National Council in its last session, which confirms this attitude toward peace.

Today we are facing a historic crossroads. It is only natural for us to choose the path of peace, for we are a nation urged by its religion to call and to heed the call for peace in total compliance with the order of God Almighty: "Should they lean toward peace then you must lean toward it and you must trust in God."

Mr. President:
As we see successive indications that the new international order is indeed forming, we follow with great interest and admiration the achievements of the government of Lebanon. We also support the successful steps taken by that government to implement the provisions of the National Reconciliation Agreement concluded at the Taif Conference, especially pertaining to its role in re-instituting the authority of the state of Lebanon over the entire Lebanese territory through its own forces.

We have also followed with great interest the speech of H.E. Elias Al-Harawi, President of the Republic of Lebanon, in which he called upon the international community to ensure the full implementation of Security Council Resolution Number 435, which stresses his government's determination to face the considerable challenges in order to restore matters to their normal course.

The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia joins H.E. the President of Lebanon in urging the international community to contribute in a positive manner to Lebanon's reconstruction efforts through the International Fund for the Assistance of Lebanon. We are pleased to play host for the formative meeting of this fund in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the near future and we welcome the participation in and contributions to the reconstruction of Lebanon by all organizations and countries.

Mr. President:
Since the beginning of the sorrowful events in Somalia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, acting on its historic Islamic and national sense of responsibility and out of its commitment to the territorial integrity of that country, took the initiative to urge all parties in that sister country to come to the negotiation table and to solve their problem in such a way as would preserve the unity, security and stability of Somalia so it can resume its role in support of Islamic and Arab solidarity.

There is a cause for optimism that this crisis will be overcome. It is the achievements made at the meetings of the Reconciliation Conference which was convened under the auspices of H.E. Hassan Goulide, President of the Republic of Djubouti, and which continued its deliberations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the auspices of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, and reached a cease-fire agreement and enlisted the commitment of all parties to seek reconciliation and national unity. We are indeed hopeful that this will lead to full reconciliation, eliminate all obstacles, and overcome other difficulties in its path. For security and stability should return to the land of this sister country.

Mr. President:
The struggle of the Afghani people to preserve their beliefs, independence and sovereignty requires the attention of all of us.

The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has constantly supported the struggle of the Afghani people, who deserve to enjoy stability under a government of their own choice, one that realizes their aspirations for the preservation of sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques hopes for a peaceful solution which satisfies these aspirations.

We have previously expressed our commendation for the support given by the Afghani Muhjahideen to the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. We wish to take this opportunity now to express our satisfaction at the joint decision made by the governments of the United States and the Soviet Union to stop arms supplies to Afghanistan and their desire to achieve a final solution to the Afghan problem which will guarantee the return of peace to that country, whose long-suffering people have made enormous sacrifices. We also fully appreciate the good efforts being made in this regard by H.E. the Secretary-General. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has underscored the support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for these efforts when he recently met with the Secretary-General.

Mr. President:
The African continent has recently witnessed successive victories scored by the people of South Africa, ushering in a new era which will certainly dismantle the racial discrimination laws.

At this point we can only express our appreciation to and admiration for the people of South Africa. We look forward to the day when the complete abolishment of the policy of apartheid and discrimination in South Africa is fully achieved.

Mr. President:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has supported and continues to support the efforts to control and limit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the creation of zones free of these weapons. We must note with satisfaction the important and successful steps recently taken by the governments of the United States of America and the Soviet Union which culminated in the conclusion of a historic treaty limiting strategic nuclear weapons. We also commend the courageous initiative revealed a few days ago by President George Bush, which calls for deep cuts in the various types of nuclear weapons and proposes further reductions in the most dangerous ones.

In compliance with its policy of pursuing all efforts for peace, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has joined the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty and has abided by its provisions. It has also declared in various international forums its support for the efforts to ban all chemical and biological weapons.

The Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques strongly believes that the Middle East region, which has suffered a number of wars and armed conflicts and which has become a stockpiling area and production place for all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, is indeed the region which most needs to be free of such weapons. The Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has expressed its support for all initiatives which aim at limiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region of the Middle East.

In expressing its sincere desire and readiness to abide by such a ban, the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques looks forward to the time when this noble objective is successfully realized so that peace, security, prosperity and progress may prevail in the Middle East for the benefit of its peoples and the benefit of the people of the whole world.

Mr. President:
Today, with the prospect of a new international order in the making, we are hopeful that international economic issues will receive the appropriate attention of the international community. We are quite convinced that peace and security in the world cannot be achieved or indeed endure unless they are based on principles of equality, cooperation and justice. Therefore, facing the economic problems at this important juncture of international relations and under the new international climate will require efforts to advance the cooperation between developing and developed countries based on the fact that security and economic development are but two sides of one coin.

Indeed, no economic development is possible without security, nor is security or stability achievable in the absence of economic development.

For this reason, it has become necessary that the developed nations fulfill their promises to raise their contributions of official development assistance to reach the objectives of the international development strategy which was adopted by the United Nations. They should also work to increase the efficiency of the international monetary system, stimulate the flow of international trade by improving the conditions of market accessibility for the exports of developing nations and by setting fair and equitable prices commensurate with those charged on their imports from the developed countries. It is also hoped that they will contribute to the efforts aimed at encouraging the transfer of technology that suits the needs and conditions of the developing nations.

Believing in this close relationship and interdependency between security and development, and as a way of contributing to the establishment of solid stability and progress in the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its sister states, members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, took the initiative to announce the establishment of the Gulf Program for Assisting Developmental Efforts in the Arab World. And as a recognition of the fact that funding of development efforts is indeed an international and collective responsibility, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia calls on the industrial nations to join this program, support its objectives and facilitate its efforts.

Mr. President:
The new international order which is at its inception is an order where hopes are high and challenges are great. Yet, we all have a responsibility toward our future generations to contract it in a way that will save these generations from the dangers of repeating the mistakes of the past. We should create together future horizons where peace, security, mutual trust and understanding may look large and where our future generations may enjoy stability and prosperity.

"Say, work. For God will see your work, and so will His apostle and the believers."

Thank you, and may peace and God's blessing be upon you.