Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, in an interview published today in Arabic in Okaz and in English in Saudi Gazette, has affirmed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz is working sincerely to ensure greater benefits for its citizens. In the interview, the Crown Prince spoke of the aims and outcome of his recent visits to Great Britain, France, the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and Pakistan. He declared that the Kingdom seeks to be a partner in the formulation of the new world order, saying: "It is not acceptable for us to be immersed in the melting pot of a system that is imposed on us, without any regard for our cultural heritage, reality and interests. This is why the Kingdom decided to move forcefully, and present its comprehensive conception to the rest of the world, so as to jointly explore new future horizons." He confirmed that the main goals of his tour have been realized.
Crown Prince Abdullah, saying he was "infinitely optimistic" about the ability of the Saudi economy to remain sound, stated: "We will adopt what suits our situation, and will do our utmost, so as not to overburden our citizens, especially those of limited or medium income." He went on to say: "It is the duty of the state to strike a balance between the policy of rationalizing spending to curb inflation and recession, and that of reducing the impact of these necessary measures on the lives of the citizens."
Answering a question about the Kingdom's next budget, taking into consideration the fall in oil prices and the global economic recession, the Crown Prince said: "In spite of the stifling economic circumstances in the world, the Saudi economy has remained solid. But we have to admit that we are part of this world, and have been affected in some way by the financial and economic crises that hit many countries. Our revenues have been affected by what you call the 'the fall in oil prices.' However, we are making big efforts to maintain equilibrium and mitigate the negative impacts." He gave assurances of capital flow in the Kingdom, both national and foreign, adding that Saudi Arabia has no alternative but to diversify by expanding investment channels, opening doors for international companies, and offering lucrative incentives.
Concerning a remedy for falling oil prices and implementation by OPEC members of the quotas and prices agreed upon, Crown Prince Abdullah stated: "We, in the Kingdom, for our part, are doing our utmost to restore balance to the oil market. We will never allow deliberately created crises and short-sighted policies to endanger the future of our country and people."
Referring to the Palestinian-Israeli agreement recently reached in the USA, Crown Prince Abdullah remarked: "We in the Kingdom are convinced that one step forward in the peace process is better than nothing." He declared that people do not want a continuation of attrition and that it is necessary for Israel and especially Prime Minister Netanyahu to resort to wisdom and common sense.
Commenting on the Kingdom's relations with the United States, the Crown Prince said his talks with President Bill Clinton, Vice-President Al Gore and other friends there, focused on matters of interest to his country and to Islam; this, he said, "enhanced our mutual trust and understanding and opened new horizons for constructive cooperation." He went on to say: "We also agreed that the Kingdom and the United States are capable of participating more actively in realizing prosperity and stability throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East."
Asked to comment on whether he discussed with leaders of the countries included in his foreign tour other issues of importance to the Arab and Islamic worlds, the Crown Prince said of Saudi Arabia: "We do not concentrate only on bilateral cooperation with other countries of the world. Rather, we always try to find solutions to the many problems which affect world security and stability." He underscored the significance of his talks with the leaders of all the states he visited, which touched not only on bilateral economic cooperation but on other issues related to Arab and Islamic causes.
Commenting on the upcoming GCC Summit, Crown Prince Abdullah said: "We are deeply committed to the Gulf region where it is our duty and firm intention to work for further strengthening of our historical ties. The citizens of the Gulf have many benefits which the world in general lacks, and they are coming together in a way appropriate for the modern age. The needs of our peoples require a constructive summit to overcome the obstacles and pave the way for progress at the political, economic, security and other levels. From now on, we must not accept any excuses for delaying the necessary procedures, regulations and ideas for unifying our states and peoples for the common good. We should not let anything cause discord, division and misunderstanding."