1998 Speech

Prince Saud Al-Faisal's speech to the 12th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Durban, South Africa

HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Address to the
12th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement
Durban, South Africa
September 3, 1998

In the name of God, the most merciful, the most gracious,
and peace be upon the most Honorable of Prophets and Messengers

Mr. President:
Honorable Heads of States:
Honorable Ministers:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
In the name of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I am pleased to express to your excellency and through you to the government and the people of the Republic of South Africa the most sincere greetings and best wishes upon the assumption of your country to the chairmanship of the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. Your leadership and the history of your struggle provide unique qualities of the highest standards and have earned you the deserved consensus for your leadership of our movement throughout the coming historic phase.

The statement which your excellency made yesterday contained many insightful ideas and thoughts which could serve as a guideline for our movement as it comes over a critical crossroads which symbolizes the end of the liberation era and the start of the era of construction and development. The present stage requires a new approach based on the sort of conciliation and the readiness to face up to realities, rather than getting bogged down in disputes and recrimination, especially in the midst of the challenges of globalization. The historic example of the Republic of South Africa provides us with the unique model that we should cherish and emulate in facing up to apartheid and racial discrimination. On this occasion, I would also like to state my great appreciation to the Honorable President Ernesto Sampir Bizano, President of the Republic of Columbia, and his government and the friendly people of Columbia for all their efforts over the past three years for the sake of enhancing the Non-Aligned Movement at a time which witnessed many important developments and events all over the world.

Mr. President:

It behooves us as we convene the last conference in this century to focus our attention on the prevailing challenges and opportunities that confront our movement. We also need to absorb emerging developments on the international scene in a manner that enables us to maintain the basic principles and goals of the movement while, at the same time, meeting the requirements of modernization and development so that we become in a position to influence the course of events rather than merely react to them or submit to their realities. The emerging forces of globalization and their seemingly rampant nature forces upon us the need to tame and channel the energies so that our peoples benefit from the global village. We are called upon today more than ever to cooperate and act cohesively with the goal being not to challenge globalization but to tame it and shape it to serve the interests of our people and allow for diversity in social and political systems and avoid the gray uniformity which we thought had died with the passing of the cold war. Also, globalization needs to be shared and molded in a way that conforms with our religious values and aspirations in order to produce a balanced world in which benefits are shared and opportunities are open to all to live in security and prosperity, a world in which principles of justice and peace prevail and rule.

Mr. President:

The convening of our present conference comes at a time when the peace process in the Middle East is passing through delicate and critical circumstances. The peace process has now reached a stage of stagnation if not complete paralysis due to policies and measures taken by the Israeli government which are at variance with the logic of peace and its requirements agreed upon in Madrid and underscored in concluded agreements and arrangements. To save the peace process from this crippled state, we must adhere to the principles and foundations of the peace process and relevant international resolutions and the principle of land for peace. It is also imperative for the government of Israel to adhere to all obligations that were contained in the Oslo agreement with the Palestinian side especially those pertaining to preventing unilateral action which is evident in the expansionist policies of Israel and demonstrated through practices by the Israeli occupation forces including confiscation of Palestinian homes, in addition to the many practices aiming at changing the demographic characteristics and historical character of the city of Jerusalem.

We urge the international community and in particular the United States of America to expeditiously move in an effort to stop the outrageous aggression against Jerusalem which is a most sensitive issue on the agenda of negotiations.

If the government of Netanyahu is serious about achieving peace with its neighbors, the surest measure to realize this is through strict compliance with the rules of international legality and fulfillment of commitments and obligations.

Mr. President:

We are still concerned with the need to oblige the Iraqi government to implement the security council resolutions adopted due to the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in 1990. Our sympathy with the Iraqi people for their suffering due to the difficult circumstances they are facing is only equaled by our definite commitment to the unity and independence of Iraq. It is therefore with deep sadness that we receive the news of the Iraqi government’s intention not to cooperate with the UN special committee concerned with the removal of all weapons of mass destruction. Since the responsibility of the suffering of the Iraqi people lies solely and exclusively on the shoulders of the Iraqi government, there is only one way to rid Iraq and its people from this dilemma and allay the fears of its neighbors, and that is the true and sincere commitment to implement all security council resolutions and to refrain from policies of manipulations and maneuvers which are intended to circumvent these resolutions especially those concerning the release of prisoners and detainees and the return of properties and the commitment to a modality for compensation, and total cooperation with the UN special committee.

Mr. President:

Saudi Arabia as a member of the GCC hopes to establish the best of relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. We have been particularly pleased at the recent positive signs emanating from the Iranian government which would leave a positive impact on Iranian -Gulf relations. We look forward to resolving the outstanding conflicts between the two sides, especially the issue of the three United Arab Emirates islands, by peaceful means, in accordance with the principles and norms of international law, including the option of referring the matter to the international court of justice if the situation so warrants.

We hope to see an end to civil violence and strife in Afghanistan and the termination of the seemingly endless suffering of the Afghani people. While we emphasize the independence and sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, we express our support for the efforts of the UN and the Organization of the Islamic Conference in their endeavors to bring about a political solution to the problem. At the same time, we very strongly deplore the efforts to make Afghanistan a haven for sheltering and training of terrorists which can only bring further calamities to the Afghani people.

Mr. President:

Shortly after the Serbs terminated their aggression against the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, they involved themselves in another conflict, aiming, this time, at the people in the Kosovo region. Serb forces, in front of the entire world community, are flagrantly committing inhuman practices such as ethnic cleansing, deportation, terror and oppression. It would be tragic if these appalling actions are allowed to take place without being firmly checked by the international community.

Mr. President:

In view of the historic links and bonds of friendship that associate my country with the African continent, we are deeply troubled by the ongoing conflicts and confrontations in this part of the world. I feel confident and hopeful that the well known wisdom and prudence of the African leaders would enable them to overcome these difficulties and direct them to the adoption of peaceful means and the resolution of the current problems which dissipate their resources and squander their energies, so that peace and stability prevail in Africa allowing it to assume its natural role in the development of human civilization. In this regard, we voice our support for the call extended by the Secretary-General of the United Nations when he urged the African leaders to face up to current challenges confronting the African continent.

Mr. President:

The Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques is keenly interested in the ongoing efforts that seek to eliminate weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East including the Arabian Gulf region. This is demonstrated through its support of the efforts of the Arab League as specified in the resolution of the Arab League Council during its 101st session which called to make this sensitive part of the world a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, and all its kinds - nuclear, chemical and biological.

We are greatly worried as a result of Israel's continued refusal to join the NPT, thus keeping its nuclear programs outside the range of international inspection, constituting a serious threat to the region. While we reject double standards that allow Israel to be excluded from the nuclear disarmament, we have also expressed our concern regarding the nuclear tests begun by India and followed by Pakistan, in view of the dangers these tests present to the region.

We believe in the urgent need to increase the effectiveness of the Non-Proliferation Treaty through the activation and universalization of the IEA system of guarantees, also, we consider it of the utmost importance to establish the necessary controls and measures that would assist in achieving progress towards the goal of comprehensive disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction in conformity with UN resolution number 1 issued in 1946. One such step to take beyond inspection and monitoring is to create a disincentive for proliferation by taking collective measures against any country that uses atomic weapons. Accordingly, we urge all states that have not yet joined the NPT to take up all necessary steps leading to accession to this treaty, and to subject all nuclear installations to the system of international guarantees, since this would have a conducive impact on world peace and stability.

Mr. President:

The Government of Saudi Arabia has regularly condemned the now common scourge of terrorism, on all occasions and in all international forums, joining its voice on the side of international efforts aimed at combating this dangerous development. Extremism, violence, and terrorism are universal phenomena rather than the characteristics of a certain people, race, or religion. Precisely because of the comprehensiveness and universality of terrorism the only way to combat it is though unified and collective international action within the framework of the United Nations, which alone could lead to putting an end to terrorism and saving the lives of the innocent and preserving the independence and sovereignty of the countries of the world. Combating terrorism would also require international cooperation against sheltering terrorist groups, thus banning them from exploiting territories and laws of the states wherever they happen to exist to continue their destructive activities.

Mr. President:

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considers environmental issues and environment protection of key importance, as evidenced in the prominent place given it in our domestic and foreign policies. This is so, since we believe that the good life of mankind is tightly connected with the environment. This explains the fact that the Kingdom has participated in all relevant conferences and international gatherings and arrangements. We have also become a party to several regional and internal agreements that are geared to this cause.

We only hope that the international efforts relating to the problems of the environment be formulated in a balanced and objective manner based on scientific facts and studies that take into account the needs of development in the developing world. We call upon all states to abide by the agenda of the 21st century. We also urge the industrial states to live up to their obligations regarding the transfer of technology to the developing nations.

Mr. President:

Globalization is fast becoming a reality that requires our countries to adjust their domestic policies to channeling the forces of globalization in order to maximize their benefits and minimize losses. It is important to stress here that the principles of open economies and free trade are not an end in themselves but a means to the bettering of the human condition by improving the standard of living for everybody through expanding exports and expanding benefits.

Such a thing cannot be achieved by developing countries unless they maintain high elasticity of supply. Consequently developing countries are required more than ever to intensify their development in order to catch up with the movement of the international economy. Also we have to consider closer cooperation between NAM and the Group of 77. The objectives of this cooperation should be to deal with the issues of development and to draft a detailed agenda that fulfills the ambitions and aspirations of developing countries within the framework of the new economic order. Obviously, we cannot ignore the important role that needs to be played by the developed countries through fulfilling their international commitments to the developing and less developed countries either by direct or indirect aid, as well as debt cancellation and rescheduling of foreign debt.

Developed countries must also allow free and easy access for the developing countries' exports to their markets, and refrain from adopting trade measures that create barriers to the flow of such exports. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is pleased to contribute within the limit of its means to the development of developing countries at the bilateral as well as the multilateral level. Out of the King’s desire to participate with the member countries of NAM for a better future of the international economy, Saudi Arabia applied for the membership in the World Trade Organization. With our support we hope to finalize the accession procedures soon.

Mr. President:

In conclusion, I would like to renew our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to His Excellency President Nelson Mandela, and the friendly government and people of South Africa for the gracious hospitality and generous welcome which we have been surrounded with and which complement the exceptional efforts exerted, in person, by His Excellency the President, in order to make of our conference a historic moment and consequence.

Thank you.