The Group of 77 South Summit
H.E. Dr. Nizar bin Obain Madani
Assistant to the Foreign Minister
Head of the Saudi Arabian Delegation to the Summit
10 – 14 April 2000
In the Name of God the Merciful and the Compassionate
It gives me great honor and pride to deliver the speech of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz before your respected conference, the conference of the first Summit of the South of the Group of 77.
Your Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Fedral Republic of Nigeria and chairman of the Group of 77:
Your Excellency President Fidel Castro Rus, President of the Council of State and of the Government of the Repulic of Cuba:
Distinguished delegates and guests:
It gives me great pleasure to express our sincere appreciation to H.E. President Olusegun Obasanjo for the efforts he exerted during his chairmanship to the Group of the 77 and I am confident that his leadership in this Summit will have a great impact on its success. I would also like to express our deep appreciation to H.E. President Fidel Castro Ruz and to the Government and people of Cuba for hosting this summit and for the efforts that have been exerted in preparing and organizing it.
This Summit is held at a time when it is incumbent upon us to work towards revitalizing cooperation, to concentrate our efforts on adapting to international developments, and to keep pace with important changes in the global arena. The end of the Cold War and the demise of the era of bi-polarity that characterized international relations after the Second World War, resulted in the emergence of a new world order that is based on economic power, technological advancement, cultural progress, the emergence of economic regional blocs with new rules for global trade, and the rise of globalization.
Our countries view globalization as a phenomenon that encompasses positive qualities, providing as it does a new framework for international relations geared towards the achievement of comprehensive development, equality among nations, and the broadening of the horizons of cooperation in a manner that serves peace, security and prosperity in the world. What has recently begun to emerge, however, in the form of appeals and concepts that call for infringing upon the sovereignty of nations and that authorize interference in the internal affairs of others under various pretexts and excuses, can be regarded as a flagrant and serious violation of the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter, and are capable of derailing the phenomenon of globalization from its path and harming the aspirations of the developing countries.
The Group of 77, is now, more than ever, required to concentrate on areas of fruitful cooperation amongst themselves, especially between the North and the South. The Group should give greater attention to the issues of economic and social development, for there can be neither stability nor security without comprehensive development. There is also a need for the international community to take firm and urgent steps in a comprehensive and diverse manner in order to expedite the process of development and eradicate hunger, poverty, illiteracy and disease and establish global economic relations that are based on justice, equality, and the exchange of the benefits deriving from mutual responsibilities between the developing and the developed nations.
We call upon the developed nations to grant the countries of the South the opportunity to effectively participate in the international decision-making process, and to adopt a mutual and sincere form of cooperation in order to preserve human dignity and establish justice and equality among all human beings. We also call upon the developed nations to open their markets to the products of the developing countries, and to put an end to the system of protectionism. Moreover, it is important to find approaches and acceptable mechanisms to facilitate the process of the transfer of technology, which is extremely expensive to the developing countries; to establish reasonable costs and conditions acceptable to both sides; to cooperate in finding solutions to the problem of debts; and to lay down circumstances conducive to the success of the World Trade Organization, thereby fulfilling the institutional vision of the global economic order.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has contributed to accelerating the wheel of development, particularly in the developing and in the less developed countries. It has adopted and implemented several development programs, providing generous assistance to these countries to enable them to confront the problems of poverty and underdevelopment and guide them along the road to development and stability. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia affirms its full and strong support for the principles of the multilateral trade system in the context of the World Trade Organization.
It is important to mention here that doubts regarding the fairness of the multilateral trade system are mounting, especially among the developed countries. There are indications of difficulties in global trade relations. Despite what has been achieved so far, there is a general feeling among the developing nations that they have not had a tangible share in, or benefited from the advantages of, the multilateral trade system. The developing nations have a strong conviction that the present agreements of the Round of Uruguay have not been fully implemented. Since the World Trade Organization boasts of being a means to providing the world with a system based on the principles of laws governing and organizing global trade, and the principles of transparency and the ability to forecast and achieve mutual benefit for all, there are no specific or clear rules regarding the procedures that need to be followed in the process of joining the membership of the organization. There is no text whatsoever that specifies the conditions and rules for annexation. The global nature of the World Trade Organization has to be achieved as soon as possible to strengthen the multilateral trade system. It is also a necessity to provide the appropriate assistance to developing countries that are seeking to join. This Summit should ask for facilitating the annexation of those countries that are currently negotiating to join the World Trade Organization by making lenient conditions not asking these countries for more commitments than those made by the present members; and to provide these countries with the necessary flexibility as required by their level of development. There is a need for a transparent and simple process of annexation in accordance with the rules and regulations of the World Trade Organization.
The gap between rich and poor countries is widening every year, especially in the fields of education and technology. This fact has exacerbated the large differences between the wealth of the developed countries and the poverty of the developing nations. The economic negotiations between the two groups in the so-called “North-South dialogue” have failed to reach a formula to make the economic relations between the two sides more balanced. The countries of the North continue to place obstacles before the industries of developing countries that seek with all their efforts to enter the markets of the industrial nations. Among these are the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council that are looking to find a place for their petrochemical industries in the markets of the developed and industrial nations.
The issues that face our nations and the present challenges are immense in volume and magnitude. We need to look into them seriously and analyze their causes with objectivity and depth. We should not merely blame the other side for being responsible, thereby developing a false feeling of satisfaction. Persistent conflicts, and a reluctance to abide by the principles of international law, and disrespect for the International legality, and the resort to force and violence to resolve conflict, have resulted in wasting human resources and depleting natural resources in an unavailing process. This has led to deepening the aspects of economic and social underdevelopment and hindered development programs, and has resulted in widening the gap between the countries of the North and those of the South. There can be no development without stability, and no stability without full respect for the principles of international legality, and without dialogue and cooperation in our relations and in our dealings among ourselves and with others.
Our countries still suffer from problems and crises that hinder the path of development and impede the journey towards progress and development to join the progress of modern civilization.
Iraq remains opposed to cooperation with the United Nations that would put an end to the conditions arising from its 1990 invasion of Kuwait and alleviate the suffering of the fraternal people of Iraq by lifting the sanctions while preserving its well-being and its territorial integrity.
Further, the Israeli occupation of Arab territories in Palestine, the Syrian Golan Heights and southern Lebanon remains. While some Arab countries opted for peace in accordance with United Nations Resolutions 242, 338, and 425, together with the principle of land for peace that constitutes an international reference for peace in the Middle East as adopted in the 1991 Madrid conference, Israel has stubbornly continued to create crises, and place obstacles before the peace process in the Middle East. Israel continues to refuse to withdraw from the occupied Arab lands, denies the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people including their right to self determination and having their own independent state with Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital. It is therefore the duty of the international community to stand firm and earnest, and compel Israel to abide by the international will by implementing the relevant United Nations Resolutions that call for its withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, allowing the Palestinian people to practice their national rights including that of establishing its independent state with Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital.
There are other bloody internal and regional conflicts in Afghanistan, Somalia, South Asia, the Balkans, and Africa, that dissipate security and stability, and hinder the wheel of development in those countries. This requires a call for immediately ceasing hostilities, resorting to dialogue and understanding to spare the lives of their people, and looking towards development and reconstruction.
Among the major obstacles before the process of development is the allocation of large portions of national revenues for armaments and in seeking to achieve superiority in this field. Past experiences have proven that a high level of armament in any country does not provide it with security, but opens the way for an arms race in the region at the expense of its development. Based on this understanding, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is giving greater attention to efforts of disarmament, especially in the field of weapons of mass destruction, and is working diligently in coordination and cooperation with other Arab countries to make the Middle East a region free of weapons of mass destruction. In this respect, we view with great concern Israel's refusal to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We want to increase the effectiveness of this treaty through enhancing the system of guarantees, making it more international, and rendering it mandatory in nature in a way that contributes to a more peaceful environment worldwide.
Our nations are looking to this large gathering with the hope that the resolutions of this conference will be at a level that will achieve their aspirations for a life of security, free from fear and hunger, in a manner which will provide future generations with a better life, a brighter future and tranquility.
May peace be upon you.
Please allow me, Mr. President, to express to you my sincere appreciation and wish for this summit every success.