Esteemed heads of delegations:
Ladies and gentlemen:
On behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I extend my sincere thanks to Your Excellency for organizing this historic summit of the oil producing countries in Venezuela, the member state that played a key role in the establishment of OPEC and the enhancement of its status.
We meet today forty years after the founding of this Organization, which has managed to persist and realize numerous achievements for its member states and their peoples. Its contribution in stabilizing the oil market, especially over the past two years, is a well-known fact.
At the same time our Organization is credited for taking into account the circumstances and needs of developing nations, by providing them with development aids through the OPEC Fund for International Development, and other national funds.
There has been a drastic transformation in the conduct and mode of relations as compared to those that prevailed at the time of the creation of OPEC. This outcome was the result of sweeping changes that have become characteristic of the contemporary world, and which call for a review of the traditional function of the Organization and the manner of coping and dealing with current opportunities and challenges, with open minds.
The relations between our Organization and other oil-exporting countries have to be strengthened for the sake of achieving our common goals. We expect our Organization to become an umbrella for all the oil-producing countries and stand ready to welcome new members who will share with us their goals and aspirations. Also, our relations with the consuming countries must develop within the framework of dialogue, understanding and mutual interests.
We in Saudi Arabia have been and are still supportive of a dialogue that is based on knowledge of the position of each party and an appreciation of its needs and circumstances. Consequently, we see in the 7th international energy symposium due to be held in Riyadh this year, an opportunity to deepen and consecrate and broaden the horizons of the dialogue between the producers and the consumers.
We are part of this world and share with it the concern to protect the environment and to develop the global economy for the sake of all humanity. We recognize that confronting and putting an end to poverty constitutes one of mankind's most important goals. This end, however, requires from all of us joint actions aimed at molding a balanced international environmental order that takes into account the aspirations of the developing nations and the role of oil in providing the kind of clean energy required for economic development; along with a world trade system free of any arbitrary and unjust taxes imposed on oil and its products as compared to other energy sources.
The past twenty-five years have taught us several lessons, which have crystallized during the last two years.
First is the need to recognize the importance of market sensitivities and how they are affected by our decisions so that we manage to have an optimal level of oil income as well as endeavor to increase our share in the market. Second is the need to recognize that the balance and stability of the oil market is a joint and equal responsibility of all the member states of our Organization, in addition to the role expected of other producers and consumers in this regard. Hence we attach significance to the concept of shared responsibility among all the OPEC members on the basis of fairness and equity as well as accurate and solid facts. Third is the need to address world public opinion to correct the unjust image that blames our Organization for the ills of the world economy and the burden imposed on the consumers especially the developing countries.
We in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia realize our position and responsibility in the international market. We are also concerned not to let our economy be at the mercy of transient fluctuations in the market. Therefore, we continue to work towards stabilizing the market while preserving the role of oil as an important factor in shaping the world economy and maintaining our share in the international market. We also endeavor to use oil as a bridge to the future of our people.
Therefore, as much as we were concerned about the plummeting of oil prices two years ago causing considerable damage to our economies and the global oil industry and leading to exceptional efforts on OPEC's part to restore stability in the market, we are equally concerned now at the increasing level of prices that could have a negative impact on the role of oil worldwide and the prospects of international economic growth. For this reason and since the beginning of this year, we have tried to make available and save needed supplies to maintain the balance in the market and to moderate oil prices. The process, however, requires that the governments of the consumer states bear their share in alleviating the burden of the ultimate consumer by reducing the excessively high taxes on petroleum.
We hope that these governments do away with the policies and slogans that erroneously present OPEC countries as unreliable and insecure sources for meeting international energy needs. It is wholly unjustifiable to cast doubts on the ability of our Organization to provide available and needed oil supplies. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ready, whenever there is need, to produce the quantity required for the stability of the oil market.
Our cooperation and openness towards the world as well as our understanding of the extent of the technical and economic changes would, most assuredly, lead to the maximum employment of our resources for the development of our countries and guarantee the prosperity of our peoples. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is totally convinced that the goals of our Organization adopted at the time of its inception forty years ago are still valid and can carry us to lead the member-states into the future with confidence and optimism.
One of the key factors in the success of our Organization and its effectiveness, in the midst of on-going regional and international developments, is that it is rooted in its approach and guided by its goals in a framework of unity, which was the cornerstone of its establishment.
Once again, I extend my thanks and deep appreciation to Your Excellency for calling for this historic summit, as well as to the government and the friendly people of Venezuela for all the hospitality, kindness and excellent preparation and management of this event.