Minister of Education Dr. Muhammad Al-Rasheed, in his address in Paris today to the 13th conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), confirmed the Kingdom's categorical rejection of terrorism in all its forms, and its condemnation of the horrific events in the United States on September 11, 2001. Saudi Arabia, he declared, advocates peace based on equality and calls for productive dialogue among nations, adding that the Kingdom's "respect for high values springs from Islam and from its deference to all of God's Prophets who carried His message from one source".
Recalling UNESCO's Charter, and urging the member states to implement it, Minister Al-Rasheed quoted from it the statement: "The governments of the member states taking part in establishing this covenant hereby announce in the name of their people that as wars are born in the minds of people, so it is in peoples' minds that the towers of peace should be built." Education, he declared, aims at improving minds and reforming behavior with the purpose of raising mankind to a higher level. While the foundations of UNESCO, he went on to say, are "far from the impact of politics, good or evil, sweet or bitter", it cannot stay impartial to the violation of people's rights, adding that the struggle between good and evil is as old as man himself. He reminded the conference of the tragedy inflicted upon the Palestinians, from their expulsion from their country in the 1940s, to the oppression they still endure. He called on UNESCO to help eliminate the injustices inflicted upon the innocent people of Palestine, a holy land whose heritage belongs to all humanity.
Minister Al-Rasheed then raised a number of points, citing the need for extension offices to implement UNESCO's work, for reduction in the number and duration of UNESCO's meetings, and for limitations on travel and trips. He also called for a review of policies governing appointments and promotions.