“We are in a new era of Asian Arab cooperation. The relations between the countries of the two regions are witnessing an excellent development. The volume of commercial exchange has tripled in the last few years. The tourism business is seeing increasing numbers as well,” he said.
The Crown Prince added that the increase in economic growth rates in a number of Asian and Arab countries, particularly the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is considered among the world's highest, and that trade and investment exchanges between the two regions are expected to make great strides.
Prince Sultan welcomed an initiative last year to start a dialogue between Asia and the Middle East aimed at the “enactment of ties, the deepening of mutual understanding and the support of opportunities for bilateral cooperation to serve common interests.” Prince Sultan added “this initiative would contribute to achieving more development and modernization for the human civilization, facing the challenges posed by globalization and to serve international peace and security.”
Crown Prince Sultan paid tribute to Singapore’s economic development.
Crown Prince Sultan said that the Kingdom is undergoing major privatization program which covers vital sectors including water desalination and treatment, power generation, gas and minerals exploration, telecommunications, air transportation, airports and sea ports. He expressed confidence that the newly formed Saudi Singaporean Joint Business Council will boost cooperation between the two countries
On the issue of energy, Crown Prince Sultan reassured the oil market of the Kingdom’s "commitment to market stability and steady oil supply. The Crown Prince added that the Kingdom has undertaken an ambitious $50 billion program to increase the nation’s oil production to 12.5 million barrels per day.
On the issue of the troubled Middle East, Crown Prince Sultan said the Arab-Israeli conflict is still a source of tension in the region, pending a fair and comprehensive solution based on the international legitimacy and expressed hope that the solution will be based on the peace initiative launched by King Abdullah during the Beirut Arab Summit 2002 and the road map.
On the issue of Iraq, Crown Prince Sultan said the Kingdom looks forward to “a secure, stable Iraq that maintains its integral unity and independence as an integral part of the Arab world and world community.”
He reiterated his country's position denouncing all forms of terrorism as this international plague is a violation of the values of Islam. Prince Sultan said that Saudi Arabia has hosted the Anti-Terrorism International Conference in Riyadh in 2005 which adopted Saudi Arabia's proposal to set up of an international center for combating terrorism "which we hope that the United Nations will adopt it", he said. In response to a question, Crown Prince Sultan confirmed that Saudi Arabia and Singapore have agreed to jointly enhance their fight against terrorism in the two countries.
[Full text of speech]