Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz opened this year’s activities of the Shura (Consultative) Council today with his annual address on the Kingdom’s foreign and domestic policies.
On foreign policy issues, King Abdullah renewed Saudi Arabia’s support for the Palestinian people and the peace process. He also expressed the hope that recent developments in the Palestinian situation would promote peace.
On terrorism, the King stressed Saudi Arabia’s continued determination to confront Al-Qaeda, and praised the security forces that have successfully dismantled its cells, choked its sources of financing and exposed the reality of the deviant thought.
“The deviant group sought to develop its destructive capabilities to inflict greater damage on the homeland and its achievements and extended its base of support,” he said. “I assure you of our continued determination to confront this group.”
In his address, King Abdullah also highlighted key aspects of Saudi Arabia’s domestic policy. He noted that because political stability is critical to the state, the Kingdom established the Allegiance Commission to formalize the succession and enacted judicial reforms.
In the economic arena, Saudi Arabia has developed its infrastructure and implemented new projects to ensure that all regions of the Kingdom achieved balanced development, the King said. He added that these projects are expected to boost economic growth and create jobs.
Education and training have also been priorities, King Abdullah said. “Public education is the basis of any scientific progress and real development,” he noted, adding that there has been particular progress in higher education – a number of new universities have been established throughout the Kingdom.
Other areas that received attention included the energy sector and environmental matters, the King said. Saudi Arabia hosted the 3rd OPEC Summit in Riyadh in November 2007 and allocated $300 million to research on energy, the environment and climate change.
King Abdullah also remarked that the Saudi government has also focused on improving citizens’ quality of life and protecting consumers. Organizations and agencies were established, including the National Commission for Protecting Integrity and Fighting Corruption, the General Commission for Housing and the Consumer Protection Association.
Read King Abdullah’s opening remarks to the Shura Council
Read a translation of King Abdullah’s full address