Saudi Arabia's Address to the U.N. General Assembly
Saudi Arabia has called for the strengthening of global cooperation to confront terrorism, which is at odds with the principles of tolerance, peace and respect promoted by Islam, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said in a statement issued in New York on the occasion of the 65th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Prince Saud outlined the many contributions the Kingdom has made in the fight against terrorism, including King Abdullah’s interfaith dialogue initiative; the 2005 Counterterrorism Conference in Riyadh; the establishment of a successful terrorist rehabilitation program; and various other military, cultural, educational and economic efforts.
Prince Saud stressed, “Respect for United Nations resolutions and the principles of international law is the only way to resolve chronic international conflicts and defuse focal points of tension, thereby preventing terrorists from exploiting feelings of despair and frustration brought about by subjection to injustice, aggression and occupation.”
Addressing the Middle East peace process, the Saudi Foreign Minister once again called on Israel to accept the Arab Peace Initiative and to end all settlement building activities in the Occupied Territories. He expressed hope that the current U.S.-mediated peace talks would bear fruit, calling it a “moment of truth” and a “crossroads” and warning that “the consequences of failure this time are too catastrophic to imagine.”
Touching on other regional issues, Prince Saud called for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, calling on Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and Israel to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
In the statement, Prince Saud expressed grief at the devastating floods in Pakistan, outlining the major Saudi humanitarian relief effort and requesting that other nations to contribute as much as possible. He also insisted that states honor their pledges in the effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to significantly reduce global poverty by 2015. The Foreign Minister noted that Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of global humanitarian efforts, donating $99.75 billion in assistance to more than 95 different states between 1973 and 2009.
Finally, Prince Saud called for reorm at the United Nation, specifically empowering the General Assembly, rather than allowing the Security Council a monopoly on important decision-making.