Full Text of King’s Speech

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Dec 24, 2015

RIYADH – The following is the full text of the address of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman while opening the activities of the 4th year of the 6th session of the Shoura Council on Wednesday:

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Compassionate, Praise be to Allah, and prayer and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, his Family, and Companions.

I am pleased to inaugurate the activities of the 4th year of the 6th session of the Shoura Council, praying to Allah Almighty to guide us to perform the responsibility in the best way.

Brothers and sisters,
I have the pleasure to review the Kingdom’s domestic and foreign policy in this meeting, and the most notable developments and challenges in this regard. We all cooperate in consolidating the achievements and addressing the obstacles so as to achieve further progress of the country and ensuring advanced services to citizens.

The march of development is continuing on a firm pace since the reign of King Abdulaziz, and then his sons who succeeded him until the present era. On top of our commitments comes the honor bestowed upon us by Allah Almighty to serve the Two Holy Mosques as well as Haj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the holy mosques. It is a commitment in which we are proud of and we pledge Allah Almighty to spend dearly in this regard, topped by the State’s interest in the construction and expansion of the Two Holy Mosques.

The Kingdom’s development programs emanate from its religious fundamentals and social values. The wise and balanced policies help maintain economic stability and bring public debt to the minimum. Government’s priorities include massive investments on human resources development and creation of jobs for Saudis.

Brothers and sisters,
The development programs and growth that we are witnessing now emanate from religious principles and social values, in a way protecting rights and defining duties, and we are determined to continue those programs in political, cultural, economic, social, and service sector. Therefore, we had directed the restructuring of various bodies under the Cabinets followed by the abolition of numerous councils, commissions and committees, and the transfer of their jurisdiction to the Council of Political and Security Affairs, and Council of Economic and Development Affairs. Through these councils under the supervision and follow up of the Cabinet, efforts will continue in enhancing the march of development and achieving the integration of roles, pinpointing of responsibilities, keeping abreast of developments, improving work environment and strengthening the state’s apparatuses.

Dear brothers and sisters,
The rise in oil prices has contributed, over the past years, to the flow of large financial revenues of which the State relied on to implement several mega development projects and developing infrastructure as well as enhancing the State’s general reserve. And this enabled our country to overcome the repercussions of the drop in oil prices, by not affecting the continuation of the march of development and implementation of development plans and projects, and our economy has continued its real growth despite the global economic fluctuations and falling oil prices, thanks to balanced and prudent economic policies pursued by the State in controlling the public fiscal situations and maintaining stability and balance between resources and spending on mega development projects in all sectors.

We have succeeded in maintaining the levels of public debt, which is still low compared to international standards and the Kingdom is keen to carry out diversification of the sources of income and reduce dependence on oil as a major source of income, and our vision of economic reform is based on raising the efficiency of government spending, taking advantage of the economic resources and increasing the returns of government investment. We have directed the Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA) to develop the necessary plans, policies and programs to do that.

Dear brothers and sisters,
The 10th development plan, which kicked off this year, is on a solid economic development base and it is keeping pace with the aspirations and the most important developments and challenges. The development plan aims to raise the gross domestic product (GDP) level, consolidate the comprehensive economic development pillars, develop the manpower and raise its employment rates and increase spending on infrastructure. The CEDA, through its mechanisms, will follow up to ensure the success of the workflow and enhance the level of performance, and in this context, the National Center for Measuring the Performance of Government Bodies has been established. We have directed, upon what has been recommended by the CEDA, that ministries and government agencies shall submit their opinions and visions to it.

We are also keen to improve the Saudi commercial market and create an attractive environment for work and investment for Saudi and foreign companies as well as to simplify the procedures and facilitate investment in the Saudi market. We have directed to open the retail and wholesale trade for foreign companies in an effort to diversify the goods and services provided to citizens, and opening new job opportunities and training for Saudi youths.

Dear brothers and sisters,
The health sector remains one of our most prominent priorities as the State is responsible for providing adequate health care for citizens. We have continued to provide financial subsidies for this sector, contributing to upgrading the level of this service. However, we look forward to continuing the progress, including the provision of more Saudi manpower, opening more and more medical and health colleges and raising the proportion of scholarships in medical specialties.

As for education, the State was keen to make its most significant investment in the field of Saudi human resources development, with provision of all the necessary resources to raise the quality of education, increase its efficiency, upgrade the level of its beneficiaries and equip them with the required skills and requirements. In this context, the focus of the Foreign Scholarship Program named after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques was to harmonize the outputs of education and the needs of labor market so that it contributes to bridging the gap in the labor market of some specialties, particularly medicine and other scientific professions.

With regard to the housing sector, everyone is aware of the care the State is lending to this sector, including the huge budgets allocated for it and all means of support needed to provide adequate housing for beneficiaries. In this regard, the State has encouraged investment in this field and enhanced the role of private sector to become partner complementary to the efforts of the government in achieving this goal. Also, the State sought to achieve balance between supply and demand, stimulate land owners to develop and invest in them so as to contribute to bridging the growing need for housing, and the approval of the law for taxation of undeveloped land is part of our endeavor to achieve this goal.

The labor and human resources sector is among the top priorities of the government, which continued to modernize administrative and financial programs and procedures. The development of human resources program was launched as part of raising the efficiency of government agencies and employees’ performance. The government has recently established the Authority for Job Creation to enhance coordination among all labor-related government and private agencies and ensure their effective participation, in addition to achieve development of job generating sectors and exploit the competitive advantage in different administrative regions of the Kingdom for this purpose. Also, the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises and the National Program to support the management of public projects have been created. The State also paid great attention to the expansion of women’s participation in the country’s development in a way that does not contradict with the teachings of the religion of Islam. Saudi women have proven their efficiency and ability to fulfill their role in various fields, including their active participation in the recently-held municipal elections.

Bearing in mind that the transport sector is the sinew and mainstay of development, the government has pumped in large amount of money in order to provide road infrastructure across the Kingdom, with transportation projects continuing to developing and diversifying. The road projects linking cities in the Kingdom are on the rise. The approved projects included the Haramain Railway project, Saudi Railways Company projects and King Abdulaziz Public Transport project in the city of Riyadh.

Dear brothers and sisters,
We are a Muslim society, unified by the faith in Allah, holding fast to the doctrine, law and methodology of His book and the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace be upon him). The Islamic Shariah is based on right, justice, tolerance and up-rooting the reasons causing sedition. Accordingly, everyone is aware of the importance of national unity, the rejection of all reasons leading to difference and conflicts, undermining national unity and tampering the national coherence. Citizens are equal not only in getting their rights, but in fulfilling their obligations and duties as well. So we, all of us, have to preserve this unity, and decisively address evil and sedition calls whatever their source or means of dissemination. In this regard, the media have to hold great responsibility.

Dear brothers and sisters,
Your state continues to support the efforts being exerted to confront the challenges and risks engulfing the Arab and Islamic nations. In this regard, we have directed the Council for Political and Security Affairs to propose the necessary plans, programs and visions to meet these challenges and risks.

Security is among the most important blessings bestowed by Allah Almighty on our country, being the pillar of stability and welfare of peoples. Saudi citizens have, and are still, fulfilling their responsibility in this regard. They are the main security men and right hand to their leadership and government in defeating the spiteful and the greedy enemies of our nation. We will not allow anyone to tamper with our security and stability.

Dear brothers and sisters,
Terrorism is a global scourge that has hurt many countries and peoples as it has neither any religion nor homeland. The brave security authorities of our State have exerted great efforts in confronting terrorists firmly and strongly. They have managed, thanks to Allah Almighty, to pursue them, prosecute them and dismantle their networks and cells in addition to successfully carrying out pre-emptive security operations that effectively contributed to ward off their evils and foil their plans. Furthermore, we are determined, with the help of Allah, to support and strengthen our security capabilities by all means and modern appliances that enable them to perform their duties and undertake responsibilities in the best way as it is the source of our pride.

We, the people in the Kingdom, have suffered from the scourge of terrorism. We were and are still keen to continue firmly and decisively combating the ideologies of terrorists who dare to borrow Islamic teachings to justify their wrong doing while Islam is completely innocent of such fallacy. Combating and addressing terrorism, uprooting it and draining its resources is, no doubt, a joint international responsibility as its danger surrounds everybody. Emanating from this, the Islamic Military Alliance, led by the Kingdom, was formed to combat terrorism. In this regard, a joint operations center was established in the city of Riyadh to coordinate and support military operations to fight terrorism and develop the necessary programs and mechanisms supporting those efforts and put the appropriate arrangements for coordination with friendly and peace-loving countries and international bodies for facilitating the global efforts to combat terrorism and maintain international peace and security. The Kingdom has made and will continue to spare no effort in this regard.

Dear brothers and sisters,
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is keen to defend the Arab and Islamic issues at international platforms, the top of which is securing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and establishing their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, and that is an endeavor long-sought by the Kingdom. In this regard, the Kingdom reiterates once again that the recent Israeli violations, notably, the escalation and irresponsible actions of killing the unarmed innocent people, including women and children as well as storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, violating its sanctity and targeting worshipers, are great crimes which should be halted. The continuing Israeli settlement construction works must be suspended and the old one shall be removed. The Kingdom calls upon the international community to shoulder its responsibilities and take the necessary measures to protect the Palestinian people against the Israeli aggressive practices which are provocation for all Arab and Muslim feelings.

Within the framework of the Kingdom’s keenness to perform its duties towards the brotherly countries and support them, the ‘Decisive Storm’ operation was launched with participation of a number of Arab and Islamic countries at the request of the Yemeni legitimate government to save the country from a coup against its legitimacy, security and stability. This group sought to dominate and sow discord in the region, threatened the security of the neighboring states, including the Kingdom, and strictly carried out regional plots seeking to interfere in the internal affairs of the Arab countries through turning Yemen into a hotbed of sectarian and doctrinal conflicts. This development triggered the coalition countries to deal with the threat involving the security of Yemen and its people as well as the entire Arab security and to restore the Yemeni legitimacy and stability, ward off the threats posed by this group and its regional supporters and secure the region’s stability and territorial integrity.

Then, the Renewal of Hope Operation was launched in addition to programs of relief and humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people through King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Works so that the Yemeni people can overcome the serious sufferings and bypass the extraordinary circumstances and conditions to pave the way for regaining their natural role regionally and internationally in an atmosphere of security and stability. Since beginning of the crisis until now, the Kingdom was calling for a political solution in accordance with the GCC initiative, as well as the outcome of the national comprehensive dialogue and the Security Council resolution No. (2216).

The Kingdom’s stance towards the Syrian crisis is also clear since its beginning. It was seeking that Syria remains a unified homeland for all sections of the Syrian society and calls for a political solution that helps the country to come out of its crisis and enable its people to establish a transitional government composed of moderate opposition forces that guarantee the unity of the Syrians, departure of foreign troops and terrorist organizations which would have never find fertile ground in Syria except for the Syrian regime’s ugly policies which led to the extermination of hundreds of thousands of the Syrians and the displacement of millions. Based on the keenness to achieve security, stability and justice in Syria, the Kingdom hosted a meeting for all spectra and components of the Syrian opposition aimed to find a political solution ensuring the unity of the Syrian territories in accordance with the resolutions of Geneva (1) conference.

Dear brothers and sisters,
During the recent period, we were keen to enhance and develop our relations with many of the sisterly and friendly countries through exchanging visits with many of the leaders of the world. We will continue this path to enhance the Kingdom’s regional and international role. Within this framework, the Kingdom hosted the 4th Summit of Arab-South American Countries which issued ‘Riyadh Declaration’ that underscored the importance of full implementation of Security Council resolution on the Yemeni crisis and the rejection of any interference in the internal affairs of countries in the region by foreign powers, in violation of the United Nations Charter and the principles of good-neighborliness. The Riyadh Declaration stressed the importance of respecting independence of the states and their unity, territorial integrity and solving disputes with peaceful means. The declaration also voiced recognition of the State of Palestine in addition to a number of political and economic issues concerning the Arab and South American countries.

The Kingdom also participated in the Group of Twenty (G-20) Summit hosted by the Republic of Turkey, a step reflecting the prestigious and important position of our country in the map of the global economy. During this summit, the Kingdom has contributed to develop economic relations among the countries, overcome the obstacles and constraints and encourage and support the flow of investments, exchange of the expertise, technology transfer and cooperation in all fields for the benefit and interest of all.
Within the framework of continuous coordination with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the 36th Session of the GCC Supreme Council was held in Riyadh on Safar 27-28 (Dec. 8-9). During the summit, we provided our vision to the GCC leaders in order to enhance march of the GCC joint action which was approved by the Supreme Council as contained in ‘Riyadh Declaration’ in addition to the resolutions adopted in various fields, hoping to achieve the aspirations of the GCC peoples. In the field of energy, the Kingdom continued its interest in the stability of oil market by pursuing a balanced policy taking into account the interests of producers and consumers alike, ensuring the stability of the market and protecting the interests of present and future generations. The Kingdom is keen to continue exploration of oil, gas and other natural resources in the Kingdom. The prospects for our economy are promising, thanks to Allah Almighty.

Dear brothers and sisters,
Your State is keen to improve performance of its agencies in order to achieve aspirations and hopes of its citizens in all fields. It is aware that many challenges are facing the Kingdom, but it is determined to overcome them and provide a decent life for its citizens. We appreciate the role of the Shoura Council and its sound views regarding domestic and foreign affairs. We look forward to seeing the Council continuing to play its role seriously and effectively. May Allah help all of us.

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