In the name of God, the Most Merciful, The Most Compassionate
I welcome you to an Arab homeland that is striving to be an open forum for a free and unconditional dialogue which could be right or wrong, which is the responsibility of the participants, and this is characteristic of freedom.
Brothers, Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses,
His Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations
His Excellency the Secretary General of the Arab League,
I welcome you to this country that receives you with cordiality, appreciation and respect.
I welcome you to this country that receives you with an open heart and mind, offering you its sincerest wishes for success and God's blessings.
I welcome you to a country that aspires to play a useful role in the Arab public action, cooperating in good faith and good intention with his brothers, and appreciating the merit and status of each of them.
I welcome you at a time that requires your opinion and your decision, at a time when the nation awaits the prudence of your reason and wisdom and hopes for reassurance that restores some faith during these circumstances that are fraught with turmoil and anxiety.
Allow me at the outset to extend my deep thanks and appreciation to my brother President Bashar Al-Assad, President of the Syrian Arab Republic, for his sincere efforts during his chairmanship of the past summit, which contributed to supporting the joint Arab action.
This meeting has an agenda drafted by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the Arab League, and each one of us has something to say regarding the items on this busy agenda. However, with your permission, I would like to refer to a subject that I deem important and vital, in addition to the agenda prepared for this periodical meeting.
I want to say that, had this meeting not been scheduled by virtue of the annual rotation principle of the Arab summits, it should have been so by virtue of the emergencies that have befallen our world and not only our countries; and we are all seeing their results and feeling their impact in the fluctuations, problems and crises in every aspect and at all levels. What makes them more grave is that they have amassed, have laid their burden at the same time, their manifestations have overlapped and interacted, and their effects have accumulated and complicated, such that their volume seemed bigger than the ability of those charged with tackling them. We say this with a strong belief and firm conviction that all these fluctuations, problems and crises could be overcome at the end through international determination; to overcome a storm that no party can alone afford its human and material cost.
Our Arab world was among the most vulnerable regions in the world to be affected by the storm, and if the financial and economical crisis that the world has suffered and is still suffering from remains the eye-catching event, this storm not only affected the resources of the Arab world and its savings, but also revealed a serious brittleness affecting the systems that the world was depending on to control its affairs and maintain its balance. This is a strategic development with far reaching consequences.
The international financial system has been hit, and the international economic system has been hit, and the international legal system has also been hit.
All of this led to the shaking of the foundation on which every system in every field is based, namely trust. The blow that hit this foundation was the first thing that actually threatens us, since public and mutual trust is in itself the most important basis of international legality that reassures everybody of the soundness of actions and transactions, and allows the formulation of expectations on all political, economic, social and intellectual levels. The experiences of humanity since the dawn of history teach us that it is not possible to draw a policy, or to stabilize a policy, or to make a policy successful, unless the element of self confidence and confidence in others, and in regulations and laws is available so that every person can know what to expect in order to count his steps.
We certainly see that the impact of this problem of lack of confidence has affected the Arab world more than others. Given its location and resources, its issues and problems, and its previous and subsequent conditions, the Arab world is in the direction of the wind and the eye of the storm.
The most serious aspect of this problem of lack of confidence is that it creates atmospheres where it is difficult to verify the positions of power, the intentions of policies, the soundness of estimations, and the calculations of possibilities. What is evident today is that what we in the past took for granted needs revision, and policies we adopted and sought after need to be reviewed. The approaches and methods we got used to need to be reviewed.
With full responsibility, we say that we need to review and not to retreat, because what happened imposed on us contemplation and close examination and discretion, and we must do so with cool nerves, enlightened thought and trust in God the Almighty.
The global environmental system has been hit before, and experts knew the causes, but decision-makers stood helpless unable until now to take the necessary measures to prevent threats facing the future of mankind, the reason for that is that some imagine the threats to the environment as deferred threats. This is a wrong perception, and now with the shaken international financial system, we find ourselves facing a sharp dilemma felt in every country and by every individual. Yet, we have seen with our own eyes that the greatest experts in the world stood in front of the financial and economic crisis in a state of shock and helplessness, for they neither expected it nor knew its causes, nor accurately prescribed its treatment. This means that the changes that occurred in ideas, science and technologies still need further studying, accurate monitoring of reasons, and a wide-ranging and comprehensive review. A review that Arabs should partake with the rest of the world and not stand aside as spectators.
In fact, the Arab world has reasons that call upon it to be more understanding. First, there are the implications of the crisis itself. Second, the crisis has seized the attention of the world, and kept it away from our issues, especially with the onset of political variables that affect us directly, including:
- There is a new and also different American presidency that has brought about new blood to the American decision-making system; a blood capable of renewal.
- There are elections that took place in Israel and we have to monitor their directions and their impact on the security situation in the region.
- There are developments in the neighborhood that we must deal with, correctly so as not to cause additional tension in the region adding to its worries and concerns.
Third: We see world-wide changes in positions of power and centers of influence.
Fourth: National projects, nation states and grouping of states are being established around us, calling upon our citizens to ask the question where is the Arab project?
Fifth: Our internal disputes urge us to reach at least a mechanism to manage our differences so that differences do not jeopardize intimacy.
All of those reasons will directly and indirectly face us with political and social implications that require readiness and alertness. History teaches us that storms pass, but their aftermath linger for a long time.
The least we can expect is that this crisis will leave behind it consequences and complications in our region, that we must be ready to control and manage if we are not able to find solutions to them. They will leave behind them economic, social and political problems. There are possibilities of a slowdown in growth, possibilities of recession, and possibilities of unemployment. With the erosion of a part of our savings as a result of the plummeting of the global markets, and the diminishing of our resources with the decline of oil prices, the economic and social security in our countries is an entitlement that entails heavy responsibilities and tasks.
Before I conclude, I must reiterate my welcome, support and commendation of the gracious and wise initiative launched by my brother, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud at the Kuwait Summit in which he called for an Arab reconciliation, and which expressed the extent of his eagerness to bring the Arabs together, achieve Arab solidarity and overcome any differences in opinion among our countries, which at the end remain about the means and not the goal. For we all have one goal, which is the interest of our peoples and our nation and raising its status.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my pride and the pride of all of us in the participation of my brother the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, as representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the G20 Economic Summit in London. I do not exaggerate when I say that we feel that he represents all of us in this task in which we wish him success. We are confident that he will represent the interests of our nations and our Arab world, and even the harmed developing countries and their ambitions in a more balanced relationship with the advanced industrial countries.
The nation pins its hopes on you, and the community of states is waiting for your contribution. With the importance of the ongoing reconciliations and with the necessity of reestablishing amicable relations, we are required to agree and cooperate on ideas, goals and means between each other, and between us and the whole world.
Wa Assalam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh.