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King Abdullah's Arab Summit Keynote Address - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

Prayers and Salutations on Prophet Mohammad

Your Majesties, Excellencies, Highnesses,

The leaders of the Arab nations:

Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.

It gives me pleasure, in my name and the name of the Saudi people, to welcome you and wish you success in your deliberations. I thank H.E. President Omer Al-Bashir, the president of the brotherly Republic of Sudan for the effort he exerted while presiding over last year’s Summit.

The Arab League was established over sixty years ago to become a nucleus for a genuine Arab unity, united Arab armies, integrated economies, united political objectives, and before all, the unity of hearts and minds.

Undoubtedly, the question that raises itself is: what was achieved out of all these objectives? The answer to this is in our current reality, which stands to prove that we are far away from the unity compared to the day in which the Arab League was created.

Dear Brothers:

In injured Palestine, the people are still resolute while suffering occupation and repression, and are deprived of their rights to independence and a sovereign state.

As you all know, our Palestinian brethren met in Makkah in the vicinity of the Holy Mosque. By the grace of God Almighty, they succeeded in ending their differences and agreed to form a national unity government as declared. In light of this positive development, it became a necessity to put an end to the unjust siege imposed on the Palestinian people as soon as possible so as to enable the peace process to proceed in an atmosphere free from compulsion and repression and in a manner that enables success in realizing the desired goal of an independent Palestinian state.

In the beloved Iraq, blood is spilled between brothers under an illegitimate foreign occupation and despicable sectarianism that threatens civil war.

Lebanon, which was a good example for co-existence and prosperity, is now crippled and unable to move ahead. Its streets had turned into hotels and sedition is about to show its teeth.

In Sudan, Arab laxity led to foreign intervention in its affairs. In Somalia, a civil war ends to pave the way for another. All that is taking place while we are unable to extend help to our brothers.

The question is: what have we done throughout these years to resolve all that? I do not want to blame the Arab League because it is an entity that reflects our conditions in details, so the real blame should fall on us: we the leaders of the Arab nations. Our permanent differences, our refusal to take the path of unity – all of that led the nations to lose their confidence in our credibility and to lose hope in our present and future.

Honorable brothers:

Disunity is not our fate, nor are we condemned to backwardness as an inescapable fate. The Almighty God has bestowed dignity upon us and given us brains to differentiate between truth and falsehood and a conscience that differentiates between good and evil.

All that we need is to liberate our minds from fears and to exchange bonds of love and goodness.

Despite the causes of despair, I do feel hopeful; and in spite the causes of pessimism, I do feel optimistic; and regardless of the difficulty, I look forward for ease.

The first step on the path of salvation is the restoration of confidence in ourselves and in each other. Once confidence is restored, it will be accompanied by credibility. And if credibility is restored, then the winds of hope will blow. And when that happens, we will never allow any forces from outside the region to design the future of the region. Then no banner other than that of Arabism will hover over Arab land.

God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an:

“Never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves”

I call upon you, starting with myself, to have a new beginning aimed at uniting our hearts and closing our ranks. I call upon all of you to embark on a continuous march until our nations’ goals of unity, dignity, and prosperity are achieved. Such goals are not difficult to attain by the will of God Almighty and the determination of faithful men.

Source: Saudi Embassy in Washington D.C.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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