Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—In a speech inaugurating Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz hailed the Kingdom as an “oasis of peace” in the middle of a “chaotic” region.
The speech was delivered on behalf of King Abdullah on Tuesday before Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council, or Consultative Assembly, by Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, and inaugurated the sixth session of the Council’s third year, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
During the speech, King Abdullah acknowledged that Saudi Arabia was facing “unprecedented regional challenges” but stressed that the Kingdom would continue to enjoy “peace and stability.”
As for the slump in oil prices, the Saudi monarch said the government would deal with the international oil market with “wisdom and astuteness,” as it has in the past.
The Shura Council welcomed the King’s speech with Speaker Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh emphasizing the Council members’ commitment to carry out their duties in the next session.
The full text of King Abdullah’s speech can be read below:
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful,
Praise be to Allah and blessings be on his Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad and his Companions,
Brothers and sisters; members of the Shura Council,
Peace be upon you.
At the beginning of this annual meeting, which brings us together with an elite group of the sons and daughters of our beloved country, I am pleased to thank you for the work the Council has accomplished and the decisions it has made which have contributed to guiding the choices of the government and the decisions it has made in accordance with the interests of the country and its citizens.
The efforts of the founder of this country—may God bless his soul—resulted in the formation of this great nation. It is now our responsibility, both as a government and as a people, to protect it, maintain its status among other nations, and defend its supreme message. This is a message that emanates from the tolerant values of Islam, as well as from the desire for dialogue and interaction with other nations in order to attain mutual humanitarian goals.
Your council embodies the unity of the country as its work embodies participation in the decision-making process. You are among the leaders of national opinion on which the state depends to shape the present and future of the country. This puts greater responsibility on you to confront the challenges your country faces, and to push the process of national development in all its aspects forward to achieve the country’s aspirations.
Your country exists in a region that is going through several crises that have bred great challenges. With God’s grace and due to the cooperation of your council and the coordinated efforts of your government, we were able to deal with these crises, and respond to these challenges in a way that made your country an oasis of peace in the middle of a disturbed environment.
Today—as you know—your country is facing unprecedented regional challenges that resulted from the severe crises that swept through neighboring or nearby countries and that pushed them towards the quagmire of civil wars and sectarian conflicts. That should make us cautious, and I would like to assure you that your leadership is aware of these challenges and their consequences. With God’s help and support, your country will continue to enjoy the blessings that God has bestowed upon it, foremost among which is the blessing of peace and stability.
You all know the new developments in the international oil market, which were caused by several factors, foremost of which is the weak growth of the international economy. These developments are not new to the oil market. Your government had dealt with such developments in the past with wisdom and astuteness. It will deal with the current developments in the oil market as it did in the past.
The Kingdom will continue to defend its economic interests and its international status through a national perspective that takes into account its citizens’ prosperity, sustainable development and the interests of present and future generations.
We assert that true development is carried out according to measured steps that take into account the requirements for reform. Good decisions are the ones made away from emotions and serve the country and its citizens. You have a huge responsibility towards citizens as you consider whatever issues you are requested to consider, and I am confident that you will meet this responsibility.
We ask Allah to guide us all to better serve our religion and our country.