New York, Asharq Al-Awsat- The United Nations General Assembly paid tribute to the late King Fahd Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia at a special meeting on Wednesday at its headquarters in New York with the assembly’s president, foreign minister of Gabon Jean Ping, calling for a minute’s silence in honor of the departed monarch.
The president praised King Fahd and spoke of his ceaseless efforts to increase international cooperation and achieve global stability and world peace. Representatives of all the regional bodies, including Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, in addition to the Untied States and the Arab world, also noted the important role the late Saudi King played in the Gulf region, the Arab world, and internationally.
In a statement to the Assembly, the Saudi ambassador to the U.N. Fawzi Shobokshi, reviewed some of King Fahd’s achievements in his 24 year reign. He said, “Under his rule, five year plans were set up for the economy and development and the standard of living has increased and the health sector flourished.”
The ambassador also pointed out the Basic Law, which was established under the late monarch, incorporating arrangements for the Shura Council (consultative council) and regional government. The late monarch oversaw the creation of a national human rights organization and the first municipal elections.
“The Arab and Islamic worlds will sorely miss a great leader who dedicated his life to achieving the victory of our region”, he added.
On the Kingdom’s foreign policy successes during the reign of King Fahd, Shobokshi noted that Saudi Arabia had invested its efforts to bring countries together and solve conflicts between Arab and Muslim nations worldwide. In this respect, the late monarch took the brave decision to liberate Kuwait, bring the Lebanese civil war to an end by sponsoring the Taif accords, and promote peace in the region.
Internationally, the late ruler contributed to international development and cooperation by giving as much as 84 billion USD in aid to developing nations, equivalent to 4% of the national GDP in the last five years.
For his part, the Yemeni representative, Abdullah Al Saidi, speaking in the name of the Islamic bloc at the assembly, paid tribute to King Fahd’s leading role in the Middle East. “In first days in power, in 1982, the late monarch surprised the world when he proposed a peace initiative at the Arab League summit in Fez, in Morocco”, the ambassador told the assembly.
He also mentioned the development programs, which the late King had initiated, saying, “it transformed the Kingdom into one of the most prosperous nations”. He also commended the former monarch for his efforts in demarcating the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia through dialogue and bilateral talks.