Says austerity measures may be painful but are necessary to protect country from worse problems
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz has vowed to prevent other nations from intervening in neighbouring Yemen, where it has been at war with Iranian-backed rebels since March 2015.
The king said the security of neighbouring Yemen was the security of Saudi Arabia.
“We will not allow anyone to interfere in its domestic affairs or to seek to influence on the legitimacy there or to turn it into a base or corridor for any country or party that targets the security or stability of Saudi Arabia or the region. We do look forward to the success of the United Nations endeavours to reach a political solution based on Security resolution 2216,” King Salman said.
He added that the kingdom would confront anyone who promoted religious extremism or fanaticism and stressed that the country has devoted all its potential to consolidate security, protect the society and serve the two holy mosques.
King Salman who was opening the first session of the kingdom’s seventh Shura Council said that Saudi Arabia supported any political solution to international crises in order to allow development efforts to proceed.
On foreign policy, King Salman said that Saudi Arabia would continue to cooperate with the international community to achieve global peace, and to reinforce interaction with peoples to deepen the values of tolerance and co-existence.
“We believe that the political settlement of international crises is the best way to fulfil the aspirations of the people for peace, which would give room to achieve better development levels.”
“The state is moving forward confidently, dealing with the latest developments and handling challenges to safeguard its achievements and reinforce its international status and effective role,” King Salman said.
“Our internal policy is based on the main foundations of safeguarding security, accomplishing stability, achieving prosperity, diversifying the sources of income and increasing productivity to secure development in a way that fulfils the needs of the present time and the next generations.”
The global economy is going through turbulences that have had negative impacts on most countries, reduced development levels and lowered the oil prices, he said.
“Saudi Arabia sought to deal with these variables to ensure that they do not affect our objectives. We did that through a variety of measures to restructure the economy. Some measures may be painful for a while, but they are necessary to protect the economy of the country from worse problems if we do not take them,” he added.
King Salman said that Saudi Arabia went during the last three decades through similar conditions that forced the state to reduce its expenditures.
“With the grace of God, we came out with a strong economy and higher development levels. Our economic reforms today are based on a reading of the future and the necessity to be ready for it early in order to avoid crises.”
The economic measures and structural reforms that saw a fair redistribution of the resources are helping the economy develop and create new employment opportunities, he said.
“The 2030 Vision is within this context and seeks to ameliorate the performance of the state institutions for the sake of a better future and dignified living for our children. We are optimistic about it.”
Saudi Arabia has been through challenging times since the first state was formed around 300 years ago, he said,
“The state had to face difficult situations and numerous challenges, but it came out stronger and more determined every time. The conditions lived by Saudi Arabia and the other countries in the Gulf in the recent decades are the best example of that. Despite everything, life and economic development went on normally. The current conditions are not more difficult than the previous ones, and we will overcome them towards a better and shinier future. I have full confidence in God and in the sons of this country and we will not allow any terror group or their supporters to exploit our people to achieve their suspicious objectives in our country or in the Arab or Muslim worlds. Despite all the tragedies, killings and displacements, I remain optimistic about a better future, with the will of God,” the Saudi monarch said.
At a ceremony preceding the opening, the members of the Shura Council appointed by King Salman on December 2 took the oath.
The Council comprises 150 members, including 30 women.
“By the grace of God, Saudi Arabia has competent men and women and the nation is proud of you all,” King Salman told the Shura members. “Islam has ordered us to engage in consultations and consultations have been the way of the kingdom since the era of King Abdul Aziz. Your views, proposals and actions will be appreciated by the state, citizens and me personally. You do not act for elitist, partisan or personal interests, but rather for the sake of the country.”
The Shura Council, the government and all other institutions complement one another, King Salman said.
“You must keep God in your minds, both in private and in public, and you must be keen on the interests of the country and the citizens,” he told the members.