The address of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to the Shoura Council came with good news for Saudis and explicit messages for the international community. In a nutshell, we can say that the annual opening address at the Shoura contained definitive features of the Kingdom’s domestic and foreign policies. It also emphasized that the Kingdom will continue to play a pioneering role in local, regional and international arenas. If anyone thinks that the media smear campaign to which the Kingdom has been subjected to will lead to a reduction in this major role, he will be greatly disappointed.
The messages pertaining to King Salman’s domestic policies from which he never deviated since his assumption of power in 2015 can be summarized as follows: Saudi citizens are of the first and foremost importance. They play a pivotal role in development and as such they must be capable and qualified to take up the sophisticated jobs that will be made available under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The King’s address has not exempted any segment of society. The nation’s youth are the pillars of accomplishment and hope of the future while Saudi women are partners with full rights.
The Kingdom’s decision making will be in its own hands and not in the hands of anyone elseJameel al-Thiyabi
In parallel to this, King Salman emphasized that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 is achieving its goals on a satisfactory level. The State continues its efforts to create more jobs for Saudis. In reaffirmation of the State holding fast to Vision 2030, King Salman announced that he has directed Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, to focus on developing human resources and preparing the new generation for future jobs. This is an extremely important point that cannot be achieved without realizing the requirements for the future.
And we are speaking about a future in which the pillar is advanced technology, automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence industries. Similarly, the King stressed in his speech that the government would continue to support the private sector and would achieve the desired balance between a control on spending and support for economic growth. This is, no doubt, a very precise balance with steps aimed at continuous restructuring of the national economy since the announcement of Vision 2030.
As far as the government’s foreign policies are concerned, there were strong messages contained in the King’s address, as was evident from the reports carried by international news agencies, television channels and broadcasting stations aired live from Riyadh. A summary is the following:
Terrorism: The King reiterated the Kingdom’s determination to confront extremism and terrorism. The Kingdom has become a strong ally upon which all countries, which are affected by these two scourges, can rely. Moreover, Riyadh is leading the Islamic Alliance to Combat Terrorism, which is comprised of 44 Arab and Muslim states.
The region: The Kingdom will continue to play a leading and developmental role and will exert efforts to tackle the crises and resolve the issues in the region.
Palestine: The Palestinian cause will remain the foremost issue of Arabs until the Palestinian people regain all of their legitimate rights
Yemen: Saudi Arabia supports a political solution on the basis of the principles acceptable to the legitimate Yemeni forces and UN resolutions. The King reaffirmed that the Kingdom did not go to war with the Iranian-backed Houthi militias by its own choice, but only as a duty to support the Yemeni people who were victims of aggression.
Iran: The Kingdom called upon the international community to put an end to Iran’s nuclear program and acts that threaten the security and stability of the region. These acts include interference in the internal affairs of the countries in the region, sponsoring terrorism, and creating chaos and devastation in other countries.
The world: Saudi Arabia is keen on forging strategic partnerships with friendly countries and allies, based on mutual benefits and reciprocal respect. The Kingdom will also continue contributing to strengthen the global economy in its capacity as a member of the G20 - the grouping of the world’s major economic powers – and continuing its oil policy based on maintaining the stability of the global oil market.
It is certain that the major messages, both domestic and foreign, in the King’s address were many but the important thing is that the Kingdom’s policy will always remain solid. No rebuke will deter the Kingdom from carrying out rightful polices no matter what the intensity of the challenges may be. Saudi Arabia will not deviate from this position despite the pressures and the paid campaigns of groups and factions whose aim is to demoralize it.
The Kingdom’s decision making will be in its own hands and not in the hands of anyone else. King Salman’s address reemphasized that the Kingdom will play its role as a major nation with important responsibilities to its people, as well as to the region and the world. The Saudi caravan will move forward despite the screaming and lamenting of mercenaries and envious and despicable people.
This article was first published in Saudi Gazette.
Jameel al-Thiyabi is a Saudi journalist who has held different editorial positions at al-Hayat and Okaz newspapers. Al-Thiyabi holds a master’s degree in diplomacy and media from the UK. He has spent over 20 years in the media, working first with Asharq Al-Awsat in London and then with LBC TV. He is the editor-in-chief of Okaz. Follow him on Twitter @JameelAlTheyabi
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