Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques opens works of Majlis Al-Shura 5th session’s 2nd year

King Abdullah: Nation’s unity, strength impose collective responsibility of defending it

Word is like the blade of the sword, could be an instrument of destruction if it turns into means to settle accounts

Security efforts to go on foiling terrorist schemes, drying out terrorist resources

We will carry on supporting Palestinian issue, demanding independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz opened works of the 2nd year of 5th term of Majlis Al-Shura.

The King was welcomed by Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the Deputy Premier, Defense and Aviation Minister and Inspector General; Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, the Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister; Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Governor of Riyadh region, as well as princes and speaker of Majlis Al-Shura Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh.

The Speaker of Majlis Al-Shura, Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh delivered a speech in which he welcomed the King to Majlis Al-Shura, saying 'On this occasion, the Majlis is pleased to meet you, listen to your directives, and be informed of your blessed efforts in the service of the Kingdom and its citizens'.

He praised Almighty Allah for the good health and recovery and safe return of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General.

He noted that Al-Shura march was launched by late Founder King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud before 85 years, adding that the march has witnessed great strides and achievements, thanks to the King's support for Majlis Al-Shura.

Dr. Al Al-Sheikh reviewed the works of the Majlis in the last year of the 5th term, noting that the Majlis took part with other governmental bodies in the progress and development in the Kingdom under the King's wise leadership and directives.

The Speaker of Majlis said that the Majlis held 77 sessions last year in which it issued many decisions about issues, regulations, reports of performance and agreements.

The Speaker said that Majlis Al-Shura was keen to assume its role to reach out to the officials in order to serve the public adding that it did not stop there, rather it has extended its efforts to outside the Kingdom by taking part in a number of forums on regional and international arenas.

The Speaker said that Last year witnessed the king's royal order to appoint Prince Naif as the Second Deputy Premier. The Speaker added that on the economic front, the Kingdom has achieved a host of projects and a lot of investments among which were establishing new 4 universities and extending the king's program for sending students on scholarships abroad for 5 years, and the king's approval that the state should pay 50 per cent of fees for those students studying at private colleges and universities for 5 years.

Addressing the king, the Speaker said, 'Furthermore, you have ordered to pay SR 1.166 billion for the families covered by social security system, to grant SR 1 million to each family whose one member has died as a martyr in the flash floods of Jeddah, and your order to build 10,000 housing units for the displaced at the southern border.'

The Speaker said, 'The Kingdom has abided by the same foreign policy since its inception at the hands of its Founder King Abdulaziz which is based on values and invariables of mutual respect of sovereign nations, peaceful settlement of disputes, abiding by principles and international resolutions and cooperation within the world community to achieve interests of our peoples and societies. In accordance, you took part in the economic summit of London for G-20, where you explained wisely to the whole world the Kingdom's perspective on how to tackle the world crisis.'

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques delivered the following speech:

'In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, prayer and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family and companions.

Dear Brothers:

Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.

With Allah's help and blessings, we open the works of the 2nd year of 5th term of Majlis Al-Shura, asking Allah Almighty to help us all to serve our religion, our country and our people the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Dear Brothers:

Hopes and aspirations do not accomplish achievements, unless depending on Allah and the momentum of the people of this country. Therefore, the dreams will come true. I say this, pointing out that the current achievements do not meet all our aspirations which we seek to rank our country among the developed countries. A State that is based on the word of Tawheed (oneness of God) and whose flag was raised by late King Abdulaziz, is able (God willing) to achieve what it seeks patiently.

Dear Brothers:

The unity and power of this country impose collective responsibility to defend it at a time when ambitions of enemies, haters and abusers have increased. This required us to be vigilant. Therefore, our role redoubles the responsibility which is shared by everyone in their respective locations. The homeland is for all. Anyone of us is measured according to his performance, dedication to a country whose foundations were based on the pillars of religion, and sacrifice to defend its soil, not fearing the blame. This is the criteria to test the caliber of the people of this country.

Dear Brothers:

You are all aware that the word is like a sword. Therefore, I urge everyone to realize that. If the word becomes a tool for settling scores, gossip and charge people randomly, then the word will become a tool for destruction that do not serve but those who show joy at our nation. This does not mean the confiscation of constructive criticism. Therefore, I ask everyone to fear Allah in their words and actions, and to shoulder their responsibilities and not become a burden on their religion, homeland and parents.

Dear Brothers:

We are part of Arab, Islamic and international nations. Our role as a part of Arab and Islamic nations is based on defending their rights and making sacrifices for the unity of their ranks. Any fair person would not deny our role in this regard. We will always be keen on adopting their just cases. This will only be achieved through unity of ranks. At the international level, our position is clear and based on friendship and promotion of the concepts of peace among peoples and nations.

Dear Brothers:

The achievements of the country and its internal and external affairs cannot be reviewed in this speech. Therefore, the speech distributed to you has more clarification.

May peace and Allah's mercy and blessings be upon you'.

Following is the text of the speech of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques:

'Brothers, members of Majlis Al-Shura,

Peace be upon all of you,

In the name of Allah, we open the meetings of the second year of the 5th session of Majlis Al-Shura, praying to Allah to make our deeds purely for his noble sake, and to make the year full of blessing and bliss for all.

Dear Brothers:

Islam is a religion of dialogue, moderation and co-existence and from dialogue emanated the principle of Shoura, this divine principle has been asserted in the Holy Quran in a host of verses and made it an important basis for rule in Islam.

From that launch pad, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia showed keenness, since its inception on the hands of the Founder, King Abdulaziz, to institute Majlis Al-Shura, under the dome of which debate and discussion took place on issues relating to motherland and citizens.

Dear Brothers:

We meet here annually under Majlis Al-Shura dome, with studying eyes and open mind to see the best achievements of your government internally and abroad to take lessons and to have a look at the future, in order to protect the motherland and citizen's gains against regional and international fallouts, inflicted on the region. Your government through its exerted efforts has managed to tackle those fallouts with wisdom and insight, and eventually saved the country by taking it away from such dangers and thus kept the gains intact and continues its development process.

Dear Brothers:

Since I met you during the opening of the meetings of the first year of the 5th session of Majlis Al-Shura last year, and the government of Saudi Arabia has been continuing to carry out comprehensive policies to cover various domains, internally and externally, and we thanked the almighty Allah that he guided us to reach positive results which you are in touch with and see in reality. That does not mean complete satisfaction, rather it is a stimulus for more and better performance which we do not look for any reward for it but Allah's acceptance and then serving this motherland and its people.

Dear Brothers:

In the internal affairs, the government continued its efforts to establish security. The most outstanding effort in establishing security rules is the activity carried out by the security services to counter people with deviant thought and deviant group of extremists and terrorists. The security arena witnesses successive successes and pre-emptive moves. The security work will continue (God willing) to thwart any terrorist plans and eradicate the roots of deviant group and dry the sources of terrorism.

Dear Brothers:

We have been hurt by the attack against the southern border of the Kingdom carried out by some aggressing infiltrators. The Kingdom stood firm in the face of this shameful aggression, and managed to repel the aggressors and clear and secure its border.

To be assured about the achievements made by our military forces, we made an inspection tour of military sites along the confrontation line. During the tour, we met our sons stationed on the front line, and congratulated them on their victories. In this regard, we commend the bravery of our sons members of the Armed Forces and all our sons members of other military sectors participating in defeating this aggression. We ask Allah Almighty to bless the souls of martyrs, and speedy recovery for the wounded personnel.

In view of these attacks which resulted in the displacement of many citizens from their villages along the border, we ordered the establishment of ten thousand housing units to be delivered as soon as possible to our brothers and sons displaced to shelters in Jazan Region.

The government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia appreciate the positions of Arab, Islamic and friendly countries in general, and the position of the Gulf Cooperation Council States in particular towards this attack, which was expressed by the final statement of the Supreme Council at its 30th session held in Kuwait.

We also commend the outcome of this session including the customs union, common gulf market, monetary union, electricity grid and economic study of the rail link between GCC countries.

Dear Brothers:

Emanating from the principles of our religion of Islam as well as the Kingdom's position at Arab and Islamic worlds, we continue to pursue the adoption of Islamic discourse project based on dialogue, tolerance and rapprochement of views, the removal of misunderstanding and rejection of dispute, enmity and hatred among the followers of different religions and cultures through the dialogue program among the followers of sects and religions which gained an international dimension. We are determined to continue these efforts.

Dear Brothers:

Allah has honored this country by selecting it to serve the Two Holy Mosques. In this field, the great expansion was carried out at the Masa'a and the Jamarat bridge which doubled the capacity. The work is underway to complete the great expansion of the northern part of the Grand Mosque in addition to the Two Holy Mosques Express Train project and the holy sites train. We will do our best to continue exerting efforts in order to continue providing security and comfort for pilgrims and visitors.

Dear Brothers:

We have frequently stressed the importance of government programs relating to citizens' welfare, their development and facilitating means of living for them. It might be important to mention here our approval of the comprehensive strategy of employment over the next coming 20 years. We have directed to create more than 200,000 educational jobs to correct the status of teachers. This is part of our endeavor to provide enough job opportunities for our sons the citizens.

On the social front, we ordered providing urgent aid of SR 1,166,000,000 to be disbursed among those who are entitled to it and are covered by the social security system. We also ordered that this system should include orphans and those with special needs who are above 18 years old.

Dear Brothers:

Education is one of the most important duties shouldered by this country since its inception to our day. In order to support higher education, I inaugurated King Abdullah University for Science and Technology at Thual in the presence of a top level world audience. Other new universities in various regions were established to raise the total number of universities to 25. All available resources and capabilities were made available for them with unlimited support qualifying some of our universities to occupy advanced rankings at the level of Arab, Islamic and world universities in accordance with the best world standards of ranking. We continued the programs of sending students on scholarship abroad to provide the best opportunities for access to the best world universities in the most important specializations. The number of students sent abroad stand now at 70,000.

Dear Brothers:

With the grace of Allah, the sector of the Judiciary has been developed through issuing two new regulations for the Judiciary and the Court of Grievances, completing the constitution of judicial councils and supporting this sector through the adopting of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz project to develop the sector of the Judiciary and to allocate a budget of SR 7 billion for that project. In the field of administrative and organizational structure, comprehensive administrative development programs of the government departments to keep pace with world developments in the domain of administration with all its various levels especially concerning information technology programs and automation of all works.

Saudi women have positively participated in all programs of development standing by their male brothers as students, clerks, teachers or businesswomen. Princess Norah bint Abdulrahman University, with its whole administrative and academic staff, is a witness to Saudi women's progress on the scale of science and culture.

Dear Brothers:

Despite the economic turmoil in the world, the Kingdom has managed, by the grace of Allah, to pursue its economic development with steady pace. It is worthy to mention the inauguration of a host of industrial development projects in Jubail and Yanbu, with a total investment of almost SR 100 billion. Reform process of regulations and laws continued to enable the national economy to develop and diversify making the Kingdom at the top of the countries of the world in real property registering speed, according to the annual report of the World Bank on business environment for 2009, and the 13th position with regard to the investment environment according to the International Finance Corporation, an affiliate of the World Bank.

Dear Brothers:

We all know that the financial crisis suffered by the world economy has affected all economies in the world. We participated in the international efforts to counter the effects of the crisis; we participated in the G-20 Economic Summit held in London to counter the consequences of the crisis. We thank Allah Almighty that we have not been severely affected by this crisis. This is attributed to the strength of our financial and economic systems, with the grace of Allah. We overcame the crisis with the least possible losses and we did not stop creating a suitable environment for the contribution and growth of the private sector and making it a strategic partner in the overall development process.

Dear Brothers:

The Kingdom has continued its moderate approach towards the global oil situation and sought, in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis, to minimize the impact of the crisis on the stability of oil markets and the interests of producing and consuming countries alike. This policy has resulted in reducing the adverse fluctuations in prices and participated to increasing the state's income of oil compared with the budget estimates. We will pursue the approach of moderation, maintain the oil wealth and use it the best we can for the benefit of present and future generations.

Dear Brothers:

The budget for the new fiscal year 1431/1432H. was announced. The total spending amounted to SR 540 billion, an increase by 14% over the last year. This budget represents a continuation of the approach followed by your state to prioritize human development and increase its efficiency. Therefore, more than SR 137 billion was allocated for the public and higher education and manpower training sector, an increase by 13% compared with the last year allocation; SR 61 billion for the health services and social development sector, an increase by 17%; SR 46 billion for the sectors of water, industry and agriculture, an increase by 30%; SR 23 billion for the transport and communications sector, an increase by 24%; and SR 21 billion for the municipality service sector.

Dear Brothers:

We are all keen on the valuation of the ties binding us with Arab and Islamic surroundings. These ties are of religion, language, race, neighborhood, history, destiny, causes and common interests and goals. Undoubtedly, they are ties which your state is always seeking to strengthen using all available means, including the permanent pursuing of Arab reconciliation, observing good-neighborliness, removing differences, reconciling all Arab states and Muslim countries and supporting their just causes, particularly the first cause of Arabs and Muslims which is the cause of Palestine.

We have sought to support this cause by following two parallel tracks; the first track was to encourage Palestinian reconciliation and to support this just cause in international forums in order to establish an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital, while the other track was to continue providing the Kingdom's financial and material aid to the Palestinian people. For example, the Kingdom provided $ 1 billion for rebuilding Gaza Strip following the brutal Israeli attack on the sector. We also ordered to launch an urgent public campaign throughout the Kingdom to help and provide relief to our people and brothers in Palestine. This is our duty towards our Arab and Muslim brothers at all times and places.

We are part of this world and member of the international community. With all moderate countries, we have common economic interests and cooperation relations in all fields. We are tied to them by identical goals of spreading security, peace, fighting terrorism and corruption with all its forms, and establishing principles of development, progress, prosperity and civilization development in all fields. Hence, the government of the King of Saudi Arabia is always keen on continuing and bolstering its relations with all moderate countries to achieve the joint strategic goals and promote values of cooperation in all fields.

We thank the Almighty Allah for making the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia moderate, rational and wise avoiding it the fall in many regional and international conflicts. It always stands by the causes of right and justice without interfering in the affairs of any country. It also joins the countries of the world in efforts aiming at establishing world peace and security. It effectively participates in the field of international relief and in the field of addressing and avoiding the consequences of the financial crisis.

For all of this, the Kingdom has won a high status and is an effective member of all international arenas. This would have never happened without Allah's blessings first of all and efforts mobilization for the good of the homeland, the citizens and the whole humanity.

The kingdom will continue its course of providing humanitarian aid, supporting just causes and expanding the sphere of its aid to cover many countries, humanitarian funds and many international funds. On the external front, one of the successes of the kingdom was its election as member of Human Rights Council of the United Nations for Asia for three new coming years.

Brother members of Majlis Al-Shura,

Your council has contributed to building and development through constructive initiatives, sound views and appropriate recommendations making it an important partner in the development process witnessed by this blessed country. It is playing an effective role within the framework of its responsibilities and tasks. We appreciate the achieved efforts contributing with other government efforts to various development programs' achievement of their planned goals.

It enjoys acceptance and respect abroad through its effective cooperation with Arab and international counterparts. Today, your council has become one of the effective Shura Councils.

On this occasions, I would like to hail the efforts of the members of the council and all its staff. I would like to remind them of the importance of their role in wise decision making based on detailed study supported by scientific specialization and practical expertise. Your council will continue to enjoy the trust of the leadership and the appreciation of the government and citizens.

At the end, I pray to Allah to help and guide you and I pray to Him to protect our country from all evils, maintain its security, stability and prosperity and help us to work for the good of religion, homeland and citizens.

Peace be upon you.

Then, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, shook hands with senior officials.

Afterwards, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques left the council after the royal anthem was played.

The ceremony was attended by a number of princes and senior officials.