Saudi Arabia has worked on providing assistance all over the world for decades and in continuation of these efforts
On Sunday, September 23, 2018 The Saudi Embassy in Uganda celebrated the 88th National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at Hotel African. The function was presided over by Philemon Mateke, the Uganda’s State Minister for Regional Affairs. Below is the edited speech by the Ambassador, Dr. Abdullah Bin Fahd Bin Ali Al-Kahtani.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe and may his prayers and peace be upon the most honourable prophets and messengers Muhammad Bin Abdullah, (may the best prayers and complete peace be upon him).
I would like to welcome you all and thank you for honouring us by attending our occasion to celebrate the 88th National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Whereas this precious anniversary takes place in our hearts, we draw lessons from the biography of the great leader King Abdul - Aziz Al Saud (may Allah have mercy on him), who managed through his statesmanship, vision and above all his firm belief in the Almighty Allah to set rules of this endowed nation and strengthen its departure and foundations.
We thank Allah and praise him for enabling his guests to complete the pilgrimage and their return back to their countries after easily performing their rituals. This was not so, but due to Allah's grace and then the grace of the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul - Aziz Al Saud (may Allah protect him), which spent the most valuable and costliness to serve the pilgrims and visitors through the expansion of the two Holy Mosques, which began during the reign of King Saud, (may God have mercy on him), where it accommodated 50,000 worshippers, to rise during the era of King Salman, (may Allah protect him) to accommodate two million and three hundred thousand (2,300,000) worshippers, and the Harram of Mecca is expected to accommodate five million worshippers by 2030.
What the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is doing is a great honor to serve the two holy mosques and its visitors. This year, 300,000 employees from all sectors were mobilised to serve the pilgrims, including services in all fields, especially healthcare, where some 30,000 doctors and nurses were used for healthcare. There were no injuries or accidents and pilgrims travelled back to their countries safely.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has since its inception relied on principles and foundations within the key frameworks of the main principle of good neighbourhood, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, strengthening relations to serve the common interests with the countries of the world, the establishment of co-operation relations with friendly countries and play an active role within the framework of regional and international organisations to achieve peace and security in the world.
The latest effort by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, was to preserve the historic agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea in Jeddah as well as between Eritrea and Djibouti in presence of the United Nations Secretary General and His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation of the brotherly State of the Arab Emirates and these efforts are part of the Kingdom's policy to promote peace.
The entire world has been affected by the scourge of terrorism and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been among the first countries to be targeted by terrorism. Therefore, it stressed its rejection, condemnation and denunciation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It warned against it and confronted militarily and eliminated it.
It also confronted this serious scourge at all levels local, regional and international, when it initiated the establishment of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in 2012, with its headquarters in Vienna. It also supported the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center with $100m. The most recent of these efforts was the convening of the Arab Islamic American Summit under the kind patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (may Allah protect him) in the attendance of the US President Donald Trump and participation of leaders and representatives from 55 Arab, Islamic and African countries including the Republic of Uganda.
The summit resulted into the establishment of the Global Center for Combating Extremism and the Center for Intellectual Warfare. It also initiated in December, 2015 the establishment of the Islamic Military Alliance to fight terrorism, which comprises 41-nations with the participation of the Republic of Uganda on order to confront and eliminate terrorism. The Kingdom also announced its donation of 100 million Euros to contribute to the launch of the Common African Coast Force.
Based on Saudi Arabia's humanitarian and pioneering role towards the international community around the world and based on its awareness of the importance of this influential role in alleviating human suffering to live a decent life, it has worked on providing assistance all over the world for decades and in continuation of these efforts.
It initiated the establishment of King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Action, following a directive and guidance from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz (May God Support Him). In February, 2018 an International Forum for the Development of Humanitarian Action was held.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has received nearly two million Yemenis and two and a half million Syrian brothers. It enabled them to engage in society and granted them official papers to obtain employment and education for their children and benefit from free healthcare, in addition to supporting Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries.
In regard to brothers in Yemen, they were provided with urgent assistance in all areas of humanitarian, health and development. It funded the United Nations programme to combat cholera and the total support extended to Yemen reached $13b of which $3b was deposited in the treasury of the Central Bank of Yemen. The Kingdom's assistance covered more than 75 countries around the world and 15 international organisations.
Saudi Arabia Vision 2030
Given the keenness of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (May God protect him) to build a more prosperous and future-oriented nation and put it in the fore-front of the world countries, the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 and its systematic challenge came with aim to carry the country and its people to safety in light of the global changes and the shrinking purchasing value of oil.
The wise leadership of my country swiftly reacted to the sudden developments by developing a future economic plan for 15 years, in order to maintain through it the level of economic balance by finding alternative investment to enhance national income and stability.
On this occasion, I am pleased to talk about the Saudi-Uganda relations, which were based on co-operation and mutual respect since its inception in the early 1970s and the historical visit of King Faisal in 1972. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Uganda share several international organisations, the most important being the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation.
The relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Uganda have recently witnessed tangible development based on the principles of mutual respect between the two leaderships, consultation and consensus in vision on a number of issues on the international scene as well as mutual visits at the level of leadership, most importantly the visit of His Excellency the Ugandan President, Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia between December 13-14, 2015 and his meeting with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (may Allah protect him) and held talks on issues of mutual interest between the two countries.
This visit led to the strengthening of relations and put emphasis on the mutual interests between the two countries. The visits between officials and businessmen in the two brotherly countries will continue in order to promote opportunities for co-operation in all fields. In addition, the Kingdom contributes to the support of many projects such as electricity, health, technical education and training. Currently, the rehabilitation of Yumbe Hospital, Kayunga Hospital and the construction and equipping of some technical institutes for vocational education and training are under way through the Saudi Fund for Development.
Today we are celebrating the Saudi National Day and after few days the sisterly Republic of Uganda will be celebrating its Independence Day. On this Occasion, I'm pleased to congratulate His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni, his Government and the brotherly People of Uganda, wishing further progress and prosperity for the sisterly Republic of Uganda.
Finally but not least, I reiterate my thanks and those of my colleagues, members of the mission to those who joined us in this ceremony as I extend my profound thanks and appreciation to the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affair and all government agencies in this friendly country for the cooperation received by the Mission and its members, which helped to carry out its tasks optimally.
Finally, I wish you all success and soundness.
May Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you