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Saudi Arabia celebrates second anniversary of King Salman’s rule

King Salman. (SPA)

RIYADH: Two years ago according to the Islamic calendar — on Rabie Al-Thani 3, 1436 — King Salman became the seventh monarch of Saudi Arabia. 
As the nation celebrates the second anniversary of the accession, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said King Salman’s rule has seen a “paradigm shift” in governance.
Born in 1935, King Salman had his education at the School of Princes in Riyadh, which was established by his father late King Abdulaziz. He studied religion and modern sciences.
During the past 60 years, King Salman has held several important positions in the government, including as the governor of Riyadh, minister of defense, and crown prince and deputy premier.
The second year of King Salman’s rule will be particularly remembered for his role as a statesman, peacemaker, as a man of economic reforms and as a philanthropist.
Al-Jubeir pointed to “Operation Decisive Storm” in Yemen, and the subsequent efforts to restore hope to the country and maintain the legitimacy of its leadership, its stability and political independence.
He also said that the Kingdom’s policy in Syria, Libya or other conflict zones has always been one that gave priority to political and peaceful solutions.
“The Kingdom experienced a paradigm shift in terms of management, governance and the manner of dealing with internal and external challenges during the era of King Salman,” Al-Jubeir said.
“It has been two years since King Salman took the reins of power in the Kingdom… I feel, like all Saudi citizens do, the significance of this occasion, which reflects the quantitative and qualitative achievements attained since King Salman acceded to the throne,” he added.
“Among the things that contributed to achieving this was a well-established religious doctrine as well as a moderate, balanced approach based on openness and respect for other states and individuals.”
The Saudi foreign minister added that the era of development witnessed under the leadership of King Salman has achieved a quantum leap in the way state-run institutions perform and deliver.

Landmark decisions
The Saudi government, led by King Salman, has announced sweeping economic reforms to reduce dependence on oil, and ensure sustainable development.
The king’s decision to create two significant councils — the Council of Political and Security Affairs and the Council of Economic and Development Affairs — marked two key achievements, as did the National Transformation Program 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030.
The economic reforms initiated by King Salman have been commended by a large number of world leaders and economists including Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, who visited Riyadh on Oct. 27, 2016.
Speaking of the Kingdom’s aid and support to other countries under the rule of King Salman, Abdullah Al-Rabiah, chief of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, said that the foundation of this charity reflects the humanitarian gestures of the king. The King Salman Center, he said, ranks “on the top of the aid giving institutions in the world.”
King Salman has engaged in dialogue with numerous nations including Russia, China and US as well as other European and Asian allies. In Riyadh early in 2016, King Salman had meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and with US President Barack Obama on April 20. He concluded 2016 with a visit to four member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
King Salman has been steadfast in his approach to fight terrorism. A key indicator in this fight has been the establishment of the Islamic Military Alliance, with a joint operations center based in Riyadh.
On Syria, King Salman has been exerting efforts to restore peace and security in that strife-torn country. He has launched a donation campaign for Syrians, which is still ongoing.
Saudi Arabia has also provided more than $700 million in humanitarian aid to Syrians and has set up clinics in various refugee camps across the Middle East. More than 100,000 Syrian students are receiving free education in different schools and universities of the Kingdom.

Policy changes and
Referring to the reforms made by King Salman, Majed Abdullah Ali Hedayan, a political commentator and senior columnist, said: “King Salman brought in refreshing changes in internal policies and external affairs to usher in a new era of growth, peace and harmony.”
Congratulating King Salman on his second anniversary, Mohammad Zeyad, a public relations executive in Riyadh, praised King Salman as a people’s leader, who is making “all efforts toward peace and prosperity, paying special attention to educational development of the Saudi youth, which is one of the main focuses of Saudi Vision 2030.”
King Salman supports a large number of local and global charities, including NGOs. He is the chairman of King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives, King Abdulaziz Museum, the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research and the Prince Fahd bin Salman Charitable Society for the Care of Kidney Patients.
Recounting the charitable works of King Salman, Abdul Rahman Al-Zamil, a businessman and former chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, said: “We are fortunate in having King Salman as our leader, and I am confident that the future of my country is in safe hands.”
Al-Zamil said that King Salman commands great respect of world leaders.
“He has gained a lot of experience in administration as a result of his close association with all the six previous kings,” said Al-Zamil. He said the appointment of young leaders including Prince Mohammed bin Salman as deputy crown prince and defense minister, reflects the king’s confidence in the young prince and his support for the youth of the country.

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