King Salman: An epitome of hope
King Salman: An epitome of hope
King Salman, who succeeded his brother late King Abdullah upon his death on Jan. 23, 2015, is a stalwart among world’s statesmen, whose contributions to the Saudi nation, to the peace and security of the Middle East region and to the world at large have no parallels.
King Salman is also credited with transforming Riyadh from a mud city to a thriving modern world-class capital during his tenure as governor.
He served the nation in different capacities — as governor, defense minister, crown prince and now as king. With his active support and governance, Saudi Arabia is becoming more prosperous besides being a significant donor of foreign aid.
Saudi Arabia, under King Salman, is striving to ensure peace and security in the region.
The king has left no stone unturned to reinstate a legitimate government in Yemen, to ensure peace in Syria and to fight the menace of terrorism on regional and global level.
He has been intimately engaged in the affairs of the Arab countries and helping all needy segments of society and nations across the world.
In fact, the total aid and assistance extended by the Kingdom during the last four decades exceed $139 billion.
A number of international officials and representatives of global relief and humanitarian offices and organizations have lauded Saudi Arabia’s role, under the leadership of King Salman, in providing relief and humanitarian efforts through King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid.
Following a signing ceremony of one of the executive programs with King Salman Center recently, John Gang, representative of the UN for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, stressed that the Kingdom occupies top rank in providing humanitarian assistance.
Citing the Kingdom’s solidarity with Yemen and the massive amount of aid given to that war-torn country, UN Secretary General’s spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said that Saudi Arabia is a leading donor of humanitarian assistance in the region.
Dujarric said that Saudi Arabia’s role in humanitarian assistance is considered to be the largest in the region.
Thanks to the generosity of King Salman. The total amount of aid given to Yemen alone exceeds SR1.6 billion.
On the domestic front, the king’s contributions have won kudos from one and all.
He has been instrumental in implementing multibillion dollar railway projects in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah besides Riyadh metro project.
Some of the major projects include the development of ports, economic cities, roads and railroads, which usually take longer in their construction.
These infrastructure projects have positively impacted the lives of citizens by activating the economy, commercial and real estate movement.
This created opportunities for sources of income and eventually led to a decent standard of living.
In this context, while the world is entering a severe financial crisis, the Kingdom has been able to sustain its development and turn all regions into a workshop and a stage of building.
In fact, these multiple and diverse projects have been aimed at the good and welfare of citizens and cemented citizens’ loyalty to their leadership, and affiliation to their country, as well as their support for their ruler.
King Salman has spared no efforts, since assuming the Kingdom’s power, in moving the march of the country forward, where his activities have multiplied in various fields, both at the domestic and external levels.
The new king is widely respected for his vision and for his commitment to the service of his people and to the nation at large. King Salman is seen as a moderate with a reputation for austerity, hard work, discipline and diplomacy, especially in his role as a statesman maintaining good relations with the US, the West and Asian countries.
The king, who has nearly 60 years of experience as governor of Riyadh, defense minister, crown prince and deputy premier, is driving the Kingdom to greater progress and prosperity.
People across the Kingdom say they are fortunate to have King Salman as their new leader.
As the new king of Saudi Arabia, home to about 30 million people, King Salman is all set to attain new heights in terms of the nation’s development and in terms of promoting peace and security in the region.
He has already spelt his domestic and foreign policies mainly focusing on peace, security and prosperity.
As longtime governor of the capital city, King Salman has a reputation as a progressive and practical man similar in bearing to his late brothers.
He is considered a great visionary as well as a great planner.
This is evident from the highly significant move in which he announced the appointment of Prince Mohammed bin Naif as crown prince and interior minister, and Prince Mohammed bin Salman as deputy crown prince.
These appointments also symbolize smooth succession of powers from King Salman to the next generation, defying all speculations.
In fact, in less than a week after King Salman’s enthronement, some 30 royal decrees were issued, from ministerial post changes to extra salary hand outs and additional infrastructure spending.
According to an estimate, the total cost of the extra spending amounts to $32.3 billion of which 80 percent is current spending and another $5.3 billion is capital expenditure over several years.
The measures comprise 4.4 percent of the estimated 2015 GDP of $732 billion.
The majority of the measures is consumption-driven and would have a direct one-off impact.
The payments were made over the course of the next four weeks since King Salman was enthroned.
This generosity of King Salman was well appreciated by citizens, retired employees and scholarship students, who are the largest beneficiaries.
On the policy front, King Salman has had a clear vision.
Chairing his first Cabinet meeting as monarch and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman said that “Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy would remain in place.”
The Kingdom’s policies in relation to Arabs, Muslim and international countries “will remain unchanged,” the king said in his maiden address to the cabinet.
“We will work hard in the service of Islam, for the betterment of our loyal and noble people and support Arab and Islamic causes,” he said.
“We’ll also work to promote international peace, security and global economic growth and pray to the Almighty to help us shoulder this responsibility and trust in a way that pleases Him,” the king said, while showing his commitment to the service of people, to Islam and to the world at large.
In terms of philanthropy, King Salman is an exception, who has been instrumental in extending aid and grants to impoverished institutions and poor nations around the world.
King Salman is currently chairman of King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives, King Abdulaziz Museum, Prince Salman Center for Disability Research and Prince Fahd bin Salman Charitable Society for the Care of Kidney Patients.
King Salman has been a strong advocate of philanthropy in countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He is regarded as intelligent and hardworking and a trusted mediator in settling conflicts.
In recognition of his untiring efforts as a philanthropist, King Salman has received several certificates, commendations and prizes, including honorary doctorates from Madinah Islamic University, Um Al-Qura University in Makkah, Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi and Kant Medal from Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
He also received commendation certificates, the highest orders and medals from different countries including France, Morocco, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the UN, the Philippines, Senegal, Yemen, Sweden and Bahrain.
All these countries and institutions have spoken very highly about King Salman, who has had great interest for cultural and humanitarian works.
Besides chairing a number of associations, organizations and charitable committees inside the Kingdom and abroad, he is also chairman of the board of directors of the Riyadh Philanthropic Society for Sciences.
He has been the president of the Prince Salman Prize for Qur’an Memorization for boys and girls in the Kingdom.
After becoming the crown prince on June 18, 2012, King Salman visited a number of countries, including China, Japan, India, Pakistan, France and Egypt.
King Salman, on several occasions, has reiterated the Kingdom’s opposition to terrorism.
He remarked: “We hope that peace-loving countries will swiftly contribute to strengthening the UN counterterrorism center to be a major pillar of international cooperation to combat terrorism.”
King Salman, then in the capacity of crown prince, also visited both the US and the United Kingdom where he met with US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
He also visited the US as king, and held talks with US President Barack Obama on a whole range of bilateral, regional and international issues.
Last but not the least, King Salman will also be known for his resolve and approval for creating an Islamic Alliance dedicated to fighting terrorism.