Arab-Islamic-American Summit fosters global peace, stability

Saudi King Salman, US PresidentDonald Trump, US First Lady MelaniaTrump, Egyptian President AbdelFattahEl-Sisi and other dignitariesat the launch of the InternationalCenter for Combating Extremism inRiyadh Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 22 May 2017

Arab-Islamic-American Summit fosters global peace, stability

RIYADH: The Arab-Islamic-American Summit held in Riyadh Sunday succeeded in building close partnership to confront extremism, terrorism, fostering regional and international peace, stability and development.
The Riyadh Declaration (the final communiqué of the Arab-Islamic-American leaders’ summit), reflected convenience at the frank and fruitful dialogue atmosphere that prevailed, during the summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, in the presence of as many as 55 leaders and representatives of Arab, Islamic countries and the US, in addition to the outcomes reached upon conformity of points of view and opinions and the move forward, in regard of various current regional as well as international issues, asserting that the summit constitutes a historic turning point, in the relationship between the Arab-Islamic world and the US, as it shall furnish wider prospects for the future.
According to a statement, released following the conclusion of the summit, the Riyadh Declaration reads as follows:
“In line with the invitation of Saudi King Salman, leaders and representatives of as many as 55 Arab and Islamic countries, in addition to the US held a summit in Riyadh.
The participants expressed gratitude and appreciation of King Salman, for inviting them to hold such a historic summit.
They also valued the similarly historic visit made by the US President to Saudi Arabia, participating in the summit and his endeavors to contribute to the good of region and its peoples’ interests.
The leaders expressed relaxation at the atmosphere of the frank and fruitful dialogue that prevailed, during the summit, outcomes reached, based on conformity in the points of view and opinions and the moving ahead before various current regional as well as international issues, stressing that this summit constitutes a historic transformation, in regard of the Arab-Islamic relationship with the US, as it would open the way for wider prospects for their mutual future ties.
First: The close partnership between the leaders of Arab and Islamic countries and the US leader to confront extremism, terrorism, achieving peace, stability and development, on regional as well as international stages.
The leaders agreed upon means to enhance cooperation and measurements taken to consolidate relations and joint action and they vowed to continue close coordination between the Arab and Islamic countries, on one hand, and the US, on the other, toward issues of mutual interest to bolster partnership among them and to share experience, in the domain of development.
For its part, the US welcomed the willingness of Arab and Islamic countries, in promoting ways of cooperation to unify opinions and stances toward various issues, topped by doubling jointly exerted efforts to combat extremism and terrorism.
1. The leaders affirmed the firm commitment of their states to combat terrorism in all its forms, address its intellectual roots, dry up its sources of funding and to take all necessary measures to prevent and combat terrorist crimes in close cooperation among their states.
2. The leaders valued the step of intending to establish a Middle East Strategic Alliance, for which Riyadh will play host, and in which many countries will participate to contribute to peace and security in the region and the world. The establishment and the declaration of the accession of participating countries will be completed in 2018.
3. The leaders welcomed the establishment of a global center for countering extremist thought to take base in Riyadh, and praised the center’s strategic objectives of combating intellectual, media and digital extremism and promoting coexistence and tolerance among peoples.
4. The leaders noted the efforts of the Arab and Islamic countries in countering and preventing terrorist attacks, exchanging important information about foreign fighters and their movements among terrorist organizations. They underscored the importance of actions in this regard, in parallel with progress toward a political settlement of conflicts, expressing their satisfaction over the work with the legitimate government and the Arab Alliance to address the terrorist organizations that seek to create a political vacuum in Yemen.
5. The leaders welcomed the readiness of a number of Islamic countries to participate in the Islamic Military Coalition to combat terrorism to provide a reserve force of 34,000 troops to support operations against terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria when needed. They welcomed the progress achieved on the ground in the fight against Daesh, praising the participation of Arab and Islamic countries and their support for the International Alliance against Daesh.
6. The leaders said that their states are committed to implement the relevant international resolutions in the field of counter-terrorism and develop national, regional and international institutions to carry out their responsibilities in this regard.
7. They welcomed the opening of a cooperation agreement in the field of combating the financing of terrorism, including the establishment of a terrorist financing targeting center, to be hosted by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.
8. The leaders underscored the importance of developing clear plans to shape the future of the youths, build their capacities, enhance their citizenship, provide opportunities for them, overcome all obstacles to their development, achieve the security and peace of their countries, instilling virtues in them and protect them from extremism and terrorism.
Second: To promote coexistence and constructive tolerance between different countries, religions and cultures,
The leaders explained their countries’ rejection of any attempt to draw a link between terrorism and any religion, culture or race, affirming their determination to protect and promote a culture of tolerance, coexistence and constructive cooperation among different countries, religions and cultures.
1. The participants stressed the importance of broadening the scope of meaningful and serious cultural dialogue, which demonstrates the tolerance and moderation of the Islamic religion and its rejection of all forms of violence and extremism and its ability to coexist peacefully with others and to build a civilized alliance based on peace, harmony, love and respect.
2. The leaders emphasized the importance of renewing and rationalizing intellectual discourse to be consistent with moderate Islam, which calls for tolerance, love, mercy and peace, stressing that the misconceptions about Islam must be addressed and clarified.
3. The leaders confirmed determination for joint cooperation to enhance sustainable development programs to improve the living level for their peoples, and provide a safe, stable and prosperous environment that serves as an incubator for the youths against the deviant and extremist thought.
4. The leaders lauded the initiative of Saudi Arabia to establish a center for dialogue among followers of religions and underscored the importance of continuing this method, enhance it, build on it and preserve its pillars and expand its potentials to cover the largest possible area in the world at large.
Third: Confronting the sectarian agendas and interference in other countries affairs:
The leaders underscored the importance of the current cooperation between countries, the relations based on the principles of good neighborhood, non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries and respect of their independence, sovereignty and integrity of territories whereas:
1. The leaders stressed the rejection of sectarian agendas, citing their dangerous repercussions on the security of the region and the world at large.
2. The leaders confirmed their absolute rejection of the practices of the Iranian regime designed to destabilize the security and stability of the region and the world at large and for its continuing support for terrorism and extremism.
3. The leaders condemned the Iranian regime’s hostile positions and continuing interference in the domestic affairs of other countries in a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and good neighborhood, confirming their commitment to confront that.
4. The leaders are committed to intensify their efforts to observe the security of the region and the world at large, and firmly confront the subversive and destructive Iranian activities inside their countries and through joint coordination.
5. The leaders underlined the dangerous Iranian ballistic missiles program and denounced the Iranian regime’s continuing violations for Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Fourth: Countering piracy and protecting navigation:
The leaders stressed the importance of enhancing joint action to protect regional waters, combating piracy to maintain security and stability and avoiding disruption of ports and sea lanes of ships, which negatively affected the commercial movement and economic growth of the countries. The countries agreed to support joint work to develop capabilities to confront piracy, combat organized crime and drug trafficking across borders land, sea and air.
Fifth: Follow-up mechanisms:
The leaders noted the importance of following-up the programs and activities in areas of partnership between the Arab and Islamic worlds and the US.
The leaders stressed that these efforts must be continuous, and:
1. The leaders stressed the importance of coordination of positions and visions between the Arab and Islamic worlds and the US at the highest levels, to achieve the aspirations of the strategic partnership between the two sides.
2. The leaders assigned concerned parties in their countries to follow-up and implement the decisions of the Riyadh Declaration, forming the necessary ministerial committees and subcommittees and the necessary meetings, discussions, direct coordination and periodic reports on the progress of these actions.
3. The leaders underscored the importance of promoting scientific building, knowledge exchange, research cooperation and capacity building in all areas, and recommended the needed coordination to reach the best practice.

Tokyo summit discusses ‘strategic response’ to Saudi Aramco oil attacks

Taro Kono denounced the recent attacks on Aramco sites in Saudi Arabia. (AN Images/Kevin Hammontree)
Updated 28 min 47 sec ago

Tokyo summit discusses ‘strategic response’ to Saudi Aramco oil attacks

  • Shinzo Abe says it is Japan's mission to reset transparent, rules-based international order
  • Goldman Sachs' chief Japan strategist says closing gender gap can greatly boost global GDP

TOKYO: The attacks on Saudi Arabia grabbed all the headline attention at the G1 Global Conference in Tokyo, but the day-long think-in in Tokyo was more than just a survey of the dramatic headlines and images that had dominated the weekend media.

The event is now in its ninth year, as a global leaders’ conference conducted entirely in English on the big themes of international affairs, business, culture and society from a Japanese perspective.

One of the organizers called it the “Davos of Tokyo,” and while it may have fallen short of the famous Swiss Alpine gathering in numbers and glamour, the Sept. 16 event certainly rivaled it in the breadth and ambition of the agenda.

Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, set a high bar in an opening video address in which he said it was “Japan’s mission” to lead the world in resetting the transparent, rules-based international order that has been weakened by the populist waves in the US, Europe and elsewhere.

On the theme of “sustainable innovation in times of disruption”, the G1 followed a familiar pattern of plenaries, breakouts, workshops and networking, in the functional setting of the Globis University in downtown Tokyo. What it lacked in Alpine splendour, it more than made up for with the convenience of a one-day colloquium.

But first, the weekend’s news stole the show at the opening plenary, and was an elephant in the room for the rest of the day.

Taro Kono, the Japanese defense minister, declared the attacks on Saudi oil installations and the threat to global oil supplies the “most worrying scenario” in the world today.

He was backed up by John Chipman, director general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, who criticized the failure of the US and its allies in the Middle East and elsewhere to counter Iranian expansion in the region.

“The strategic response to this has not been properly considered, and now Saudi Arabia’s most important strategic asset has been attacked,” he said.

The attacks on Saudi oil installations also featured prominently in a later session, conducted behind-closed-doors under the Chatham House Rule, at which security experts debated the origins and impact of the attacks, including the appropriate level of response from Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Chipman also spoke frankly about the confrontation between the US and China over trade, technology and digital strategy. “The US and the West has only just woken up to China’s strategic rivalry,” he said.

Referring to the Soviet space launch in the 1950s that stirred the US into a space race with the USSR, Chipman said: “China wants a unipolar Asia in a multipolar world, and that is a ‘Sputnik’ moment for the Americans,” he said.

There was skepticism that US President Donald Trump was the man to lead an effective rule-based order against Chinese expansion.

Mieko Nakabayashi, professor of social sciences at Waseda University, who spent many years in the corridors of power in Washington, said: “A lot of people say that Trump is a disaster, but he also has a lot of supporters. He might win next year’s election, which would make for a very adventurous four years to come.”

Given the East Asian venue and focus of the event, the threat from China, and its relations with neighbors such as Japan, Korea and the Southeast Asian countries, were recurring themes of the day.

A session entitled “Geo-politics: US-China hegemony in Asia” had two experts from opposite sides of the issue. Abraham Denmark, American director of the Asia program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said the US was in the middle of the biggest debate about foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.

Although recent polls suggested that a large number of Americans still support an active role for the US in trade and global affairs, it was also apparent that the old rules of engagement with the rest of the world were no longer sufficient.

“We used to believe that engaging with China was a good thing in itself. Now we have to balance competition and co-operation, and will co-operate only on matters of mutual self-interest,” Denmark said.

Zha Daojiong, of the School of International Studies at Peking University, said there had been some “positive momentum” in recent weeks with both sides pulling back from higher trade tariffs, adding: “What is the antagonism between China and the USA? It is about primacy, and somebody has to be number one. They are like two 800-pound gorillas rising and falling under their own weight.”

Lynn Kuok, of the IISS, gave a Southeast Asian perspective on the issue. “Trump’s insistence that other countries have to ban Huawei means that the USA is saying ‘you have to chose between USA and China,’ but it should not be a choice between two countries but between rules and non-rules based orders.”

The session turned into a barbed exchange between the US and Chinese representatives. “If you give technology to Huawei, you’ve got to assume it will end up with the People’s Liberation Army,” said Denmark, who also complained about Chinese state subsidies to corporations.

Zha Daojiong responded with allegations about subsidies to US defense manufacturers such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. “Where is the state, and where is the company with them,” he said. Taking a swipe at US financial policy, he said: “Negative interest rates are not very capitalist.”

The G1 was not just about high matters of geopolitics, however. One big theme was the progress towards achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals in environmental, social responsibility and corporate governance.

Also high on the agenda was gender equality. In a session entitled “Womenomics and Gender Equality in Entrepreneurship,” Kathy Matsui, chief Japan strategist at Goldman Sachs, produced recent research showing a direct link between economic growth and greater female participation in the global workforce. “I believe that if you close the gender gap, you could actually boost global GDP by as much as $5 trillion,” she said.

The Tokyo gathering also focused on events that will put Japan in the global spotlight and boost tourism. The Rugby World Cup begins next week, and the country is hosting the Olympic Games in 2020.

In a session headed “How to evolve into a unique and sustainable tourism super-power,” experts discussed Japan’s ambitious plans to increase the number of international visitors and get them to spend more while on holiday. The government wants 40 million visitors next year.

About 75 per cent of foreign visitors to Japan come from four Asian countries — China, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong — and the government would like to attract more Americans, Europeans and Australians, who tend to stay longer and spend more.

This year a 30 per cent drop in the number of Korean tourists is expected as Japan and South Korea square off amid a trade dispute sparked by events dating back to the  Second World War.