NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister called for peaceful solutions to multiple world crises during his address to the 78th UN General Assembly in New York on Saturday.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan stressed the importance of human rights to Saudi Arabia, saying: “Our country has enacted a number of laws, and has also amended existing laws, in order to promote the dignity of the citizen and protect livelihoods and decent living while ensuring protection for all.”
He reaffirmed the Kingdom’s support for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “that allows the Palestinian people to have an independent state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Prince Faisal also called for solutions to the conflicts and crises in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Sudan.
“The Kingdom affirms its keenness on the security and stability of the Republic of Yemen and supports all efforts aimed at resolving the crisis in Yemen, and alleviating the human suffering of the Yemeni people,” he said.
He called for de-escalation in Sudan, saying Saudi Arabia hosted ceasefire talks between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in Jeddah earlier this year with the participation of the US.
“Saudi Arabia is working actively to protect civilians and to guarantee delivery of aid to the population,” he said.
“We have, since the beginning of the crisis, constantly taken humanitarian action by conducting evacuation operations by sea of thousands of Sudanese and citizens of neighboring and brotherly countries.”
King Salman has also launched an initiative to raise funds for the Sudanese people, and decreed $100 million in humanitarian assistance to the country through the Saudi aid agency KSrelief, Prince Faisal said.
Prince Faisal said Saudi Arabia supports calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces in Libya.
“The Kingdom stresses the importance of achieving security and stability in Libya ensuring its sovereignty independence and territorial integrity and stopping interference in its internal affairs,” he said.
Further demonstrating the Kingdom’s important role as a global mediator, Prince Faisal mentioned Saudi efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine, including inviting the country to attend the Arab League Summit in Jeddah in May, and hosting an international summit on the war in August.
The latter meeting saw the attendance of over 40 countries, including many that had not specifically condemned Russia.
Prince Faisal also praised the resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran “based on mutual respect for sovereignty, independence, security and non-interference.”
The two countries resumed diplomatic ties in April after seven years of strained relations, as part of a deal brokered by China during a meeting in Beijing between the Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers.
Prince Faisal also called on the international community to take action against Islamophobia. “The world must show firmness and determination when it comes to supporting or sponsoring terrorism or extremism,” he said.
“We must reject all forms of attacks against sacred values, and the propagation of hate and Islamophobia under any pretext, and prevent incidents such as the burning of the Holy Qur’an.
“We warn against the gravity of these acts, which jeopardize mutual respect and understanding between peoples, and which hinder international efforts towards tolerance, moderation and rejection of extremism.”
On the subject of climate change, Prince Faisal reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to reducing emissions and “a gradual and responsible transition towards clean energy systems with low emissions using all available sources of energy to ensure sustainability.”
He said: “We know this is a massive challenge, and we’d like to consolidate our leading role throughout the world when it comes to sustainability.”
He added that the Kingdom has launched the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative in order to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He said the Kingdom is using the circular economy approach towards carbon neutrality and has doubled its contributions to this goal, adding that efforts are under way to promote better governance of water resources.
On the issue of global energy supply, he said Saudi Arabia is striving to meet the needs of consumers and producers on a global level while working with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
“We’ll focus on prospects for a future focused on technology and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will be an excellent opportunity to promote projects with universal impact that can foster cooperation to find solutions through innovation, inclusiveness, and sustainability.”
He also stressed "the importance of efforts to achieve the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons.”
Prince Faisal noted that Saudi Arabia has submitted its bid to host the World Expo 2030 under the title “The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow.”
“We also have an ambitious policy towards the future,” he said.
He concluded by thanking all countries that have supported the Kingdom’s World Expo bid, and conveyed to the world “our message, values and principles in a spirit of partnership and respect to lay the groundwork for a better future for humanity.”