The Arab Economic Summit,
19-20 January 2009,
State of Kuwait

Speech of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
in the Inauguration of the Arab Economic, Developmental and Social Summit
Conference Summit of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in Gaza
Kuwait 19-20 January 2009

In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe and prayers and peace be upon on His faithful messenger and His family and companions.

Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses, Leaders of the brotherly Arab countries,

Your Excellency, brother Bashar Al-Asad, President of the Arab Summit,

Your Excellency Abdullah Wad, President of the friendly Republic of Senegal and President of the Islamic Conference Organization,

Your Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,

Your Excellency Amr Mousa, Secretary General of the Arab League,

Your Excellencies, Dear Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Assalamu Alaikom wa Rahmatu Allah wa Barakatuh

I cordially and fraternally welcome you and announce the inauguration of this historical meeting. I would like to begin with a warm welcome of you all in your country Kuwait and to incorporate it with sentiments of pride for accepting our invitation to attend the Arab Economic, Developmental and Social Summit Conference in which His Excellency Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, the President of the brotherly Arab Republic of Egypt, has contributed in its adoption.


I treasure your appreciation of the importance of what we will deliberate in this meeting and I commend your eagerness to realize the sought objective of this blessed gathering. My greeting is shared with the Kuwaiti people, whose deep feelings toward you are not matched but with its sincere belief that this historical conference shall reap up the anticipated hopes, and grant credibility to authentic deeds. Outside this conference room, the citizens of the Arab Ummah are following our contributions to reach what they expect of this unprecedented meeting and hope that the gains would be consistent with the power of challenges.


We all aspire that this Summit shall be a blessed start in a new and organized approach of common Arab work. We hope that all our sincere efforts are dedicated to revising the economic, developmental and social issues and challenges that face our Arab countries and peoples, and resolving on realizing what it yearns for of strategic developmental projects and programmes the purpose of which is elevating life style, providing productive work opportunities for our peoples and advancing the economic performance of our countries to follow the suit of the International procession.


My brothers Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses,,,

Allow me to commence my speech by asking Allah to have mercy upon our brave and innocent martyrs who fell in dauntless Gaza. And applaud the resistance and withstanding of the Palestinian people while courageously defending their humanitarian dignity, withholding their natural right to establish an independent country to have a decent and secured life as all peoples around the world. Our weaponless families in Gaza are facing an atrocious Israeli aggression targeting innocents and demolishing all pillars of life.


The volume and ferocity of this aggression, the international prohibited weapons and bombardments that have been used, the period of time it has taken until now, the sites it has targeted, and the full devastation of each life facility in Gaza, all of that is not in consistent and conformity with Israel’s allegations in waging this aggression.


This invasion is absolutely considered a war crime and a crime against humanity. It is a crime condemned and prohibited by the international laws. It also manifests a loud violation of the simplest principle of human rights. Therefore, immediate ending of this invasion and questioning who are behind is deemed necessary.


While we are gathering today and the echoes of that Israeli aggression is predominating us, the moaning of the Palestinian people and its children in Gaza, and the killing and devastation scenes are drowning our consciousness, we cannot but to examine together this dilemma with full responsibility and fidelity. It is our duty to unanimously agree as leaders on practical steps to maintain ceasefire permanently which was agreed upon, alleviate the continuous suffering from the Palestinian people and respond to its legitimate purposes in establishing their independent state. Without that, security, peace and stability which we all seek shall not be achieved in the region.


I call upon brother leaders to continue their efforts exerted by our countries within the framework of the Arab League- and in collaboration with the international community- to reach an immediate and comprehensive implementation of the last resolution of the Security Council which calls for ceasefire, paving the way for full and unconditioned Israeli withdrawal, and alleviate the siege and suffering from our people in Gaza. In this regard, we commend the efforts of His Excellency brother Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, President of the brotherly Arab Republic of Egypt and his good offices that aim at ceasefire to prevent the bloodshed of the brothers in Gaza. We also appreciate his invitation to hold an international summit in Sharm Elseikh which affirmed stabilizing ceasefire, lifting the siege from Gaza, opening the crossings, completion of Israel withdrawal from Gaza Strip to provide humanitarian aid, and an invitation to hold a donors international meeting in the next mid February for the reconstruction of what the military machine has demolished in Gaza.


We appreciate the ideas and suggestions and treasure the actions and efforts which had been done and offered by several of the brother leaders in a sincere effort to end this tragedy which our brothers in Gaza have encountered. We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to all of them.


The disrespect of Israel to the last Security Council Resolution –as it has always ignored the international legitimate resolutions and bilateral and multilateral commitments- it proves to the world over and over again that the reality of the Israeli intentions is in depending on the right of power and ignoring the power of right. It is undoubtedly wrong if it believes that the power approach would ensure achieving security and stability. So many and repeatedly are the evidences in its history.


The history experiences have proven that dialogue, negotiations, understanding and respecting the signed commitments and International legitimate resolutions is the ideal approach to realize security, peace and stability. Whereas military power, aggression and policies of land seizure and displacement charge the souls, agitate hatred and feed extremism... not only among Palestinians, but it goes beyond to reach the people of both the Arab and Islamic World and all the world countries which love peace and justice. Therefore the violence circle is widened, its repercussion is recurrent and innocents are the victims.


My brothers Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses ,,,

We are required today to stand together solidly with our brothers the Palestinians in Gaza. We should continue offering all sorts of help and relief to them, and work on reconstructing Gaza Strip within a framework of common international effort, and through an international conference of the donors' countries.


As a firm belief in its humanitarian role, the State of Kuwait is pleased to respond to UNRWA's call for immediate donation to cover all its needs, which is estimated by thirty four million Dollars and to meet all the urgent needs of the Palestinian brothers and will also support and contribute in the international effort of the Donors' countries.


Realizing these aspirations and the success of all good offices requires firstly unifying the line, having one word and eliminating dissension among our brothers the Palestinians.


I, from this podium- and on your behalf- call upon all Palestinian leaderships to unification, consolidation and cooperation. There is no greater danger on our brothers the Palestinians and us as well than dissension and fight among brothers.


My brothers Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses ,,,

The Palestinian question in general and the Arab stance regarding the series of the Israeli invasion on our Arab people in the occupied territories of which the continuous aggression on Gaza is one of its seasons was but a unifying source to the Arab position and an inception of constant support and approval of our brother’s fight and confrontation against the enemy. We do not imagine and we don not want that to be in any case a source of dissociation, separation or rip in our countries’ stances towards this crucial question.


We cannot and we hold nothing but to be unified in our stances and demands. Even though our efforts and methods of intercourse differed, we all seek the utmost interest of the Palestinian people in his right of humanitarian life, freedom and dignity which will never be attained unless its independent state is established and its capital is dignified Jerusalem.


The Arab peace initiative which was adopted and reaffirmed in several of our summit conferences might represent the base of our clear and honest Arab stance.


The status quo in most of our countries shows a terrifying deterioration in levels of living, great recession in actual per capita income, critical increase in unemployment rate especially amongst youth. It is accompanied by a fallback in the quality of the educational services that are crucial modern development, and a limitation of assimilation capacities of its institutions. In addition, most of our peoples do not enjoy except inconsiderable elements of modern health care. These negative trends are aggravated by the burdens of population growth. These conditions have –regrettably- facilitated the migration of Arab experienced and effective minds to foreign countries.


We pray to Allah Almighty to bestow His mercy upon the martyrs, safeguard their brothers, unify their word and guide them to the honor and right path for He is the All-Hearing and the Answerer.


Faced with this painful reality, and despite the blessings and powers bestowed to our country by Allah, the abilities of our countries to participate in the world economy and international trade fall back, the value of commercial exports of goods and services retracted, while the bills of imports simultaneously increased to consume the national savings, and weaken the ability of the economies of our countries to grow and develop.


My brothers, Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses,

Those passive verities accumulated for several years, resulting in several Arab countries being the most marginalized and retracted worldwide in all aspects of economic and social development, through which the position and advancement of a nation are measured. Such difficult circumstances contributed in the consecration of disparity in our people regarding their ability to face challenges, to achieve development and to catch up with the world convoy. A wide sense of marginalization of the advancement witnessed worldwide has spread, resulting in a fertile environment for extremism, immoderation, and hatred. Many of our youth were indulged in illegal activities to express such straitened circumstances, which reflected passively upon social security, stability and peace of our societies and is now threatening the whole area, and even moved from there to other countries, to the extent that our Arab society is almost disgraced of being the source of tension around the world.


Such hard circumstances shed their passive shadows upon all our Arab countries. Our disputes predominated cooperation, and hesitance predominated initiation, and our common interests were tightened with suspicion. Most of the efforts of our Arab countries and specialized organizations aiming at setting plans and executing Arab corporate work were impeded.


As a result, the appropriate opportunities to lift the economic and social growth rates and providing work means for our peoples went in vain. Our peoples missed a lot of favorable opportunities to catch up with the procession of other countries, regional and international groups of successful experiences.


The main reason of this – I believe - is attributed to our concentration on points of conflict in our visions and views toward political problems, which exhausted most of the powers of the Arab corporate work during the last few decades. Arab political differences even stiffened till they veiled most of the other horizons of cooperation, particularly in the wide fields of economic development. Visions and interests were deviated from economic challenges and changes, while they could have changed the factual situation, participated in eliminating discrepancies, broke recession, and provided for wider horizons of positive and fruitful cooperation.


Based on this – and to regain the lost opportunities – we took the initiative, in cooperation with His Excellency President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak to hold this economic developmental summit. We hope that this specialized summit shall create a new methodology for Arab cooperation and establish for innovative frameworks and mechanisms in corporate developmental work that directly reflect on the Arab citizens and provide them with opportunities for productive work and prosperous life, in addition to fostering the position of our Arab area worldwide as an active partner in development and prosperity. Furthermore, we look forward that this summit shall contribute in liberating the Arab human from hunger, poverty and illness, set free his internal potential powers of creativity, genius and intellectuality, and to be a starting point of focus on these vital issues to realize the Arab citizen hope of prosperity and elevation.


My brothers, Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses,

Our summit is held under unconventional circumstances; the world economy experiences a historically unprecedented crisis in terms of size, comprehensiveness and effect. This crisis undermined the philosophies, principles and basis of the modern world economical system. Its negative effects extended to worldwide financial and economic institutions of different types of activities, and resulted in a great retraction of the rates of economic development, which shall lead the economies of major countries to a stage of deflation. This shall result in serious consequences that will reflect on other countries worldwide, regardless of how humble their economies might be. No one seems to be safe of the risks of this fierce crisis.


The most critical consequences of this crisis, however, is the increase of the rates of unemployment and the increase of the numbers of those under the line of poverty to unprecedented levels, particularly in the developing countries, which portends a crisis that threatens the social coherence and internal security of the affected countries, and the adverse risks they might cause.


This crisis shed its passive effects upon the economies of our Arab countries as no country shall be immune of its passive effects, although in different degrees.


As you know brothers, our convocation for this summit was prior to the commencement of the current world economic crisis, and under better regional and world economic circumstances. We were looking forward to utilizing such opportune circumstances to achieve our developmental anticipations to make for our previous failures through new successes, to establish modern developmental ideology that develops our economical systems, and participates in building a strong and coherent Arab economy based on developed mechanisms of economic Arab corporate work. However, these current economic developments overburden us with a new encumbrance, which is a thorough revision of the consequences of this crisis upon our peoples and countries.


We also have to study the means of eliminating the negative effects of this crisis. We have to move - in a well studied manner - to guard the economies of our countries from further retraction and draw back. We also have to immunize our economies with policies and procedures that avail a considerable degree of economic growth in the coming period, to keep the flow of Arabic and foreign capitals, to continue the efforts of corporate Arab projects and protect them against the consequences of the current crisis.


We find it obligatory to work and coordinate together to come up with a joint Arab economic vision, that participates in the international future efforts exerted for forming a new world economic system, in a manner that considers our legal developmental and commercial interests. Falling back behind this convoy shall have its negative effects on our economies for many years to come.


My brothers, Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses,

The State of Kuwait looks forward to this blessed meeting to be a new starting point of the Arab corporate work, and to achieve the ambitions and anticipations of our Arab peoples toward development, stability and prosperity. The first pillar of this start point is a new and important principle that is based on separating the economic work from the political work, so that opportunities of economic cooperation will not be lost due to political differences, resulting in losing the vital interests of our peoples. The experiences of different international regional groups are the best example.


The second pillar is not to insist on unanimity in executing vital corporal projects. We have to rather encourage those who can achieve such unanimity among them to enhance merge and integration, while others may join them when their circumstances change to so allow.


Through this mechanism, we would have activated the economic and commercial agreements, encouraged projects of corporate Arab work – particularly those related to corporate infrastructure that will increase the movement of exchanging goods and services – for interlaced interests, and greater economic returns for our peoples, both on the medium and long term. Experiences proved that economic interlaced interests are more lasting and effective than incidental political differences.


The third pillar is to engage the private sector – with all its technical, financial and human capabilities and capacities – in executing the programs and projects of Arab corporal work. We also have to work on drawing up the appropriate climate and policies that enhance opportunities of its success. , and provide long term sources of finance necessary for executing constructive projects. We also have to support and encourage initiatives for small and medium projects based on utilizing available local resources of goods and services, in view of actual job opportunities for national labor in a confident environment.


Therefore, the State of Kuwait – in an effort of empowering the private sector, and small and medium enterprises to perform their role within the Arab economic development network – is pleased to announce a developmental initiative aiming at providing the financial resources necessary for financing and supporting such projects, with a capital of two billion Dollars, provided that the management of this developmental initiative shall be assigned in the beginning to the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development – which represents a distinguished milestone of the Arab corporate work – through a board of trustees from the participating countries, , and that the said board of trustees shall draw the programs of the initiative, provide its necessary financing tools to guarantee the sustainability of its operation, and achieve its anticipated goals.


From this pulpit, I am pleased to announce that the State of Kuwait shall contribute with an amount of five hundred million Dollars of its capital for affecting the start of this developmental initiative. We look forward to the support of Their Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses for this initiative and participation in financing it, hoping it will be a vital source for enhancing Arab corporate work, and enhancing the role of the Arab private sector.


My brothers, Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses,

I would like to reiterate welcoming you again, and to wish you a good stay in your country Kuwait. I would also like to thank all who participated in the preparation for this conference and participated in its success. We finally pray to Allah to bless the works of our conference with success, and that our efforts and decrees are for the good of our peoples and Arab nation.



Wassalamu Alikom wa Rahmatu Allah wa Barakatuh



Summit Speeches
عربي French