His Highness’ Speech at the Eighteenth Conference of the
Arab League held in the Republic of Sudan,
28-29th March 2006.
In the Name Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful.
Your Excellency, the Secretary General of the Arab League, gentlemen, members of the delegations,
We hope that this summit, held in Sudan will be imbued with success and that the aims we all aspire towards, namely the glory of our Arab nation and the prosperity of it people, will be realised.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and appreciation to the President, government and people of the Republic of Sudan for hosting this summit, and I especially thank H.E. President Omar Hassan Al-Basheer for all his hard work in ensuring its success.
I would also like to thank H.E. President AbdulAzez Boutaflekah, President of the Republic of Algeria for all his hard work during his chairmanship of our last conference.
The State and people of Kuwait, as well as our fellow Islamic and Arabic nations feel deeply the loss of one of its great leaders: H.H. Sheikh Jaber Al – Ahmed Al – Jaber Al – Sabah, God bless his soul. Throughout his life, he constantly strived to unify Arab efforts and to open up new horizons – and these efforts were appreciated by all here, I know.
His Highness’ took part in the founding of the Gulf Cooperation Council that was set up to support and strengthen countries of the Gulf.
His Highness established financial institutions that backed developments in Arab countries, and he also established many centers and institutions specializing in culture and science.
This conference is taking place in difficult circumstances. The challenges that are facing the Arab nations are by nature complex and sensitive at both the regional and the international level. It is therefore imperative that we deal with these situations intelligently and responsibly. We must be accountable for the state of our own nations and not be quick to put the blame on others instead.
Our decisions must be pragmatic, relevant and realistic. We need to deal with these problems using the options that are available to us.
It is also imperative that we work hard to solve the internal problems of our countries, on the basis of mutual respect and common interest so that we can create a stable and secure region.
My country realizes how important it is to continue the process of developing a concerted Arab effort and how crucial it is to continue to restructure the Arab League. So far, this has resulted in a number of changes such as the approval of a new voting system, the establishment of a panel to follow-up progress on resolutions, the expansion of the economic and social council, supporting the work and activities of the interim Arab Parliament (which my country had the honor of chairing), embarking on the creation of a pan-Arab Free Trade Zone, improving the services sector, encouraging Arab economic agreements to enhance the role of the private sector and elevate the standard of living of Arab citizens and finally emphasizing the course of reform within our societies.
In this context, I would like to stress that the State of Kuwait is continuing on the path of reform, especially in terms of ensuring constitutional and human rights, and freedom of opinion and speech.
Our people view this summit with optimism and hope that it will live up to its expectations.
We are confident that the Iraqi people are heading towards a lasting political solution that will enable them to rejoin the international community and participate actively in establishing regional security. We wish Iraq every success in forming its new national government.
However, we strongly condemn what is happening in Iraq in terms of terrorist acts. The ongoing violence has killed many Iraqis, and we particularly condemn those acts aimed at places of worship and mosques. We urge the Iraqi people to unite and to not allow the bloodshed to compromise the security and stability of Iraq.
My country welcomes all Arab and International efforts aimed both at achieving security and stability in Iraq and at supporting the new political system. The Arab League has played a major role in this process and has endeavored to create conditions appropriate for a reconciliation conference and the establishment of an Iraqi mission to the Arab League.
Kuwait also calls for efforts to continue in order to discover the fate of the remaining prisoners of war and those who are still registered as missing – whether they are from Kuwait or other countries. We also call for justice to be brought against those who committed crimes during the former Iraqi regime and we urge other countries not to provide them with a safe haven.
Kuwait is delighted at the success of the Palestinian elections. They have proved to the world that the Palestinian people are capable of exercising democracy even under the most trying of circumstances. We also applaud the new Palestinian government, led by Ismail Haniya, and we wish it every success.
The achievement of fair, comprehensive and lasting regional peace can only be achieved through a commitment to international legitimacy, the implementation of the road map, the Arab Peace Initiative and through supporting the international community.
It is in this context that the importance of ending the Israeli occupation of all Arab territories since 1967, should be emphasized. These occupied lands include the Golan Heights and the remaining Lebanese territories. Furthermore, the Palestinian people should be allowed to establish an independent state on their national soil with El – Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital.
Kuwait also pays tribute to the efforts of the Sudanese government in resolving the crisis in the province of Darfur in western Sudan, and calls upon the international community to make greater efforts to help solve this crisis so that security and peace can be achieved for the Sudanese people.
The cartoons published by some Western newspapers causes offence to our Prophet (prayers and peace upon him), and we therefore call for new legislation to be drawn up that differentiates between freedom of expression and the provocation and violation of religions and beliefs.
If we are to stop terrorism, we need to understand the root causes of it. It is not enough to simply deal with its consequences. We need to promote greater understanding of others and respect for different cultures and beliefs At the same time we must make sure extremism, hatred and radicalism are wiped out - and only then will terrorism cease.
It is critical that we direct our energy towards working together in an atmosphere of peace and stability.
Therefore, the State of Kuwait stresses the importance of making the Middle East (including Israel) an area that is free of all weapons of mass destruction, and subject to the IAE.
In conclusion, I reiterate my sincere thanks and gratitude, to the Republic of Sudan for its hospitality and generosity. I hope it achieves progress and prosperity under the leadership of His Excellency, the President Omar Hassan Al – Basheer.