At the Arab summit
30 March 2009
(Translated from Arabic)
In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate,
Prayers and peace be upon our Master Mohammad.
Your Royal Highnesses,
Your Excellency, the Secretary-General of the Arab League,
Peace, God's mercy and His blessings be upon you.
This summit convenes as our nation faces several challenges prompted by developments and transformations in the world and the Middle East. These threaten Arab security and are pushing the region towards greater tension and instability, warranting a united, strategic vision of how to deal with current - and future - developments in order to protect our national interests and our ability to influence the course of events.
The first rule of our strategic vision should be this: the air among us must be clear, our differences must be overcome, our positions united and our Arab solidarity strengthened. In this regard, I commend the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' sincere, continued efforts to achieve Arab reconciliation and unite the Arab ranks. Arab solidarity is not a slogan to be raised. It is action and work according to institutionalised relations. It is not about harming each other.
The Palestinian issue is the key issue for the Arab nation, and there can be no peace or stability for the region's people until it is justly and comprehensively resolved in accordance with international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. The initiative stresses that any solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict must ensure the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian land, with Jerusalem as its capital. This solution should also ensure Israel's withdrawal from all Arab land occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan and the Shabaa Farms.
It is important to emphasise here the urgent need for an agreed Arab plan of action to protect Jerusalem from attempts to change its Arab identity and empty the city of its Arab residents. For this reason it is important to adhere to the Arab Peace Initiative which has won international acceptance as one of the basic references for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is also important to refuse any attempt to change already agreed upon international references concerning the settlement of the Palestinian issue.
The Arab states should project a clear message to the world and to Israel that emphasises that Israel's security is tied to achieving peace with the Arab states, and this cannot happen until Israel accepts the Arab Peace Initiative and commits to its articles.
Royal Highnesses, Excellencies,
Continued external interference in Palestinian affairs is the main cause of persistent Palestinian division. In the end, Palestinian division will result in a regression in international support for the Palestinian issue and will serve Israeli plans to exploit the geographic and political separation of Gaza and the West Bank. Therefore, external interference in Palestinian affairs must be confronted robustly. We must support Egypt's efforts to consolidate the ceasefire in Gaza and achieve national reconciliation among Palestinian factions, in accordance with Arab League resolutions, in order to ensure the unity of the Palestinian decision and enable the Palestinian leadership to realise the rights of the Palestinian people - the foremost of which is their right to establish an independent Palestinian state. Hence, the Palestinian National Authority must be supported, and the international community called upon to provide all forms of support to the Palestinian people in order to empower them on their land, politically and economically.
We stress here, at this summit, the need to call on the international community, especially the US administration, to pressure Israel to stop its policies of aggression, siege, closure, settlement building and expulsion that are practiced on the Palestinian people. We also must urge the international community to require Israel to demonstrate its will for peace and to enter into serious negotiations to reach a peace that will provide it with security and guarantee the Palestinian people's rights, in accordance with the two-state solution that enjoys the support of the international community.
Your Royal Highnesses and Excellencies,
External interference in key Arab affairs and issues has taken several forms. Therefore, we are required now, more than ever before, to overcome our differences and unite our positions and efforts to confront regional and international interference in the internal affairs of some Arab countries.
Therefore, we stress our full support for the political process in Iraq, for the strengthening of inclusive national reconciliation and for the preservation of Iraq's unity, sovereignty and independence.
We must stand firmly and strongly by any Arab country subject to external interference in its internal affairs, the casting of aspersions on its Arab identity, sovereignty and independence, or attacks against its territory. We must also confront any attempt to tamper with the security and stability of the Arab Gulf.
As for Sudan, we must deal with the crisis in Darfur and the International Criminal Court with the utmost sense of awareness and responsibility to ensure Sudan's security, unity, independence and sovereignty.
In conclusion, I must thank His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani for hosting this summit and I express my appreciation to His Excellency President Bashar Assad for his commendable efforts during his presidency of the Arab summit. I also wish to thank the Arab League and its secretary-general and staff for their efforts in preparation for this summit.
Peace, God's mercy and His blessings be upon you.