tv Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister at Munich Security Conference CSPAN February 12, 2016 10:15pm-10:45pm EST
and neutral -- should provide a platform for an aligned strategy. we invite governments, firmsle and global society to join us in deploying the tools of great imagination and creativity to overcome the fifth wave of violence, thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much for this kind invitation. i see the topic is the middle east, and i'd like to maybe offer a more optimistic note than the one we usually read about our hear about. i believe that our region is a
dynamic region, it is a young region, it is an -- to me the region both historically between ancient rome and the modern world as well as geographically between the orient and the october si dent. a region that is increasingly connected to the world. is it's region of wealth and sits the crossroads of civilization between asia, africa and europe, and it is a region that by any measure should have the attributes for greatness, region that historically has been connected to the world in every way, from the old 'civilizations to the civilizations of egypt and babylonia, until the modern age. the problem, however, is the region faces many challenges. challenges of underdevelopment,
challenges of extremism, challenges of terrorism, challenges of trying to find its identity in the sense that each country is looking for its own identity, and has gone through tremendous upheavals over the past few years, beginning with the events in few is -- teunis,d then egypt, syria, yemen, iran, and other places. i believe that the rise of terrorism and the rise of religious extremism and the rise of terrorism are all challenges we all have to deal with. we can't deal with them alone. i do believe and remain convinced and hopeful that in dealing with those challenges, our region will come out of it in a much better place than it was going into it. and so i don't want to belabor this point. i want to talk about saudi
arabia. saudi arabia is a nation of 30 million people, including noncitizens. a nation with a -- population, a nation with tremendous resources, whether minerals or oil, of course. saudi arabia is a nation that has tremendous financial resources, that has first-class infrastructure, that has stable government, and geographic location, that has many sons in the world, saudi arabia is a nation that has a history of pragmatism and proportion and balance in both its internal as well as external policies, and it is a country that is -- if it has one constant, that constant is change. we are a tribal nation and became a modern nation, in one generation we were able to transform a country in ways that very few other countries were able to do. life expectancy rates doubled in one generation from 37 years to
over 70. infant mortality rates dropped to the level of european countries in one generation. and the education went from 59 percent illiteracy, to 100% literacy in one generation. i don't believe that there are many countries in the world that were able to do this. women's education which was nonexistent in 1960, today 55% of college students in my country are women. it's unheard of. and yet the image of saudi arabia is one of an insular country, a country that lives in a different age because women don't drive. this issue is an issue that is a cultural issue that our society will deal with in its own terms and own ways. if we look at the overall
picture, we are country that is dynamic, and moving forward, a country that evolves in every area. i mentioned to you the social and the economic changes that has happened in my country. plate cliff we're evolving. our government is institutionalized. we developed government institutions. we developed legislative prank, 20% of our counsel are women. we developed human rights organizations and civil society organizations and it's just the beginning. there is nothing that will prevent us from doing more in terms of our ideology. we are a country that has no ambitions beyond its boredders. we have enough land, people, resources. we are country focused on its internal development and improving the lot of its people. we are country that is seeking
security, peace and stability, in our area, and by extension, throughout the world. that's who we are. and that is what our policies aspire to. and we have dealt with the challenges in our region this year, in ways that the world maybe is not used to, but that's because, frankly there was a vacuum, and if nobody is willing to do something, then the kingdom of saudi arabia and its allies had to step in and do something. we acted in yemen to prevent a legitimate government from collapsing, and from being taken -- from the country being taken over by a radical militia. allied with iran and hezbollah, which was in possession of heavy weapons, ballistic missiles and an air force. we do so in response to the -- we have no intention of ceasing one inch of the territory, we
have no intention of trying to dominate yemen. we want to preserve yemen, remove the threat to us and our neighbors, and help yemen get back on its feet. in syria, we are working to bring about change, lit cal change if possible -- political change if possible to what is happening in syria, in order to remove a man who is responsible for the murder of 300,000 people, the displacement of 12 million, and the destruction of the nation. a man who is the single most effective magnet for extremists and terrorists in the region. that is our objective. and we will achieve it. we're trying to work with other countries in the region, whether it's egypt, whether it's iraq, whether it's sudan, whether it's countries in the netherlands, to try to help them deal with their economic issues as well as
extremism and terrorism, and we will succeed. again, i have no doubt. we don't have an ideology that we're wedded to. we have pragmatism that we adhere to and that we pursue our policies by. so i think when we look at our country, we look at the region today, the two areas that stand out the most is daesh and yemen. i want to say little bit about daesh. daesh is a terrorist organization with a psych to path, who have no -- psychopath who have no religion and no morals. they attract other psycho paths, and it's a cult. and it will be defeated. but in order to defeat daesh, we have to deal with what i call
the two elephants in the room. one of those elephants is bashar al-assad. we cannot defeat daesh in syria unless we bring about change in bashar al-assad. he is the man who helped create it, by releasing radicals from his jails, by allowing daesh to operate without attacking them, by even trading with them. he is -- allowed them to become what they are, and unless and until there's a cheng in syria, daesh will not be defeated in syria. period. we have an international coalition of which my country was a founding member that has been bombing daesh and syria for 15 months, and it's still around. the environment in which daesh operates in syria will be removed and we can deal with
them. the second elephant in the room. is implementing the reforms agreed to in the rake in 2014 -- in iraq in 2014 that will bring the sunni community into the fold, that would create an equitable system between sunni, kurds, shia, and caledonians, all iraqis. that also will pull the rug out from under daesh in iraq, and allow in the country and its allies to defeat it. everything else we do is putting scotch tape on an open wound. we have to deal with the source of it. those are the two main sources. yemen, i'm more optimistic about because the religious government of yemen is now in control of three-quarters of the country. the humanitarian assistance in areas controlled by the
government is flowing effectively. the humanitarian suffering that exists in the controlled areas is a consequence of the hijacking their people and starving them and laying siege on their accounts in order to score political gains, but that, too, will come to an end. it will take time. we will not stop until the job is finished, and our objective for yemen is a new yemen, stable yemen, a united yemen, a yemen that will be open to reconstruction and development, that will then result in a prosperous yemen, that would be a good neighbor to us. and so this is with us, i think i've said enough. so maybe i'll stop here and take some questions. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you very much. we're already in overtime so maybe two short questions. who is the first? i see someone in the book. could you identify yourself, please? hard to see faces from here because of the lights. >> i'm of the -- [inaudible] i hate to raise another elephant in the room. we both view the problems of iraq and king abdullah before all talked about daesh -- [inaudible] the reality is that the islamic state is a disaster, very -- yet attracted psychopaths and the displaced population inside the middle
east and europe, and the religion preached derived from coherent and learned -- of islam and going on to advise -- [inaudible] >> every religion has perverts and psycho paths who try to hijack it. isis is as much islamic as the kkk is christian. don't they have a cross? don't they do everything in the name of religion and christ? don't they believe that christ compels them to lynch and kill people of african descent? can one really say that the kkk is a christian organization? ...
example of compassion and mercy do you have than this? if you say it is in the scriptures doesn't the old testament say an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. if someone did that today would you say they are christian or jewish? i caution people because it seems to have become almost novel, or the flavor of the day, to try to read things in direct interpretations. this is a civilization that preserved the history of the past occurances in the west. western civilization wouldn't exist without this islamic
civilization. the islamic and the arab civilization are connected to china and europe. intermediate civilization even. if isis represented islam would islam have preserved western and eastern civilization? of course not. i encourage all of you to be careful when it comes to making humanization or accept gener generalations that have no bases in fact. thank you. >> [applause]. >> final question is that ann marie's daughter? >> it is. >> hi, ann.
>> thank you very much for addressing the issue of women in your country. i think you are right to see this is about increasing issues for many in the world and it should be addressed openly. i want to ask if i heard you correctly. i heard you say there is nothing in your culture that stops the advantagement of women. did i hear that right? >> what i was saying in our faith when it comes to things like driving this isn't religious issue. this is a societal issue. when it comes to issues like education. this isn't a religious issue but a societal issue. we dealt with it and went from no schools for women in 1960 to universe education where 65% of college students are women. i can give you another statistic but it would embarrass me. more than 60% of graduate
students are woman. some of the top doctors and engineers and lawyers and business people are women. so the opportunities are there. it is not the issue evolving. america gave its independence 220 years ago. 1776, 250 years ago almost. it took a hundred years before women were given the right to vote and another hundred for a woman to be speaker of the house. i am not saying give us a hundred years but be patient. people tend to look at where they are and think everybody should be with us. this could be resistance. america's assumed independence in 1776 and the republic was
founded two decades later and it took almost 80 years before slavery was abolished and a hundred years for the civil right movement and another decade before you had real social justice equality in america. things take time. you hope in the modern world with communication and technology this process is sped up but it takes time. we cannot expect to rush things overnight otherwise we would not be who we are. >> thank you so much, mr. minister. let's give a hand to foreign minister of saudi arabia. i simply hope to be able to welcome you back last year. you should consider this is standing invitation from now on.
>> thank you very much. >> ladies and gentlemen, thank you it is a pleasure to be back here in germany again. the jordanian and german people share many bonds at a level i believe of deep common values, peace, mutual respect and the wellbeing of all. those principles have empowered and i believe this country's vital role in the peaceful transformation of europe as well as the world. and no one symbolizes that better than my good friend chancellor merkle. i have witnessed her strong leadership in the world on terror and in facing international challenges. as a close friend of germany, i want to point out how greatly i respect her wisdom and
tremendously admire her vision. my friends, we have heard that we are stuck in the dangers of the past. fighting the last wars that the president won. and let's us recognize that here now. we are all fighting the next war. a new and complex struggle on the future. i have called the struggle a thirled world war by other means. the point is -- third not necessarily the threat is global although it does indeed impact the entire national community. but world wars share something else as well. they are massive change agents. winning or loosing this global war will shape global values and define our security and way of life well into the 21st century.
today we share an interest in victory in syria and iraq and the end of daesh in syria and iraq is our dedicated action and a priority for all of us in the region. yet winning the war for the future i believe requires more. we need to acknowledge that daesh is the problem. it has instigated violence and inhumanity across borders and lured agents from across the world. we know better than anyone that no region has been exempt.
this is why i cannot overstate the importance of looking at this problem as a global problem. we cannot focus on uprooting daesh from syria and iraq while other terrorist groups strengthen in africa and asia. it is time for a new level of global action focusing on our resources, coordinating our responsibilities, and synchronizing our military and security efforts. our countries, our international institutions, must work collectively as a truly global alliance. we as arabs and muslims have a responsibility to be in the lead in the fight against the outlaws of islam. this is a war to protect your
religion, our values, and the future of our people. but it is also an effort that must be global in partnership just as it is global in scope. all our people's all threatened by the ideology of violence and contempt for human life. to countact this -- counteract this threat our countries must be equally united on the ideas that unite us. the syrian refuge crisis an urgent case outlined by many of us already and one of the biggest humanitarian tragedies of our age. it is unfolding as we have been
witnessing on our shores and borders and nowhere has this been closer to home than my home in jordan that has one syrian for every five jordanians. the killing in syria has to stop if we are to move forward with a political solution. one that protects syria's independence and integrity and allows the syrian people to live with dignity and enjoying the rights they deserve. that is key to winning this war together and will hell us focus on the global threat. my friends, there are other key steps that we have to take another supporting the iraqi government in clearing its towns and villages from the control of
daesh requires steps of reconcilation and we should not allow religious differences to be used to advance political agenda or gain influence. the community of relations cannot talk about universal rights and global justice but continue to deny statehood to palestinians. this has created an injustice and continues to be exploited by daesh and its kind. our whole world has paid the price. left unresolved, the palestinian and israeli conflict can and probably will be a religious warfare and it is only a matter of before we are faced with another war. this is why reaching a two-stage solution should remain a priority for us all.
lastly, my friends, i would like to add a word about europe. europe clearly has a special in the in supporting us across the mediterranean. it is also essential not to endure the challenges that face us in the balkins. the muslim majority countries in the balkins deserve our support to preempt the threat of extremism. these countries are europe's frontline against extremism and its first line of defense. nothing could be more costly to europe than rising in civility and extremism in the balkins. it is vital to shut outx extremist on all sides who seek division in that area of the
continent. this relies on the ability of some to take advantage of shutting down those who don't have this interest in mind. i appeal to you to reach out to countries like bosnia, albania and cosovo because these countries should be an integral part of europe's architecture and pillars of your security, as well as your prosperity. bringing them closer as models of co-existence will be important so they can become europe's frontline of stability. i do hope that here at the munich security conference we
can address this issue. let us not find ourselves meeting again in a few years time to discuss threats that we could have well avoided and prevented. it is you, the national and international leaders gathered here who know best what we are up against. it is you who can best help our countries come together in response. for if we do not act now, the dangers will only grow and if we do fought not act in concert we will miss further opportunities for success. thank you very much. >> ladies and gentlemen, w