Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, pledged Tuesday that the country would continue its “firm” fiscal policies in the face of dropping oil prices and that the armed forces would remain “vigilant” to regional security threats.
In a major policy speech at the 150-member Shoura Council here, on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, the crown prince said that the Kingdom would deal firmly with the economic challenges facing the country.
“You cannot be blind to the tensions in the global oil markets … these are not new developments and we have dealt with them in the past with a firm will and wisdom … and we will deal with the new developments in the same vein,” he said.
“A weak global economy is the main reason for tensions in world oil markets,” said Prince Salman, whose address to the Shoura Council was broadcast live on state television. He is currently supervising all affairs because King Abdullah is in hospital suffering from pneumonia.
Prince Salman also touched on a range of issues including terrorism, justice, Islamic values and the participation of women in the affairs of state. He also spoke about the Kingdom’s resolve to consult with major powers to ensure peace and security in the region.
He had arrived at the Shoura Council accompanied by Prince Sultan bin Salman, chief of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities. Those in attendance included Prince Muqrin, deputy crown prince and second deputy premier; Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, minister of the National Guard; Riyadh Gov. Prince Turki bin Abdullah; and Abdullah Al-Asheikh, chairman of the Shoura Council.
Prince Salman said: “Today, as you know, your country is facing unprecedented regional challenges … the civil wars and sectarian conflicts require Saudi Arabia to remain vigilant and cautious.”
On behalf of the Shoura Council, Al-Asheikh prayed for the health of King Abdullah and said that the king’s treatment had been successful. He said the Kingdom recently passed several laws and decisions in the “best interests of the country.”
He said the king recently approved a program to develop education over a five-year period at a cost of SR80 billion. “Mindful of the dangers of terrorism and countering attempts to distort the good image of Islam, King Abdullah announced a donation of $100 million (SR375 million) for the establishment of an international center to fight terrorism,” he said.
He also highlighted the achievements of the council during the past two years.

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