As we celebrate the 93rd National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we are not only celebrating our past memories but also envisioning a brighter future, an inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and prosperous future under the Kingdom’s wise leadership.
On this day, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia celebrates the ninety-third national day of its founding at the hands of the founder, King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman AlSaud. On this day as every year, we remember the heroic stances taken by the founder to bring the Kingdom together, unify its word, and build its entity. Then all the kings after him continued the process, achieving development and the Kingdom thus assuming a high economic and political position at the regional and global levels.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere congratulations and blessings to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, to His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, and to the honorable Saudi people, wishing the Kingdom further progress and development under the wisdom and skills of its wise leadership.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during the era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – may Almighty Allah protect him – and under the vision of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Prime Minister, witnessed more giant development achievements in various fields and at all levels. This is through the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which carries within it promising future projects and profound strategic plans for developing the Kingdom and raising the level of its citizens at all levels. Among the most important of these projects are: King Salman Park, NEOM, The Line, the New Square Project, the Green Saudi Initiative, the Green Middle East Initiative, the Diriyah Gate Project, the Qiddiya Project, the AlUla Development Project, and the Green Middle East Initiative. Rabigh desalination plant, Amala project, Sakaka solar energy project, Red Sea project, and King Salman Energy City project.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an essential partner in maintaining international peace and security. This year, the Kingdom hosted many summits, conferences, and meetings with the aim of establishing international security and peace throughout the world. The Kingdom also provided humanitarian and relief aid to many countries with the aim of alleviating their suffering, as the Kingdom topped the donor countries in the field of providing official development aid (humanitarian and development) for more than 7.12 billion US dollars.
The Kingdom also undertakes the importance of preserving the environment, protecting the planet, and reducing climate risks. This made the Kingdom enthroned due to the announcement by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of a number of initiatives in this field, including the Green Saudi Initiative and the Green Middle East Initiative, and the announcement of the establishment of a global water organization based in Riyadh, and increasing the depending on clean energy.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka enjoy distinguished bilateral relations for a long time, which are based on mutual respect and cooperation between the two countries. They have developed significantly in various fields and have resulted in the signing of a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding between the two countries. Recent mutual visits by senior officials of the two countries have contributed significantly to strengthening the relations between the two countries.
The Kingdom is considered one of the most important trading partners of Sri Lanka in the Gulf region, as the total volume of the Kingdom’s exports to Sri Lanka reached 714 million Saudi riyals, while the total volume of imports from Sri Lanka to the Kingdom reached 508.863 million Saudi riyals in the year 2022. Among the most important commodities that the Kingdom exports to Sri Lanka are metals, plastics, and materials. Tanning, paints, cardboard, and aluminum. In return, Sri Lanka exports a number of its products to the Kingdom, the most important of which are coffee, tea, spices, seasonings, ready-made clothes, fruits, and fish. The Saudi-Sri Lankan Joint Committee held meetings in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the month of May 2023, where the two sides discussed several related topics. In the economic, trade, investment, cultural, social, and tourism fields, and on the sidelines of these meetings, a meeting was held between Sri Lankan businessmen and the officials of the Saudi Chamber of Commerce in Riyadh, and there will be meetings between the two sides in near future too.
The Kingdom is a partner in supporting development projects for the Republic of Sri Lanka, whereas the total aid provided amounted to more than 455 million US dollars, which focused on health, education, irrigation, agriculture, and road network projects. The Kingdom also hosts approximately two hundred thousand Sri Lankans, along with the visits of thousands of Sri Lankan Muslims to the Kingdom to perform Umrah and Hajj. In addition to that, Sri Lanka is considered an important tourist and investment destination for many Saudi citizens.
Finally, I hope that Almighty Allah will guide our two friendly countries and peoples to greater success and progress.