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Kingdom ‘most generous donor country in the world’
 RIYADH, 8 August 2001

 Saudi Arabia tops the list of countries in terms of developmental assistance as a percentage of gross domestic product.

It has given more than SR263 billion in aid to 72 developing countries, including several Arab states and many with Muslim minorities.

“The Arab countries have been at the forefront of benefiting from the aid and the credit line facilities offered by the Kingdom,” says a new book, entitled “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: One hundred years in the service of Arabs and Arab affairs”.

The book gives an overview of Saudi history, with special reference to the Kingdom’s role in helping to resolve regional conflicts.

The book explains that Arab countries received 40 percent of the total foreign aid made available by Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has emerged as the main arm of the Saudi government to formalize credit line facilities to foreign countries. According to SFD’s statistics, more than 62 countries have benefited from the SFD’s assistance, which has thus far been utilized to finance some 300 projects.

Tunisia, which received 13.6 percent of the total SFD’s loans granted so far, is followed by Sudan with 10.5 percent, Jordan with 10.3 percent, Syria with 9.6 percent, Morocco with 8.77 percent, and Egypt with eight percent.

The Kingdom, it says, continues to support a number of  regional financial institutions, contributing some 22.9 percent of the capital of Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, 14.5 percent of the Arab Monetary Fund, 24.4 percent of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and 76 percent to the budget of the Arabian Gulf program to support the regional UN agencies.

This is in addition to the billions of riyals in funds and loans made available to other regional and international organizations, like the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the Red Crescent. Moreover, the Kingdom has also built at its own cost thousands of mosques, Islamic centers and educational institutions around the globe.

Referring to the Kingdom’s role in finding solutions to the major regional conflicts, the book states that Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd, has been helping Palestinians and exerting pressure on the international community to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. In 1995, the Kingdom also mediated to ensure reconciliation between Syria and Jordan.

Saudi Arabia also mediated between Qatar and Bahrain over a territorial dispute that recently saw the two countries bring their cases to the International Court of Justice. The effort on the part of the Kingdom and its GCC allies helped the two countries reach a peaceful settlement.

The Kingdom was also instrumental in restoring peace between Egypt and Qatar in 1997, and helped resolve the Lockerbie crisis in 1999.

Source: Arab News©

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08 August 2001 05:41:10 PM

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