Manama, Oct. 13 (BNA): His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa patronised here today, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, the second session of the fifth Legislative Term of the Shura and Representatives councils.
HM King Hamad was welcomed by the Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Fawzia bint Abdulla Zainal, and Shura Council Chairman, Ali bin Saleh Al-Saleh, on arrival at the Isa Cultural Centre, accompanied by a constellation of police cavalry.
The National anthem was played and some holy Quran verses were recited.
Then, HM the King delivered the following keynote speech:
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
"Praise be to Allah, and prayers and peace be upon Prophet Mohammed and his family and companions,
"Distinguished brothers and sisters, members of the National Assembly,
"Peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you,
"It is a source of pleasure and pride to meet you in this national institution and to open, with the help of Allah, the second session of your Assembly in its fifth legislative term. We look forward, with you, to a further stage of renewed, serious work, building upon what has been achieved, in order to continue our united national march on the path of progress, stability and prosperity.
"On this auspicious day, we congratulate everyone on the centenary of our country’s development across various fields, as evidenced by both human testimonies and material indicators. These developments, part of our overall modernization program, underline the authenticity of the founding of the Bahraini State over two centuries ago, led by pioneers whose accomplishments we stand before today with the utmost appreciation and respect.
"Distinguished guests, our world today is witnessing rapid developments and pressing challenges, requiring us to find appropriate means, through which we can deal flexibly and with renewed thinking to preserve our continuous progress. Having realized many developmental achievements of which we are proud, we look to the future with great optimism, towards further strides forward in building the modern civilized state that keeps pace with the scientific and technical advancements which characterize global development. We appreciate, here, the esteemed Government, under the leadership of our dear uncle His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, for its clear efforts to engage with global trends and developments, and to incorporate those appropriate into its work programs.
"In light of our serious endeavors towards a modern, knowledge-based economy, we direct the government to undertake the development of a comprehensive national plan to ensure that we are fully prepared to meet the needs of the digital economy, by adopting and employing artificial intelligence technologies in the production and service sectors, through the establishment of the necessary systems and technical frameworks, as well as through encouraging quality investments, in order to guarantee the maximum benefit to our national economy.
"In this context, we would like to express our support to our dear son and Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, in his forward-looking initiatives, plans and programs to sustain the flow of national and international investment, to diversify the economy’s sources of income, and to develop it in line with the goals of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030. The encouraging, positive growth rates we have seen over the past 10 years, confirm the soundness of these economic policies.
"Bahrain continues to pay close attention to the oil and gas sector in light of the major discoveries announced recently, and we have directed that the pace of development of such projects to be accelerated, with the launch of a series of major development projects, including the largest expansion of the Bapco refinery, the expansion of Banagas, the opening of the liquefied gas terminal, Alba’s Line 6 project, and the operation of the new pipeline with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
"We appreciate also the ongoing development of the transportation sector, which is witnessing the implementation of a number of projects, including the expansion of Bahrain International Airport and the official start of executive studies for the construction of the King Hamad Bridge, all within the framework of strategic investments to support the national economy.
In light of the ongoing global efforts to find solutions that enhance the quality of human life and ensure the enjoyment of decent living, especially in the area of achieving food security, Bahrain is taking serious initiatives to adopt appropriate solutions to develop self-sufficiency. To this end, we have issued directives to develop and implement a "strategic project for national food production", to include the allocation of multiple sites for aquaculture and plant production. The project aims primarily to develop the capacity of national food industries, to increase the proportion of local production, and to preserve the expertise of the professionals who play such an important part in the success of these projects.
"We share the international community’s concerns about rapid climate change, and follow its approaches to mitigate the effects on the environment. We hereby direct the continued development of our policies to combat this challenge, and to protect our country’s environment and climate through the intensification of projects by the competent authorities to improve climate conditions and cool the atmosphere, such as those involving waterfronts and areas of water, as well as the diversification and expansion of agricultural spaces.
"Distinguished guests, the upcoming stage of work, its hopes and aspirations, calls upon all of us to uphold the rule of law and establish its sovereignty, by continuing to advance the justice sector, its institutions, services and procedures, so as to protect the interests of litigants, as well as continuing efforts to develop laws that promote the rights of citizens. Here, we note in particular the Alternative Sentencing Law, and we direct all relevant parties to extend full cooperation in applying its provisions that consolidate social stability and recognize the circumstances of those convicted by giving them the opportunity to resume their positive role in society. We extend our thanks here to the judiciary and its officials for their efforts to strengthen the pillars of justice and safeguard rights and freedoms.
"On this occasion, we reaffirm that prosperity and human security can be achieved only by continued economic growth, whether in our region or in the world at large. One fifth of the world’s oil and gas supply is launched from the waters of the Arabian Gulf, and any threat to the freedom of navigation is therefore considered a disruption to world trade, a disturbance to oil prices, and a challenge to the global order. Accordingly, the international community must come together to take firm steps to deter the aggressor, and oblige it to respect international maritime safety laws and treaties, in order to maintain international peace and security.
"We take pride here in the performance of our defense and security forces, as they assume their national duties with skill and resolve, and continue to defend this precious homeland with integrity, vigilance and unrelenting determination. These forces are the stronghold of our blessed path of reform and national renewal, which we will continue while we can with the help of Allah, and with the support of our loyal people, known for their civilized qualities, in their intellect, knowledge and generosity, thereby creating a unique human model which embraces pluralism, calls for peace, and promotes a culture of tolerance and coexistence in our safe and secure society. In this context, we extend our sincere greetings to our dear young people, who will lead us towards a bright tomorrow, with the help of Allah.
"Finally, we renew our thanks and appreciation for the outstanding role of this Legislature in strengthening and reinforcing our nation’s deep traditions and in enhancing our national development, the horizons of which are truly limitless. We note here that achieving national aspirations requires ever-greater coordination and cooperation between the authorities, with each authority fully and independently assuming its constitutionally-mandated responsibility.
"We will, as we have pledged, support every sincere effort which seeks to further the interests of the nation and citizens, and which strives to present new ideas and programs to help continue our national advancement, asking Allah Almighty to grant you success in your endeavors.
Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you."
W H Q
BNA 1419 GMT 2019/10/13