Salem Alketbi

Saudi Arabia’s Open Doors Diplomacy

السبت - 03 يونيو 2023

Sat - 03 Jun 2023

The recent foreign policy orientations of Saudi Arabia can be best described as a strategy to open doors for cooperation with everyone. It’s not just about “zeroing problems,” which suggests dealing with existing areas of disagreement with other parties and finding resolutions and settlements for them.

On the other hand, the act of opening doors appears to be more encompassing and far-reaching. It entails establishing avenues of communication and dialogue, even in the face of existing disagreements, with the expectation that such engagement will pave the way for resolving conflicts and resolving any quandaries in relations with other regional and international entities.

Through the resumption of diplomatic relations with Canada, Saudi Arabia showcased its latest proactive foreign policy at this level, thereby putting an end to a long-standing dispute that persisted for approximately five years (since 2018). Throughout this duration, there was a notable downturn in the trade, economic, and educational ties between the two nations.

Following a meeting in Bangkok on the sidelines of the APEC summit in November of the previous year, the official announcement of the resumption of relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Canada ensued. The meeting involved the Saudi Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. They mutually agreed upon this measure.

This recent step undertaken by the Kingdom signifies its dedication to transforming its developmental and economic aspirations into concrete and prioritized action plans.

Now, in Saudi Arabia, there is no voice that reverberates louder than the voice of construction, symbolizing the resumption of the Kingdom’s civilizational march. This resurgence aims to reinstate Saudi Arabia to its rightful position among nations and states, encompassing economic, political, investment-related, cultural, and sporting realms. We witness this manifestation in various domains, and the global community eagerly and fervently keeps track of the Kingdom’s news, while simultaneously admiring and valuing these swift and substantial shifts.

Everyone has been reached by the messages communicated through Saudi diplomacy in recent years, emphasizing the imperative of respecting its national sovereignty and refraining from meddling in its internal affairs. Furthermore, the adherence to the principle of good neighborliness, along with other international principles and regulations, has been underscored.

The current developments, be it the resumption of relations with Iran, Turkey, Canada, or any other external matters, are a testament to this fresh and constructive approach towards fostering cooperative relations with other nations, whether neighboring or not. These relationships are built upon well-defined principles that are mutually reinforced. This robust and transparent foundation serves as a safeguard against any potential slide into errors and detrimental practices that have previously led to tensions, ruptures, and crises.

At this stage, it is of utmost importance for Saudi diplomacy to present the crucial criterion that defines its relations with all countries worldwide—namely, mutual respect and shared interests. There is no space for any entity to meddle in the internal affairs of another, nor is there room to exploit interests as a façade for such interference, regardless of the magnitude and significance of these interests.

This standard holds significant importance, and its emphasis does not entail introducing a novel addition to the principles and regulations that have governed the Kingdom’s foreign policy since its inception. Right from the start, Saudi foreign policy has been rooted in and centered around the principles, laws, treaties, and international norms that form the framework for the UN and all international collaborative institutions. Hence, there exist Saudi rules and standards in place.

Nevertheless, as a result of the interplay within the global system, there are recognized instances of violations and trespasses. The rationales and conditions underpinning these occurrences are widely acknowledged and are all intertwined with the principle of state sovereignty or national sovereignty.

As the Kingdom embarks on a new era of international relations, it is resolute in reinstating the bedrock and principles that it deems essential for fostering equitable, impartial, and genuine relations with all nations across the globe. Among these, mutual respect takes precedence. One of the paramount operational practices embodying mutual respect is refraining from interfering in the affairs of other countries.

Undoubtedly, the principle of national sovereignty stands as one of the foremost principles in international law. The UN Charter, in its Article 2 (Paragraph 1), explicitly asserts: “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.”

Various declarations issued by the international organization strongly underscore the imperative nature of the principle of non-interference, including the declaration issued on December 6, 1981, which explicitly states that in conformity with the UN Charter, no State possesses the right to directly or indirectly intervene, under any circumstances, in the internal or external affairs of any other State.

The notion that the principle of sovereignty constitutes one of the cornerstones of international relations can be traced back to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. This principle stands as one of the bedrocks of international law, playing a fundamental role in underpinning the theory of the state in contemporary political discourse.

Henceforth, in accordance with Vision 2030, the development of modern Saudi Arabia advances through a strategic plan that guarantees the Kingdom harnesses its capabilities and abundant resources. This empowers it to assume the rightful position it merits within the evolving global system during this current phase. The ongoing interactions on the international stage play a pivotal role in guiding its course and molding its ultimate form.