Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – (May 20, 2017) President David Granger arrived this afternoon in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to attend the inaugural Arab-Islamic-American Summit, which is being held under the theme ‘Together We Prevail’. Leading the Guyana delegation, which includes Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge, Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Audrey Waddell and Director of the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG), Sheikh Moen ul-Hack, the Head of State said that his main focus at the Summit is to support the position that terrorism is a transnational crime, which requires a transnational response. President Granger, who is also the current Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), will use the opportunity to advance the interests of small states, with regard to their unique security challenges.
“We are very grateful for the initiative on the part of the Kingdom. We are entirely in accord with the need for a transnational response to this transnational crime and we ask that the special security concerns of small states should be kept in mind when any plans are being developed,” he said. President Granger added that when he received the invitation to attend the Summit, which aims to renew, among participating States, the mutual commitment to global security and further strengthen business, cultural and political ties, from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, he immediately recognised the importance of Guyana’s participation.
President David Granger received military honours on arrival in Riyadh and was welcomed by representatives of the Monarch of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Head of State noted that Guyana will use the opportunity to advance its national, regional and international interests and said that Government is aware of the dangers of extremism and is, therefore, calling for a collaborative national effort to prevent its incidence in the country, in addition to the work being done at the transnational level.
Sheikh ul-Hack, who was invited to participate in the Summit by President Granger, said that Guyana is a model of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence and lauded the Government’s stance on working to strengthen social cohesion in the country. The CIOG Director also noted that the organisation and the administration share a similar position on the issue of terrorism. “We have the support of our Government and we are all on the same page with the same agenda when it comes to peaceful coexistence, religious tolerance and security,” he said, adding that the CIOG had begun to provide a counter narrative to the language of extremism and terrorism through its training programmes across Guyana.
Members of the Guyana delegation at the Riyadh King Khalid International Airport
President Granger thanked Sheikh ul-Hack, who had previously lived in Saudi Arabia, for the invaluable support he is providing to the team. He added that he sees the CIOG as part of the national effort towards ensuring continued peace and security in the country. “We are heartened that the CIOG has developed a counter narrative… We are very glad that Guyana remains an oasis of tranquility,” he said.
Tomorrow President Granger and the delegation will participate in the opening ceremony of the Summit, which is being hosted at the King Abdulaziz Convention Centre. He will then attend an Official Luncheon, followed by the the commencement of the Summit sessions.
United States President Donald Donald Trump is also attending the Summit on the first overseas visit of his Presidency.
This is President Granger’s second visit to Saudi Arabia, since taking office, following his 2015 attendance at the Arab-South American Summit (ASPA).
The Guyanese Head of State in discussion with a representative of the Monarch of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia just after his arrival at the Riyadh King Khalid International Airport.