Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Friends of Yemen, friends in need?

By Nasser Arrabyee,25/09/2012
Yemen needs urgent assistance from friends and donors. It can not wait any more for long run plans. 

Yemeni  President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi is  now visiting western countries to mobilize support for his country. On Monday, September 24, 2012, Hadi started his trip by visiting London where he met the British prime minister and other senior  officials.

On September 27th, 2012, Hadi will open a conference in New York, called the Friends of Yemen Meeting, in which 52 countries and organizations are participating. 

Earlier this month, donors of Yemen, met in the Saudi capital Riyadh where they pledged to give 6.4 billion US dollars  to the poverty-and-war-stricken country. Saudi Arabia alone  pledged to to give 3.25 billion US dollars.

However, Yemen needs at least 12 billion US dollars to help it stand again and fix economic and political problems that resulted from the crisis of 2011. 

And even if the New York conference of  Friends of Yemen comes out with more pledges to be 12 billion, the  question will be when and how this money will be paid. Yemen can not wait six more years. 

Almost the same friends and donors of Yemen met in London in 2006 and pledged to give about 5 billion US dollars to help Yemen do reforms and  overcome its economic and political problems. 

Donors and friends of Yemen have paid nothing to the failing country  since 2006.   They always ask for infra-structure  conditions that can not be met by Yemenis. 

 If the donors and friends of Yemen keep asking Yemen hard questions on how they ( Yemenis) would spend the money, then nothing would happen, problems of Yemen would only worsen. The Yemenis  can not do even plans, they do not have good institutions, they still struggle and look forward  for good governance, transparency, accountability, etc. 

If the donors wait until Yemen becomes like a western country for absorbing the money, then, they would wait for ever.  Yemen can not become institutionalized country over night, it can not get out from its economic and political problems  without help of friends.

Some observers, however, say Yemenis themselves should say what they want and how they want to do it, otherwise, the donors can not help them. 

"Yemenis should tell donors what they want and how to do it," said the political analyst, Adel Abdu from Sanna university. 

The donors do not have the same thinking on helping Yemen. Saudi Arabia, the biggest donor and main sponsor of the transition deal, is different from United States,the main backer of the transition deal. Fighting  Al Qaeda  for instance, seems to be the common for both of them, but fighting Al Qaeda for Saudi Arabia does not mean the same meant by US.

The visit of President Hadi to the west comes only one month and a half before the most important event in the transitional period. That is the comprehensive  national dialogue which is supposed to start on November 15, 2012. The dialogue, if successful, should come out with an agreement on a new constitution whereby a presidential elections should be held on February 2014.

Earlier in the week,  President Hadi said that his trip to western countries would focus on averting  Yemen a civil war and partition.
The western trip of President Hadi would include  UK,  US, Germany, France, and Belgium. 
"My trip will focus on how to avoid a civil war and divisions and take Yemen to the safe aide," Hadi told reporters at Sanaa airport. 
Hadi is supposed to meet the officials of these countries with the aim of enhancing the political settlement in his country. 
President Hadi is scheduled to meet President Obama in the sideline of the meeting of the UN  General Assembly in New York. 
The former Preaident Ali Abdullah Saleh was supposed to visit US almost on the same time for further treatment.   But his visa application was turned down just one week before Hadi's visit. 

According to sources,   Saleh decided not to   leave Yemen any more for any reason. 

Earlier in the week,the US ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstien said that the American embassy delayed a visa request for Saleh and a number of his companions. Mr Feierstein said in a press conference earlier this week in Sanaa, that the time was not appropriate for Saleh to visit US for further treatments.

The Saleh 's office said ,however,  that Feierstein justified the delay of Saleh's visa by saying the time of the visit would coincide with the trial of the Yemeni Guantanamo detainee Abdul Rahim Al Nashiri who is accused of bombing the USS Cole in Aden Harbor in 2000 in which 19 American sailors were killed. The American court may recall Saleh for testimony over the Cole issue, Feierstein justified according to the paper.

Saleh's testimony would cause embarrassment to the US Administration, the office said. 

Earlier this year, the American court  asked Saleh, when he was in a treatment trip in US, and was still in power, to attend for testimony over the Cole issue, but he refused. 

Saleh's office also said that Saleh had never asked for the visa, but Mr Feierstein and President Hadi insisted on him to go to United States for further treatments. Respecting that insistence for his health, Saleh handed his passport and passports of his companions for visa process. 



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