A call to Saudi Arabia:Our stability and prosperity is yours [Archives:2003/649/Viewpoint]

July 10 2003

Throughout history, Yemen and Saudi Arabia have maintained strong and unique relationships in various aspects, economically, socially, and politically. The geographical as well as demographically structure of the two countries makes their interests, goals, and future common in many ways.
Globalization, which is taking the world by storm, is also helping us realize this fact. We can see alliances and coalitions being formed from the far west (e.g., Caribbean Islands) to the Far East (e.g., South East Asian countries). There is simply no reason to deny that stronger relations between the two countries have become essential and not any more an option.
Looking at the recent violent incidents taking place in the two countries, one can conclude that cooperation in security and border surveillance has become of vital necessity for the stability of the region.
But when we try to analyze the situation in Yemen for example, we can see that corruption, poverty, and mismanagement have led to the smuggling of weapons, leading to a flourished light arms trade network in our country. This has resulted in infiltration by arms traders to Saudi territories, leading sometimes to frightening statistics about arms and weapons smuggled form Yemen to Saudi Arabia.
Hence, it is only logical that Saudi Arabia should assist Yemen to tackle its administrative and financial difficulties by providing expertise and financial assistance to improve its law enforcement measures and bring more stability to Yemen, which would lead to better stability in the whole Arabian Peninsula.
Adding to that, we need to realize that for Yemen to one day join the Gulf Cooperation Council, it needs to carry out massive reforms in education, judiciary, and civil services. And who else but Saudi Arabia could help Yemen overcome those difficulties and raise its standards in the best manner?
Poverty in Yemen is now beginning to have its toll on Saudi Arabia. Yemeni illegal immigrants penetrating the Yemeni-Saudi border to Saudi Arabia for economic reasons have caused a lot of damage to our neighbor's social structure leading to irregularities in residential permissions, and other related issues.
Hence, Saudi Arabia should give us a hand by trying to focus on the core of the problem of poverty in Yemen and help the Yemeni authorities identify the cure. It could also provide us with the cure, not in the form of money only, but also by providing experts who could help our decision makers carry their administrative jobs more effectively and with transparency and less corruption.
We are now in a stage of partnership. The agreements signed by the two countries in the latest coordinating council meetings are a strong signal of that fact. But unless they are followed up closely for implementation, they could join piles of signed agreements lost in the drawers of dusty ministerial archives.
I personally welcome the mutual cooperation and understanding between the two countries, and I am looking for even greater cooperation. Nevertheless, I am also sure that our Saudi friends will not let us down, and will ensure our own government works more effectively in carrying out the needed reforms, which should help Yemen develop further, and consequently, make Saudi Arabia a better country too.