Acting US ambassador gives conferenceYemeni reforms encouraging but more needed [Archives:2005/823/Community]

March 10 2005

Imad Al-Saqqaf
During his field visits to several governorates, Acting US Ambassador, Dr. Nabil Khori held a press conference at Softel Hotel in Taiz on Wednesday March 2. Answering a question by the Yemen Times about the influence of the September 11 2001 attacks on civil society organizations and the private societies in Yemen, he said that they have not been effected because they are not donor organizations. The organizations that have been effected are those that transfer money to terror organizations. The activities of the organizations that support terrorism have been reduced while legitimate ones have not.

When the Yemen Times asked him about the relationship between democracy and poverty and illiteracy, he pointed out that democracy does not ensure eradicating poverty or illiteracy, nor does it necessarily achieve economic development. Democracy contributes to solving the problems of the society. Democracy does not mean the right to food, or education, but rather the right to request and organize ways in which to obtain food and knowledge.

Dr. Khori spoke about the projects that the US government supports, saying that there are projects for supporting the campaigns against illiteracy, establishing and rebuilding schools in rural areas, as well as several medical and economic development programs in rural areas.

Evaluating democracy in Yemen especially in the field of human rights and press freedom, he said that Yemen has been of the pioneering countries in the Middle East since the beginning of 1990s. Elections are frequently conducted, different political parties work in a transparent public manner appointing candidates for many Yemeni institutions, there is a constitution and a parliament, as well as the freedom of expression and variety of media organizations.

Regarding the suspects of the USS Cole and Limburg bombings, he said that these trials were being conducted in a transparent atmosphere according to the Yemeni laws and have been were attended by a number of the regional and international observers. He added, 'we, as the American government, appreciate implementing laws in these two trials; we may agree or disagree to an issue of a man or two but generally we are convinced with the legal procedures applied in these two cases.'

Dr. Khori talked about the American grants that are offered to Yemen are within the aid program under the frame of the American foreign affairs and the International Development Agency. If we calculate today the grants in the field of the foreign affairs, military, and economy, the USA is the biggest donor on the list.

There are certain reforms that are still required, however, particularly within the judiciary and the economy. Investment will not come to Yemen unless these establishments are reformed.

He added that Yemen is about to join the Economic Club according to a project presented by the Ministry of Planning and International cooperation. This project specifies general principles concerning fighting corruption, media, and judicial reform.