AMERICANS Converge on Yemen [Archives:1998/20/Front Page]

May 18 1998

These days, Sanaa has become a favorite destination for US delegates. They just keep pouring in.
On the political side, several American delegates were in town. There was the Peace Corps regional director who was here to study the return of PC volunteers. Then, there was the USAID assessment team, which is busy with a two-year extension for its programs. Then there was the NDI group who are planning a conference for Newly Democratizing Nations in Sanaa. Then there was Ronald Neumann, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. There were also other visitors.
On the military side a number of groups have arrived and more are expected soon.
First, Colonel McMenamin arrived at the head of a 9-person batch. That was on May 15th. On the next day arrived LCDR Rodgers at the head of a 14-person group. Then on the 17th of May, more American military people arrived.
But, the climax of the US military trek is yet to come. Next week, Yemen will receive General Anthony Zinni, Commander of the US Central Command Theater.
What are all these Americans doing in Yemen?
What are all these Americans doing in Yemen?
There are some logical explanations.
First, most of the military people are involved in the demining operation, which is about to start. This is a US$ 5 million project which will clear the mines that had been planted on Yemeni soil over the last 35 years in the various civil wars.
Second, there is continued US support for the democratization process of Yemen. That explains the NDI engagement, which has an office in Yemen for positive interaction with the experiment.
The Peace Corps and USAID efforts also come within the American effort to help the economic situation in Yemen.
Even with all the explaining, however, there were just too many Americans in town to say it was a mere coincidence. Barbara Bodine, US Ambassador explains it this way. “I invited as many US officials as I could. I think many took on the offer.”
By: Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf,
Chief Editor, Yemen Times.