Amid Rising Border Tensions  President Saleh Suggests Possibility of Resorting to Arbitration on dispute with Saudi Arabia [Archives:2000/07/Front Page]

February 14 2000

President Ali Abdullah Saleh has asserted that reaching an amicable settlement to the border dispute with Saudi Arabia would be ideal, but if unsuccessful then resorting to international arbitration will be the only way out and that should not be any reason to spoil relations.
In response to a question asked by the London based Arabic Middle East newspaper in an interview published on February 4, 2000, excerpts of which were broadcast by the BBC, President Saleh gave prominence to his remark that Yemen might join the European Council of the Barcelona Declaration of the Mediterranean Group, that includes the EU and the Southern Mediterranean countries, if joining the Gulf Cooperation Council was not possible.
Political sources told Yemen Times that Saudi Arabia has acceded to the arbitration on conditions presented by itself, among which its refusal to withdraw from the Gahfan mountain it has occupied lately and sticking to Al-Ta’if Agreement, and some other conditions. Tensions between the two countries are on the upswing lately as the Saudis were charged with encroaching further south in the North of Hajjah Governorate. Skirmishes have been reported by people living in the area to the point of involving tanks and other heavy hardware. The residents stated that they themselves at first surrounded the encroaching Saudis and even repulsed them. Other reports by residents in the area, say the Saudis stayed firm. The Government is saying nothing! Many Yemenis are wondering why the Government is not being transparent about such a vital issue as repeated reports of Saudi encroachment into Yemeni territory and the independent and partisan press has frequently asked the Government to be open and frank about such an important issue.