An essay by the Ambassador of USA on the occasion of Unification Day”Yemen has been an advocate of democratic reform in the region” [Archives:2005/843/Local News]

May 19 2005

Thomas Krajesky,
US Ambassador to Yemen

When in 1989 the ideological and political differences that divided much of the world began to crumble, and the demands for freedom were heard from Berlin to Johannesburg, the people of Yemen faced a choice. Some of the world's nations, fearing change, retreated behind walls of repression and suspicion. Others saw an opportunity to exploit narrow interests and old hatred for their own gain. Yemen from both South and North followed a different course, choosing unity and freedom.

The road to democracy and an open economy has not been easy. Yemen has faced severe challenges and difficult choices in both domestic and international affairs. Yet, it is clear that Yemenis are committed to progress and to developing the great potential of their country. Yemen has been a strong partner of the United States in fighting terrorism, recognizing the threat of extremism to all free societies. By working with regional partners and the international community to control the trade of dangerous weapons, Yemen can make further contributions to its own and regional security.

Since unification, Yemen has been an advocate of democratic reform in the region, holding competitive elections and encouraging open debate in the press. This is not the time, however, for Yemen to be complacent, but rather to continue forward in promoting human rights and expanding liberty. As part of this process, Yemen has embraced the goals of the Millennium Challenge Account and pledged to initiate much-needed reforms to fight corruption and improve rule of law. When fairness and equality before the law become the standard, all Yemenis will know that they have the opportunity to succeed.

These reforms are crucial to Yemen's democratic progress and economic future. With rule of law, private investors, both foreign and domestic, will know that Yemen is a good place to do business. This investment will bring much-needed jobs and economic growth. This country has seen the benefits of responsible economic decisions. At a critical time, Yemen controlled inflation and stabilized the currency. By continuing to make difficult economic reforms and pursuing free trade agreements with the WTO, the GCC, and the United States, Yemen will reap the benefits of the global economy.

The United States and other international donors stand together with Yemen in these efforts, helping to improve the lives of all Yemenis. Through USAID, the Middle East Partnership Initiative, and other U.S. government programs more children are going to school, health care has increased to those who most need it, the role of women in society is expanding, and there are new economic opportunities for farmers and small businesspeople.

I believe that these changes are slowly but surely transforming people's lives, helping them to become active, prosperous citizens in a dynamic society.

Yemen made the right choice in 1990, pursuing unity, liberty, and democracy. On this anniversary of unification, we congratulate the Yemeni people and Support them in strengthening the values that bind together all free nations.