British Ambassador to YT:Embassy to move for security reasons [Archives:2005/829/Community]

March 31 2005

By Emad Al-Saqqaf
YT Taiz Bureau Manager
Cheif Editor of Family and Development Magzine

Britain has shown consistent support for democracy and human rights in Yemen. The Yemen Times met with Britain's Ambassador in Sana'a, Mr. Michael Gifford to discuss his views on developments in Yemen.

Mr. Gifford commented that Yemen has made significant advances in human rights, but that there is still more work to be done. He expected the future to be better, and described the current statust hadn't yet exceeded to the degree of perfection.

He commented that it is nice to have a ministry that deals specifically with human rights. He doesn't want to record my thanks to Amat Al-Aleem Al-Souswah, Minister of Human Rights, for her complete cooperation with us. He also expressed his readiness for any kind of help that may contribute to the tasks of this ministry in the field of human rights.

Mr. Gifford said he believes that the most important thing the embassy is doing is its support for democracy and human rights. There is an intention to commence a project supporting the political system that will be presented to the parliament and some of the governmental authorities. It includes training programs for a number of governmental authorities to help raise awareness of the principles of human rights and other liberties that are rooted in the Islamic religion.

There is also a project supported by the embassy and executed by an international organization concerned with women, illiteracy, and public health. There will be some projects to be presented to Yemen such as the project of the economic development at the cost of 11-12 million pounds.

When asked about Yemen's request for membership of the Commonwealth Union and Britain's refusal, he said that any country has the right to request membership and that all members of the union (not just Britain) must agree.

Mr. Gifford says that the embassy headquarters will be re-located close to the US Embassy, although this is not political. They have been eager to strengthen security protection for the embassy with the help of the Yemeni government.