Canada Reaches out to Yemen: More Aid, Stronger Ties, Better Understanding [Archives:1998/13/Front Page]

March 30 1998

“We closely follow the strides of the Republic of Yemen towards democracy. We appreciate your country’s positive contribution to international harmony, peace and stability,” said the Honorable Gildas Molgat, Speaker of the Canadian Senate. During talks with Professor Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, member of the Consultative Council (CC), the Canadian Speaker hand-delivered an invitiation addressed to Mr. Abdulaziz Abdulghani, President of the CC, to visit Canada.
Dr. Al-Saqqaf has just returned from Ottawa where he held talks with senior Canadian officials, business people and intellectuals. “It was an opportunity to highlight the progress achieved by Yemen and the need for Canadian support to sustain our experiement,” Saqqaf said.
The response from Ottawa was swift and direct.
Jr. Don Campbell, Deputy Miister of Foreign Affairs, disclosed that Yemen was very high on the list of countries in which Canada will establish resident diplomatic representation. “I cannot fix a time frame, but we are enormously interested in linking up with Yemen rather soon,” he said. “Our Federal Government’s budgetary deficit has been responsible for the restaint in opening embassies.
But we are now out of that phase,” Campbell added. It is believed, Canada will open its embassy in Sanaa in 1999.
At another level, Mrs. Huguette Labelle, President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) indicated personal interest in visiting Yemen. She ordered an immediate financial and technical support for the Conference of NGOs scheduled to be held in Sanaa in mid-June. Dr. Norman Cook, Director of NGOs and Special Initiatives, will represent CIDA in the conference. Mrs. Labelle also ordered the immediate award of four graduate scholarships for Yemenis to come and study in Canada.
At still another level, Dr. Saqqaf disclosed that Yemen and Canada agreed to embark on an exchange of visits by senior officials. This includes preparations of a possible visit by President Ali Abdullah Salah to Ottawa within one year. “I think my Canada visit was enormously successful. I felt that Canadians were reaching out to Yemen,” he concluded.