“Ceremony of Inaugurating the New National Mine Action Committee Compound [Archives:2000/08/Reportage]

January 21 2000

 Ridhwan A. Al-Saqqaf,  
Yemen Times, Aden  
Under the motto of Yemen without Mines a ceremony was held Monday February 15, 2000 to inaugurate the Training Center of the Yemeni Humanitarian Demining Program at Daar Saad. After the inauguration of the center the technical unit blasted  around 5,000 mines as the first stage for blasting up to 10,000 mines. The ceremony was attended by Dr. Motaher Al-Saidi, minister of the Cabinet Affairs and chairman of the National Mine Action Committee, major general  Mohammed Daif Allah Mohammed, the Defense Minister, Taha Ahmad Ghanem, governor of Aden, ambassador Edward S. Walker, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Admiral Charles Moore, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces of the Central Command and Commander of the 5th Fleet,  Ron Neumann, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs brigadier general  Mohammed Saleh Tariq, Aden security chief, high-ranking military officers and American trainers in mine clearing as well, as a good number of people. Then, the technical demining unit inaugurated the second stage of the project. 
Major general Mohammed Daif Allah, the Defense Minister delivered a speech at the ceremony, praising the efforts exerted for the success of this project and cooperation of the military forces, the National Mine Action Committee, the American experts and friendly countries such as Canada, Switzerland, Poland, Germany, and Japan. He also said that the compound was opened to qualify soldiers who will have a good  know-how  in demining by the end of the course. 
Mr Neuman, deputy of the U.S. ambassador has also delivered an address at the ceremony. He expressed the American government pride in funding the program for the improvement of training facilities for those who have devoted themselves to work in the field of clearing mines. He described the success achieved by the program as an example of team work cooperation between the two countries, the other donor countries, the non-governmental and foreign organizations towards common goals. Mr Neuman said the program has worked in a good way making his government as an example to be followed on the way of operating a program of demining. 
Admiral Charles Moore also addressed the ceremony expressing his great happiness to see what had been achieved during the period since the first opening of the program in October 1998 up to now. Mr Moore expressed  American pride for financing this program and providing the training facilitates for those who devoted themselves to the demining field. He  said I am really happy and proud by all the achievements that have been accomplished since the beginning of this project in 1998. All the sides involved in this project have exerted commendable efforts and shown great commitment. The job we are doing is a very important one for we save the lives of many people. Even if we could only save the life of one child, it will be a great achievement for us. We do appreciate all the help as well as cooperation we have found by all the participants. 
Rough estimates of the mines existing in the North and South of Yemen, since the Imam role, war of 1962, continuous conflicts between the North and South, the last of which the war of 1994, are amounted to around 1 million. The mines planted by the separatists around Aden, other Southern and Eastern governorates are roughly estimated at around 60,000. Most of the mines are those of land mines and anti-personnel. 
Colonel Al-Shaibani, chief of the technical unit said that Norway has become another donor country granting the program $ 280,000, besides the USA that renders more than $ 2.5 million worth in equipment, training, cars, experts, etc. 
Admiral Moore along with Mr Neumann, representative of the American government, offered a present for president Saleh received on his behalf by Dr.  Al-Saadi, minister of cabinet affairs. In the present represents a picture depicting the first mine destroyed in cooperation with America and a picture of Admiral Moore inaugurating the National Mine Action Centre in 1998 located now at Daar Saad, Aden. 
The following sentence was also written  in the present : 
In commemoration of our strong friendship and mutual dedication to the removal of land mines from Republic of Yemen 
(Admiral Thomas Charles Moore) 
Commander of the US Naval Forces of the Central Command and Commander of the 5th Fleet. 
The representative of the Yemeni government made a speech asserting that the program proves Yemens credibility for peace and that it will do its best to protect peace. 
The new renovated compound contains the National Mine Action Committee building that could accommodate 350 persons at Daar Saad in Aden. 
Colonel Al-Shaibani, the chairman of the technical unit said that the technical unit has conducted a medical survey for all those who have been injured as a result of mines. Some of them were treated by American doctors  last September while the rest of them will be treated in the near future. 
The number of those trained for demining campaign are 380 trainees under the supervision of an American group.