Cuban ambassador praises ties with Yemen [Archives:2006/987/Reportage]

October 5 2006

Khalil Al-Khaubari
SANA'A, Sept. 27 – At a recent press conference at the Cuban Embassy in Sana'a, the Cuban ambassador to Yemen H. E. Vienvemido Garcia Negrin discussed numerous issues concerning both nations.

He described such bilateral relations as distinctive, noting, “For more than 40 years, we've enjoyed this relationship for the benefit of the peoples of both countries.”

He added that the most relevant aspect of such relations has been in the area of health. “Aden University's Faculty of Medicine was inaugurated 31 years ago with Cuban professors and has graduated more than 3,000 Yemeni doctors,” the ambassador recalled.

Regarding the two sides' immediate plans, he indicated, “A joint Yemeni-Cuban commission meets every two years, alternating its sessions between Sana'a and Havana. We're preparing the next joint session at the end of November, which will take place in Sana'a.”

He continued, “In the joint commission, representatives from concerned areas in both governments evaluate the fulfillment of agreements from the last session, discuss ongoing exchanges and new projects and set the plan for the next two-year period.”

Mentioning Yemen's recent elections, the Cuban ambassador congratulated Yemenis for holding an open democratic electoral process and a very quiet election with high participation. “On Sept. 20, I witnessed many citizens going to vote and I particularly was impressed by the number of women, which is a clear expression of growing participation by Yemen's female population in the country's political and social life,” the ambassador remarked.

14th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement

Regarding last September's 14th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) held in Havana, the Cuban ambassador hailed it as a success for its members. “The Havana summit's contribution to strengthening and increasing NAM's role and prominence enhanced its position to work in a more united manner and more firmly to defend its member nations' collective positions, in what should be its main thrust: defending international law, defending multilateralism, preserving the United Nations charter, struggling for the right to peace with justice and developing our countries,” he explained.

Attended by 56 heads of state and/or government and 90 foreign ministers, as well as other dignitaries and senior officials, the summit created conditions for a new stage of work by NAM characterized by greater prominence and greater efforts to raise its voice and be heard in the international arena.

Members adopted documents such as a declaration regarding Palestine, reaffirming solidarity with the Palestinian peoples' cause, and a declaration regarding Iran's nuclear question, thereby reaffirming every state's fundamental and inalienable right to undertake research, production and use nuclear energy with pacifist aims. The final document was a fundamental statement advocating promoting and preserving multilateralism, thus reaffirming that the U.N., its charter and international law continue to be indispensable.

The Cuban Five

Simply known as “The Five,” they were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for “conspiracy to commit espionage” three months before the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The men were arrested September 1998 in Miami and tried in the same city. Five years later, their case remains very much in the public eye.

The Five deny any involvement in espionage activities, saying their mission had nothing to do with undermining U.S. security and everything to do with trying to safeguard Cuba's security.

Cuba has called for world solidarity with The Five and American citizens answered with a Sept. 23 rally on their behalf in Washington, D.C. The demonstration involving U.S.-based solidarity groups gathered in front of the White House and demanded the government free the five Cubans.

Yemen participates in the Non-Aligned Movement's 14th summit

A Yemeni delegation headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi participated in sessions of the 14th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

“Yemen is one of the movement's founding countries, having participated in the 1955 foundation conference. It has played a great and active role within the movement,” noted Abdurrahman Mana', who is in charge of NAM's file at the ministry.

He added that the summit aimed to revitalize the movement and activate its objectives, as well as strengthen aspects of cooperation between its members.

When asked about a paper to be presented at the sessions, Mana' noted, “No paper was presented, except for a speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which addressed Yemen's attitude toward international, Arab and Islamic affairs, particularly issues involving Lebanon and Palestine, nuclear weapons, the Somali issue and peace initiatives there.”