GPC assistant secretary Dr Al-Asbahi says . . .Yemen’s link to GCC “formed by geography” [Archives:2004/709/Front Page]

February 5 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
Assistant secretary-general of the General People's Congress (GPC) for political affairs and foreign relations, Dr Ahmed Mohammed al-Asbahi, has confirmed that Yemen gives a priority to its relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), noting that Yemen its historical, geographical, social, cultural and demographic ties.
Speaking to Annas weekly newspaper on Jan. 26, he commented on statements made by the Saudi interior minister prince Nayef who declared his country's rejection of Yemen joining of the GCC, as Yemen is not a Gulf state.
Al-Asbahi responded “the GCC states are countries of the Arabian peninsula which Yemen is one of them and the geography of the land forms a natural tie of the Arabian peninsula.''
He added that ” If prince Nayef has ascribed the refusal of Yemen joining for geographical reasons, that would be vanished before the many facts, including geography and the one origin, in addition to the contemporary necessities that the world is looking for economic, political and security groupings and not for the reverse.
“This is what why the European Union is keen on the accession of Cyprus, Malta and Turkey despite of the geographic distances.''
Al-Asbahi also said besides wrong political explanations, Yemen was, is and will remain part of the Arabian Peninsula in regards ti security, economically, geographically and culturally.
“This is a question that could not be affected by a moment of time or a political temperament.''
Al-Asbahi considered Yemen's enhancement of its relations with the African grouping as an extension of the message of the countries of the Arab peninsula due to a historical and security depth and for the interest of all the Arab peninsula countries.
He concluded his statement by saying ” Our keenness to join the GCC does not mean coercion. The matter is left to considerations of our brethren at the GCC and we see it enough to explain our primary stand based on many considerations and facts.''
Meanwhile the London-based al-Haqaiq newspaper reported about Yemeni indignation over the Saudi rejection of Yemen's joining the GCC and cited the Emirates' statements in this regard, which considered Yemen as not being qualified t join the Council. According to al-Haqaiq newspaper, political observers deemed the recent Gulf stands as an expression of the state of tepidity in which the Yemeni-Gulf relations are experiencing, while other some attributed those statements to the ongoing dispute concerning the security coordination and fighting terror. It quoted analyst as saying that Yemen, against that refusal, was no longer enthusiast to join the GCC.