Impression about Yemen [Archives:1999/48/Law & Diplomacy]

November 29 1999


H. E. Mr. Fuad Batayneh, 
Ambassador of the 
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 
When I was appointed as ambassador to Yemen I was fully aware of the strength of the ties between the two brotherly peoples and the governments of both counties. I felt this very clearly in 1994 when I was then deputy permanent representative of my country at the United Nations. From there I followed up the political events in Yemen in that year. 
As a matter of fact I was aware of the strong political and economic ties between my government and the government and people of Yemen. 
I also know the importance of Yemen as an Arab country in the Arabian Peninsular region and that it has an influential future, because of its past role in Arab history. I think that during its relatively short modern history, the Yemeni government and people have been able to make tangible long forward leaps. Holding comparison between the sixties and the nineties one can find Yemen at the forefront of other countries in terms of democracy and openness to the world, particularly pertaining to its internal and external interactions and to its stand on human rights. I can witness great economic, social and investment achievements everywhere in Yemen. 
As for the climate of Yemen, in my mind there is nowhere where it is so wonderful as in Sana’a. I have never lived in a place where the weather is more beautiful than it is in Sana’a. It is spectacular. Also, I could not have imagined that Yemenis could be so gentle. They are not easily provoked, while it is known that Arabs tend to be somewhat temperamental. This is an indication of the Yemenis’ wisdom and reasonableness. It means that the Yemeni person is psychologically stable. I also have never met such a modest people as those of Yemen. Here in Yemen you can not find anyone who makes you feel you are alien. 
The Jordanian-Yemeni relations have, for the past eight or nine years, witnessed great progress through high-level channels. Specifically, the Jordanian-Yemeni joint commission has held around 807 sessions, during which we have been able to coordinate and regulate our relations in various areas. 
Poverty is the major problem that hinders Yemen’s progress. It blocks its way to progress. It impedes the farmer’s work and the building of health centers and schools. Had it not been for poverty, the standard of education in Yemen would have advanced in an astonishing way. 
The people of Yemen are cordial and friendly. They receive you with respect and friendliness. This has helped me to have friendly relationships with many people and visit places outside the capital. I have visited most of Yemen’s cities. I have been to Marib and become acquainted with its ancient monuments and to Saada where I was amazed by its many archaeological landmarks and sites. What has attracted my attention most is my visit to Aden. It is really an enchanting city now. There are numerous projects, including new hotels, under construction on almost every street. Frankly speaking, it is a commendable action on the part of the government, because this will yield important economic results. 
I think there is tourist potential in Yemen that must be investigated. Conferences on various topics and indirect methods of marketing the tourism industry in Yemen should be held. The revenues of tourism could exceed many other sectors’ revenues. On the other hand, there are places like Hadhramawt and Socotra that enjoy features rather rarely to be found in other places on earth. Therefore I propose a visit to them be organized for Arab and foreign diplomats accredited to Yemen. For several years we have tried to have such a trip to these places, but have not received positive responses. Diplomats could represent an effective channel between Yemen and other countries. The images and impressions conveyed by these diplomats could be very influential in promoting tourism in Yemen. 
Once again I propose that Yemen should facilitate such visits for the diplomatic missions here, mainly for tourist purposes.