Iranian ambassador reviews Yemeni-Iranian relations [Archives:2004/761/Community]

August 5 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
Iranian ambassador to Sana'a held on Sunday 1st August a press conference on the occasion of the first anniversary of his taking the position of the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Sana'a. He began the conference with a general review of the Yemeni-Iranian relationships.
“HE President Mohammed Khatami always mentions that Yemen is an Arab country with a bright and ancient history, and that it is a greatly significant, civilized and cultural country. He always remembers his pleasant visit to Yemen,” said the ambassador.
“Yemen has a distinctive status in terms of our relations with the other countries and the countries of the region,” he added.
The ambassador stated that his prime responsibility here in Yemen is to follow up the execution of agreements signed by the two countries, and to which he receives cooperation and support from Yemeni officials.
In the realm of political cooperation, the ambassador said: “we maintain good relations, and there is mutual confidence in this respect. Last year, letters were exchanged between officials by presidents and speakers of parliaments.”
He said they have a program to enhance the future of mutual relationships and that is through an exchange of visits by officials.
“We are waiting impatiently for the visit of Yemeni Prime Minister Abdul-Kadir Bajamal in response to an earlier invitation from Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Dr. Arif Bahwan,” said the ambassador.
“When examining relationships between the two sides, I would like to stress that there is no unclear point or any lack of transparency between the two countries.”
“In addition to economic and commercial exchange, we are interested in making use of experiences of engineering companies and companies involved in implementing projects in Yemen. We have encouraged Iranian companies to come to Yemen and execute development projects including energy, electricity networks, cement, bridges and road projects. We have also encouraged them to invest in small and medium sized industries in Yemen.”
“We have tried to provide facilities necessary for this trade movement and investment activity at the seventh meeting of the joint committee held recently in Tehran which endorsed an agreement that facilitates commercial exchange and cooperation between Yemen and Iran. One of the prominent projects resulting from that agreement is a large hospital to be established soon in Sana'a.”
“In regard to cultural cooperation, I'd like to point out that we have a cultural program on the occasion of Sana'a as the 2004 Arab Cultural Capital. It is expected that an Iranian Cultural week will be held in Sana'a in the next few months comprising a variety of activities and shows.”
“We will also hold specialized symposiums to discuss historic relationships and links between the two countries.”
In response to a question about unimplemented projects, such as building a housing city for limited-income people, he said “these projects have bees presented and await negotiations between the two sides. After all, the Yemeni market is based on competition.”
Concerning some newspapers' allegations that Iran supports Sheikh Hussein Al-Houthi, the ambassador answered: “I want to refer to the stance mentioned in the statement of the official spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which said these allegations do not reflect actual relationships, for there are no ambiguous points.”
“Actually, newspapers should be committed to saying the truth honestly, and disseminate news to people in the right manner. They should make things clear and illuminate public opinion in a way that serves relations among countries, and not damages them.”
“Briefly, the news stories published in some newspapers are false and distorted. They do not express our right and fundamental stance, and we are contacting the officials regarding this issue.”
Concerning accusations that Shiites in the UAE and Kuwait of financially supporting Al-Houthi, the ambassador replied: “As you know, Shiites are available in all countries and regions. They are not necessarily related to Iran.”
At the end of the press conference, the Iranian ambassador expressed his belief that those allegations rumored by some newspapers to harm Yemeni-Iranian relationships would not affect the distinguished mutual relations.
“The relations between the two sides are strong and stabilized by the resolution of the two countries' leaders. What is important is that no other party should be given the chance to disturb them from such a condition. These rumors may disturb public opinion, but they will never harm the traditional original historic relations between the two countries.”