Land exchange settles border dispute [Archives:2004/755/Front Page]

July 15 2004

The Saudi authorities completed yesterday the handover of a number of border sites in view of the implementation of the Jeddah Border Treaty. The treaty ended 60 years of border dispute between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
A ceremony was held on Sunday at al-Budaih airport to deliver al-Budaih and other border posts to Yemen. The official handover of this air base, its facilities and al-Budaih and Harjah border sites was attended by a host of military officials and media men from the two countries. Unofficial sources said that the amount of land Yemen gained from Saudi Arabia amounts to 35,000 square kilometers.
The process of the exchange of sites was done in four days. During the last three days Yemen was handed over two villages, including al-Akhashim, and as well as other outposts including Umm Ghareb, Umm Serdab, al-Muaitef and others.
The Saudi chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Saleh bin Ali al-Muhaya, said that “borders are just lines that define the limits of the administrative authority of our two countries,” and that the deep-rooted relations make them one.
On his part, Foreign Minister Dr. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi described the event, which was broadcasted live through Yemeni state-run media, as a reflection of the “improved relationship between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.”
The event was observed by both the government and the opposition in Yemen as significant and shows the wisdom of the two leaderships in Yemen and Saudi Arabia which enabled the reaching of a peaceful solution to the border dispute in June 12, 2000. It was also seen to mark the end of this problem, which was a continual irritant to relations between the two countries.
The process of the handover of the sites was done after the completion of the demarcation of the borderline last May, according to official sources. 824 markers were set up.