MOWJ Denies Claims of Clandestine Contacts with the Government [Archives:2000/04/Front Page]

January 24 2000

Bin Fareed, the General Secretary of the National Opposition Front (MOWJ) and a prominent opposition figure abroad had denied the late reports about close contact between MOWJ members including its chairman Abdulrahman Al-Jifri with any high level officials in Sanaa. In a comprehensive interview with with Yemen Times correspondent in Saudi Arabia, the Opposition’s main body abroad (MOWJ) expressed its desire to bring about national coherence and begin constructing a method that would enable all parties and political entities to work for the benefit of the nation. It is worth mentioning that some allegations stating that MOWJ members were in contact with President Saleh lately, despite the fact that MOWJ is not even considered legitimate.
What he said:
When local and international media carry news about new and hot events on the political arena and there is confusion between credibility and skepticism, Yemen Times would usually seek to get  information from its very sources to offer answers to all queries on the political arena. 
Conflicting news reports of clandestine contacts between the regime in Sanaa and Abdul Rahman Al-Gifri, leader of the opposition National Front ‘Mawg’, whose activities are banned in Yemen. He is also the chairman of the Sons of Yemen League ‘Ray’. Reports say that he withdrew from the Opposition Coordination Council in order to arrange things in his party and then to intensify the party activities in the Southern and Eastern govrnorates so as to replace some opposition political forces and to prepare his opposition leadership to come back home. This has led to the rise of so many questions about what is actually happening around, what the opposition abroad demands to fulfill the national reconciliation, the attitude of the Sons of the Yemeni League versus  the elections after its withdrawal from the Opposition Coordination Council? All these question marks and their implications have been presented to Mr. Mohsen Bin Farid, the Secretary General of the League of the Yemeni Sons ‘Ray’, member of the executive committee of the  Opposition National Front ‘Mawg’, the head of its information office.
Yemeni Opposition in the eyes of MOWJ
He says “We see the Yemeni opposition as one entity. We do not  believe in dividing the opposition into an inside and an outside one. There are large numbers of political, military and civil leaders forced to flee the country after the 1994 war. Nevertheless, there is a human base for the opposition in inside Yemen. It is represented by the political parties in addition to other Yemeni opposition factions. There is also the silent majority of the people in Yemen. The Yemeni opposition whether inside or  outside Yemen share the same major common denominators, their concern is one and their prospects and vantage points are close to a great extent. All of them are of the view to have a unity that will last and stand all difficulties and hurdles of time. All of them do also believe in democracy and discarding violence, seeking freedom, justice, and full equity among all the people, without any prejudice and respect of human rights in Yemen. 
If we agree on these main issues, then the Yemeni opposition is one and there is no need to divide it into internal and external opposition. 
We, as well as the Yemeni people, were very hopeful when the unification was declared in 1990, holding out great hopes that our country will forget the past – characterized by violence, bloodshed, dictatorship, social as well as economic backwardness – and makes amends. However, all these great expectations were aborted  as a result of the composition of power share on which the unity was based and then came the power struggle, that bred the inevitable disaster of the summer of 1994.
After six years of that horrible war, our country is still suffering a strained political, economic, social and security situation. Conditions in our country in simple terms are as follows: a prevailing political imbalance, continuous deteriorating economic situations leading to hard and austere social living conditions of the people, absence of the state of law and order leading to a state of anarchy and insecurity. All this can not be denied by anyone.
The Sons of Yemen League party  has made various initiatives and concepts thought to be the ways out of the country’s cumulative and present crises. The president of the League Mr. Abdul Rahman Al-Gifri has given a brief account on the situation in a study titled “Yemen Where To?”
We in the League believe that the way out lies in implanting the bases of a lasting unity within a coherent and solid ruling structure that meets the balance needed. A local authority with wide powers and independent, just and fair judiciary system should also exist and take roots enhancing the means of security, development, stability and comprehensive national unity.
Regarding elections  we, in the League, have embraced plurality and democracy, therefore elections (local, parliamentary, and presidential) should be the means to decide and settle disputes among Yemenis and are the only means for the peaceful transfer of power. In order to meet the purpose of elections, the authority is ought to believe in elections and should ensure the conditions necessary to make them a success. We realize that democracy can never be achieved all at a time. It is rather gradual accumulative process. What is important then is to ensure a correct and good start for the one thousand -mile march begins with a step. 
It is then essential to maintain a multi-power local authority, which is an indicator on the regime’s seriousness regarding the question of reforms and elections. It is also essential that some constitutional amendments are made to remove all the articles that hinder fair and just elections. We understand the deteriorated and complicated conditions of our country so we do not demand to have elections matching those of in Britain or America. However, it is important that we put an end to the process doctoring elections returns. We should also restrict the use of the public treasury. The The armed forces and mass media should be kept neutral and impartial.
The League and the Opposition Coordination Council:
The League party did not withdraw from the Opposition Coordination Council, besides this council was over by the end of the elections of 1997 for the parties composing the council had reached an agreement to boycott elections of 1997. However some parties breached the agreement and participated in the elections for various reasons. We were taken aback when the Opposition Coordination Council came back to the political theatre without informing us. As the League party has self-respect and observes agreements it concludes with others, it believes that the Coordination Council is  over by the time it reversed its course of action and breached the agreement it had made. 
We do respect other parties constituting what is called now Coordination Council and do not have any objection to cooperate and coordinate with any one of them to join the opposition forces. We have taken the initiative more than once  in regard to this issue and the ball is now in the other’s court.
On contacts between Mr. Abdul Rahman Al-Gifri and the regime in Sana’a:
The league party has embraced the peaceful democratic approach as a sole way for the political action in Yemen, hence we are heralds for dialogue and true national reconciliation. We seek to accomplish this noble and sublime goal before the very eyes of the public and not secretly. 
So far no contacts have been made between Mr. Abdul Rahman Al-Gifri, the president of the League and ‘Mawg’ and the president of the Republic nor with any  representative of the regime. We have  read what was reported in newspapers just like you. We hope that all the sides will realize that there is no way out of this except by  accepting each other and by the positive, constructive dialogue away from conspiracies, tactics, modus operandi and narrow partisan calculations. 
The League does not want to be an alternative for any one nor to   to replace any one, for it believes that the country should embrace all without any exception and discrimination.