Polish Counselor to YT: The question of security has an utmost importance” [Archives:2001/01/Interview]
Mr. Kazimierz Romanski, Counselor of the Embassy of Poland in Sanaa is a very active, dynamic and kind person. All the people of media who know him highly appreciate his personal capabilities and his distinguished character as a media personality.
Although the Polish Embassy in Sana’a was opened in 1991, nobody knew well about the Polish diplomatic activities in Yemen, particularly in the media and commercial aspects, till the current staff of the Embassy were accredited in 1996 and 1997. The two-person staff of the Polish Embassy in Sana’a consists only of HE the Ambassador Mr. Krzysztof Suprowicz, and his Counselor, Mr. Kazimierz Romanski, who is also the Consul, as well as the Commercial and Media Attaché at the Embassy.
Interestingly, these two persons also represent their country in Eritrea, Djibouti and Ethiopia, and the responsibilities entrusted to them are really arduous ones.
I cannot indeed narrate all the skills and abilities of this capable person, although some people may mistakenly think that this appreciation is the result of my intimate friendship with him. However, the fact is that I could not express my real feelings towards him to its full, especially as I came to know that he was leaving Yemen only two hours before his departure.
Q: When did you come to Yemen?
A: I came here in the middle of 1997. It wasnt my first mission to an Arab country. Before I came here, I had worked in Libya and also in Egypt where I lived for more than five years. I have visited many other countries like Jordan and Iraq. So I am quite acquainted with the Arab world, policies, traditions, customs and habits.
I must say that I do like the Arab world.
Q: What are your impressions about Yemen?
A: I would like first to tell that it was rather a busy mission. I have been responsible for many things including the consular, economic, culture and press affairs.
Yemen is a very beautiful country. Unfortunately, I havent had enough time to visit all interesting places. I have many times been to Aden, Hodeidah, Mocha, Khukha, Taiz, Ibb, Marib, etc. But I have not had the opportunity to visit Mukalla or Syoun. I wish I would be able to visit them in the near future.
I highly appreciate the changes in social and political life in Yemen. I have noticed the country had been progressing. There is a real press freedom here. There is a real opposition press. This is an exception to most of the Arab peninsula.
On my mission here, I have been concentrating on presenting a good vision of Poland in Yemen. I also tried to present Yemen to Poland and the Polish people. I introduced all the business, trade and investment opportunities in Yemen to the Polish companies. In this regards, many official visits have been exchanged between the two countries. We have met many times with Yemeni delegations; we have had meetings with the press, representatives of radio, and TV to give Poland a chance to be presented.
Q: What are your comments on tourism in Yemen?
A: Yemen has huge opportunities to become a tourist country. Tourists can come here if they know how wonderful the country is. That is why the authorities of Yemen should first present Yemen abroad through their diplomatic missions abroad to present Yemen there.
As far as the tourist potentials are concerned, Yemen has many good landscapes and beaches. Many people like to dive and I think Yemeni beaches, if utilized properly, will be a good destination for them. There are also historic sites such as the temple of Marib. But Yemen should attract tourists. Of course, I must tell frankly that one of the important conditions that must be met in order to attract tourists is security. In this regards, I really appreciate the Yemeni authorities’ approach to decrease kidnappings. Kidnappings or similar acts make tourists reluctant to come. They are simply afraid of coming here. That is why all the efforts made by the authorities to stop and fight kidnappings must be enhanced. Also the Yemeni society, the sheikhs, the people who are planning to kidnap foreigners should know that this does not serve the good image of Yemen abroad and it cuts the possibility of tourists coming here. It cuts the possibilities of earnings, because tourists come with money to spend here.
The hotels here are good, and day after day they are increasing in number. But the question of security has an utmost importance.
Q: A number of Polish business delegations have visited Yemen. Do they think of investing in Yemen? Are there problems blocking the way of Polish investment here?
A: We have established our mission here in 1991. The Yemeni embassy in Warsaw was opened also about the same time. There is a lack of information on the opportunities provided. What we have so far done is that we have arranged several Polish missions to Yemen. A mission from the Polish Chamber of Commerce visited Yemen last May and they had talks with their counterparts in Sana’a, Aden and Taiz. What we in the Embassy tried to do is to make it possible for the business people to get together and to talk about this matter.
I think that we have done the first step. More and more Polish businessmen know about Yemen more than before. They come, look, calculate the risks and possible profits. It is right that the Embassy cannot interfere much, because this is a private sector, but our obligation has been to create good opportunities for the people who want know their partners. We have our own Consulate in Aden. Anyone who is interested in this matter can come to get the information needed.
I want to once again emphasize that we have practically finished the first stage; to make contact and to get together the businessmen. We should wait for the results. The big work has been done and the results are bound to come.
Q: Any last comment?
A: Once again I would like to mention that I have been here for more than 4 years. I would like to say that it has been, though a busy, a good and important time for me. I would like also to express my thanks to my Yemeni friends, businessmen, journalists and others who have been helpful to me. I wish them and the Yemeni people prosperity, happiness, success in their life.
What I want to say at the very end is: keep your wonderful traditions and customs, but at the same time be open for new ideas, new worlds and what is modern. Be open for the other world for everybody who come to you and try to make business, try to make friendship and good relationships.
Interviewed by M. bin Sallam