President Saleh back from France [Archives:2007/1064/Local News]

July 2 2007

Moneer Al-Omari
SANA'A, June 30 ) After a visit described by Yemeni officials as fruitful and successful, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned from France on Thursday. Both parties, Yemen and France, discussed a number of issues together with developing the economic and military cooperation between them.

President Saleh met separately with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy as well as with his Defense Minister, Herve Morin and Interior Minister, Mich'le Alliot-Marie. The meetings aimed at discussing the development of the bilateral relations and cooperation in the field of fighting terror and providing Yemen with developed French military equipment including radars, helicopters and vessels for coast guard forces.

President Saleh paid a visit to the French Noujour Turmani Electricity Plant, generated by nuclear power and could observe the plant and it's operation. He further expressed Yemen's wish to posses a similar plant through which the growing electricity demands could be met.

France volunteered to train Yemeni military affiliates in its colleges and schools as well as helping Yemen fight organized crimes and drugs. The two parties also signed a deal through which Yemen will buy

E350 Airbus planes to support and reinforce its fleet.

In return, Saleh welcomed the French investments especially in fields relating to electricity generation and water purification, assuring that they will be given special care and facilities.

He also commended the strong ties both countries enjoy, particularly in the field of information exchange as well as exchange of experts. He also added that Yemenis have benefited from their French counterparts and many French experts provide lectures to affiliates of the Yemeni Coast Guard.

The French Interior Minister voiced her country's readiness to help Yemen in aspects relating to terror fighting and training and enhancing the performance of the Yemeni coast guards forces. She also expressed France's wish that Yemen would join the Security Cooperation Treaty that binds it to Djibouti. This treaty would enable those countries overlooking the Red Sea and Bab Al-Mandab Strait, to fight terrorism and smuggling.

This is the second visit of President Saleh to France since his reelection in December 2006. It is also the first visit by an Arab leader to the newly elected President Sarkozy of France.