President Saleh to [Archives:1997/45/Front Page]
Call on Her Majesty and Hold Talks with Tony Blair: President Saleh in London Today
A Yemeni delegation of about a hundred persons headed by President Ali Abdullah Saleh leaves Sanaa today on an official four-day visit to the United Kingdom. The visit is the president’s first to the UK since the civil war of 1994. The delegation includes four ministers (foreign affairs, planning, health, and education), a number of other senior officials, in addition to a 70-person business group and a large media contingency. A high-powered program has been prepared. The Yemenis will meet with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Minister Robin Cook, the Defence Minister, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, the Speaker of the House of Lords, the Mayors of London and Birmingham, and a number of other officials. The high point of the visit will be a call on Her Majesty the Queen. The Yemeni delegation will also meet with British businessmen and the media.
The President is also scheduled to visit Birmingham, which has 12,000 residents of Yemeni extract, the largest single concentration in the UK. He will speak to them about their original homeland – its difficulties and aspirations. David Pearce, Charge d’ affaires at the UK Embassy expressed the upbeat mood in London on the visit. “We are happy with the President’s visit, and I am sure it will further strengthen our economic ties,” he said. He disclosed that the UK was Yemen’s largest foreign investor, and added that seven economic missions were planned for 1998. “We will continue to better our political understanding and economic ties,” he concluded.