President Saleh visit to the USAA New milestone in the bilateral relations [Archives:2005/890/Front Page]

October 31 2005

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
President Saleh will be shortly visiting the United States of America, a visit thought to be a turning point in the bilateral relations of the two countries, as Yemen considers the visit a successful milestone in the country's foreign policy. Political observers believe that there would be three topics in the agenda. The first one will be economic and financial cooperation; fighting terrorism will also be tackled, and the third topic will be a discussion of Yemeni commitments towards human rights and freedom of the press with special considerations to the recent Journalist abuses.

Yemen expects this visit to yield an increase in the financial aid allocated to Yemen because of the partnership of Yemen with the Americans in fighting terrorism. Yemen demands more military support in order to protect its long coasts to curb smuggling. It is also expected that Yemen will ask specific technical assistance for the protection of the Yemeni coastline. Yemen's efforts in freezing the balances of those who were listed by UN as terror financers will also be within the agenda. Observers think that the president's mission will not be an easy one; however the success of the Yemeni government will be a great boost to the Yemeni role in the war on terrorism.

History of Yemeni – American relations

The Yemeni American relations were established during the 2nd world war period. Its formal start was said to be in 1945. Diplomatic representation began with sending a special diplomatic mission, developing further into a full fledged embassy. Financial aid to Yemen also started at this time.

The American Yemeni relations were affected by the post Second World War influences. The political balance between the capitalist USA led camp and the socialist camp led by the Soviet Union also had its impact on these relations. The Northern part of Yemen used to have strong cooperative relations with USA. The rivalry between the major powers had its impacts on the Yemeni American relations which led to the direct American aid to Yemen, to stop the spread of the Communist influence in the area, which had already sustained good influence in the southern parts of Yemen.

Yemeni-American ties were realized by military and financial support to attract Yemen to the USA camp against the Soviet Union, in the eighties the Yemeni USA relations used to be through the intermediacy of Saudi Arabia. The direct diplomatic relations were in 1945, when the American extraordinary commissioner in Saudi Arabia Colonel William Eddy, led a diplomatic mission to Yemen and held diplomatic talks with Imam Yahia. An agreement of friendship, trade and freedom of navigation was signed. Yemen received political support in return in which USA also recognized Yemen as a free state in March 1946. USA sent a nonresidential ambassador in 1946 and Yemen sent its first diplomatic mission to Washington in July 1951, after the first residential American mission to Taiz in 16.09.1959, introducing American aid to Yemen. These constituted a radio transmitter and a loan of one million dollars to buy sundry American goods. A number of visits were exchanged between the two sides. Further development was achieved when the American companies were granted rights for petroleum discovery in the Red Sea coasts, particularly in Salif area.

Following the 1962 revolution, America supported Yemen and recognized the revolutionary government which ousted The Imam. In the late sixties, more aid was given to Yemen. They were in the sectors of water, agriculture, tools, training and experience. USAID and private American institutions were involved in furnishing these aids. Military aids to Yemen started in 1976, when the two sides signed a military convention, through which Yemen was entitled to arms deal of a $138 millions. The American aid increased during the confrontations between the two Yemeni sides, where the Americans feared the Russian domination over the northern part of Yemen. Relations were strengthened when President Saleh took charge. The relations were boosted by the first visit of an American president to Yemen. President Bush senior visited Yemen when he was the vice president of president Regan. President Saleh was also the first Yemeni president to visit America in 1990.

Yemen established stronger relations with USA following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. The democratic rule, economic reform and free financial policy bolstered The Yemeni policy. Immense political and economic support to Yemen was introduced during the nineties, despite the great changes in the Gulf area.

A turning point in these relations followed the 9/11 attacks, which had a direct effect on the bilateral relations, and the regional ones. Yemen was affected by terror prior to 9/11. Terror fighting became the axil of the Yemeni American relations. The climax of these relations came as joint Yemeni American operations were carried against those who attacked USS Cole in Aden in 2000. A major operation was also carried by an American plane which destroyed the car of Al-Harithi, a leading terrorist figure.

America in return furnished support for the Yemeni security to face the terror operations and arrest terrorist groups. However the support is still not enough in covering the Yemeni needs to face terrorism.