Sana’a chosen as ASCEC headquartersAfrican and Arab nations push for better governance [Archives:2004/733/Front Page]

April 29 2004

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
The First Conference of the Association of the Senates, Consultative and Equivalent Councils in Africa and Arab World (ASCEC) wound up last Tuesday with a statement stressing the commitment of member states in prompting democracy, human rights, good governance and the role of women.
The event, which was attended by 18 states and other European delegations focused on the questions of human rights, the role of civil society organizations and promotion of public participation.
In their final meeting, the delegates approved of the platform of the association and said in their final statement that they are committed to implement the decisions and recommendations of the conference with regards to “strengthening and enhancing democratic values, making them concrete in their own countries as well as promoting political and economic reforms.”
The statement said that these countries are committed to play a vital role in supporting initiatives of good governance, parliament monitoring, promoting decision-making based on public participation. They also committed themselves to carrying out legislative reforms, development of civil and administrative service.
The statement also pointed out that the member states of the ASCEC stressed on “the pivotal role these senates, consultative and equivalent councils in promoting democracy, human rights and encouraging the basic principles of good governance and the role of civil society organizations and women's roles in the political and social life, protecting them against any sort of exploitation.
The conference committed itself to working with regional and international parliament institutions in promoting democracy, freedoms and standing by the just causes of Arab and African peoples, mainly the Palestinian cause; they condemned the Israeli atrocities and brutal acts against the Palestinian people with whom they expressed solidarity to achieve its goals in establishing its own state with Jerusalem as its capital.
The statement also said the association members states support the political initiatives and efforts meant to hasten the leave of the occupying forces in Iraq, replacing them with UN troops, handing power to the Iraqi people.
They also said that they are against the setting up of political parties or ethnic, religious or sectarian bases and that they support all efforts made to reach peaceful resolutions in some African countries hit by conflicts.
The member states chose Sana'a as the main headquarters of the association which was set up in 2002.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh inaugurated the opening session of the event in which he called on the coalition forces in Iraq to leave the country immediately, putting the regime of Saddam Hussien partially accountable for the occupation.
He said that the excuse for which the coalition forces invaded Iraq, the weapons of mass destruction, has proved untrue and for that they should withdraw and let the Iraqi people choose its government.
“We would like to see a peaceful Iraq, rather than bloodshed,” he said.
He said that democracy has become the only choice for the people at this time, expressing refusal of reforms imposed from outside which he said will not succeed.
“We should reform ourselves before others reform us,” he said, calling the political regimes to take the initiatives in starting political, economic reforms and public participation.
He said if there were elections, freedom of press and democracy in Iraq, the pretext of liberating Iraqi people under which the Americans occupied Iraq could have been thwarted despite the fact that the “conspiracy” was there, according to him.
He lashed out at the US double-standard policy in the Middle East incites the hatred of Muslims and the people of the third world countries. He emphasized on the role the UN should play otherwise it lose its importance.