Security cooperation given priority in Yemeni-Saudi relations [Archives:2003/649/Opinion]

July 10 2003

Yaser Al-Mayasi
[email protected]

Yemeni-Saudi relations have during the past 70 years witnessed have been characterized by periods of tide and ebb at both popular and official political levels.
Each period witnessed modes of relations differ in political data incompatible with the nature and local and regional valuables associating each period.
The issue of the Yemeni-Saudi borders has always represented a time bomb ready to go off at any time.
Strategically, the Yemeni-Saudi relations are very important whether for the relationships between the two peoples and the two states or regarding the regional dimension and its requirements
The strategic significance of the Yemeni-Saudi relationship also derives from its international importance that is related to the region's strategic position which represents a crossroads for both east and west interests.
As it has been referred to earlier, the issue of borders represents the major cornerstone for defining the concept of the two countries relationship until the border treaty was signed in June 2000.
It was the treaty that ended for good this problem. Concluding the border demarcation treaty has been qualitative leap and historic phase in the course of the Yemeni-Saudi relations and that solutions of the border issue came as a rational expression of the political approach of both Riyadh and Sana'a governments that resorted to the pursuit of negotiations for resolving disputes.
Following the conclusion of border demarcation treaty came the molding the two countries' relations according to the exchange of interests and integration and in line with new future visions consolidating elements of interactions of interests.
The border agreement has also paved the way for investing opportunities of integration based on mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs and above all, faith in territorial unity and sovereignty of each state and its right to choose its own political system.
Solving border disputes with the kingdom of the Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman represented an important step in the road to joining the GCC even it was in certain aspects.
That had been translated in the ground with GCC 22nd Summit in December, 2001 declaration that stipulated decision of the GCC leaders to accept Yemen to some of the GCC institutes as prelude to a full membership.
Following the border agreement, the Yemeni-Saudi cooperation concentrated on economic cooperation at various fields and in this regard, the agreement between the two countries on trade, economic, investment agreement managed to produce a good development over the past few years.
As for the security cooperation, the two countries have not shown much interest until after the September 11, 2001 events in America and what followed those events of rapid developments that made interest in consolidating security structure as an important question for the two sides.
This interest has been clearly reflected after the recent Riyadh explosion.
The security aspects in the relations between Yemen and Saudi Arabia has been clearly expressed in the recent meetings of the Yemeni-Saudi Coordination Council, 15 session.
The council's meetings have put much stress on security cooperation and its importance.
Saudi Arabia believes, especially after the recent Riyadh explosion, that supporting Yemen's capabilities in this respect would ease much its burden in the process of fighting terror, which has become among the top priorities on the Saudi agenda.