Snapshots from President Interview with Al-Jazeera Space Channel [Archives:2000/43/Reportage]

October 23 2000

President Ali Abdullah Saleh called for closing down the Arab League if it does not come out with resolutions, not merely statements, serving the Arab interests. Interviewed by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera Satellite television Wednesday night, president Saleh said There must be historic decisions this time, not mere statements as usual.
The Yemeni president reiterated his controversial call following the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada three weeks ago in which he demanded supplying the Palestinian people with money and weapons and that he was ready to send armed Yemenis to defend Islamic sanctities being desecrated by the Zionist enemy. In this regard he highly welcomed and praised the initiative of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and Prince Abdullah for donating money to the Palestinians, criticizing president Al-Qadhafi of Libya that he (Al-Qadhafi) was supposed to do the same instead of delivering empty words.
Following similar statements to the same space channel a number of Arab newspapers pictured president Saleh in caricatures to distort his calls to face Israel. In his reaction President Saleh seemed not to feel offended but rather to welcome such behaviors saying that he shall be proud to be pictured as an enemy to Israel. He further deplored the deployment of Arab armies which had been proven useless, acknowledging that Arab armies, including Yemens, were no more than tools used in parades on national occasions and to suppress people.
Revealing the latest developments related to the explosion in the USS destroyer Cole, President Saleh abandoned his previous affirmation about the cause of the explosion describing the incident as an organized terrorist act. The great explosion power and the high-tech capability of the destroyer to face attacks made us think that the explosion resulted from a technical fault inside he said. He disclosed that the operation was carried out by two people who came from Hadhramaut according to their IDs although other documents showed that they came from Lahj. He added that the boat used in the operation was made in Hodeidah while the engine was from Aden.
He raised the possibility of Israeli involvement in the operation pointing out that such explosive powder was in possession of only America and Israel plus two Islamic and Arab countries.
Refuting reports about American occupation of Aden he said that American presence in Aden was officially allowed by him and that Americans had apologized for early statements on lack of stability and security in Yemen. Yemen is not Panama or Nairobi to be occupied by America. Yemenis have struggled a lot against colonizers, he said, adding that all moves of Americans in Aden took place after permissions from Yemen navy and that interrogations with Yemen nationals were forbidden unless there was a directive from him.
A press conference is expected to be held soon in case new information and results appeared.

The person who was carrying out fuel supply to the warship has said he had seen a fibre-glass boat was approaching the destroyer. President Saleh added that the car, carrying the boat, belonged to a Yemeni national. The car was bought from a Somali lady who until now could not be traced.
On the other hand, President Saleh revealed that the explosion in the British Embassy was carried out by a Yemeni national who belonged to Al-Jihad group. He added that the culprit had been arrested and was under interrogation.