The Chairman of the Algerian National Council Talks to Yemen Times: “I have witnessed a multi-dimensional renaissance and a determination to lead Yemen towards development based upon human abilities” [Archives:1999/47/Interview]

November 22 1999

Algeria and Yemen enjoy a special relationship that has grown stronger over the years. As two Arab nations, they have many things in common; their culture, religion and pride of being Arabs. Mr. Bashir Abu Mi’ze, the Chairman of the Algerian National Council, visited Yemen several days ago in an attempt to further strengthen this relationship. Mr. Bashir is a well-known personality for his noble role in the Algerian revolution and for his call for Arab unity. Jamal Al-Awadhi of Yemen Times met Mr. Mi’ze and filed the following interview:
Q: You are one of the fighters of the Algerian revolution and one of the greatest advocates of Arab unity. Will you please tell us something about yourself and your visit to Yemen?
A: It is very difficult for one to talk about one’s self. However, I joined the National Movement when I was 16, and my struggle spans more than 26 years. I have spent some of these years in prisons and others as a politician. I have written a number of studies and essays concerning Arab world issues.
As for my visit to Yemen, it was actually in response to a kind invitation by Mr. Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, chairman of the Consultative Council. I was honored during this visit by meeting President Ali Abdullah Saleh during which I handed him a letter from President Abdul Aziz Bu Tafliqa and discussed bilateral relations, as well as the current situation in the Arab world. In fact it has been a very busy visit.
The delegation accompanying me met Mr. Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani and other consultative members and discussed issues of mutual concern and the means to promote cooperation between our two councils. A joint statement was issued at the end of the meeting in which the two delegations focused on parliamentarian cooperation as well as Arab solidarity. In addition, we have been in touch with Prime Minister Dr. Abdul Karim Al-Iryani, speaker of the Parliament Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ahmar and some members of parliament.
All of these meetings and contacts aimed at promoting and intensifying ways of cooperation in various domains under the leadership of the two countries.
Q: You visited Sana’a immediately after the revolution. Can Sana’a today be compared to the Sana’a you saw then?
A: The Sana’a of today cannot be compared to Sana’a right after the revolution. Yemen today imposes herself on maps of the region. She is backed by the great achievements of the revolutions and by the unity which is the greatest of all accomplishments. So, there is a great difference between Yemen, under the Imam’s regime in the north and the British occupation in the south, and the unified Yemen of today which enjoys stability under the leadership of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The accompanying delegation and I have witnessed a multi-dimensional renaissance and a determination to lead Yemen towards development based upon human abilities. I have also felt the president’s strong will to overcome all economic difficulties and his confidence in a bright tomorrow. We, in Algeria, follow up the steps done by this sisterly country towards achieving self-reliance.
Q: Yemen is one of the countries calling for Arab unity. This was demonstrated by the Yemen unity. How do you see the future of Arab unity?
A: Yes, Yemen is one of the Arab countries that works for achieving Arab unity. This is obvious through the approach followed by both Presidents; Ali Abdullah Saleh and Abdul Aziz Bu Tafliqa. The two presidents met recently in Algeria and they are frequently in touch in order to reinforce the movement towards an Arab reconciliation.
Regarding the future of Arab unity, it has no existence in the literature of idealistic language. We must establish a new mode of unity that is based upon harmony rather than merger. We also need to reinforce our nationalism by opening all fields for cooperation and integration.
Q: Yemen and Algeria’s relationship is very solid. In what ways has your visit contributed to cementing this relationship?
A: The visit has given impetus to the relationship between our two countries through what I have mentioned before. It has also opened wider horizons for cooperation that will utilize the capabilities of both countries for their citizens’ interests.
Q: Yemenis are concerned about the current situation in Algeria and the terrorists’ attempts to create confusion and disorder. How do you evaluate the security situation in your country?
A: Algeria is working hard to achieve security and stability. There has been a positive response from politicians and the people to the Civilian Reconciliation Law. We have noticed a sharp fall in the crime rate since passing this law. Crime is only committed by highwaymen and terrorists. The state is strong now, and it has announced an open toleration for those who were misled and have gone astray. Algeria is restoring its position. It is faced by two challenges, the first is internal and the other is external. The internal challenge lies in sustaining security and stability and the external challenge lies in restoring its role in the region, as well as the world.
Q: What are the outcomes of your visit? How do you assess the relationship between the two countries?
A: The outcomes of the visit have been positive and fruitful. This, in fact, reflects the desire of the two sisterly countries to extend horizons of cooperation between them and make their relationship an example to be followed.
Regarding the second part of your question, it is simply good. However, joint efforts need to be exerted in order to maintain our interests and to achieve a real Arab reconciliation.
Q: Any last word?
A: I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to express the feelings of love and brotherhood I hold for Yemeni people. At the same time I would like to thank President Ali Abdullah Saleh who gave me and the accompanying delegation the opportunity to meet and talk with him about situations in the two countries, as well as in the Arab world. I also offer my thanks to Mr. Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani for his hospitality during my visit, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ahmar, Dr. Al-Iryani and all Yemeni people.