Unity celebration focuses on development projects [Archives:2008/1157/Front Page]

May 22 2008

By: Nadia Al-Sakkaf
SANA'A, May 21 ) Yemeni Unity acquires its significance from civic developments and service projects, said President Ali Abdullah Saleh on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the Yemeni Unity.

Yemeni Unity Day has been officially celebrated in a different governorate since 2005, when it was celebrated in Mukalla- Hadramout. In 2006, Yemeni Unity Day was celebrated in Hodeidah and in 2007 in the governorate of Ibb. This year, the official celebration was scheduled to take place in Taiz governorate. However, due to budget constraints as reported by officials, this grand celebration has been postponed until the 20th anniversary of Yemeni Unity in 2010.

Previous celebrations were accompanied with inauguration of many programs and construction projects. Some of these projects proved to be disastrous as they collapsed within less than a year of construction, such as city entry points in Ibb and road projects in Hodeidah.

This year's celebration was accompanied by the graduation of new military and security recruits, which the president himself attended along with many other officials amidst tight security. The president gave a pep talk to the new graduates reminding them of their duty towards their country and their role in establishing safety and order in the country. The president said that this was especially important since the Yemeni cabinet recent approval of Yemen's membership in the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Simultaneously, there have been more than 515 projects launched for the occasion of Yemeni Unity in Sana'a governorate that cost more than YR 21 billion. The development projects are in the service, health, education, sports, communication, construction, power, electricity and agriculture sectors.

Despite the fact that Yemen is still witnessing some turbulence in southern and northern governorates, intense security measures have been taken throughout the celebration week in order to ensure that no violence or demonstrations take place. Even the regular protests in Sana'a every Tuesday at the so-called “Freedom Square” near the cabinet have not taken place this week.

During his speech last night at the presidential palace, the president emphasized Yemen's role in establishing regional stability, especially focusing on his personal attempt to diffuse the situation in Palestine between various Palestinian groups and his role in mediations in the Horn of Africa.

The president called on all Yemenis inside and outside the country to defend Yemeni Unity and not to give heed to the destructive acts of rebels and secessionists. “The Unity will prevail” because it is what the people want, said the president.

There has also been progress in Yemen's negotiations to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Two days ago, at the end of the 10th meeting of the GCC in the Saudi city of Dammam, its leaders ordered the council's Secretariat-General to conduct an integrated study on Yemen's integration into the bloc.

“Cooperation between Yemen and the Gulf states has been improving to push Yemen's accession into the Gulf Cooperation Council through supporting development programs in the country,” said Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah, the GCC Secretary General. “And the integrated study will include the timetable for the accession and some initiatives for Yemen to improve its ties with some Gulf countries.”