WFP goodwill ambassador leaves Yemen [Archives:2007/1023/Local News]

February 8 2007

SANA'A, Feb. 11 ) Egyptian Actor and the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the World Food Program Mohamoud Yassin has concluded a one-week visit to Yemen during which he toured various parts of the country and met with several officials, United Nations staff and civil society representatives.

Mahmoud Yassin praised the Yemeni people describing them as people of culture and heritage while embracing the development and modernity of the times, adding that he was impressed by the democratic values and the advocacy of women.

In a press conference held Thursday in Sana'a, the goodwill ambassador expressed his personal hostility against Israel stating that he would “spit” on anyone who asks him to visit Israel, adding that the popular sentiment in Egypt is against the normalization of relations with Israel.

The goodwill ambassador also praised the national positions of the Yemeni people and government with regards to the issue of relations with Israel.

He indicated that this visit was focused on promoting the role of women in society and the importance of educating girls. He also expressed his happiness at the big turnout of girl's education in Yemen.

The goodwill ambassador's mission with the World Food Program is to combat hunger through raising awareness on the issue.

Yassin indicated that the problem of world hunger isn't a political issue but a humanitarian affair, calling on the people of the world to work together to fight hunger in cooperation with the World Food Program.

Yemen is a low income, food deficit and least developed country, with over 40 percent of its 20 million inhabitants living with less than $2 per day. Child malnutrition rates are amongst the highest in the world, with wasting at 12.5 percent and stunting at 53.1 percent for children under 5.

Infant and five mortality rates are estimated at 82 and 133 per 1,000 live births, respectively. Maternal mortality is also high and estimated at 350 per 100,000 per births.