Will another effort from Yemen fall on deaf ears?Initiative to overhaul Arab situation [Archives:2003/664/Front Page]

September 1 2003

Sanaa, August 30 – After Yemeni diplomacy worked hard last week to get an Arab support for it, the Yemeni government announced Thursday its initiative to overhaul the Arab situation and develop an Arab joint work and solidarity. Letters presenting the initiative were delivered by Yemeni officials and ambassadors to Arab leaders. The initiative states that Arab Union should be established in place of the Arab League with a council to include in its membership heads-of-state to cope with the challenges facing these countries. It calls for respect of human rights principles, supporting democracy, refusing any assumption of power by force and at the same time respecting the autonomy of all Arab states. It highlights the necessity of sorting out disputes between Arab states through diplomacy and peaceful ways, observing all treaties and UN charters, keeping peace and stability and fighting against terrorism. The initiative also proposes that ministerial councils for foreign and social affairs, defense, security, economy, development as well as parliaments and Shura councils should be set up with an equal representation of all Arab states.
It also includes other goals like integration of Arab states under a single economic market, continuing of economic reforms and promoting development projects in these countries.
The initiative calls for the formation of pan-Arab economic council including Arab fiscal fund and Arab justice court. It also suggests that seven member states would take the responsibility of drafting a Constitution of the union and that the voting system of the union should not be based on a consensus manner only once a new member state is accepted to join the union, otherwise it can be based on the importance of the issue.
This initiative of Yemen has not been received well by Arab leaders and did not receive due media reporting as Yemen anticipated. In Yemen, people were not giving any care for it as they looked at it in a cynical manner. People in Yemen believe the government and political system should busy itself with getting solutions for the great economic challenges facing the country. ” They could not maintain the streets of the capital which sink whenever there is rain, so how can they propose to reform the situations of the fragmentary Arab states and leaders?,” a street walker observed sardonically.
Other political observers commented on the proposed initiative by saying that the political regime is facing many problems inside and this is why it is trying to escape, looking for a regional role. They believe Yemen should at this time focus on sorting out its own problems and then thinks of problems and disputes of Arab.