Yemen, Pakistan enhance cooperation [Archives:2006/937/Front Page]

April 13 2006

Mohamed Bin Sallam
SANA'A, April 12 ) President Saleh returned home Wednesday afternoon following a three-day visit to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, during which he and his Pakistani counterpart, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, agreed to cooperate in areas of intelligence and information exchange.

Saleh and Musharraf exchanged views on a range of issues of mutual interest, including the War on Terror, bilateral trade and economic ties between Pakistan and Yemen, in addition to regional and international issues. Musharraf welcomed Saleh, saying Pakistan attaches much importance to its ties with the brotherly country of Yemen and Saleh's visit will help boost those relations further.

Both leaders agreed to enhance cooperation in various areas of activity including defense, trade, economy, culture, education, science and technology, agriculture, security and the war against terrorism. They insisted on an obvious definition of terrorism and recognized the right of nations to resist occupation in compliance with United Nations conventions.

The two leaders called on the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to play an active role in settling disputes between Muslim nations and implement resolutions approved by the Mecca Summit and the ministers' meeting in Sana'a. They underscored the need to further strengthen the OIC to resolve problems facing the Muslim ummah (worldwide community).

Both leaders strongly condemned publication of sacrilegious sketches, laying more emphasis on developing dialogue between religions and civilizations. Musharraf noted that it is essential to remove misconceptions between Islam and the West; therefore, implementing a vision of enlightened moderation is inevitable to achieve this objective.

He underscored that Pakistan is fighting against terrorism on the basis of principles, stressing that it is cooperating with all world nations in this regard, including the Muslim world, as it is a global issue. Saleh lauded Pakistan's role in the war against terrorism.

He also expressed grief and sorrow over devastation caused by the disastrous Oct. 8 earthquake.

Saleh also appreciated Pakistan's economic development, noting that Yemen is keen to consolidate bilateral relations with Pakistan in all fields. In Monday's meeting, both parties inked a memorandum of understanding and protocols on media, sports, quality control, youth affairs and trade. Saleh said both countries' foreign ministries will finalize details to ensure implementing affairs agreed between the two sides.

He described his meeting with Musharraf as fruitful, saying both countries endorsed common stances on issues involving Iran, Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. He added that both sides' foreign offices will elaborate further on criteria to implement endorsed agreements.

Addressing a joint press conference, Musharraf said, “We agreed to strengthen political and diplomatic ties between our two countries by extending cooperation in trade, defense and private sector investment.” He added that Pakistan will meet all Yemeni police and Security Forces demands to broaden the area of cooperation between two nations.

Prior to touring Pakistan, Saleh paid a six-day visit to China, during which he and his Chinese counterpart signed numerous agreements whereby China allocated $1.35 billion to fund projects in Yemen. According to official sources, part of the sum is offered as assistance, while the rest represents loans to finance development projects in electricity, roads and technical institutes.

Saleh said the financial assistance offered by China will be devoted to the development process, denying media reports that the assistance will go to the army. He confirmed that they never inked an agreement on military affairs.

“We do not need to buy military equipment, as we have enough arms, and our move is toward development,” Saleh added.