“Yemeni-French relations are [Archives:1997/41/Law & Diplomacy]

October 13 1997

‘momayaza’ – meaning distinguished, exemplary.”
The new French Ambassador to Sana’a, Mr. André Janier, is a career diplomat since 1972. He is an Arabist who speaks the language beautifully. Mr. Janier’s first post was vice-consul in Abu Dhabi, one year after its independence. He was chargé d’ affair for a long time in Iraq. He left Baghdad the 15th of January, just a few hours before outbreak of the Gulf war. He then served as Ambassador to Qatar and Chad. His other diplomatic posts include Saudi Arabia, Beirut, and Tunisia. This is what he told Yemen Times.

Q: What is the one thing that drew your attention in Yemen? A: I am surprised by the number of Yemenis who can speak French. I did not imagine that there is this number of Francophones in Yemen. Not one day passes by without meeting someone who speaks French in Aden, Taiz, and Sana’a – both young and old.
Q: How do you evaluate political relations between Yemen and France? A: The relations are excellent. The Yemeni President stated in my presence that our relations are “momayaza”, meaning distinguished, exemplary. I met President Chirac at the end of August to talk about Yemen and he said that relations are excellent. The Yemeni-French relations have remarkably improved during the last few years. There are two factors that account for this: First, during the Yemeni civil war of 1994, France intervened in the Security Council to support the Yemeni unity. France intervened as a permanent member to amend the Security Council resolutions during its preparation. The aim was to consolidate the Yemeni unity. The other event is the conflict over Hunaish. France took the initiative by intervening in the UN to bring the Yemeni and Eritrean viewpoints closer together. France’s aim was to prevent the dispute from turning into a war. France intervened with the UN secretary-general who named a French diplomat to mediate. The French navy was given the task by the UN secretary-general to control and monitor the military situation in the area. French ships and airplanes conduct daily surveillance missions in the Hunaish zone. Satellite surveillance is also carried out. Reports are regularly submitted to the UN secretary-general. These daily missions cost a lot, but we do it because we are convinced that our efforts are correctly directed to control the situation while waiting for the result of international arbitration.
Q: How do you view President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s upcoming visit to France? A: It will be a business trip during the last week of October. The two sides are now preparing the details of the visit. As you know, the Yemeni and French Presidents met in 1995, and in 1996, and now again in 1997. So, there is political consultation at the highest level on this region’s affairs. The second issue to be held is the opening of the Yemeni exhibition at the Arab World Institute. There will also be an economic side to the visit. Delegates will meet representatives of the business and financial community in France. ý
Q: Any last comments? A: I have known Yemen since 1973, when my wife and I stayed here for 15 days as tourists. Coming back after 25 years, I am surprised how much this country has developed.