Yemen’s natural place in the GCC [Archives:2002/44/Viewpoint]

October 28 2002

During my most recent visit to Kuwait last week, I came to a conclusion about how the government and people of Kuwait feel about the status of Yemen the Gulf Coordination Council (GCC). Kuwaitis believe that Yemen’s natural place is in the GCC for many reasons, including Yemen’s geographical location and population. If Yemen joins the GCC, virtually the whole Arabian Peninsula would be united, sharing common social, economical, and political goals.
There would be mutual benefit for all countries in the region if Yemen joins the GCC. On the other hand, there could be dangerous consequences if it is isolated. If we look carefully at the situation in Yemen, and analyze its historical links to the Gulf, we see a significant portion of the Yemeni population depended for many years on businesses and expatriates in the Gulf. There was hardly a Kuwaiti I met who did not know a Yemeni living in the city.
This harmony continued normally and served all parties well until the Gulf crisis in 1990.
Aid coming from Gulf countries, especially Kuwait, was vital for many of our country’s developmental projects. None of the Gulf countries saw this aid as too much. As a matter of fact, some say more could have been given because they knew that Yemen needed this assistance to raise its standard of living.
The Yemeni market continues to be one of the greatest markets for Gulf products, especially those produced in Saudi Arabia. The significant growth in population in Yemen and its geographical location also makes it of tremendous value to Gulf countries. It secures a cheap and efficient labor force.
It’s also important to note that Gulf citizens believe Yemenis are among the most honest and hard working laborers they know.
So we can only conclude that Yemen’s place is among its neighbors, to share their worries and happy moments, to accompany them through the tough times, and good times, and to build a future together.
This is an era of alliances and unions. Unless we form a union with our own Gulf neighbors, we will not be able to compete regionally or international in any arena. This is why I feel that the GCC needs Yemen and Yemen needs the GCC.
During my meeting with the parliamentary speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly, I saw he is quite optimistic that the future holds good potential for excellent cooperation between Yemen and all Gulf members. I am optimistic too. All we need to do now is to join hands and work toward a brighter GCC that includes Yemen as a growing and developing member.