Kingdom, Yemen Sign Historic Deals

RIYADH, 13 December 2004 — In a historic move for two Arab neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Yemen signed a series of accords here yesterday to strengthen political and economic cooperation, while renewing the pledge to combat terrorism.

They also inked two other deals under which Riyadh will extend a loan facility of SR75 million to Yemen’s Social Fund for Development and SR50 million as grant for developing Aden Hospital, a premier health facility in that country.

A total of 11 bilateral agreements were signed on the sidelines of a meeting of the Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council, which called for bolstering political, economic and investment cooperation besides joint efforts to combat terrorism.

The meeting of the council was co-chaired by Prince Sultan, second deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation; and Yemeni Prime Minister Abdul Qader Bajammal. The agreements were signed by the respective Saudi and Yemeni ministers.

The meeting was followed by a royal reception hosted by Crown Prince Abdullah in honor of Premier Bajammal. “Crown Prince Abdullah and Bajammal also held wide-ranging talks, which focused on the whole range of regional and international issues,” said diplomatic sources here last night.

The sources said that the reception was attended by Prince Sultan, Ahmed Mohammed Sofan, Yemen’s deputy prime minister; Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Abdullah and Prince Dr. Bandar ibn Salman ibn Mohammed Al-Saud, advisers at the crown prince’s court.

Prince Sultan, who led the Saudi side at the meeting, highlighted the strong and historic ties between the two Arab countries. “Our nations have proved that their special ties will always lead them to agreement on all matters, realizing the interests of both states,” the prince said.

The council meeting saw the signing of an MOU for waste processing, a bilateral agreement for transportation of goods by land and sea, a customs cooperation agreement and agreements in the fields of Islamic affairs, oil and mineral resources, cultural cooperation, sports and youth welfare, postal service and agricultural cooperation.

Prime Minister Bajammal, who led the Yemeni side, underscored the significance of the council’s meeting in promoting Saudi-Yemeni ties. “The meeting offers a good opportunity to strengthen cooperation in all areas,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted Bajammal as telling the meeting.

Saudi Arabia and Yemen signed a historic border treaty on June 12, 2000, ending a six-decades-long dispute and opening a new chapter in relations.

At that time, the two countries signed a contract worth $986 million with German firm Hansa Luftbild to stake out their common border in detail.

Bajammal, who came at the head of a high-level delegation, extended greetings from President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Crown Prince Abdullah. The Yemeni premier spoke on the vast investment opportunities in his country and his government’s plan to carry out infrastructure projects especially in the areas of health, water, electricity and education.

Bajammal said at the closing session of the two-day meeting that the viewpoints of the two countries “were identical and in line with the resolve of the two peoples.”

The diplomats from Riyadh and Sanaa have evinced keen interest to boost commercial relations. Moreover, there are investment opportunities especially in oil and gas sectors and downstream industries as well as in tourism, telecommunications, energy, transportation, agriculture and fisheries in Yemen, said the diplomats.

On the bilateral front, the two countries have forged closer relations. The Kingdom recently made available over SR28 million for a technical institute in Sanaa. The project is part of a financial aid package of SR188 million from Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) to set up 19 technical institutes in several of Yemen’s provinces.

Another project named after Prince Sultan, which will be adjacent to the Military Hospital in the Yemeni capital has been funded by Prince Sultan himself. The total cost of the seven-story Prince Sultan Center is SR17 million.

Add Comment