Cablegate: Ambassador Hull's Interview with Al-Ayyam
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 SANAA 000492
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SCUL PREL PGOV IZ YM
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR HULL'S INTERVIEW WITH AL-AYYAM
Translated text of Ambassador Hull's Arabic Interview with
Al-Ayyam. Other aspects of the Ambassador's March 9-10 visit
to Aden reported reftel.
"Q: We have learned that today you visited various places in
Aden which have received U.S. assistance. Could you please
tell us what kind of assistance was given?
A: Of course, my visit to Aden has two objectives, the first
one focuses on development and the other one focuses on
security. We started today to focus on development,
including the assistance for manufacturing school furniture
for schools all over the Republic of Yemen. We visited a
school furniture factory in Mualla, Aden. We highly
appreciate the efforts of all partners and the efforts of
Yemeni workers. I think the factory currently employs about
700 Yemeni workers. In addition to that, we visited the
branch of the Yemen Women,s Union that has now a computer
lab to provide training. No doubt, the Union provides great
service to Yemeni society and Yemeni women, especially the
new generation. Our efforts will continue in Yemen to assist
Yemeni governorates, including Aden.
Q: Does this assistance come within U.S. policy to support
Yemeni civil society institutions?
A: Yes, we have a partnership with the Yemeni government and
with civil society institutions.
Q: Let,s now move to the security side. The United States is
currently training Yemeni coast guards. It installed
observation systems in strategic locations in Aden city. How
is this security cooperation going, and what can we expect in
the near future?
A: We believe that there is a link between development and
security. There is no development without security and no
security without development. Therefore, I believe that our
efforts regarding the Yemeni Coast Guard are very important.
We, at present, are working with two objectives. The first
one is to train the new coast guard cadres and the second one
is to provide boats and necessary equipment for the Coast
Guard. We want to benefit from our visit (to Aden) to find
locations for the Coast Guard and also locations for
workshops that can serve the Coast Guard in the future.
Q: What is the number of the trainees who were sent to the
U.S.? Will you send more groups?
A: I think the first group of cadres was about 20 persons.
They are now studying English in Yemen. After they learn the
language, there will be training in the United States.
Q: How do you evaluate Yemen,s efforts in counter-terrorism?
A: I think Yemen is in the lead among states in
counter-terrorism. No doubt, this was achieved thanks to the
policy of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the cooperation of
the Yemeni people. We recently noticed a concrete and
important progress in that regard. I think Yemen now, from
the terrorism side, is much safer than it was in the past. I
believe that by continuing more efforts in the future, we
will see stability and security in this country.
Regarding the security of the southern part of the Red Sea,
there are many naval vessels that belong to the U.S.,
Germany, and Spain. They all set out from Djibouti. Is there
a trend for using Aden seaport as well?
A: I think it is possible to use Aden seaport if that is
acceptable by the Yemeni government. At present we use the
Port of Djibouti. No doubt that Aden seaport is excellent and
suitable for use, but it is up to the Yemeni government.
Q: Regarding Iraq, the U.S. Administration is now trying to
get a new resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council.
There is opposition from many countries in the Council. How
do you view the issue of the new resolution?
A: The new resolution is presented by the U.K. It is
supported by Spain and the U.S. We believe that it is useful
to be discussed by the Security Council. No one can predict
the result of that debate. However, it is good that such
issues will be discussed in full in the Security Council.
Q: Don,t you believe that the rejection of that resolution
or its failure by veto could form a threat to the legal cover
that resolution No. 1441 provides?
A: I do not think so. Resolution No. 1441 and the previous
ones state clearly commitments on the Iraqi government to get
rid of its weapons of mass destruction fully and immediately.
It is clear that the recent reports of al-Baradei and Blix
indicated that the Iraqi government did not comply. So, we
believe that we have sufficient legal cover to go to military
action without any other resolutions.
Q: As a Yemeni and an Arab, how can I trust U.S. allegations?
A: I think we should review the history. We faced a lot of
problems in the past. Afghanistan and the terrorism coming
from it were a problem of the international community. We had
a great challenge regarding the Muslims in Kosovo who were
being persecuted. If we go further into the past, to the
Second World War and the great suffering in Europe and Asia.
I think in all these cases, the U.S. played a leading role in
facing those challenges. In Europe, during the Second World
War, in the former Yugoslavia, in Kosovo and the suffering of
Muslims there. And finally, the suffering of the Afghans as a
result of the Taliban rule. If you review the situation today
in all those places, people in Germany, Kosovo, Japan, and in
Afghanistan are enjoying a much better life as a result of
the effective leadership of the United States. Therefore, we
should be judged by our record.
Q: Do you mean that the Iraqi people will be in a better
situation after the changing of the regime in Baghdad?
A: Yes. No doubt the Iraqi people are a talented and educated
people and Saddam,s government has caused lots of suffering
to the Iraqi people and to the peoples of the region. The
Iraqi people have been suffering for three decades from the
evil of Saddam Hussein,s regime. The evidence of that is
that many people from Arab states, Europe, and America can
see university professors, doctors, and the elite of the
Iraqi people who were forced by the Baghdad regime to leave
their homeland and work in those countries as barbers,
taxi-drivers, and restaurant workers. I am sure that the
citizens of this Arab state will bear responsibility for the
developmental reconstruction that will change Iraq within a
few years. Those people were prevented from living in
dignity. It is enough for us to recall our memory regarding
Saddam Hussein,s use of chemical weapons against his people
in Halabja and against his neighbors. That can make us
realize that Iraq and the region will be in a better
situation without that regime.
Q: Do you think that overthrowing the Iraqi president,s
regime and the establishment of a democratic state will lead
to the spread of democracy and freedom in the region?
A: I think that we have to know that Arab states and the Arab
people are now undergoing a number of democratic experiences.
If you think what is going on in Yemen regarding the upcoming
elections, political pluralism, free press, and the ability
of papers such as al-Ayyam to publish reports, I think we
have to admit that there is a democratic activity that exists
in this part of the world. I do not believe that this
democratic activity has arrived in Iraq. In the last
elections in Iraq, Saddam Hussein got 100% of the votes. What
I think is that the opportunity will be given to the Iraqi
citizens soon to create their own democracy. I am confident
that this talented and educated people will add a great
experience in that regard for the efforts of many
(states/nations) in the region.
Q: With regard to Yemen as a U.S. friend and ally, what does
the U.S. expects from Yemen in the coming conflict with the
A: We expect that Yemen will seek to achieve its national
interest. I think that this is up to the Yemeni government to
decide. I am certain that President Saleh and his government
will do that. As for us, we wish that our cooperation with
Yemen continue in the fields of development and security
because we believe that those fields serve the interests of
the U.S. and Yemeni people.
Q: Some people say that America will enter Iraq to control
A: With regret, the Iraqi people did not benefit from the oil
which was discovered in 1928. Iraq is the first Arab oil
state. Yet, Iraqi oil should not be for Moscow, Washington,
London, Paris, or any other state, but it is for the people
of Iraq. This has not yet happened, but it will happen soon.
Q: Many people accuse the U.S. of neglecting the Palestinians
and their suffering. What do you think?
A: I believe that the nations of the Middle East are still
worried about developments in Palestine. President Bush
reiterated his policy recently that the aim of our efforts is
to establish an independent and democratic Palestinian state
that lives peacefully side-by-side with Israel. We have a
road map, that leads us to that result. This map is not
the idea of the U.S. only, but it is also the idea of
Europeans, Russians, and the U.N. I believe that now we must
put this map in effect so that we reduce violence both on the
Israeli and Palestinian sides. We also must work towards
providing more security and a better life for the
Palestinians. President Bush said clearly that this is very
important to the U.S. government."