Cablegate: Mepi Fy 2004 Funding Recommendations

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

B. SANAA 710

1. (u) Post welcomes the MEPI FY 04 funding recommendations
(ref a) and appreciates the opportunity to comment. Post is
pleased to see the continuation of a number of successful
programs, including MEET the U.S., WTO accession training,
and political parties strengthening. Reftel a requests
comments on timing. Post is willing to begin MEPI programs
when funding becomes available. Post offers the following
pillar-based comments and recommendations:


2. (u) Trade Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) assistance
will expand on the already successful WTO accession workshops
that several Yemeni officials attended. Post would
appreciate additional guidance on the structure of available
TIFA assistance. While Yemen's financial market is still in
the planning stage, Post believes technical advice through
the Partnership for Financial Excellence (PFE) might assist
Yemen as it prepares its legal and regulatory framework
necessary to build a stronger banking sector, financial
institutions and, eventually, a stock market.


3. (u) Post enthusiastically supports the overall political
pillar programming outlined in reftel and has a few specific
comments. Regarding election assistance, Post would like to
note IFES' 10-year history in Yemen and existing strategy for
election support. Therefore, Post hopes that the development
of a regional strategy does not unduly delay ongoing IFES
programming in Yemen. Regarding parliamentary strengthening,
as discussed between Ambassador and A/DAS Romanowski in
February, Post proposed to NEA/PI to further divide the $2
million FY03 allocation to support representative
institutions more generally by also including local councils.

4. (u) Yemen's inclusion into the program for higher judicial
councils and continuing education for judges will be an
important step forward for judicial reform in Yemen. At the
same time, Post has identified commercial law reform as one
its priorities (ref c) and requests inclusion in the CLDP
program. As Post's earlier request noted: Foreign investors
are discouraged from investing in Yemen because the
commercial legal system is ill-equipped to adjudicate
disputes. Judges are often unfamiliar with commercial law,
and since unification, conflicting laws remain on the books.
Courts are burdened with large caseloads and, often, a case
may take years to be heard and then stagnates in the
appellate process. If a commercial ruling is won, it is
rarely enforced. Without a clear land-titling system,
limited ability to collateralize against property, and
courts' reluctance to enforce default judgments against
property collateral, domestic investors are also reluctant to
invest their money into new businesses.


5. (u) The Ministry of Education is implementing a program of
education reform entitled "The National Strategy for
Development of Basic Education in Yemen for 2003-2015." The
goals are to increase enrollment, increase equality of access
and opportunities for girls, train teachers and school
administrators, decentralize the education system and
increase community participation. Post will prepare funding
proposals under the MEPI Education Pillar Education Activity.

6. (u) As the ROYG seeks to implement broad governmental
reform, consensus within the ROYG and donor community is that
the lack of public administration skills in Yemen constrains
reform. Civil service employees who are not effectively
trained hinder the ability of the ROYG to achieve national
level reform and achieve decentralization goals. Under the
MEPI Education Pillar/education reform and university
linkages activities, Post intends to submit a proposal to
establish a Center for Public Administration through a
partnership with Yemeni University, a U.S. school of public
administration and a respected Middle East university. The
program will be structured to provide in-service training for
Yemeni public officials who will remain on the job as they
pursue a certificate in Public Administration.


7. (u) As noted in ref b, MEPI programs assisting women find
excellent results in Yemen and Post hopes to continue
increasing programming in this pillar. While most of Post's
women's pillar programs will fall under other pillars
(political, for example), the ABA CEELI program will find
enthusiastic interlocutors in Yemen, where women have served
as lawyers and judges for decades but still face challenges.
Post also hopes that Yemen might be included in the Freedom
House survey.


8. (u) Comment: Yemen is fertile ground for MEPI programs
(ref b). Our MEPI alumni universally praise the training
that they attend. Post looks forward to future programs that
encourage the Yemenis to further their reform goals. End

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