Cablegate: Ambassador's Trip to Aden and Taiz

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

1. Summary. Ambassador visited the port city of Aden and the
city of Taiz October 11-13. Aden and Taiz, the two former
capitals of North and South Yemen respectively, are the two
largest and most commercially vibrant of Yemeni cities
outside the capital Sanaa. NGOs, social activism, commercial
expertise, and governmental innovation are a hallmark of the
two cities. Ambassador met with Aden Governor Yahya
Al-Shu'aibi, Taiz Governor Ahmed Abdullah Al-Hajjari,
business people, academics, military officials, community
leaders, and women's NGOs to share his goals for his tenure
in Yemen and to hear their concerns and ideas. End Summary.

Taiz Water Projects

2. Taiz suffers from a lack of attention from the ROYG.
International donors have stepped up to provide much of the
needed municipal services. The World Bank has devoted a
large part of its 100 million USD water infrastructure
development budget to projects in Taiz. Taiz Governor Ahmed
Abdullah Al-Hajjari, prominent businessman and local sheikh
Ali Mohamed Saeed, and the Executive Director of the Water
Authority Adel Magaref raised Taiz's dire water needs with
Ambassador, explaining that while underground fresh water
reserves in Sanaa can be reached with 300 meter drilling,
authorities in Taiz must drill over 1,000 meters to reach the
hot, salty, brackish water under the city. This water must
be mixed with clean water which is brought from outlying
areas, however, the resulting water still does not meet clean
drinking water standards. The city of Taiz requested
international donor support to improve drinking water in
Taiz. Taiz authorities believe building a desalination plant
in the ocean side city of Mokha over 100 kilometers over the
mountains from Taiz, and building a pipeline to bring in the
water, is the only long-term solution.

--------------------------------------------- --
MEPI e-Learning Internet Classrooms Inaugurated
--------------------------------------------- --

3. In Aden Ambassador inaugurated five Internet-ready
computer classrooms that will provide Internet access and
other education tools to over 4,000 students in five Aden
schools. This MEPI-funded program focuses on providing the
information exchange and research tools necessary for
building democratic society.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
Aden Governor Shu'aibi: Economic and Trade Development
--------------------------------------------- ---------

4. Ambassador met with Aden Governor Shu'aibi, widely
considered one of the most effective and least corrupt ROYG
administrators. Since entering office two years ago,
Shu'aibi has improved decaying port and container facilities,
repaired pot-holed and crumbling city streets, brought more
consistent electricity services to the city grid, improved
school buildings and equipment, and significantly decreased
graft and corruption in the municipality.

5. Ambassador and Shu'aibi discussed prospects for
commercial development through the Aden Free Zone (AFZ) and
the Aden Container Terminal (ACT) in the Port of Aden. Both
projects have stalled in recent years but show promise of
reviving. The Governor praised the U.S. program to develop
the Yemeni Coast Guard (YCG), saying that without the
presence of coastal security the port would be a commercial

Yemen Coast Guard

6. Colonel Saleh Makullah, General Director of the Yemen
Coast Guard (YCG), thanked Ambassador for US Coast Guard
(USCG) assistance in establishing the Yemeni Coast Guard.
After the Limburg attack, very few containers entered the
Aden Port, however, said Makullah, since the YCG came into
existence a year ago, the Port of Aden has enjoyed 280,000
TEUs through its terminals. Without the presence of coastal
security, the Port of Aden could not have improved its
security presence, enjoyed the lowering of commercial
shipping insurance rates, and seen the return of some
commercial shipping traffic.

7. In a major move, in recent weeks two Coast Guard ships
moved to the Hodeidah port area to start patrolling on the
Red Sea coastline significantly enhancing maritime security
in the area.

Ambassador's Meeting with Women Activists

8. Ambassador met with Women's Rights activists in Aden to
discuss their work in journalism, child labor, female
workers' rights, and democracy building. Organizations
represented at the meeting included the Yemen Women's Union,
the Salvation Center for Women Care, Arab Foundation for the
Support of Women and Juvenile Issues, Center of Human Rights
and Democracy for Women, Association for Fighting Child
Labor, and the Supreme Council for Maternity and Childhood.

9. Activist Radia Shamshir shared her experience running as
an independent candidate in the 2003 parliamentary elections
after being passed over as a candidate for her party, the
Yemen Socialist Party (YSP). Ambassador noted that despite
the many viable candidates, only one woman was elected to
Parliament in the last elections. The women described plans
for addressing this problem by instituting a quota system,
but complained that the ruling General People's Congress
(GPC) party pays lip-service to the issue of women's
participation in Yemeni political life.

Haifan Village: What a Little Water Can Do

10. Ambassador visited the Haifan Village Water Catchments
Project in Haifan Village near Taiz. Ahmed Al-Barakani, the
Assistant Manager of the Public Works Project Taiz Branch
Office, who helped execute the construction, conducted the
tour. The project, funded by 416-B funds, collects water
from the rocky hillside and distributes it to irrigation
points and water pump sites throughout the village. This
project has dramatically raised the standard of living in
this 300-inhabitant village by improving productivity so much
so that agricultural products, such as sorghum, have replaced
qat cultivation as the primary crop. (Note: this success
story is an example of what will be lost without 416-B food
aid programs in Yemen. The major impact will be on poor
rural villages where even a small donation of $80,000 can
bring significant and dramatic improvements to food security,
access to water, and prosperity. End Note).

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