[ President Ali Nasser Mohammed ]
A dialogue with a veteran political character such as the president Ali Nasser Mohammed is to be with history and politics, with homeland in all its stations, geographic, incidents and characters.
The man is among the characters who lived the past and present incidents, being a witness on several stations, pursuing a distinguished way. His giving was limited not on his achievements during governmental work, but he transferred his experience to the new generation through own books and diaries, his contribution in serving culture and history through his position, his lifetime that was distinguished with equilibrium and prudent.
One would be puzzled from where he should start with him, what are the questions that one could ask, wither on the past in its huge tricky details, or about the present in its successive and overlapping incidents. Wither one should talk over with him as an ex-president, as the careful follower to the details of the Yemeni and area scene, or as the author and historian that leading one of the important ancient Arabian researches centres.
In this dialogue, Ali Nasser is going to surprise you by his throughout knowledge regarding the condition in Yemen, his understanding for right and wrong points, usual frankly and diplomatic talking, the presence of Yemen in his thoughts, and his elevation on nonsense controversy.
We’ve asked him many questions and themes regarding the current situation, the exciting parties at the local and international scene, the UN and external roll, and the south and north. He almost answered all the questions in an exclusive dialogue that Almawqea Post publishes among dialogue series hosted several influential and active Yemeni characters.
To the Dialogue:
The Presidential Council
*Your Excellency President, you have followed the formation of the Leadership Presidential Council at Yemen, how do you look at such a step, and is it going to contribute in getting the country out of the current position?
**After eight years of destroying war with no hope to solution that we’ve warned of its danger that we refuse, and of its repercussions on Yemen and the area. From the first time, it was necessary to search on a solution for the trouble that all reach to. Inside the big war, many small ones emerge as well as many leaders and militia possessing the earth and weapons, along with an international recognised government lives outside while the earth leaks among its hands, losing the country.
All the ways were blocked in front of the coalition and backed government, and there should be a solution. The contract and link owners found that the solution lies in transitional arrangements that open horizons to stopping the war and peace. We’ve noticed the approval of the entities on the two months truce and we hope this important step contributes in opening the dialogue door, stopping the war, getting Yemen out of such a position, and we’ve welcomed this step.
*On the basis of your political work experience, your understanding to the nature of situation in Yemen, what’s the advice you can offer to the new presidential council?
**I don’t want to be in a position of giving advices to the council, but if I was in their place, I would put a transitional arrangements that seek a new constitution at its end, leading to a parliamentary and presidential elections.
*From where can the presidential council start? What are the priority files that should top its interest?
**I think that the priority lies in reinforcing the continuation of the truce, starting a dialogue with all influential powers in the scene to stop the war, restore the country, achieving stability, resolving the people’s cases and problems such as food, water, electricity, services, real safety, all these priorities match the country and people rights and identity.
People got tired from war, its destroying affects on their living, the lack of services, and they wait much from the council, wishing that it can achieve the change in their lives along with the whole scene, transferring it from the war state into peace and stability. That’s never easy, but it’s not impossible too, as there is a will.
*What are the success opportunities and the failure factors that you see on the road of the council?
**It’s not hide for followers of the Yemeni situation, its complications with several heavy loads, national, political, economic, social, psychological and intellectual, even its existence fate, and all these loads are not easy while there are many national and external powers that have interests, and all that made success opportunities and failure reasons even harder.
Abyan and The President Hadi
*How did you see the way of the Hadi’s Offset for his Position as the Republic President after all that He Gave, Exposed to?
**I didn’t preferred for the president Hadi such an end, nor any of the Yemenis did so, but i think that Hadi’s period ended the day he escaped Sana’a to Eden, withdrew from his resignation, getting out of the country. Such presidency lost its legitimacy the time he preferred to live outside all these years. Nobody can rule the Yemeni people from outside, while he was able to do something to end the war, safe his country and people, but he didn’t, and it was necessary for others to do the same in such a way.
*What about Abyan after Hadi’s offset from power while there are sounds indicate deliberate exclusion to the government through reducing its attendance at the state?
**I don’t know from where the impression that Hadi was representing Abyan came from. Hadi was a president for all Yemen, despite the place he came from. He came by an election with no competition that was boycotted by South, and his traditional period reached to an end before got expanded. I don’t prefers such criteria in classifying presidents. Simply, for a president, whatever, anywhere, to belong to the country.
*But you’ve sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General warning of the danger of exclusion and marginalisation, called for involving all governments in decision and institutions, what are the reasons behind that letter? and which on stand behind the current marginalisation for Abyan, what’s your opinion about what Abyan suffers today?
**Frankly speaking, the homeland is bigger than such branches and divisions. We are today in front of a real danger that threatens Yemen’s fate, its unity and land safety. We are out to face such a danger, find solutions for the crisis complications which are much, and that shall not be reduced on a leaving president or a coming council. The constitution, election, and people equal rights all would finally trace the last scene of Yemen with no exclusion to anyone.
The Yemeni Unity
*On the occasion of the Yemeni Unity that its thirty-two anniversary nowadays, what’s your impressions on the unity, especially that you had a big roll in the two Yemeni parts’ agreements? where it’s right and where wrong? why arguments around it emerge again after decades?
**First of all, i congratulate my Yemeni people on the thirty-two anniversary of the unity that was achieved on May 22nd 1990, and it’s regrettable that this incident passes by a hard trouble and all Yemen in a critical condition.
This is a fact that we should admit with. There is a real crisis, but the unity as a noble goal that achieved by the Yemeni people and the national parties through sacrifice, is not the responsible for the wrongdoings that happened.
Either intentionally or unconsciously, some threw the load of mistakes and drawbacks on the Unity, and that should be thrown on the leaders that signed the agreement. The unity was an escape for the two, north and south parties, from troubles they suffer, so that they escaped toward the unknown without putting a base for maintaining and saving the unity. When the two got unable to meet the country and people maturities through a national project for the political, economic and social building, they escaped from the unity to war and separation.
The party that win the the war of summer 1994 though that his military victory mean a political too. That party didn’t solve the effects of war, did excluded the partner, that signed the agreement along with them, from the power, decision, and wealth. They didn’t recognise between Socialist party and the southern people, let off ten thousands of soldiers and civilians, all that created what becomes known as the southern case, which is undoubtedly a fair political case.
The negligence of this case from the power and also the peaceful southern motion that was faced by violence, and its effects extended to the north by the change revolution 11 of February, that embodied the whole country ended with the offset of Ali Saleh from power, came with Hadi, and then the national dialogue at Movenpick. Then, the outbreak of 2015 war, and too against the south after the escape of Hadi to Aden, leaving it recalling the Decisive Storm and giving it the legitimacy.
*The incidents that the south experienced since 2015 have formed a new position at some southern cities, including the police and military formations and civilian state institutions such as the central bank, many sounds raised calling for backing to separation, leaving the unity, through field activities. Such a situation pushed some to think that the time is suitable separation, how do you see and evaluate such proposal? Your opinion on such calls? Is backing down from the unity today represents a solution or a choice fits the moment?
**Neither the separation nor the unity in its current position can solve the Yemeni crisis. We’ve tried, in both north and south, separate forms of the state and noticed that the existence of two countries at one homeland can not introduce the solutions for the Yemeni intractable problems; the power of the southern and northern people lies in the unity. We’ve running to achieve the goal years of war in 1972, 1979, and the central areas wars, long years of dialogue and work of the united committees in several fields, reached to the format of the Yemeni supreme council, the common projects and curricula in history and geography along with a big amount of coordination in foreign policy. We’ve achieved the project of the unity’s constitution, we’re about to achieve a gradual unity that accepts the withstand and meets the Yemeni people aspirations, but winds blew counter to what ships desired.
Today, there is a real problem, a fair southern case that should be recognised, solved in a way that satisfy the southern people. The solution from my point of view be among a comprehensive solution for the Yemeni case and identity, and nor through separation and searching for other identities. It should be through searching other formats for the unity, I mean federation which is the finest unity forms. We can find many models of that at many Arabic and foreign countries, such as UAE, and without that the south wouldn’t remain the same, nor the north, further to ambitions that could be seen for regional and international powers that exploiting the situation at Yemen.
*Today the situation at the southern provinces seems more complicated than ever, several entities, armed militia, desultory geography. Who is the responsible about this, and how it could be settled?
**The situation in the south is the same you said. Many reasons lead to such a troubled position, among them is grievances that happened to the south after 1994’s war, got accumulated, and regrettably found no solutions. Another reason is the absence of the state’s prestige, the result of two wars, and nature doesn’t like void. There is the terrorism factor that found a suitable climate in poor environment for breeding, and in some stages terrorism at the south was the creature of the government itself. Then, the 2015’s war got exacerbated, which overlapped with local and regional factors by creating armed formations that got flourished by the absence of government and the war climate.
You asked me about the solution? It’s in dialogue, the restoration of the country under one president, one government, and one armed forces, and merging all these militia and the national forces of the ministry of defense within the government potentials.
*There are many entities in the southern provinces headed by southern leaders, meeting together in several visions, vary in others, but predominated by inner conflict. Why such entities don’t get united in one component?
**I don’t think so, and that is not the wanted. We are, in south and north, after the painful experiences of the one party, we really need the diversity. The wanted is all that entities should be transferred into political ones under a democratic federal state. Diversity in policy is a positive state, unless it leads to conflict and fighting.
*Protests at the south outbreak from time to time, some are for rights, political, and some call for services. Why such disorder hits the southern street while suffering from economic conditions deterioration?
I thank that is legal after such a suffering that beats the south, and that doesn’t mean there are no similar grievances on other northern provinces. The difference is that the citizen at the south has lost, after the unity, social care. The former wars they got exposed to for the three former decades, the absence of the state institutions along with prices cost, losing services. Did you imagine that electricity found in Aden on 1928, while the citizen now finds himself without electricity, water, sanitation, and educational and healthy systems, and above all the lack of security, assassinations, kidnapping, robbery on lands and properties, after all that, what do you expect from him?
When the state attends along with the state institutions, the southern citizen is the most committed to system and law. During the 23 years after independence, no revenge case recorded at the south, and this is only one example, and i think that there is many powers that contribute in conditions and economic deteriorations.
*The STC introduces itself today to be the south representer that holds the southern case, how do you see such a thing, and how do you assess its experiment?
**It’s preferred that the STC assess its experiment itself, while having of leaders and competencies that enabling it for that. It’s not only the STC that have to assess its experiment from time to time, but all the powers and political entities in both the south and north. The worst thing in any entity’s experiment or in a leader is admiring himself and his experiment, and once stopping to correct that, he falls in the gap of vanity and deadlock.
The International Aattendance
*Currently, there is an obvious attendance for many countries at Yemen, which refers to the colonial ambitions again either in specific geographical regions or ruling over the country at all. This is what you formerly struggled much to prevent, attained a great victory to insure the sate sovereignty on the whole land. Are we today in front of a new colonial wave, what’s the motivation of them to back again, and how to deal with such a condition?
**If you don’t mind, i shall quote a phrase of Mohammed Hasanyn Haykel, eve of Arabic spring revolutions “There are a foreign forces started to appear at the landscape due to their dynamic interests”, especially there are some who put pledges for themselves that we know nothing about, despite of feeling their effects, while Yemen passes by such a case that Haykel indicates to. There are many who want to take the opportunity to attend and achieve what couldn’t be done in another circumstances
Hence, Yemen is distinguished with a strategic location in Bab Almandam, the red sea, the African horn, the Indian ocean , and the Arabic island, and now we pay the price for such a location throughout the history.
*You’ve presented a road map and a former initiative for solution in Yemen, recently updated new incidents. Are you still adhere with your initiative or you become having a new vision that match up with last updates?
**The basic outlines of my initiative didn’t change, especially that built on dialogue, excluded violence, stopping the war and restoring the state and its institutions, the existing of one president, one government and one army, handing over the parties’ weapons to the ministry of defense, but sometimes new developments occurred that calls for adding some terms for my initiative, however the core is still the same.
*You’ve welcomed the resent truce in Yemen, is it possible that such a truce may represent an entrance for the comprehensive solution in Yemen?
**For the first time since eight years of districting war, there is a rare opportunity to stop the war through this declared truce that everyone welcomed. We hope that all war parties exploiting such a historic chance to stop the war.
Peace at Yemen
*How the peace in Yemen could be achieved after all these years of war, quarrel, hatred, divisions, absence of the state institutions, losing army, insecurity, and the consequences of war?
**What happened is huge. This is a war that took more than expected, generated a destructive and awful reality that the Yemeni people paid much more than others. Many things have been changed and new facts emerge, new powers appeared on the landscape that want to achieve individual, regional, and even international ambitions.
The war lasted much because of local, regional, and international war dealers, but at last, all of them got tired of war that must reach to an end. No war continues forever, and that should follow finally with dialogue and peace.
*Houthis group hold on peace at Yemen as their view point, and some see it refusing peace. How do you see its dealing with incidents during the last years?
**According to my relationship with the group, as the same with other powers in Yemen, all of them are not refusing peace, but they all have their own requirements, and dialogue can reach all to agreement points that all accept, and can make difficulties easy. The most important thing is the stoppage of this war and achieving peace.
*How do you assess the UN and international efforts in Yemen, did they succeed in rescuing Yemen, or they weren’t at the level of the situation at the country?
**The UN Envoys charged with solving the Yemeni crisis (Jamal Binomar, Ismael Weld Sheikh, Martin Griffith, and Hans Grunberg) made efforts to stop the war and bring peace, but they didn’t succeed because the decision is not at the Yemeni’s hands. It’s rather at the hands of the regional and international countries. Hence, some Yemeni powers don’t want to stop the war, because they are benefiting from it.
The Arabic Coalition
*There are many talking about agenda and plots from the coalition countries (KSA & UAE) that target Yemen’s geography and unity. What is your view point on this, especially that you have a knowledge and experience in relations with the two and other surrounding countries for decades?
**In this point specifically, we’ve to agree that in Yemen’s security and stability lies that of the region, especially GCC countries, and thus the interest of Yemen along with neighbours and the Arabic nation. Dialogue between Yemen and GCC countries, there could be reach to agreement on such several interests, managing them as to achieve the common interests without overrunning the national sovereignty, achieving the Arabic national security and well-being for our Arabic people.
*You’ve published many books, the most important is your own diary of two parts, while writing diaries is neglected by many politicians and few of them care about. What are the writing motivations, and how did you find echoes on that?
**They are rather four parts that carry the outline of “The Homeland’s Memory” as below:
1- Aden, from Occupation to Independence.
2- The People and Democratic Republic of Yemen 1967-1990.
3- Aden and the World, a book on the foreign policy of the democratic Yemen.
4- Aden and the Yemeni Unity.
I’m also working now to publish the four in one book (summery), translating to English, to be available for a big number of readers and concerned of the Yemeni conditions and the whole region. As per my motivation for writing my diaries, I’ve summarised the same on the introduction of my book.
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