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From the Yemeni
ambassador in London
I was overwhelmed to be asked to contribute a foreword in the first magazine of the British-Yemeni Society which comes out only months after the inauguration of the Society.

When I was appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to the Court of St. James’s at the end of 1991, I remembered what a friend once said: "You will never find much trouble looking for friends of Yemen. Yemen has friends already."

At that time, the idea of establishing a British-Yemeni Society was at its initial stages. I did not expect the steps to hasten so quickly to turn such desire into reality, only a year after the idea was proposed. It must have been the great efforts exerted by the interim committee, the eager response that the call to establish the Society drew from potential members and the backing of so many prominent British personalities and different media and cultural figures that made it possible in such a short time.

The inaugural meeting was hailed and appreciated by all and proved, beyond a shadow of doubt, that there are already friends of Yemen and very true friends they are.

The establishment of the British-Yemeni Society was considered an important qualitative step on the path of the good relations existing between the two peoples. The roots of the historical relations between Britain and Yemen are very old and still tint the current relations with the hue of their warmth. Despite the succession of generations, the memory of history is omnipresent. Many Britons who lived and worked in Yemen and some who may of spent part of their youth there, or were interested in its affairs or devoted part of their lives writing about it, did not have just a passing relation with it. Yemen to them is not looking back at memories long gone, this was a deep-rooted emotional bond. One feels overwhelming genuine happiness in those sentiments. Not once have I been invited to an occasion without finding amongst those present, British people talking about the

Yemen with exuberant affections, asking about mountains, valleys, towns, villages, families and individuals they had lived in, seen or known.

It is gratifying that such sentiments are translated into a concerted deed, to enhance the cultural, social and historical ties binding the two peoples and strengthen the bridges of affection, friendship and cooperation between them.

Undoubtedly, the British-Yemeni Society has started to assume such responsibility with felicitous strides. Hopefully the concentrated efforts of its members and their contribution to its activities will secure for it, and for its role, more progress and expansion in the future, so that its role will not be confined to the British arena, but extend to launch some activities in Yemen too, in cooperation with the Yemeni-British Society in Sana’a so long as the task of promoting the relations between the two peoples is their joint commitment.

November 1993