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Yemen Seeks Closer Ties
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Yemen is looking for more Chinese companies to become involved in its oil exploration and to help finance its development projects, Yemeni Ambassador to China Marwan Abdulla Noman said yesterday.


Last year's 72-million-dollar deal signed by China's State-owned oil firm Sinopec, for oil exploration and production in eastern Yemen, has proved to be "successful," Noman said during an exclusive interview with China Daily.


"We welcome all Chinese companies to increase their investments in the country's oil exploration, iron ore and mineral resources projects."


Besides Sinopec, China National Petroleum Corp has invested in Yemen, whose economy relies mainly on oil. Daily production of crude oil in the country reaches around 450,000 barrels. China imported more than US$1.5 billion worth of crude oil from Yemen last year, according to the ambassador.


Due to poor technologies and a shortage of capital, Yemen is also looking at China to help fund further infrastructure projects.


"During President Ali Abdullah Saleh's visit to Beijing next week, the two countries will work out framework agreements on infrastructure projects," Noman said, adding the projects would be organized for this year up until 2010. Saleh's four-day visit to Beijing marks Yemen and China's 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.


The two countries are also looking at a possible deal on security.


A delegation of 50 to 70 Yemeni businessmen will accompany the president on his visit to China. Beijing has financed projects worth around US$100 million in Yemen over the past three years.


"Bilateral trade has expanded rapidly over the past few years, from around US$400 million in 2001, to US$3.2billion last year," Noman said, adding that China is expected to become Yemen's No 1 commercial partner this year.


(China Daily March 31, 2006)

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