Sanaa – Ali Rabee
Official sources from the Yemeni Gulf of Aden Foundation denied rumours circulated on Saturday by local and Arab media over the abolition of Dubai Ports (DP) World Aden’s port agreement. In a telephone interview with Arabstoday, a member
of the Foundation's Board of Directors denied the reports and explained that "the board of directors of Gulf of Aden, which represent the Yemeni side in the convention, is not authorised to cancel the lease with DP (Dubai Ports). Its role is merely to propose a cancellation through the Governing Council and to submit it to the government, which will ultimately take the final decision."
Sources close to the Yemeni Minister of Transport admitted that minister Waaed Ba Theeb visited the Gulf of Aden Foundation on Saturday and discussed with officials the possibility of terminating the lease with DP, but this has not –at present- been approved by the government.
A DP World employee in Yemen also denied that such a decision was taken, describing it as a mere "news leak".
The DP World Aden’s port agreement has also captured the attention of Yemeni activists, who have, over recent years, launched campaigns demanding the government immediately revoke it. Activists say the deal is a clear exploitation of Yemeni resources and the 100 year-long agreement was a "devious accord".
The Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption in Yemen summoned during March all officials involved in implementing a management agreement of Aden ports to check its execution and identify shortcomings that harm the functioning of the port.
DP World has been working since 2005. The Anti-Corruption Commission decided to follow up DP World's role in the agreement and take legal action against any party that had failed to abide by the terms.
It recommended last June to cancel the contract with DP for what it considered “technical imbalances that marred the procedures of the lease contracts."
Transport minister Theeb fiercely supported the cancellation of the agreement, launching earlier this year a sharp attack on the company.
"The company has breached its obligations and has not carried out the conditions stipulated in the contract. The agreement to run the port of Aden by DP was a political convention rather than an economic one. Workers in the port of Aden are paid less
than any workers in 55 international ports operated by Dubai Ports, which is humiliating to the Yemeni worker."
Yemeni politicians say the cancellation of the lease might ravage relations between Yemen and the UAE, the latter playing a crucial role in supporting Yemen to solve its political and economic crises as well as achieving better results in the donor’s conference to be held in Riyadh later this year.