Almotamar.net Gulf News - Sanaa: The Yemeni Parliament has voted against the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, retracting a majority vote for it on March 24.
The 83 members (out of the 133 attending members) who voted against agreement said it was contradicting the constitution and Islamic Sharia, and the remaining 50 voted in favour saying it was in harmony with the constitution and Sharia.
On March 24, the statute was approved by a majority from all parties in a second session held to vote on the statute.
The Secretary General of the ruling People's General Congress, Abdul Qader Bajammal criticised yesterday the Parliamentary bloc of his party for voting against agreement, denying interference from President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
After the vote there was a rumour that the overwhelming majority of the ruling party had received instructions from President Saleh to cancel their previous vote for the agreement.
"Did you know that Yemen hosted an international conference in 2004 on the ICC and it was chaired by President Ali Abdullah Saleh?" Bajammal asked.
On April 6 the International coordinator of the Coalition of ICC, William R. Pace had sent a letter to President Saleh urging him to "approve the Parliament's important vote without delay".
The Yemeni coordinator of the CICC for Middle East and North Africa, Amal Basha declined to comment on the Parliament recantation.
"I have no comment on this retraction. I would only say, the young parliament will vote for the Rome Statute instead of the adult Parliament," Amal Basha said.
In Saturday's session chaired by Deputy Speaker, Yahya Al Ra'ee, some 81 MPs voted against and 50 voted in favour of it.
The supporters of ICC considered the step as a flagrant violation of the constitution and bylaws because the Parliament had already voted the Rome Statute and had addressed a letter to the President Saleh for the completion of the procedures. The letter was submitted to Saleh on March 26.
MP Mansour Al Zandani, one of those who oppose the ICC, said the vote against the ICC had represented a genuine willingness of the Parliament to adhere to the Sharia and constitution and by-laws.
But MP Shawqi Al Qadi said, "This vote does not mean anything because the Parliament has voted and now the ball is in President Saleh's court, and it is only him now who has the right to ratify or to return it to Parliament."
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eng. Hisham Sharaf and Minister of Agriculture Ghazi Al-Ahwal met on Tuesday with the Resident Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Sana'a Dr. Salah El Hajj.
The meeting reviewed aspects of cooperation between Yemen and FAO, especially with regard to the food security situation in Yemen.