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Homeland Security

UN-backed meeting pledges greater support for Yemen's efforts to tackle terrorism

27 January 2010 – Members of the international community agreed today at a United Nations-backed meeting to boost their support for Yemen in its efforts to combat the threat posed by Al-Qaida and other terrorist or radical elements operating in the Arab country.

At the one-day High-Level Meeting on Yemen, held in London and attended by representatives of the Government, the UN, and more than 20 countries, regional groups and international organizations, participants stressed that the challenges facing Yemen could threaten the stability of the country and the wider region unless they are tackled urgently.

International concern has mounted about the situation in Yemen, where Government forces have been fighting rebels in the northwest and extremist groups such as Al-Qaida are considered to be active. The country is one of the poorest in its region and also faces a periodic influx of refugees from across the seas in the Horn of Africa.

“It was clear that economic and social reform by the Government of Yemen was key to long-term stability and prosperity,” the participants concluded, according to a statement issued by the meeting’s chairman, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

The statement emphasized that strong support from the international community is also vital if Yemen is to overcome the problem of terrorism.

Participants welcomed “the determination of the international community to engage further in support of Yemeni Government efforts to build law enforcement, legislative, judicial and security capacities,” Mr. Miliband said.

“Yemen’s partners agreed to support Yemeni Government initiatives to strengthen their counter-terrorist capabilities, and to enhance aviation and border security. This will include work on both land and maritime borders, including on strengthening the Yemeni coastguard.”

A “Friends of Yemen” process, bringing together key organizations and Member States, will be set up to help the country implement reforms, Mr. Miliband added, with the first meeting of the new group slated for March.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also announced that it will host a meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 27-28 February to discuss how to make aid more effective in Yemen.

The country’s Government, meanwhile, committed to starting discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help strengthen its fragile economy.

UN participants at today’s gathering included B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and Pratibha Mehta, the Resident Coordinator in Yemen.

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