Source: Bloomber By Peter S. Green and Khaled Abdullah
March 2 (Bloomberg) -- An American diplomat told Yemen’s president the U.S. will deliver more aid to help Yemen battle al-Qaeda through both arms and economic development, the State Department said today.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman met Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and said the Obama administration is determined to increase aid to boost Yemen’s security and anti-terrorism capacities.
Feltman delivered a “verbal message” to the Yemeni government that the U.S. will give the country $67.25 million in development and security assistance in the current fiscal year, which began in October, and that President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $106.1 million in 2011, said Megan Mattson, a State Department spokeswoman.
Earlier, Yemen’s state-run Saba news agency reported the offer of aid by Feltman had come in a letter from Obama. Mattson said “no letter changed hands.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress on Feb. 25 that the U.S. needs to strengthen Yemen’s institutions and “economic opportunities” available to Yemenis.
“We’re working at a united effort from the international community, aimed at going after the terrorists, strengthening the military capacity of Yemen, and creating a development strategy in concert with the Yemeni government,” Clinton said.
Yemen presented donors in London in January with a national development plan that included a “very candid assessment of their own problems,” Clinton said. “We’re hoping to build on what seems to be a new resolve from Yemen.”
Yemen has stepped up operations against al-Qaeda in the country since December, after the terrorist group’s local branch took responsibility for a plot in which Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was charged with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit on Dec. 25.
--With assistance from Henry Meyer in Dubai. Editors: Heather Langan, Edward DeMarco
To contact the reporters on this story: Khaled Abdullah in Sana’a at firstname.lastname@example.org; Peter S. Green in Washington email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.