Monday, 11 October 2010

New US ambassador meets Yemeni journalists

The new ambassador of US in Yemen, Gerald M. Feierstein met the Yemeni journalists in their Syndicate in Sana’a for the first time since he arrived in the country two weeks ago. Mr Feierstein confirmed his country’s commitment to support Yemen.
Reuters : US helping Yemen fight Qaeda, shuns talking to group
AFP : US 'committed' to working with Yemen to defeat Qaeda
Saba, Yemen’s official news agency : US plans to support Yemen with $1.2 billion

Reuters report: US helping Yemen fight Qaeda, shuns talking to group
SANAA -The United States is helping Yemen in its fight against al Qaeda but would not support negotiations with the militants, the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Yemen said on Monday.

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh said earlier this year that he would engage in dialogue with al Qaeda's regional wing if the militant group laid down its arms.

"From our side, we don't think there is a possibility to change their ideas or to stop their operations," Gerald Feierstein said at a news conference in Sanaa.

The United States stepped up its operations against al Qaeda's Yemen-based wing after a failed bomb attempt on a Detroit-bound plane in December. The group has responded by increasing its activity.

A missile was fired at a British diplomat's car in Sanaa on Monday, in a possible echo of an attempt by an al Qaeda suicide bomber to kill the British ambassador in April.

Feierstein said Washington had given $300 million in aid to Yemen so far this year and that next year the same amount would be donated.

Half of that sum would be spent on supporting the Yemeni economy, while the other half would go to security, he said.

Asked if the United States had carried our air strikes on militant targets on Yemeni territory, Feierstein said: "The United States is committed to build up Yemen's military and security capabilities and is committed to helping the Yemeni government overcome al Qaeda with the aim of removing the threats posed by the group." The Yemeni foreign minister has been quoted as confirming that the United States had carried out air strikes in Yemen.
AFP report: US 'committed' to working with Yemen to defeat Qaeda

SANAA — The United States is committed to working with Yemen to defeat Al-Qaeda, but development aid is needed alongside security cooperation to accomplish this goal, the US ambassador to Sanaa said on Monday.

"The United States is committed to working with the government and people of Yemen to defeat Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and to secure Yemen's borders," Gerald Feierstein, who was sworn in on September 17, told reporters.

"We will continue to train and equip Yemen's counterterrorism forces to eliminate the immediate threat that AQAP poses to our collective security," Feierstein said.

But security assistance alone is not enough to create long-term stability, the ambassador said.

"My government also recognizes that security cooperation alone will not achieve our goal of defeating violent extremism, and we understand the complexity of challenges in Yemen," said Feierstein.

"Moving forward on the national dialogue process, combating corruption, instituting necessary economic reforms, and empowering women to contribute to family well-being and national progress are all essential steps to ensuring a more secure future for Yemen," he said.

The United States has become increasingly concerned about the threat posed by Islamist militancy in Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, and has warned of the potential for it to become a regrouping ground for Al-Qaeda.

Sanaa has intensified its operations against AQAP amid mounting pressure from Washington after the militant group claimed responsibility for a botched attack on a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day last year.

In addition to the Al-Qaeda threat, Sanaa must also contend with a sporadic rebellion by Zaidi Shiites in the north and a southern separatist movement.

Yemen’s official news agency Saba report: US plans to support Yemen with $1.2 billion
SANA'A- The United States is studying a project to support Yemen with $ 1.2 billion for the next five years to help the country improve its security, military and economy, said US Ambassador in Sana'a Gerald Feierstein.

In a press conference he held on Monday in the building of the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate, the ambassador added that the US support to Yemen has reached $ 300 million this year " half of it went to the government and the second half to the people."

But he said "no decision has been yet taken" regarding the $ 1.2 billion. However he affirmed his country's continuous support to Yemen in military and development fields.

He highlighted US-Yemen cooperation and bilateral relations saying:" the US government's history of development assistance to the Yemeni people goes back to 1959."

Regarding al-Qaeda's threat, he affirmed that the United States and Yemen are committed to defeat al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and securing Yemen's border "we will continue our training to Yemeni anti terror forces to eradicate al-Qaeda threat."

He indicated that his government recognizes that security cooperation alone will not achieve goals of defeating violent extremism and that they understand the complexity of challenges in Yemen.

" We also need to take on the longer-term effort of building more hopeful future for all Yemeni people, one without the despair and political discord in which extremism takes root," he further said.

Over the national dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition, the ambassador said :" we support direct and serious dialogue between the General People Congress and the Joint Meeting Parties to reach fruitful results."

Regarding threat if there is coalition between the southern movement and al-Qaeda and a dialogue with them, Feierstein said there is difference between al-Qaeda and the southern movement. Al-Qaeda poses international threat and operates from Yemen to launch terrorist attacks abroad.

"It is impossible to conduct a dialogue with al-Qaeda because of their dangerous attacks and their extremism," the ambassador stressed.

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