Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Focus will not only be on Al Qaeda threat in Yemen, Clinton says

By Nasser Arrabyee/11/01/2011
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said Tuesday the US would help Yemen overcome its long- term challenges, development challenges, not only the short term threats like terrorism of Al Qaeda.

“ We (US and Yemen) are facing a common threat from Al Qaeda, but we will not focus only on such challenges but also on the long term challenges,” she told reporters, after her meeting with President Saleh.

In her swift visit to Yemen, Secretary Clinton, divided her six hour-visit to Yemen, the first for US Secretary of State since more than 20 years, for attending three meetings.

The first was with the President Ali Abdullah Saleh and senior officials and the second with opposition leaders in the US embassy, while the third was with the NGOs leaders, academicians, women, youth, media leaders, in the Movenpic , the heavily fortified five star hotel.

The security measures in the hotel, outside hotel, in the streets of the capital Sana’a were very exceptional since early morning Tuesday, January 11,2011, until Clinton left Yemen late on the same day.

Ms Clinton handed a letter to President Saleh from President Obama which included an invitation to President Saleh to visit US in the near future.

In her meeting with the civil society representatives , Clinton said she came to enhance friendship and partnership not only with the Yemeni government but also with the Yemeni people. The representatives of the civil society gave her a big applause.

She said the civil society has a room to participate in building the modern Yemen , but Al Qaeda terrorists have no room to do anything for their country.

The civil society does everything possible to encourage and attract the investors and tourists but Al Qaeda scares away the investors and tourists, she said in her 10-minute statement to the NGOs representatives.

She said that terrorists are from everywhere, even from United States.
Clinton said US administration supports the dialogue between all political parties which should lead to free, fair and inclusive elections.

At the end of her speech to representatives of NGOs, she listened and answered to the questions of the attendees. Ms Amal Basha, one of the most famous human right activist, worked as a moderator in the 30-minute long discussion.

When time was over, there were still a lot of people who were very enthusiastic to ask questions, the moderator Amal Basha said time is over, but Ms Clinton said ok for two more questions.

It was very difficult and embarrassing for the moderator Al Basha to choose two from among tens if not hundreds who were raising their hands and shouting , Amal , Amal.
“I will choose,” Clinton said. “I will choose a young man and young woman.”
She randomly chose a girl and a boy (both of them less than 20 years old).

After the two young people raised their questions about education and scholarships in perfect English, Ms Clinton said, she changed a lot of her impressions about Yemen by visiting Yemen and meeting people. “But this young man, and this young woman, made me change even more impressions.”

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