Source: AFP, 24/01/2011
SANAA — The United States is working with Sanaa to ensure security of air cargo, the US embassy said on Sunday, after last year's global security alert sparked by the discovery of explosives in two parcels posted from Yemen.
"The US government, through the US Embassy, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the government of Yemen are working together on our common goal of ensuring that air cargo transport is both efficient and safe," embassy spokeswoman Deborah Smith said in an email to AFP.
"Charge d?Affaires Elizabeth Richard met with Yemen?s Minister of Transportation, Khaled al-Wazir, on Saturday... (to talk) on topics of mutual interest" Smith said.
The two potentially lethal parcels were addressed to synagogues in Chicago and contained the explosive PETN hidden in ink toner cartridges. They were uncovered in Dubai and Britain on October 28.
German officials have said the explosive used was difficult to detect and easy to pack into seemingly innocuous devices. The discovery of the bombs led several countries to ban all air freight originating from Yemen.
The official Saba news agency said on Saturday that Richard and Wazir talked about lifting current restrictions on cargo shipments from Yemen to the US.
Saba reported that Wazir discussed "additional security measures that Yemen is taking" to strengthen airport and air cargo security.
These include "working on" scanning all cargo, employing explosives detectors, X-ray and hand searches, and holding all parcels and shipments for 48 hours before they are sent, Saba said.
"Currently, there are 'security requirements' in place that restrict cargo being shipped from Yemen to the United States," Smith said.
Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, faces a growing Al-Qaeda threat, a separatist movement in the south and a sporadic rebellion by Zaidi Shiite rebels in the north