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Britain pledges support for Yemen

Foreign Secretary William Hague has pledged international support for Yemen to help the troubled country tackle a rising Islamic terrorism threat.

Mr Hague co-chaired a fringe meeting at the UN General Assembly on Friday aimed at preventing the collapse of the poverty-stricken Middle Eastern state.

Ministers from 22 nations as well as officials from the UN, EU, Gulf Co-operation Council, Arab League, IMF and the World Bank called for the creation of a development fund for Yemen and better co-ordination of foreign aid.

They also backed an International Monetary Fund scheme to restructure Yemen's economy.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hague said: "(The) meeting showed the breadth and depth of international commitment to help address the challenges Yemen faces.

"The Friends of Yemen agreed targeted measures which demonstrate that we support the Government of Yemen and its people in pursuit of stability, security and sustainable development. I strongly welcome the offer of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to host another meeting to review progress in Riyadh in early 2011."

A man accused of attempting to blow up a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day last year was reported to have been recruited by al Qaida in Yemen.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was an engineering student at University College London, between 2005 to 2008, is alleged to have told US investigators that he received training and instructions from al Qaida operatives in the country.

Nigerian-born Abdulmutallab's family have also suggested that he became radicalised during a visit to Yemen last year, where he was supposedly studying Arabic but is believed to have made contact with some of the estimated 300 al Qaida militants based in the country. Abdulmutallab is charged with attempting to detonate a powdery substance on the Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam as it prepared to land in Detroit with 280 people on board.

Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula said the action was retaliation for a US operation against the group in Yemen.


From Belfast Telegraph