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International Community Pledges Help for Yemen


Yemen's Foreign Minister, Abu Bakr al Qirbi, 27 Jan 2010

Yemen's Foreign Minister, Abu Bakr al Qirbi, 27 Jan 2010

Britain, the United States and other countries have pledged support for Yemen's economic and social development as part of a wider effort to fight growing Islamic extremism and the threat of terrorism from the country. The promises came during a meeting in London.

The message was clear - that nations are ready to stand by Yemen and help with social and economic development as the most effective way to fight extremists.

Britain hosted the meeting. Ministers and delegates from the United States, Europe, Russia and the Middle East attended.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said countries realize a multi-pronged approach is needed.

"The assault on Yemen's problems cannot begin and end with its security challenges and its counter-terrorism strategy," said David Miliband. "In tackling terrorism, it is vital to tackle its root causes. In Yemen's case, these are manifold - economic, social and political."

Yemen is internally unstable - with a population explosion, widespread illiteracy and poverty. That makes it an ideal breeding ground for extremists.

Al-Qaida terrorists are believed to have recruited Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab - the young Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day.

In London U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said events in Yemen are a security concern for Washington.

"We recognize that the challeneges facing Yemen cannot be solved by military action alone," said Hillary Clinton. "Progress against violent extremists and progress toward a better future with the Yemeni people, will depend upon fortifying development efforts."

Yemen's people deserve better, she said. And she urged Yemen's government to do more to implement political and economic reforms, including human rights and gender equality.

Another meeting on Yemen is scheduled in Saudi Arabia next month.

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