Britain Seeks to Counter Extremism in Yemen

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is calling for an international summit to discuss ways to combat extremism in Yemen, following a failed Christmas Day attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner.

Prime Minister Brown issued a statement Friday, saying he will host the high-level meeting in London January 28.  The British leader says the talks will be aimed at identifying Yemen's counterterrorism needs, coordinating assistance for areas at high risk for radicalization, and helping Yemen with wider challenges.

The meeting will take place at the same time as a planned international conference on Afghanistan. 

Mr. Brown's announcement came as the head of the U.S. Central Command, General David Petraeus, told reporters in Baghdad Friday that the United States and Yemen have been sharing information about al-Qaida in Yemen, including activity that "resulted in the failed attack on the airliner."

General Petraeus says Yemen has carried out "very significant" operations against al-Qaida, some of which prevented a series of suicide bombings.

U.S. officials also say the U.S. is increasingly providing military aid, including training and equipment, to Yemeni forces.  U.S. aid to Yemen is expected to increase to more than $63 million in the 2010 fiscal year.

Earlier this week, a group known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing of a flight from Amsterdam to the U.S. city of Detroit, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. support of operations against al-Qaida militants in Yemen.

The suspect in the case, 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has told U.S. investigators he received training and explosives in Yemen.

Yemen has been intensifying its campaign against rebels and suspected al-Qaida terrorists, conducting a series of airstrikes and other raids that it says resulted in militant deaths and arrests. 

Yemen is the ancestral home of al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden. 



Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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