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US, Yemen Discuss 'Next Step' Regarding Seized Missiles - 2002-12-11

U.S. officials and Yemeni authorities are discussing what to do next following the interdiction of a dozen Scud missiles bound for Yemen.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan says the administration is in talks with Yemen on "the next steps to take" after Scud missiles were discovered hidden in a shipment of cement bound for Yemen.

The Spanish navy stopped the unflagged merchant ship in the Arabian Sea after U.S. officials tracked it from North Korea because, Mr. McClellan says, they were concerned that the short to medium range missiles "might be headed to states that sponsor terrorism."

He says it now appears the missiles were bound for Yemen. The government there says it ordered the Scuds from North Korea and wants them returned.

Mr. McClellan thanked Spain for what he called an "efficient naval interdiction" and said the government in Madrid is a "reliable ally in the war against terrorism."

U.S. and South Korean officials discussed the issue in Seoul Wednesday. President Bush has described North Korea as part of an "axis of evil " that could help terrorists acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Washington is engaged in a diplomatic effort with China, Russia and Japan to convince North Korea give up its nuclear weapons program.