Burns: Tight security is in Yemen’s interest [Archives:2003/674/Front Page]

October 6 2003

Sana'a, Oct 5 – The U.S Assistant Secretary of State William Burns said that he did not agree with Prime Minister Abdulqader Bajamal who accused the US of making “absolutely impossible” demands on his country in the war on terror but giving little support in return. Burns, told Yemen Satellite TV. “I respectively disagree with the Prime Minister that we are not doing a lot in the economic side. As I said before Yemen benefited more than any other Arab country from the Middle- East partnership initiative last year. It was no accident that is a credit to Yemenis”. “It is in your interest to have secured borders, it is in your interest to fight the violent extremists who threaten your economy and the security of your citizens. It is also an American interest because it is very important to have and see a stable prosperous and secured Yemen emerging in the future. That is the kind of Yemeni partner that the United States wants to see .So it is very much building on what is in the Yemeni interest that this issue here”, he added.
“They want so many things from us, like [securing] our immense borders and coastal lines. But we are a poor country and we are receiving almost nothing,” Bajamal told Reuters Thursday. However, Mr. Burns said the U.S will continue to support Yemen politically and economically and encourages the Yemeni government to continue the implementation of economic, administrative and financial reforms, which started in1995 under the supervision of the World Bank and the IMF.
Burns met Saturday President Ali Abdullah Saleh, conveying to him a message from the US president George Bush concerning the bilateral relationship as well as situation in the region. Yemeni official sources said that Saleh and Burns talks focused on the relationship between Yemen and the US as well as the international efforts made to counter terrorism.
They, according to a press statement released by the US embassy in Sana'a, talked about cooperation in the field of security, development, and war on terror as well as the US support for development in Yemen.
They also discussed the situation in the Palestinian territories and Iraq.
Saleh stressed that the Iraqi people should handle their country themselves and that Iraq's unity should be maintained.
Saleh also highlighted the important role the US can play to pressure Israel to stop building the security barrier and implement the Road Map. On his part, Burn praised the efforts made by Yemeni government to fight terrorism. Burns visited some of the US-supported projects like the Elections Supreme Committee and other NGOs.
Burns visit to Sana'a was part of an official tour to the Middle East.