Promoting Yemeni-Saudi security cooperation [Archives:2003/641/Front Page]
RIYADH, June 8 (Reuters & Yemen Times) – Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed on Sunday June 8 to work together to fight weapons smuggling amid heightened security fears following last month's suicide bombings on expatriate compounds in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef said he hoped the agreement would help “limit terrorist activity…and control smuggling operations”. He was speaking after talks with his Yemeni counterpart Rashad al-Alimi.
The Yemeni interior minister al-Alimi was attending in Riyadh the 7th meeting of the Yemeni-Saudi Supreme committee entrusted with implementation of the Jeddah border treaty between the to countries. In his speech at the meeting minister al-Alimi said the joint committee would discuss work done by committees assigned with enforcing the border agreement and would work to tackle various issues on the two countries border inlets.
Dr. al-Alimi also said that the meeting was to discuss issues regarding infiltration and weapons smuggling as well as to exchange information and to extradite the wanted from both counties.
At a joint news conference broadcast on Saudi television, Alimi was asked about media reports that the Riyadh suicide bombers had used explosives smuggled from Yemen. “Saudi authorities informed us that weapons were being smuggled from Yemen… The issue of smuggling and combating it need large resources and we are trying within our resources,” he said.
Saudi authorities have confiscated weapons and explosives in raids throughout the country following the May 12 blasts which killed 35 people. They blame Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network for the bombings.
Yemen is trying to rid itself of its image as a haven for Muslim militants, including al Qaeda, and has cooperated with the U.S. war on terror.
Both sides have showed enthusiasm towards promoting bilateral relations including maintaining security and stability on their borders.
The Yemen Times has also learned that the Yemeni delegation would give information to Saudi Arabia concerning activities of al-Qaeda elements and Yemen's role in tracking down those elements since 1998 when foreigners were targeted by Abu al-Hasan al-Mehdhar in Abyan in 1998.
In this context, four al-Qaeda suspects were handed over last month to the Yemeni authorities by the Saudi Arabia.
Those suspects have been charged with attacking the French oil supertanker Limburg on October 6 last year. A blast tore open the side of the supertanker in the Gulf of Aden, killing one crewman and causing the leakage of about 50,000 barrels of crude oil into the Arab Sea.