Yemen, U.S. to Sign Security Pact [Archives:2001/48/Front Page]
President Ali Abdullah Saleh begins today an official visit to the U.S., where he is scheduled to meet on Tuesday Nov. 27 the US president George W. Bush at the White House. He is likely to meet with high ranking officials like the Vice-President, State Secretary Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield, and other senior officials. His meetings will focus on the two countries’ security cooperation, mainly on fighting terrorism.
Yemeni official sources said that during the visit an economic, security and intelligence pact between the two sides will be signed. The pact will focus on terrorism and Yemen’s efforts to establish marine patrol police, which the US is expected to support directly or through donor countries, mainly the German and Dutch. Yemen believes this police force is very important to control the security of the southern Red Sea and the Arab Sea, preventing any sort of piracy or terrorist infiltration into Yemen.
According to well-informed sources, this pact will allow FBI investigators to directly interrogate suspects of the USS Cole incident of last year. Previously, they weren’t allowed to question the eight Yemeni suspects.
The news reports about this security pact ripples in the mind of the opposition, mainly the Islamic party, Islah, which called for questioning the government on the content of this pact. The Islah said it is of a national concern and has something to do with the sovereignty of the country.
News said the pact assumes that Yemen has to cleanse its territories of terrorists or Islamic extremists and extradite other Arab Afghans to the USA. In return, the US is to provide Yemen with around $400 million to carry out development projects, mainly in the remote tribal areas where kidnapping incidents and other lawless acts are a daily routine. The USA will undertake advanced training courses of Special Forces in Yemen, under command of Colonel Ahmad Ali Abdullah Saleh. The special forces assumes the responsibility for countering terrorist acts in the country.
Jordan is also involved in assisting Yemen in this matter. The delegation of the president which includes Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense as well as Chief of Yemen’s intelligence reveals that the visit will discuss intensively security issues and how Yemen can play a role in the worldwide campaign against terrorism. The US Ambassador to Yemen, Edmund Hull said earlier that Yemen is not a target but a partner in the war against terrorism. He also spotlighted the damage this infamy caused to Yemen’s economy, particularly the tourist sector.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Saturday 24 Nov. began his European and America tour by heading for Netherlands where he his talks with Dutch prime minister and other officials would focus on bilateral relations and mutual cooperation.
President Saleh is also expected to visit both Germany and France and discuss with their leaders bilateral relations and the Palestinian cause, and Europe’s role in reaching a peaceful solution with Israel. Saleh will also discuss with them international efforts made to crack down the evil of terrorism.