London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Yemeni Prime Minister, Ali Mohamed Mujawar said that the international media is exaggerating the recent events and terrorist threat from Yemen. In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat Mujawar said “Yes, Al Qaeda is present in Yemen as it is present in all advanced industrial countries.”
He also told Asharq Al-Awsat that poverty is the cause of all problems in Yemen, and he called for international effort to aid Yemen with a comprehensive development plan, saying that his country is in need of a “Marshall Plan” which can reach up to 40 billion dollars. Mujawar also pointed to the problem of high unemployment among young people in Yemen, saying that the solution to this in the short and medium term is to open the door to Yemeni employment in Gulf States.
The London conference on Yemen, which was attended by 20 countries and ended yesterday concluded with a mutual agreement between Yemen and its international partners to cooperate in order to address the roots of terrorism.
British Foreign Minister David Miliband also announced that Riyadh will host a conference on 27 – 28 February on Yemen which will be attended by Gulf States and other Yemeni partners.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi welcomed the support expressed by fellow attendees for Yemen’s unity and sovereignty. “What we have achieved today does indeed achieve the results (wanted) by Yemen,” he said.
For her part, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said that Yemen’s problems cannot be solved via military operations, but through supporting Yemen’s development efforts to achieve stability. As for Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, he said that there is foreign interference “from some regional powers that desire control and which seek to sow destructive conflicts and instability among the Yemeni people.”
London has warned that unless Yemen is stabilized, it could become a “failed state”, like its lawless neighbor Somalia.
Yemen’s troubles sprang to prominence when 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to detonate explosives in his underwear on a plane approaching the US city of Detroit on Christmas Day.
US President Barack Obama has accused Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen — Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — of training, equipping and directing the suspect. Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the plot in an audio message broadcast this week and vowed further strikes would follow.
Yemen has ruled out allowing the United States to set up military bases on its soil and stepped up its own campaign earlier this month with a military crackdown against Al-Qaeda.