The Yemeni government vowed to make political and economic improvements that will allow better use of foreign aid, during a meeting in London aimed at bolstering the Gulf nation’s struggle against al-Qaeda.
“Yemen was brutally honest about the problems” it faces, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in a briefing with Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband after today’s two-hour meeting.
The conference was called by the U.K. after the Dec. 25 attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, a plot claimed by al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch. Yemen agreed today to strengthen its law-enforcement, legislative and judicial institutions, as well to step up security, the ministers said. Yemen also will hold talks with the International Monetary Fund on a program to support the changes.
“Change can’t be realized unless we implement this agenda of reform,” al-Qirbi said after the meeting, hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
“The Yemeni people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future, rather than leaving their fate to extremists who incite violence and inflict harm,” Clinton told reporters. “To help the people of Yemen, we -- the international community -- can and must do more. And so must the Yemeni government.”
The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were among those attending the meeting, the U.K. said. The Gulf Arab states, which supply about 20 percent of the world’s oil, promised $2.5 billion in aid to Yemen at a 2006 conference in London. Clinton said the total pledged to Yemen by international donors at that meeting was $5.2 billion.
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