Yemen's progress frustrates EU

Oct. 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM

LUXEMBOURG, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The European Union said Monday it welcomed Yemeni efforts on political reforms but was mindful of a wide range of national security challenges.

The EU's foreign affairs committee said it was pleased with efforts made by Yemeni President Abdo Rabbo Mansour on political reforms. He took power in 2012 after longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in the wake of the Middle East and North African upheavals known as the Arab Spring.

The EU said it was important for Yemen to continue on a path toward an eventual constitutional referendum and presidential elections.

On security, however, the EU was less supportive. It said it was concerned about the "fragile security situation in Yemen," particularly after an Oct. 6 attack that left a German diplomat dead in Sanaa, the nation's capital.

The EU added it was "deeply concerned" about the number of kidnappings in Yemen and ransom payments it says strengthens the terrorist groups like al-Qaida the government is trying to fight.

It added it would continue to support the Yemeni government as it struggles to improve national security.

"The EU reaffirms its commitment to stand by the Yemeni authorities and people in their endeavor to secure a better future for their country," a statement said.

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