Yemeni concerns extend beyond terror

Sept. 28, 2012 at 9:36 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. relationship with Yemen extends beyond counter-terrorism measures to include shared strategies for political reform, a top U.S. official said.

A so-called Friends of Yemen meeting was convened this week on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Early this week, the British government said it was committing $45.3 million to help Yemen address humanitarian challenges that are in part a result of lingering conflict in the country.

Yemeni President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi joined the "Friends" meeting.

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said following the session the United States had concerns that extended beyond terrorism in Yemen.

"There can be no lasting stability and no freedom from extremism in Yemen without political reform and economic progress," he said in a statement.

Yemen has struggled with national security in the face of a threat from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni arm of al-Qaida.

A national dialogue conference is expected to culminate in preparations for a draft constitution by the end of the year. General elections should take place in February.

"International support can help to alleviate immediate humanitarian and economic crises, but for Yemen's transition to be successful, Yemenis must pursue the national dialogue and develop viable government institutions," said Burns.

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