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No plan to conduct combat operations in Yemen: Mullen

Last Updated: Saturday, January 9, 2010 - 12:59

Washington: The Obama administration has no plan to conduct combat operations against al Qaeda in Yemen, neither does the Yemeni government wants it, a top US military official said on Friday.
The US has focused on Yemen for considerable point of time and would continue to do so in the future, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff said while addressing at the Naval War College in Rhode Island.

"They (Yemen) are a country that certainly has their challenges and we are working hard to give them the support that they ask for as they address this threat in their own country - a sovereign country, I might add for emphasis, because people ask me - the question comes up: Are we sending troops into Yemen?" he said.

"The answer is we have no plans to do that and we shouldn`t forget this is a sovereign country. And sovereign countries get to vote on who comes in their country and who doesn`t," Mullen emphasised.

"Yemen is a country, as is Somalia, that I have been concerned about for some time, in terms of becoming the next safe haven for al Qaeda and certainly you now see that very much in the fore as a result of this incident on the 25th of December," he said in his speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on ‘Security Challenges in the Broader Middle East’.

Mullen said Yemen has been a concern of mine for a long time now because of what it represents, which is the potential for a safe haven for al Qaeda, as does Somalia and as do, quite frankly, some other parts of the world that are ungoverned territories or ungoverned parts of certain countries.

"We have engaged with Yemen and particularly on the military side over the last couple of years recognising the extent of the challenge. Certainly and particularly the three
-- north, south and al Qaeda. We have worked hard to try to improve our relationships and training, education and war-fighting support, if you will," he said.

And, yet, the US has a long way to go. "I would put out, though, that we have a pretty good, well-proven model on how to do this across the totality of our government because it`s not just about the military," he said.

"There is international support that`s required; there is support from our State Department, from our Treasury Department from other institutions in America as those institutions are represented in other countries as well," he said.

Mullen applaud the actions of Yemeni government and the Yemeni armed forces, because they have taken significant steps visibly, recently, but quite frankly, they`ve worked hard over the last couple of years to improve their own capabilities.


First Published: Saturday, January 9, 2010 - 12:59
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