Yemen needs aid to fight al Qaeda: Foreign minister

Yemen is under pressure from Washington to crush a wing of al Qaeda.

Dubai: Yemen needs more help from its allies to combat al Qaeda, its foreign minister said on Monday, just two days after the militant group said it had been responsible for sending US-bound parcel bombs on two aircraft.

Yemen is under pressure from Washington to crush a wing of al Qaeda, but also faces intermittent revolt by Shi`ites in the north and a secessionist movement in the south.

Two parcel bombs from Yemen were intercepted in Britain and Dubai two weeks ago, in a foiled plot claimed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen.

Washington has helped Yemen target militants but Sana`a is concerned about more overt US involvement that could alienate ordinary Yemenis and boost al Qaeda. Some other Western countries also give aid to the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state.

"Those who want to help the Yemeni government should help build its forces to fight terrorism and give its security forces training and equipment, as well as logistical support in communications and transportation," Abu Bakr al Qirbi told the pan Arab news channel Al Arabiya.

The foreign minister told the local English daily The National that Yemen maintained its independence in its security operations.

"The United States cooperates with Yemen in intelligence, but the operations are conducted by the Yemeni security forces."

Al Qaeda`s Yemen wing last year claimed a foiled Christmas Day plot to bomb a US-bound passenger plane and staged an unsuccessful assassination attempt on a Saudi security chief.

Qirbi said Yemen`s security forces had done well so far in the fight against the militant group given the resources it has.

"I think our security forces have managed a lot of achievements in facing al Qaeda," the paper quoted the minister, who was in Abu Dhabi, as saying.

AQAP also claimed it had caused the crash in September of a UPS cargo plane in Dubai in its statement on Friday, though the UAE`s civil aviation authority has said there was no evidence that an explosive device had brought the aircraft down.

Bureau Report

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