Yemen on Saturday welcomed British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's announcement of an international meeting in London on January 28 on combating extremism in the Arabian Peninsula country.
"It's a step in the right direction that will mobilise international support for Yemeni development and its efforts to battle unemployment and the effects of poverty," the Saba news agency quoted an official spokesman as saying. "Eradicating poverty and joblessness in developping countries is the best way to fight extremism and ensure that no environment is created that would encourage this phenomenon and attract young people to it," he added.
On Friday Brown's office said the London meeting at the end of the month would run "in parallel" with a conference on Afghanistan which is expected to be attended by senior ministers or leaders from about 43 nations. Long-standing concerns that Yemen has become a haven for Islamic terror groups were thrown into sharp relief when a Nigerian man allegedly trained in the country was charged with trying to blow up a US airliner on December 25.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, reportedly confessed to being trained by an Al-Qaeda bomb-maker in Yemen for his alleged mission to blow up the plane as it came in to land in Detroit, sparking a major international security scare. The United States revealed this week that it was sharply increasing its military and economic aid to Sanaa to fight a growing threat from Al-Qaeda, and Brown said it was vital to mobilise international support. "The international community must not deny Yemen the support it needs to tackle extremism," he said.
Brown has invited "key international partners to a high-level meeting in order to discuss how best to counter radicalisation in Yemen", his office said in a statement. The aims of the meeting would include identifying what Yemen's government needs to help it fight violent Islamic extremism and coordinating assistance for areas most at risk of becoming radical, it said.