Last Update 21:35
Sunday, 15 September 2019

US froze huge aid deal amid Yemen unrest

White House support for president Saleh has gradually ebbed

AFP , Friday 8 Apr 2011
Views: 1080
Views: 1080

The United States halted a record aid deal for Yemen in February amid growing unrest, marking a sharp about-face in US policy toward the anti-terror ally, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Unnamed US officials told the Journal the latest package potentially worth $1 billion or more was an attempt to get fluctuating US-Yemen counterterrorism cooperation back on track.

Washington had been due to deliver in February the first installment of the aid package, the White House's biggest investment yet to secure more active support from President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the fight against Al-Qaeda's notorious branch in Yemen.

But protesters took to the streets before the aid could reach Saleh, calling for an end to his 32-year rule amid a wave of anti-regime unrest roiling across the Middle East and North Africa.

The newspaper said the proposed package included up to $200 million in counterterrorism support for the fiscal year that ends on September 30 -- up from $155 million in fiscal 2010 and a mere $4.6 million in 2006 -- and about the same amount of funds for development assistance.

Saleh had long sought the development aid in order to convince the Yemeni public of the benefits of cooperating with Washington after he allowed US Special Forces to target militants inside his country despite widespread public opposition.

Potential aid worth $1 billion due for Yemen halted amidst unrest.

Spokesman Jay Carney reminded Saleh on Tuesday of his "responsibility to ensure the safety and security of Yemenis who are exercising their universal right to engage in political expression" in an usually personal warning following violence against demonstrators by Yemeni government forces.

Carney also urged Saleh to resolve the political impasse with the opposition so that "meaningful" political change could take place in an orderly and peaceful manner.

Western officials believe Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen -- Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula -- was behind a failed plot to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit in 2009 and an attempt to detonate explosives last year on a cargo plane bound for Chicago.

In Yemen, Saleh's official response to opposition demands to step down and hand over to his deputy for an interim period has been to urge protesters to dismantle their roadblocks and go home.

Saleh has said he is willing to step down by the end of this year, but his ruling General People's Congress party has defiantly said he should serve out his term until 2013.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.