The recent ceasefire in northern Yemen offers hope for a longer-term, political settlement between the rebels and the Government. However, tensions continue to run high in the south. Yemen also faces a growing terrorist threat. The London meeting of
My hon. Friend makes an important point. One of the key outcomes of the Friends of Yemen meeting in London was that the Gulf Co-operation Council should play a more proactive role in helping economic and other development in Yemen. At the meeting in Riyadh on 27 and
Before the usual suspects send foreign troops blundering into a fourth Islamic country, will the Foreign Secretary draw their attention to the fact that the northern frontier of the Yemen is only 360 miles from Mecca, that the two main land routes for pilgrims on the Hajj cross its territory, that thousands of Yemenis fought against the Russians in Afghanistan, and that very large numbers of their offspring work in the oil states of the Gulf?
I am very disappointed to have to agree with the hon. Gentleman. He has spoken with characteristic force but uncharacteristic accuracy in describing all the points. His warnings are well made. I note his commitment in respect of the role that Yemenis play throughout this country, including in South Shields, the historic centre of the Yemeni population in Britain, and I commend him for his views on the topic.
I declare my interest in welcoming the steps that have been taken so far, including the visit to Yemen by my hon. Friend the Minister of State and the lobbying of the GCC. Is it not important that we now have a fresh initiative? Given the strong personal relationship between the Secretary of State and Mrs. Clinton-I think that she last described him as "vibrant and attractive"-is it not appropriate for a joint visit to be made to Yemen? The German Foreign Minister has been there. I know that the Secretary of State sent his Minister of State, but a joint initiative between the United States and the UK could help the whole process.
Needless to say I have thought of many places for a joint visit with the Secretary of State and I shall certainly bear in mind the attractions of Yemen. To be serious, the Yemeni Government have taken some important measures since the