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Yemen

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 2nd November 2011.

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Photo of Mike Gapes Mike Gapes Labour, Ilford South

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) material and (b) technical support his Department provided to the Yemeni Government in each of the last five years.

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The UK has provided material and technical support to the Yemeni Government over the last five years as part of our counter terrorism assistance to reduce the risk from international terrorism to the UK and UK interests overseas. We have been working with the Yemeni Government to increase Yemen’s capability to tackle Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including through the provision of training and advice, for example to the Yemeni Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) and Yemeni Coastguard. Since the escalation in violence both projects have now been suspended. All our capacity building is delivered in accordance with UK values and human rights standards. Before providing any military support or training to Yemeni forces, the UK Government seek assurances that these forces will not be deployed on operations outside of their mandate or in breach of human rights. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) Counter Terrorism Programme is the principal funding stream underpinning Her Majesty's Government’s Counter Terrorism projects overseas. The FCO’s total worldwide Counter Terrorism Programme budget: for financial year (FY) 2011-12— £38 million, FY 2010-11—£38 million, FY 2009-10— £37 million, FY 2008-09—£35 million, FY 2007-08— £16.3 million. In each financial year a proportion of these annual allocations are committed to programmes in Yemen. The majority of our funding in Yemen is delivered through Ministry of Defence projects. Since the attempted aviation attack in Detroit in December 2009, we have also committed funds to assist the Yemeni authorities to improve security at the international airport in Sana'a. Funding has been allocated to provide x-ray machines and electronic trace detection equipment at a cost of £427,000. We have also provided training for Yemeni airport personnel in Dubai and Amman.

The FCO, together with the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence, contributes to and administers the conflict pool. In the period in question several projects were agreed which have benefited the Government of Yemen in terms of technical expertise. No money was committed directly to the Government of Yemen. Projects involved technical funding to support the work of the Yemeni authorities in addition to training and guidance. These are as follows: 2006-07 border security costing £25,267; 2008-09 Ministry of the Interior CTU and coastguard development costing £93,844; 2009-10 Yemeni Coastguard development costing £50,563; 2010-11 officer training in the UK costing £145,200 and public order training, scaled down to the gifting of non-lethal surplus equipment. In the current financial year funding has been allocated to provide further officer training, but none has yet been spent.

A small bilateral programmes budget is administered by the embassy in Sana'a. While most of the work funded does not involve the Government of Yemen, one recent project was resourced to provide support to the Ministry of the Interior, specifically setting up the first Regional Maritime Security Conference.

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