CIA chief visits Yemen president, US seeks to acquire base

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 10:25:17 -0000

CIA Chief Visits Yemen President, US seeks to acquire base
 
SAN`A, Yemen (AP) — CIA director George Tenet made a brief visit
Saturday to Yemen, where an official said the United States has offered
to base CIA and FBI teams to help the government fight terrorism. 

A Yemeni diplomat said Tenet and President Ali Abdullah Saleh discussed
the investigation into the October 2000 bomb attack on the USS Cole, the
hunt for al-Qaida operatives in Yemen and developments across the Red
Sea in the Horn of Africa. 

A U.S. Embassy official declined to comment on Tenet's six-hour visit. 

Washington has pushed for greater cooperation from Yemen in the hunt for
terror suspects since the attack on the Cole, which killed 17 U.S.
sailors. The United States blames Osama bin Laden's network for the
attack in the southern port of Aden. 

Now, U.S. officials fear al-Qaida members fleeing Afghanistan might seek
refuge in Yemen, where the borders are porous and remote areas are only
nominally under government control. 

Last week, the FBI issued a terrorist alert and said it was searching
for 17 men possibly linked to al-Qaida and believed to have been
planning an attack against the United States or on Americans in Yemen.
No attack took place, and U.S. and Yemeni officials said Thursday that
five of the 17 men were in custody in Yemen. 

A U.S. official said on condition of anonymity last week that the CIA is
beginning to arm and train counterterrorism teams and intelligence
services in a number of countries. He declined to name the countries. 

On Saturday, a Yemeni police official said on condition of anonymity
that Yemen was studying a U.S. offer of assistance. 

In Washington, FBI spokesman Bill Carter, while not commenting
specifically on Yemen, said Saturday that ``any request of assistance to
any foreign government in the fight against terrorism would be taken
very seriously. Everything would be done to provide the assistance.'' 

Yemen, fearful it could become a target in the U.S.-led campaign against
terrorism, has stepped up its cooperation with the United States in
recent months. In December, security troops battled tribal forces during
a search for al-Qaida members in a remote region. 

Gen. Tommy Franks, the head of the U.S. military's Central Command,
visited Yemen on Monday, and President Bush spoke by telephone with
Saleh just after Franks' visit to discuss the war on terror. 

Interior Minister Rashad al-Eleimi and U.S. Ambassador Edmund J. Hull
met Saturday and discussed the development of the new Yemeni coast
guard, an Interior Ministry official said on condition of anonymity. He
said the United States has offered Yemen 15 new coast guard boats. 

The U.S. Embassy declined to comment. 

Tenet came to Yemen from Egypt, where he met Saturday with President
Hosni Mubarak. Neither side made any statement after the meeting. 
 
Source:  AP 

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