ABU DHABI // The inaugural meeting of the Friends of Yemen yesterday discussed the country's many challenges and the best ways to encourage donors. Officials of 20 countries from Egypt to Japan gathered at the Emirates Palace hotel and divided into two working groups: one on economy and governance, the other on justice and the rule of law. Both groups looked for ways to combat al Qa'eda's resurgence in Yemen.
"The government of Yemen ambitiously began developing its economical and financial situation in 1995 with the help of the international community," said Khalid al Ghaith, the UAE's assistant foreign minister for economic affairs, during his opening address. "However, the main obstacle preventing Yemen from achieving fast economic growth is the security situation of the country." Mr al Ghaith stressed the commitment of the UAE to co-operate with and aid Yemen but insisted that "the responsibility to resolve the security challenges in the country lies with Yemen's government".
Yemen's vice minister for international planning and co-operation, Hisham Sharaf Abdullah, also stressed a need for stability. He said poverty and unemployment were rampant. The Abu Dhabi meetings, which conclude today, are expected to result in the creation of an international fund to develop Yemen. firstname.lastname@example.org