Yemen dismisses Al Qaeda threat as ‘exaggerated’


Borzou Daragahi
The Los Angeles Times
January 4, 2009

[efoods]Yemeni officials on Sunday dismissed the threat posed by Al Qaeda in their country as “exaggerated” and downplayed the possibility of cooperating closely with the United States in fighting Islamic militants, even as the U.S. and Britain temporarily closed their diplomatic outposts in Yemen because of unspecified Al Qaeda threats.

The statements by Yemen’s foreign minister, chief of national security and Interior Ministry came a day after the region’s top American military commander vowed to step up U.S. military support for the beleaguered Arabian Peninsula nation.

Analysts said the Yemeni statements reflected domestic political concerns about President Ali Abdullah Saleh appearing weak and beholden to the West as he faces numerous political challenges.

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