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The United States recognizes the growing threat emanating from Yemen and has been ramping up levels of both security and development assistance. The approach, said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, "is a more holistic Yemen policy that not only seeks to address security and counter terrorism concerns, but also the profound political, economic, and social challenges that help al-Qaida and related affiliates to operate and flourish."
The presence of al-Qaida-related extremists poses a grave threat to the security and stability of the government of Yemen. For the last 5 years, these terrorists have carried out multiple attacks against Yeminis, Americans, and citizens of other countries.
The government of Yemen has increased the pressure on al-Qaida, carrying out airstrikes and ground operations against senior al-Qaida targets. The U.S. commends Yemen on these successful operations and is committed to continuing to support Yemen's counter-terrorism efforts. The U.S. Departments of State and Defense provide training and assistance to Yemen's key counterterrorism units. Through Diplomatic Security Antiterrorism Assistance programs, the U.S. provides training to security forces in the Ministry of Interior, including the Yemeni coast Guard and the Central Security Forces Counterterrorism Unit.
Yemen also faces threats from the Houthi rebellion in the north of the country and an increasingly militant protest movement in the south that has taken on secessionist overtones. The continued fighting in the north against Houthi rebels has dire humanitarian consequences, with thousands killed and over 200,000 displaced in sometimes appalling conditions. The U.S. continues to call for a ceasefire and to encourage both parties to return to negotiations. To assist those displaced by the conflict, the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Food for Peace has donated $7.5 million in emergency food aid. The Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance has contributed $3 million to relief efforts.
"The overarching goal of U.S. development and security assistance to Yemen," said Assistant Secretary Feltman, "is to improve stability and security by improving governance and helping to meet pressing socio-economic challenges."