"We want a broad and comprehensive partnership, not only with the government of Yemen, but with the people of Yemen," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a recent visit to Yemen.
"The United States seeks a unified, stable, democratic and prosperous Yemen where civil society has room to operate, but al-Qaida does not," said Secretary Clinton. To support this goal, the U.S. has tripled aid to Yemen over the past two years. In the past five years, U.S. military assistance to Yemen has totaled $250 million. In 2010, military and civilian aid was almost evenly split and combined for about three-hundred million dollars.
Secretary Clinton also urged Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to cooperate more fully in countering terrorism. There are terrorists operating from Yemeni territory today, said Secretary Clinton in a town hall meeting. They represent an urgent concern, as they have plotted to attack the United States. "Stopping such threats would be a priority for any nation, and it is a priority for the United States," she said.
"We face a common threat posed by the terrorists and al-Qaida," said Secretary Clinton, "but our partnership goes beyond counterterrorism." Secretary Clinton pledged that the United States would continue its efforts to address the many challenges Yemen faces, including poverty, corruption, social inequality, and a Shiite rebellion in the north and a separate secessionist movement in the south. Secretary Clinton also called on Yemen to stop the practice of child marriage and enact reforms.
Another issue for Yemen is upcoming parliamentary elections in April. "We want to see the president and opposition agree on how to hold parliamentary elections that will be fair and legitimate and inclusive," said Secretary Clinton. She also expressed U.S. support for keeping presidential term limits in place, even as Yemen's parliament voted earlier this month to take the first step toward abolishing such limits. President Saleh's second and final term in office is up in 2013.