At the same time as Jamal al Badawi is cutting a sweet deal to get out of jail, and al Khaiwani and a number of other journalists are being rung up on “terrorism” charges – Fran Townsend pays a visit to the Republic to deliver president Bush’s message “lauding” Yemen’s success in combating terrorism….and in Aden no less. I understand that it is important for Washington to keep the Saleh regime “with us,” but I hope Ms. Townsend’s message wasn’t all flowers and candy like the Yemeni government reports. Regardless, from here, and to Yemenis, it looks like Washington is validating Saleh’s policies. What are we thinking?
UPDATE: Yemeni news is reporting this in a predictable way – Stressing the “unity” aspect of the president’s message. NewsYemen headline:
“A Written Message from American President Bush Says Yemeni Unity Important Component of Region’s Stability”
The fact that Washington supports Yemen’s unity is not a shocker…the last thing we want is more fire in the region, especially in a country with so much terror potential. However, the timing of this thing stinks – there is no reason to reward the near pardon of the terrorist responsible for 17 American sailor deaths.
Bush considers Yemen’s security important element for the region’s stability
almotamar.net – The US President George Bush stressed Monday that Yemen’s security, stability and unity a significant element for serving stability in the region, renewing his country’s confirmation on maintaining the support for Yemen’s security and unity as well as its progress in democracy and development and lauding the successes Yemen has achieved in the field of combating terror.
That came in a written message President Ali Abdullah Saleh received from the US President conveyed Monday by Bush’s Assistant to Internal security Affairs and Combating Terror Francis Townsend during Saleh’s receiving her today at the Yemeni commercial capital Aden.
Bush’s message stressed the US keenness on increasing of cooperation with Yemen in various economic, scientific and security areas and establishing strategic partnership between the two countries.
The American President said in his message that the United States would continue in supporting the people of Yemen and their government for building a better future and in the efforts for enhancement of political and economic reforms and fighting terror. Bush pointed out the Yemeni march of democracy and reforms and the support offered by the US whether in the field of education or development or the military and security and combating terror, also he referred to selecting Yemen among the countries benefiting from the Millennium Challenge Fund as well as choosing it among the six countries for benefiting from the programme on supporting education over the coming five years.
The message pointed to the positive results of President Saleh’s visit recently to Washington and the issues discussed there and the present steady development of the Yemeni-American relations at different levels.
In the meeting President Saleh also discussed with the US President’s emissary aspects of bilateral relations and areas of cooperation, among them the areas of economy and security and fighting terror.
On his part President Ali Abdullah Saleh asked Townsend to convey a message to the American President George Bush related to bilateral relations and the regional and Arab developments of common interest.