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Yemen open to talks with Qaeda
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 11 - 01 - 2010

Yemen's president said he is ready to open a dialogue with Al-Qaeda fighters who lay down their weapons and renounce violence.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh vowed that his government is “determined to stand up to the challenges” of Al-Qaeda and that his security forces will track down as many Al-Qaeda fighters as possible among those who refuse to stop violence. But he left the door open for negotiations.
“Dialogue is the best way ... even with Al-Qaeda, if they set aside their weapons and return to reason,” he said in an interview with Abu Dhabi TV aired late Saturday. “We are ready to reach understanding with anyone who renounces violence and terrorism.”
“They are a threat not only to Yemen but also to international peace and security. They are ignorants, drug dealers and illiterate. They have no relation with Islam,” he said.
The US says Al-Qaeda in Yemen has become a global threat after it allegedly plotted a failed attempt to bomb a US passenger jet on Christmas. Washington has dramatically beefed up counterterrorism funds and training for Yemen to fight the terror group, and last month Yemeni forces carried out its heaviest strikes in years on Al-Qaeda strongholds.
Meanwhile, a top Yemeni official said that dozens of Al-Qaeda militants are hiding out in a remote area of Yemen.
Al-Qaeda men have streamed in from Afghanistan and have joined local members of the militant network in lairs carved out in the rugged Kour mountain in southern Shabwa province, provincial governor Ali Hasan Al-Ahmadi told the London-based Al-Sharq Al


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