War Against Terror To Top Agenda Of Saudi-Yemen Talks

RIYADH, 5 July 2003 — The fight against terror and security cooperation to curb infiltration and weapons smuggling to Saudi Arabia will top the agenda of the Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council held in the Yemeni capital Sanaa today. The meeting will be co-chaired by Prince Sultan, second deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, who heads the Saudi delegation, the Royal Court announced yesterday.

From the Yemeni side, the meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Abdul Qader Bajammal. The talks are significant against the backdrop of a growing nexus between the arms and drugs’ smugglers of the two countries.

A press statement carried by a regional newspaper said that “Yemen and Saudi Arabia are partners in combating terrorism, and their positions and views are concurrent regarding peace in the Middle East and all other issues”.

Riyadh and Sanaa also signed an agreement early last month on the organization of border authorities following the visit of the Yemeni Interior Minister Dr. Rashed Mohammed Al-Olaimi to the Kingdom.

The statement said that the three-day meeting of the Saudi-Yemeni panel beginning today will deal with 16 cooperation agreements, executive programs and memoranda of understanding covering a host of issues in the security, political, economic, cultural and commercial fields.

According to Maj. Gen. Abdullah ibn Saeed Al-Ghamdi, commander of the Border Guard in the Najran region, most of the items smuggled through the Saudi-Yemeni border last year were weapons and drugs. He said the border guards seized a large quantity of arms and ammunition last year.

In the Jizan region, the guards arrested 381,900 illegal entrants in the 11 months ending Feb. 2003. Reports indicate that the majority of illegal entrants arrived from Yemen and were sent back by the Saudi guards through the 1,800-km long border between the two nations.

In Jizan alone, the guards confiscated 263 firearms, 1.2 million rounds of ammunition, 46,700 sticks of dynamite and a large number of detonators during the past 11 months, Maj. Gen. Saleh Al-Santali of the Border Guard was quoted as saying recently.

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