Yemen seeks US help to ease European flight curbsBy DPA, IANS
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
SANA’A - Yemen Tuesday asked the US for help in convincing European countries to ease flight restrictions imposed in the wake of a foiled bomb plot involving US-bound parcels flown out from Sana’a, the Saba news agency reported.
Last week’s discovery of a pair of printer cartridges loaded with explosives on two cargo flights renewed fears about terrorism. The bombs were found at airports in Britain and Dubai.
Germany Monday banned all flights originating in Yemen. Canada banned all air cargo from Yemen, following similar action by Britain.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh made the plea during a telephone conversation with US President Barack Obama, Saba reported.
“The decisions made by some European countries to halt air flights from Yemen is a collective punishment to the Yemeni people,” Saleh was quoted as saying.
The ban “achieves the aims of terrorists and damages Yemen’s efforts to fight terrorism,” he added.
Saleh called on Obama to “intervene (to convince) the European Union countries to reconsider such a decision.”
He also reassured the US president that “strict and tight procedures have been taken at Yemeni airports,” the agency said.
Yemen had previously protested Germany’s flight ban Monday, calling it a “hasty and exaggerated reaction” and a “collective and illogical punishment”.
Yemeni authorities are still searching for the militants who mailed the parcels. Police released the main suspect, a 22-year-old student who apparently had fallen victim to identity theft.
A team of US investigators arrived Monday in Sana’a to review security measures at Yemen’s two international airports.
A Yemeni government official, who asked not to be named, told DPA that the team would also train airport officers on “advanced search techniques”.