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Yemen: Military Aid

Volume 503: debated on Monday 11 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK armed forces personnel are based in Yemen; and what their role is. (309637)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will deploy UK armed forces personnel to Yemen. (309739)

As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary told the House on 5 January 2010, Official Report, column 21, we are pursuing a cross-governmental strategy in Yemen based on addressing the causes of conflict, support for political structures, building Yemeni capacity to tackle security, and helping the Yemeni Government to deliver the functions of the state.

The Ministry of Defence is fully engaged in this strategy, and there are currently two UK military personnel in the Defence Section of the UK embassy in Yemen, whose role is to advise the ambassador on defence issues.

Our relationship with Yemen, as with many other countries, also includes work on counter-terrorism. At the invitation of the Government of Yemen we are providing a training and mentoring programme for the Yemen Coast Guard and we are also offering training to the counter-terrorist police unit. It is not the practice of the Government to make public the details of such assistance to individual countries as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations.

We will continue to offer support to the Government of Yemen and will consider any further requests for training assistance.