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Volume 516: debated on Wednesday 13 October 2010

9. What recent assessment he made of the effectiveness of projects funded by his Department in Yemen. (16523)

Order. I understand that the House is in an excitable state. That is perfectly proper, but the mellifluous tones of the Minister of State deserve a better audience.

I saw for myself the challenges faced in Yemen and the impact of DFID’s programmes when I visited in July. I was also encouraged by the outcomes of the recent Friends of Yemen meeting in New York chaired by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.

Given the strategic importance of Yemen in the fight against terrorism, can my right hon. Friend give me an update on his conversations with his counterparts in other nations to support Yemen?

The Friends of Yemen process to which I referred, chaired jointly by my right hon. Friend and by the Saudis and the Yemenis, took some important steps in confirming that they would implement an International Monetary Fund programme. There is, however, a deteriorating security situation and it is essential that we do our utmost to make sure that Yemen does not become a failed state.

I warmly welcome the Minister’s recent visit to Yemen, continuing the good work that was done by the previous Government. Will he assure us that despite recent events, including the attempted assassination of the deputy ambassador, we will continue to fund projects in that crucial middle eastern country?

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. Nothing could be more important than spending money now to stop Yemen failing, as the costs and the danger that would follow if it were to fail would be a massive multiple of anything we might do now. It is a serious priority for the Foreign Office, for my Department and for the coalition Government.