Last updated: 12 May, 2013

Saudi-Yemen talks focus on security

Saudi Arabia’s interior minister on Sunday discussed security cooperation with Yemen, home to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Yemen’s official Saba news agency reported from the neighbouring kingdom.

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef discussed with Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi in Saudi Arabia “strengthening bilateral security cooperation for preserving security in both countries,” Saba said.

They also discussed the impact of new Saudi constraints on foreign workers that have led to the expulsion of thousands of citizens of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country living in the oil-rich Gulf kingdom.

Riyadh warned this month that illegal foreign workers risk being slapped with prison sentences and fines after a three-month grace period expires on July 3.

Saudi Arabia is resuming a project abandoned in 2004 to build a three-metre-high (10-foot) fence the length of its border with Yemen, local media reported in April.

Al-Qaeda took advantage of the decline in central government control during the upheaval before president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s departure to seize control of swathes of south and east Yemen during 2011.

Despite a counter-offensive by the army last year, backed by US drone strikes, the jihadists are still active in the desert east.

The militants have withdrawn to mountainous regions in several provinces and although weakened still manage to launch frequent hit-and-run attacks on the security forces.

President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi was quoted this week as warning of “the presence of sleeping Al-Qaeda cells in Sanaa.”

Police on Sunday raided a house in the southern city of Aden, killing one suspected Al-Qaeda militant and arresting three, an official said, adding that the cell had been plotting to attack vital installations.