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Vice President Dick Cheney met with President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a this afternoon to discuss the developing multi-faceted relationships between the United States and Yemen, as well as the Middle East peace process and Gulf security.
On his first overseas trip as Vice President, Mr. Cheney made Yemen his third stop on a ten-day tour of twelve countries, including nine Arab nations and the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Israel.
Focusing first on the intensifying relations between Yemen and the United States and their partnership in the global war on terrorism, the Vice President expressed his deep appreciation for President Saleh's determination to eradicate the al Qaeda presence in Yemen. The two leaders also discussed ways of further strengthening U.S. - Yemeni cooperation in staunching potential terrorist flows through the region. Mr. Cheney indicated that in addition to being responsive to Yemen's request for training its special forces in their counterterrorism mission, the United States is planning to address essential military equipment needs and to increase assistance to Yemen in the economic and development fields. Yemen and the U.S. also continue planning of the Yemeni Coast Guard. Just as important will be U.S. help in encouraging other members of the international coalition to contribute to Yemen's development plans.
In reviewing the latest developments in the Middle East, the Vice President welcomed the Yemeni President's support for General Zinni's mission in the area. Mr. Cheney summed up that what the United States is striving for is the ending of the cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians and the implementation of the Tenet and Mitchell plans with the ultimate objective being the establishment of a Palestinian state coexisting peacefully with Israel.
Vice President Cheney and President Saleh also discussed the need to enhance security in the Gulf and address Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Cheney's meetings with President Saleh were attended, on the American side, by United States Ambassador to Yemen Edmund J. Hull; Mr. Lewis Libby, Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff to the Vice President and Assistant to the Vice President for National Security; General Wayne Downing, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism; Ambassador William Burns, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs; and Vice Admiral Walter F. Doran, Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
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