Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Protest turns deadly as Palestinians rally against Gaza offensive

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

Middle east

Tourist visas stopped as country battles al Qaeda threat

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-21

Yemen announced on Thursday that it would stop issuing tourist visas to foreigners upon arrival at the country's airports. The move, which aims to prevent militants entering Yemen, comes as the country steps up its war on al Qaeda.

REUTERS - Yemen will stop issuing tourist visas on arrival to foreigners in an effort to prevent militants entering the country as it steps up its war on al Qaeda, a government official and state media said on Thursday.

The move will mostly affect visitors from Western countries, including the United States, where a recent report said some U.S. citizens suspected of training in al Qaeda camps in Yemen may pose a serious threat to their home country.

"In the framework of efforts by our country to fight terrorism and strengthen security measures to prevent the infiltration of terrorist elements into the country, the granting of visas at airports to foreigners will be cancelled," the Yemeni Defence Ministry's September 26 newspaper said.

Sanaa declared war on al Qaeda last week as pressure grew for a crackdown on the global militant group after its Yemen-based wing said it was behind a Dec. 25 attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound passenger plane.

Yemen is also battling a Shi'ite revolt in the north and southern separatists. Western countries and neighbouring oil giant Saudi Arabia fear al Qaeda could exploit the chaos in Yemen to turn it into a launch pad for further attacks.

Yemen gained a reputation as an al Qaeda haven after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, and came under a renewed spotlight after crackdowns on the group in Pakistan and Afghanistan raised fears Yemen was becoming a training and recruiting centre for militants.

Security concerns have also prompted Britain to suspend direct flights from Yemen in a wave of measures to tighten border security, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Wednesday, warning that militant cells were actively planning attacks.

Rules mostly affect Western and Asian visitors

Sanaa's move to stop granting visas on arrival will affect tourists previously able to obtain entry at the airport, including those from Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan, the government official said.

"The granting of visas to foreigners will only happen via Yemeni embassies abroad, and after turning to the responsible security apparatus to investigate the identities of travellers to bar the infiltration of suspected terrorist elements," September 26 quoted a security source as saying.

Visitors to Yemen from Arab states with bilateral agreements on entry such as Egypt, Syria, Sudan and Jordan, will not be affected by the new rules, said the official, who asked not to be identified.

But citizens of those states who travel to Yemen from a third country are required to get visas in advance, he added.

Two groups of Americans based in Yemen are causing concern for U.S. counter-terrorism experts in the Gulf region, according to a report by the Senate Foreign elations Committee staff. The report was prepared for release at a hearing on Wednesday.

Most worrisome is a group of up to 36 former U.S. convicts who converted to Islam in prison and arrived in Yemen in the past year, ostensibly to study Arabic, the report said.

Some members of the group have disappeared and it is feared they were "radicalised in prison and travelled to Yemen for training," the report added.

Defence and counterterrorism officials say Washington has been quietly supplying military equipment, intelligence and training to Yemen to root out suspected al Qaeda hide-outs.

General David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, has recommended doubling 2010 military aid for Yemen to about $150 million. That is in addition to development aid worth about $63 million, some of which goes to Yemeni security forces.

Date created : 2010-01-21

  • YEMEN

    UN Security Council slaps sanctions on al Qaeda's Yemeni wing

    Read more

COMMENT(S)