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Brown calls for global meeting on security threats from Yemen

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for an international meeting on extremist threats originating in Yemen amid claims that a Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a US-bound plane on Christmas Day was trained by al Qaeda in Yemen.

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AFP - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called an international meeting on combating extremism in Yemen for January 28 in London, his office said Friday.

The meeting, on the same day as a conference on Afghanistan, comes after an alleged bid by a Nigerian man suspected of receiving Al-Qaeda training in Yemen to blow up a US plane as it came in to land in Detroit on December 25.

"Gordon Brown has invited key international partners to a high-level meeting in order to discuss how best to counter radicalisation in Yemen," the Downing Street office said in a statement.

"The prime minister will host the event on 28 January in London."

Downing Street added the meeting would "stand alone" but run "in parallel" with the Afghanistan event, which is expected to be attended by senior ministers or leaders from around 43 nations.

The aims would include identifying what the Yemeni government needs to help it fight violent Islamic extremism and coordinating assistance for areas most at risk of becoming radical, the statement said.

Brown added: "The international community must not deny Yemen the support it needs to tackle extremism."

Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallah, 23, is suspected of trying to blow up a Christmas Day flight from Amsterdam to Detroit and of visiting Yemen and receiving training for his mission from an Al-Qaeda bomb maker there.

The announcement of the meeting came hours after Brown said the Detroit incident shows that terrorism remains a "very real" global threat as the world enters a new decade, eight years on from 9/11.

The alleged plot, which has led to a major review of security procedures and the coordination of airline and other watch-lists, threw the spotlight onto the threat posed by militants based in Yemen, Brown said.

"Enemies of democracy and freedom -- now trying to mastermind death and destruction from Yemen as well as other better-known homes of international terror such as Pakistan and Afghanistan -- are concealing explosives in ways which are more difficult to detect," said Brown in an article on the Downing Street website.

"Al-Qaeda and their associates continue in their ambition to indoctrinate thousands of young people around the world with a deadly desire to kill and maim.

"Our response in security, intelligence, policing and military action, is not just an act of choice but an act of necessity."

He added world leaders must now cooperate "urgently" to tighten security at airports and on planes. Britain had ordered a review of airport security arrangements, he said, promising action "as quickly as possible".

This could include the use of full body scanners at airports -- only previously used to a limited extent.

"The new decade is starting as the last began -- with Al-Qaeda creating a climate of fear," Brown wrote, saying the failed bombing had "exposed an evolving terrorist threat" and highlighted "a major new base for terrorism."

"The failed attack in Detroit on Christmas Day reminds us of a deeper reality: that almost 10 years after September 11th, international terrorism is still a very real threat," he added.

 

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