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UN official indirectly justifies recent US drone attacks on Al-Qaida militants in Yemen

NEW YORK, April 25 (KUNA) -- Jamal Benomar, the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Yemen, late Thursday did not react directly to the US drone attacks that killed over 60 Al-Qaida militants in Yemen over the weekend, but hinted that they were justified.
He told reporters in answer to a question following a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council to examine the political process in Yemen that the Government is working very closely with a number of countries in the context of counter-terrorism and that the Yemeni Government will need "all the help" to support its efforts in the face of increased terrorist activities in the country.
"One thing is very clear," he added, "there has been an increase in terrorist activities in Yemen and there have been spectacular attacks against Government installations, a campaign of assassinations and terrorists even occupied a whole province in Yemen... They have been attacking in a very systematic way Government forces, and there have been many, many victims of their terrorist attacks." He said Yemen is the battle ground for combating Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which "still remains a very real and lethal threat." In a prepared press statement, Benomar said he briefed the Council on his recent visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and reminded its 15 members that the early political engagement of the Gulf Cooperation Conference (GCC) countries during the 2011 uprising and their launch of the GCC Initiative "enabled Yemen to embark on a promising path of peaceful change," adding that the UN and the GCC will continue to work together in support of the process.
He noted that the political transition in Yemen remains "on track and is making progress," especially in drafting the Constitution and that the National Electoral Commission is working to build a new voter registry.
He warned, however, that although full momentum has characterized much of the transition, "serious challenges persist." He said he drew the Council's attention to the state of the economy and the humanitarian situation in the country and highlighted the need for economic reforms and for donors to deliver on their earlier pledges to support the UN humanitarian response plan.
He commended President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi for his ongoing stabilizing efforts against all odds and said he deserves the continued support of the international community. (end) sj.hb