Yemen needs logistical aid to help its fight against al Qaeda but will not allow foreign forces to launch operations against the group on its territory, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi told the BBC.
"We will undertake it ourselves. Why do we need outside soldiers to fight when we can do the fight ourselves?" said Qirbi in the interview broadcast on Tuesday. According to him, the government had mistakenly allowed foreign intervention in 2002, when a U.S. missile strike killed an al Qaeda leader suspected of planning the 2000 suicide bombing of the U.S. warship Cole. "It proved to be a terrible mistake, and this is why we don't want to repeat it. We have to do it ourselves and anybody who is interested will have to support us," the minister noted.
Qirbi also dismissed suggestions that the government had allowed al Qaeda to flourish in the country. "Yemen has always tackled al Qaeda. But it doesn't mean because there was a period of no confrontation that it hasn't been battling al Qaeda, because we've been battling it through dialogue and through many different means," he said.