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Thursday, July 8, 2010     GET REAL

Yemen building Red Sea base to thwart pirates, protect oil routes

CAIRO — Yemen is constructing a maritime security base to protect shipping in Red Sea.


The Yemeni Coast Guard said it was building a base in the Bab Al Mandab strait, a target of Somali pirates, Middle East Newsline reported. On June 27, the coast guard said the base was located on the Miyoun island and would protect commercial shipping that links Asia and Europe.

"Construction has already begun," a Yemeni source said.

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Miyoun, also known as Perim, divides Bab Al Mandab, a 30-kilometer wide strati between Djibouti and Yemen. In 2008, a U.S. company launched plans to build a bridge that would connect the two countries.

Yemen has been assisted by Britain and the United States to bolster its military and security forces. Both NATO states have also helped supply and train Yemen's new Coast Guard.

Bab Al Mandab has been reported to serve as a passage for more than three million barrels of oil per day. Most of the shipments stem from the Gulf Cooperation Council states and are destined for Europe and the United States.

France has also been assisting the Yemeni military. On June 27, a French special forces delegation discussed counter-insurgency cooperation with the commander of Yemen's special forces, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Saleh, the son of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"Saleh expressed satisfaction for the growing friendly relations and cooperation between the armies of the two countries, especially in fields of training and joint operations that target counter-terrorism, smuggling and sea piracy," the Yemeni news agency, Saba, reported.

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