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House appropriations chairman urges hold on aid to Yemen

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States should hold off on sending $4 million in economic assistance to Yemen until assurances are made that "they are not in any way harboring terrorists" and aiding the investigation into the attack on the USS Cole, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said Monday.

Congress

Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, R-Florida, wrote in a letter that the funding -- included in the still unpassed 2001 Foreign Operations spending bill -- was considered "a gesture of good will toward a government that is moving positively toward democracy."

"However," Young wrote Rep. Sonny Callahan, R-Alabama, who chairs the subcommittee that appropriates international aid, "given recent tragic events in that country, I hope we can insist that Yemen fully cooperate with the United States."

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Monday that the explosion that damaged the U.S. Navy destroyer last week, killing 17 sailors, was a "criminal act." U.S. officials said they had not yet targeted any individual or group as suspects in the attack.

Saleh had said earlier that he believed the blast, which tore an 80-foot-wide hole in the side of the destroyer, might have been an accident.

Negotiations over the nearly $15 billion Foreign Operations bill -- which includes what has become an annual battle over funding of international family planning organizations -- are under way this week as Congress attempts to wrap up passage of the 13 separate spending bills for next year.

 
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Monday, October 16, 2000


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