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Anti-piracy base mulled at Red Sea entrance

Paris: France, Yemen and Djibouti are preparing a letter of intent on an "agreement in principle" to create the harbour at Perim, which lies in a strategic location at the entrance to the Red Sea between Yemen and Djibouti, according to Agence France Presse.? "We had very sincere talks," that centred on increasing visits to Yemeni ports by foreign ships battling piracy and on helping train coastguards, the French foreign minister said.?"We must look at stepping up regional cooperation to avoid security problems," said Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi, noting that humble fishermen have been targeted by foreign vessels on counter-piracy operations.?Yemen wants to create an operations coordination centre, since we "must help the fishermen to earn their living," Kurbi said. The country currently operates only a small anti-piracy monitoring centre.?Yemen will allow foreign warships to chase suspect vessels into its territorial waters, on a case by case basis and when Yemen is unable to act itself, a French diplomatic source said.?It is "progress compared to a few months ago," the source added. [23/02/09]?

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