Statement – Yemen and Afghanistan

Posted on June 14th, 2011 in Parliamentary News

Keith Vaz (Leicester, East) (Lab): I declare my interest on Yemen.

I thank the Foreign Secretary for holding the conference with the Prime Minister and for sending the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, South (Mr. Lewis), to Yemen tomorrow. As the Foreign Secretary has told the House, only 7 per cent. of the £3 billion pledged in 2006 has been paid over to Yemen, and that is the problem-promises and no delivery. There would be one easy win for the Government. We have today announced that body scanners are to be made available at Heathrow and Manchester. If Yemen had just one body scanner at Sana’a airport, it would be able to start its direct flights to London again. Such practical measures, to which I know my right hon. Friend is committed because he is a practical Foreign Secretary, can help that very poor country.

David Miliband: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. He will know that a comprehensive assessment of the travel needs is taking place at Sana’a airport. Yemeni airlines decided to suspend their flights to London pending the conclusion of the efforts to improve security. I will ensure that the Transport Secretary is aware of his suggestion about body scanners, but I think that a rather more comprehensive approach will be needed at Sana’a airport.