The US has promised to increase co-operation with Yemen over security and development issues, as it tries to tackle the threat of extremism in the country.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi in Washington on 21 January.

“To combat this growing threat, the US will intensify its co-operation with Yemen on both security and development. We will work with other partners and like-minded countries,” said Clinton. She was speaking at a press conference after the talks.

Concerns over the security situation in Yemen have intensified in the wake of a foiled attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on 25 December. The alleged bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was reportedly trained in Yemen.

The government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh is also battling secessionists in the south of the country and Houthi rebels in the north.

The pledge of further assistance from the US came ahead of a conference in London on 27 January which will discuss how other governments can support Sanaa and help to address social, economic and political problems in the country. Representatives from the GCC, EU, UN, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are all expected to attend.

At the press conference in Washington, Al-Qirbi said the fight against terrorism in Yemen was closely linked to the need for economic development. He added that his government hoped the London conference will “strengthen our capabilities in implementing a lot of the reforms and achieving economic growth”.

The US government’s overseas aid arm, Usaid, recently signed an agreement with the Yemeni government which could lead to it providing $121m worth of development and economic assistance over three years.

Clinton warned that the success of this investment depends on Yemen’s ability to strengthen its ability to govern, protect human rights, combat corruption and create a better environment for business and investment.