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 Monday, 13 January, 2003, 12:56 GMT
Horn 'anti-terror alliance'
US marines
The US has deployed 900 marines in Djibouti
The foreign ministers of Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen say they have established a regional alliance that will attempt to combat terrorism in the Horn of Africa.

The announcement came at the end of a two-day meeting in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

The foreign minister of Sudan, Mustafa Ismail, said countries in the region needed to be coordinated to fight terrorism.

The foreign ministers of the three countries said in a joint statement they would urge their leaders to hold an annual summit.

The ministers also said they would get together every six months and they confirmed their next meeting would be in mid-June in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a.

Al Qaeda

The ministers said that the purpose of their regional grouping would be to "combat all forms of terrorism".

"We are in need of cooperation to combat terrorism and make our region free of any terrorist elements that destabilise the world's security," Mr Ismail said.

A US task force is currently deployed in the Horn of Africa to eradicate terrorist activity in countries like Yemen, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea.

The force also aims to hunt down operatives of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

General John Sattler
The US suspects Yemen, Sudan and Somalia have links to al-Qaeda

The French news agency AFP reports that Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen have drawn closer since their respective presidents met in October last year.

Earlier this month, Yemen vowed to step up its fight against terrorism after the murder of three US missionaries in December.

Since the 11 September 2001 attacks, Yemen has been moving against suspected al-Qaeda members in an attempt to shed its image as a haven for Islamic militants.

The US believes many al-Qaeda members went into hiding in Yemen after the collapse of the Taleban in Afghanistan last year.

Al-Qaeda has been blamed for two attacks off Yemen's coast - the French tanker Limburg was attacked in October, two years after 17 US sailors died in the bombing of the USS Cole.


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11 Jan 03 | Africa
13 Dec 02 | Africa
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