Britain and the United States have closed their embassies in Yemen after the US mission in the capital Sanaa received a specific threat from al Qaeda.
The move comes after US President Barack Obama blamed a Yemen-based al Qaeda group for the foiled attack on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day.
Both the US and UK have agreed to fund a counter-terrorism unit in the country and help block militants crossing into Yemen from Somalia.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “We have been working with the Americans to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperations in Yemen. Yemen has been recognised, like Somalia, to be one of the areas where we have got to do more.”
Over the weekend, top US General David Petraeus held talks with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on boosting military and economic ties. Petraeus indicated that Washington plans to double its 50 million euro security assistance to the country.
A Shi’ite rebellion in the north, a separatist movement in the south, weak government and grinding poverty makes Yemen fertile ground for militant groups to operate.