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    Yemen ready to assist Russian warships in anti-piracy efforts

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    Yemen is ready to render all necessary assistance to the Russian warships that are patrolling the Gulf of Aden as part of international anti-piracy efforts, the Yemeni president said.

    MOSCOW, February 25 (RIA Novosti) - Yemen is ready to render all necessary assistance to the Russian warships that are patrolling the Gulf of Aden as part of international anti-piracy efforts, the Yemeni president said on Wednesday.

    According to the UN, Somali pirates carried out at least 120 attacks on ships in 2008, resulting in combined ransom payouts of around $150 million. Some 20 warships from the navies of 16 countries, including Russia, are deployed in the area.

    "We would like to discuss the issue of continuing to provide Russian warships all necessary facilities as far as it concerns anti-piracy measures in our region," Ali Abdallah Salah, who is currently on an official visit to Russia, told President Dmitry Medvedev.

    The Yemeni president reiterated that the multinational efforts against Somali pirates are of high importance, telling Medvedev that "Yemen has formed a regional center that will be dealing with the problem of combating piracy."

    "The goal we are pursuing is to provide for safe maritime navigation and enhance international peace and stability. These issues are of interest to the whole international community," Salah said.

    This is the fifth official visit by a Yemeni president to Russia, and the first since 2004. The visit is part of an international tour, which Salah started with a trip to Syria on Monday.

    After Russia, the Yemeni leader is expected to visit Tajikistan and Indonesia.

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