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Monday, May 23, 2005

Yemen PM Quits Qat Chewing

Yemen Prime Minister Abdel Kader Bajamal has reportedly decided to stop chewing qat, a leafy narcotic popular in his poor Arab country.

Bajamal was quoted on Saturday in the Saudi daily newspaper Al Riyadh as saying: "The government is seeking to introduce big economic reforms and among them curbing the addiction to qat. That is why I quit it starting with myself.

"We will discourage the planting of qat, but we cannot eliminate it in one go because we have to find alternative crops first in order not to cause an economic problem."

He said that the government is encouraging young citizens to stop chewing qat and concentrate, instead, on their work.

Qat, from the Catha Edulis tree, originated in Ethiopia and spread to many African and Middle Eastern countries.

Yemeni qat is reportedly more powerful than that from other places. When chewed, qat leaves produce feelings of euphoria and stimulation.

Middle East Times

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