Obama pledges support for Yemen in fighting Al Qaeda

Washington, Jan 28: US President Barack Obama Monday hailed the completion of a national dialogue in Yemen, pledging continuing support to the Arab country’s efforts to defeat an Al Qaeda offshoot.

In a phone conversation with his Yemeni counterpart Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Obama described the “successful conclusion” of the dialogue as “a major milestone in Yemen’s political transition,” Xinhua quoted the White House as saying in a readout of the talks.

Hadi took office in February 2012 after a power transfer agreement ended the rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh and the 11-month mass protests across the country, and he pledged to carry out reforms during his two-year transitional term, to launch a national dialogue with all political factions, and to combat Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Obama pledged continuing support for Yemen’s transition, including its efforts to strengthen the economy, the White House said.

“The presidents also reaffirmed their commitment to a strong security partnership, including by building the capacity of the Yemeni security services to defeat Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” the White House added.

The Obama administration has stepped up drone strikes on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula since Hadi took over the presidency, with a view to uprooting the militants in Yemen’s southern regions.