Obama vows to maintain pressure on Al-Qaeda in Yemen
'We continue to go after high-value targets inside of Yemen,' Obama says
U.S. President Barack Obama pledged Sunday to maintain pressure on Al-Qaeda in Yemen, where the president and prime minister have resigned over the country’s deepening crisis involving a Shiite militia.
Obama said his priority was to make sure Americans in Yemen were safe, describing it as a “dangerous part of the world.”
“Our second priority is to maintain our counter-terrorism pressure on Al-Qaeda in Yemen and we have been doing that,” Obama said during a visit to New Delhi.
“I saw some news reports that suggested somehow that counter-terrorism activity had been suspended,” he told reporters.
“That is not accurate. We continue to go after high-value targets inside of Yemen and ... we will continue to maintain the pressure that is required to keep the American people safe.”
President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, a key U.S. ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda’s franchise based in Yemen, tendered his resignation along with Prime Minister Khalid Bahah on Thursday, saying he could no longer stay in office as his country was in “total deadlock.”
Yemen’s parliament on Sunday failed to convene to discuss the president’s resignation, prolonging a dangerous power vacuum.
The Shiite Houthi militia, who has controlled most of the capital since September, overran the presidential palace last week, prompting Hadi to step down, shortly after Bahah quit.
Obama ruled out a U.S. troop deployment in Yemen, saying his government was opting for “partnering and intelligence sharing” with Yemeni authorities in difficult circumstances.
“It is a long, arduous process. It is not neat and it is not simple,” he said.
“But it is the best option that we have and what we have shown is that we can maintain the kind of pressure on these terrorist networks, even in these kinds of difficult ... environments.”