February 19, 2012
The US is worried that Al-Qaeda militants are operating in southern Yemen, a senior American official said Sunday.
John Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said Washington was supporting the Yemeni forces with equipment, training and consultations.
At a news conference at the US embassy, Brennan, also US President’s Assistant, commended the Yemeni army forces in their crack down on terrorists in the southern governorate of Abyan.
The US will apply pressure on the Yemeni security and intelligence bodies to “do whatever is right” to confront Al-Qaeda militants, he said.
Brennan said his visit to Sanaa was at the behest of the Yemeni officials to address sources of funding of Al-Qaeda in Yemen.
He said the US realized that Vice-President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi was committed to fighting Al-Qaeda. “We believe he will be a strong partner in the right against this terrorist organization.”
Brennan said the US counter-terrorism aid should be diverted to the forces that fight Al-Qaeda.
He emphasized that the Yemeni armed forces should be restructured to be more unified, organized and professional.
Asked about the Houthis, Brennan refused any foreign attempt to use the Houthis against the government authorities in Yemen.
He said no country would allow armed militias within its territories.
Brennan expected President Ali Abdullah Saleh to return to Yemen after the early presidential elections.
He said he conveyed a letter from President Barack Obama to Hadi in which he highlighted that Yemen has become a model for peaceful power transition in the Middle East.
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