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U.S. committed to Yemen, embassy still closed

Dec. 4, 2013 at 12:13 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said it remained a steadfast political and military ally in full support of democratic transition under way in Yemen.

The U.S. State Department confirmed U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Tom Kelly met in Washington this week with Yemeni Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Mohammed Nasser Ahmed Ali.

The State Department, in a briefing on the meeting, said Tuesday the talks focused on the "continued U.S. support for Yemen's historic political transition and continued bilateral security cooperation."

U.S. drones have targeted members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni branch of al-Qaida, as part of a regional counter-terrorism offensive. In terms of political transition, Yemeni President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi pledged to U.S. officials during a Washington visit this year he was committed to national reconciliation and political transition.

Hadi took power after long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in early 2012. Yemen's political and security future is challenged by al-Qaida offenses, separatist ambitions and a northern Shiite rebellion.

The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa was closed early this year in response to a regional terrorism alert. The embassy remains closed for regular consular services.

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