Obama, Hadi discuss counter-terrorism, reform in Yemen

Aug. 1, 2013 at 6:17 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama and Yemeni President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi Thursday discussed counter-terrorism and political reform in Yemen, the White House said.

The two leaders "affirmed their desire to broaden and strengthen the U.S.-Yemen relationship," the White House said in a statement.

"President Obama reiterated the United States' support for the stability, security, prosperity, and unity of Yemen," the statement said. "He also commended the Yemeni government and people for their commitment to an inclusive democratic transition and the progress they have made thus far."

The White House news release said Hadi thanked Obama for U.S. support and "commended the president's efforts to advance peace, security, and opportunity in the Middle East."

The two presidents discussed Yemeni efforts to complete implementation of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative, which established a framework for the transfer of power to Hadi from former Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh in return for immunity from prosecution, and the formation of a national unity government.

The GCC is made up of Arabian states bordering the Persian Gulf -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Hadi told Obama Yemen has made progress in restructuring the military and is preparing for electoral reform, a constitutional referendum and national elections.

The White House said Obama and Hadi "reaffirmed their commitment to a strong counter-terrorism partnership, discussing a range of efforts to counter the threat to both countries posed by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula."

The statement said Obama "reaffirmed his commitment to closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. He noted his decision to lift the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, and the two presidents agreed their governments would work together to facilitate the repatriation of Yemeni detainees who have been designated for transfer."

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