WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- President Bush told his Yemeni counterpart Tuesday that the two countries needed to increase cooperation on intelligence-sharing and law enforcement -- slightly more than a year after Islamic suicide bombers blew up an American destroyer docked in a Yemeni port.
Bush made his comments to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Washington during talks about the investigation of the attack on the USS Cole and the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism.
Saleh, talking to reporters after the meeting, said he and the president also discussed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York, and the bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998.
National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack said during the half-hour meeting, the two leaders agreed to turn cooperation into results. Saleh told Bush that he wanted to bring al Qaida to justice, McCormack said. Al Qaida has been accused of implication in the Sept. 11 attacks.
On Iraq, Bush stressed the need for regional stability. A question mark exists on whether Bush will order military strikes against Iraq for not allowing weapons inspectors into its borders to search for evidence the country is developing weapons of mass destruction, a violation of its agreement at the end of the Gulf War.
Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Yemen cooperated in the investigation of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington as well as the bombing of the USS Cole, a destroyer.
The United States requested through Yemeni Embassy that the country halt the trial of the suspects in the Cole bombing until more evidence could be obtained.
Yemen sits in the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, Oman to the east and the Gulf of Aden to the south. It was in Yemen's port of Aden that the USS Cole was attacked on Oct. 12, 2000, with an explosives-laden boat, while it was refueling.
Seventeen sailors were killed and 39 others were injured.
Washington has blamed both attacks on Saudi exile Osama bin Laden and his al Qaida network. On Oct. 7, nearly a year after the attack on the USS Cole, the United States launched attacks against Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington that killed more than 3,000 people.