Obama: No Plan to Send US Troops to Yemen, Somalia
VOA News 11 January 2010
U.S. President Barack Obama says he has no intention to send American troops to battle extremists in Yemen or Somalia.
In an interview with People magazine to be published this Friday, Mr. Obama said he believes the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan remains the "epicenter" of al-Qaida's leadership and activity.
Mr. Obama said he would never rule out any possibility in what he called a "complex world," but said the most effective approach in dealing with lawless areas around the globe is for the U.S. to work with "international partners."
A Yemen-based al-Qaida branch claimed responsibility for the failed Christmas Day, December 25, bombing of a U.S.-bound jetliner, prompting concerns about rising terrorist activity in Yemen.
Mr. Obama says he knows al-Qaida in Yemen has become a more serious problem, and that the U.S. is working with Yemen's government to root out terrorist training camps and cells.
But despite U.S. pressure to crack down on the terrorist group, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Sunday he is open to dialogue with al-Qaida militants.
In an interview with Abu Dhabi television, Mr. Saleh said he is ready to deal with any al-Qaida members who lay down their arms, renounce violence and "return to reason," as he put it.
Yemen's government says it has been successful in conducting operations against what it says are al-Qaida targets. Sana'a says air strikes last month killed at least 34 militants, but conflicting reports from witnesses say at least some of those killed had no connection to al-Qaida.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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