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Bush, Yemeni President Discuss Middle East Terror


President Bush and his Yemeni counterpart, Ali Abdullah Saleh met at the White House Wednesday to discuss the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

President Bush thanked President Saleh for Yemen's contributions to the fight against terrorism.

"We spent a lot of time talking about our mutual desire to bring radicals and [murderers] to justice," he said. "And I thanked the president for his strong support in this war against extremists and terrorists."

Seventeen American sailors were killed and 37 wounded when terrorists attacked the destroyer USS Cole during a refueling stop in Yemen's port of Aden in the year 2000.

Despite initial differences over the course of the investigation into that attack, U.S. officials say the two nations are now working closely to combat terrorism.

Speaking through a translator following their Oval Office talks, President Saleh said Yemen is an important part of the global fight against terrorism.

"Yemen is an essential partner with the United States of America and the international community in combating terror," he said. "We will continue on this track."

President Saleh says the men discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, violence in Somalia and Lebanon and the course of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Bush congratulated President Saleh on his re-election last September, saying the country's free and fair election was a remarkable occurrence for the region.