U.S. President Barack Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, met with officials in Sudan Wednesday, discussing cooperation against al-Qaida as well as the crisis in the oil-rich Abyei region.
A White House statement said John Brennan underscored President Obama's "deep concern" over the continued presence of North Sudanese forces in Abyei and urged a "rapid and peaceful resolution" to the crisis. He also called for resolving outstanding issues with the 2005 peace agreement between North and South Sudan.
The White House says Brennan is also traveling this week to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to discuss options for addressing the deteriorating situation in Yemen.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. strongly condemns the recent clashes in the capital, Sana?a, and what he described as the government's "deplorable use of violence" against peaceful demonstrators in the southern city of Taiz.
Carney said the events underscore the need for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign the transition proposal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council and to begin transferring power immediately. He said that is the best way to avoid further bloodshed and for the Yemeni people to realize their aspirations for peace, reform and prosperity.
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