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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by President Obama and President Abdo Rabu Mansour Hadi of Yemen after Bilateral Meeting

Oval Office

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I want to welcome President Hadi to the White House.  This visit I think reinforces the strong partnership and cooperation that’s developed between the United States and the government of Yemen.

President Hadi obviously faces enormous challenges, but because of his leadership, he’s been able to initiate a national dialogue that could potentially bring the parties all together in Yemen and produce a constitution and a transition to a fully democratic government that can serve the interest of the people.

So far, the work that this national dialogue has produced is historic for Yemen.  It has been inclusive.  It’s included all parties, including those who traditionally have opposed a central government.  It includes women.  It includes young people.  And this should all lead to elections next year.  I want to congratulate President Hadi for the good work that he’s done. 

President Hadi also faces significant economic challenges.  And during these discussions, we reaffirmed our commitment to work with others in the international community to support Yemen during this transition period as it makes the kinds of economic reforms that can produce jobs and growth and prosperity for the Yemeni people.

And finally, I thank President Hadi and his government for the strong cooperation that they’ve offered when it comes to counterterrorism.  Because of some of the effective military reforms that President Hadi initiated when he came into this office, what we’ve seen is al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, move back out of territories that it was controlling.

And President Hadi recognizes that these threats are not only transnational in nature, but also cause severe hardship and prevent the kind of prosperity for the people of Yemen themselves. 

So I look forward to continuing to work with President Hadi and the people of Yemen for the benefit of both our countries.  And I very much want to congratulate him on the strong start that he's made on the national dialogue.  I think it can produce the kinds of opportunities for growth and prosperity particularly for the very young population of Yemen that I know President Hadi cares so deeply about.

So thank you very much for the visit.  

PRESIDENT HADI:  (As interpreted.)  Thank you very much.  I'm very happy to meet with Your Excellency President Obama here in the White House.  And I consider our partnership as critical for both our countries.

Our work together insofar as countering terrorism is concerned and also against al Qaeda is expressive, first and foremost, of Yemeni interests, because as a result of the activities of al Qaeda, Yemen's development basically came to a halt whereby there is no tourism, and the oil companies, the oil-exploring companies had to leave the country as a result of the presence of al Qaeda.  So our cooperation against those terrorist elements are actually serving the interests of Yemen.

I actually spoke with His Excellency President Obama about the future of Yemen and about the national dialogue that includes 565 delegates that come from all walks of life, including women, youth, political parties and indeed rivals that used to fight one another who nowadays are actually sitting at the same dialogue table connecting them.  This is considered a new experience in the whole region.

In this national dialogue, we look forward to building a new constitution seeking good governance, partnership of all members of the society in the country, whereby we achieve security and democracy, good governance, building a new future for the country, justice, and the division of authority and wealth.

And this national dialogue actually proved that 75 percent of the population of Yemen are young -- that is less than 45 years of age.  They're seeking the change, a dignified lifestyle, democracy that is justice, equality in the country.

We have confidence that our people have actually abandoned weapons, and this is considered a new phase in history in the region, in the Middle East. 

Thank you very much.

5:11 P.M. EDT