Yemen's foreign minister said Wednesday that U.S. troops would not be welcome in the Arabian country, aside from the current limited role in training counterterrorism units.
Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi told the Associated Press in an interview that "there is a lot of sensitivity about foreign troops coming to Yemeni territory."
"Direct intervention complicates things," al-Qiribi added.
Yemen is under pressure to crack down on al-Qaeda in the wake of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. On Wednesday, Mohammed al-Hanq, a key al-Qaeda leader allegedly behind the threats that closed the U.S. and British embassies over the weekend, was arrested by Yemeni security forces.
The U.S. embassy reopened on Tuesday, and Britain had resumed operations except for consular services.
"(Security operations) are not leaving the terrorist elements the chance to take a breath or reorganize their lines," Yemen's Interior Ministry said in a statement on its website. "Al-Qaeda elements are no longer the ones taking the initiative in deciding the time and place of confrontations," it said, adding that "painful and recurring strikes have forced al-Qaeda to retreat to the holes."