President Obama said Sunday that counterterrorism efforts in Yemen are ongoing despite President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's ouster by Houthi rebels.
“Our top priority is to make sure our people on the ground are safe,” Obama said during comments in New Delhi with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“It is a dangerous country and dangerous part of the world,” he added.
“Our second priority is to maintain our counterterrorism pressure on al Qaeda in Yemen.”
Obama said he has seen reports that those counterterrorism efforts have been suspended.
“That is not accurate,” Obama said. “We continue to go after high-value targets inside Yemen.”
Obama said administration officials are concerned about “what has always been a fragile central government and the forces inside Yemen that are constantly threatening to break apart.”
“This is one more sequence in what has been an ongoing turbulent process inside Yemen,” he added.
“Yemen has never been a perfect democracy or an island of stability,” Obama said.
The president stressed an approach that includes partnering and intelligence sharing as one “we need to take.”
“The alternative would be for us to play ‘whack a mole’ every time there is a terrorist actor inside a country to deploy U.S troops.”