Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

Obama rules out sending US troops to Yemen or Somalia

A Yemeni soldier operates a checkpoint in the capital
Mr Obama said he had no intention of putting US boots on the ground in Yemen

President Barack Obama has said he has "no intention" of sending US troops to Yemen or Somalia to combat militant groups in those countries.

Speaking to People magazine, Mr Obama said the hub of al-Qaeda activity was on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Mr Obama said he never ruled out any possibility in a "complex" world.

But he added that in countries like Yemen and Somalia, "working with international partners is most effective at this point".

"I have no intention of sending US boots on the ground in these regions."

The spotlight was turned on Yemen after the Yemen-based group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said it carried out a failed bomb attack on a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day.

On a visit to Yemen last week, the US commander for operations in the Middle East and central Asia, Gen David Petraeus, said Washington planned to more than double economic aid to the country.

Adm Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently told CNN that the US was providing "some support" to Yemen's efforts to attack militants, but insisted Sanaa led the operations.

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