The US president has said he has no intention of sending troops to Yemen, adding that he still believes the centre of al-Qaeda activity lies along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Also referring to Somalia in an interview with People magazine, Barack Obama said: "I have no intention of sending US boots on the ground in these regions.
"I have every intention of working with our international partners in lawless areas around the globe to make sure that we're keeping the American people safe," he said, according to a transcript provided by the magazine on Sunday.
Noting that the Yemen-based group, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, appeared to have trained, equipped and directed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a US airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day, Obama said:
"We've known throughout this year that al-Qaeda in Yemen has become a more serious problem.
"And, as a consequence, we have partnered with the Yemeni government to go after those terrorist training camps and cells there in a much more deliberate and sustained fashion
Obama's comments come as his Yemeni counterpart said he was ready to talk to al-Qaeda fighters who renounce violence.
"Dialogue is the best way ... even with al-Qaeda, if they set aside their weapons and return to reason," Ali Abdullah Saleh said in an interview with Abu Dhabi television on Saturday.
He said Yemen would pursue those who continued violence, but "we are ready to reach an understanding with anyone who renounces violence and terrorism".
General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, said the US intends to increase its security assistance funding to Yemen from $70m last year to at least $150m this year.
The US has also increased training, intelligence and military equipment provided to Yemeni forces, helping them to stage raids against suspected al Qaeda hide-outs.
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