WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday hailed the completion of a national dialogue in Yemen, pledging continuing support in the Arab country's efforts to defeat an al-Qaida offshoot.
In a phone conversation with his Yemeni counterpart Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Obama described the "successful conclusion" of the dialogue as "a major milestone in Yemen's political transition," the White House said in a readout of the talks.
Hadi took office in February 2012 after a power transfer agreement ended the rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh and the 11-month mass protests across the country, and he had pledged to carry out reforms during his two-year transitional term, to launch a national dialogue with all political factions, and to combat al- Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Obama pledged continuing support for Yemen's transition, including its efforts to strengthen the economy, the White House said.
"The presidents also reaffirmed their commitment to a strong security partnership, including by building the capacity of the Yemeni security services to defeat al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula," the White House added.
The Obama administration has stepped up drone strikes on al- Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula since Hadi took over the presidency, with a view to uprooting the militants in Yemen's southern regions.