US diplomat: al-Qaida, Iran exploit Yemen turmoil

AP News
Posted: Mar 28, 2012 5:03 PM
US diplomat: al-Qaida, Iran exploit Yemen turmoil

A top U.S. diplomat in the Middle East says al-Qaida and Iran have used the turmoil and uncertainty in Yemen to increase their influence.

Jeffery Feltman, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, said national dialogue and a smooth transition to elections in the next two years would help counter al-Qaida and Iran.

Feltman said Iran, like al-Qaida, exploits instability in Yemen, pointing to increased Iranian influence in parts of Yemen. He did not elaborate.

Al-Qaida-linked militants have taken over parts of southern Yemen.

Speaking in Sanaa Wednesday, Feltman said the U.S. is sending an additional $36 million in humanitarian aid to Yemen this year to tackle poverty and other humanitarian issues in the impoverished country.