US President George W. Bush on Wednesday called Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh about close cooperation on investigating the bombing of the USS Cole warship, Yemen’s official agency (Saba) reported.
The White House also reported the contact, according to Reuters.
According to Saba, the conversation “focused on bilateral relations between the two friendly countries and means of strengthening them forward besides the latest developments in the region. President Bush highly appreciated all kinds of cooperation made by the Yemeni government during investigations on the USS Cole,” which was attacked by suspected Islamists early October, killing 17 servicemen.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush and Saleh "agreed on the need to cooperate closely" on the USS Cole.
In a separate call, Bush discussed restoring calm in the Middle East with the president of Tunisia, according to Reuters.
Since the Oct. 12 bombing the United States has pushed for, and received, a wider role in investigating the incident, which severely damaged the warship and prompted a US military review of security procedures.
A Yemeni official said on Saturday that Yemen's police had arrested several new suspects in the bombing of the warship, which was struck while off the Yemeni port of Aden.
Bush's conversation with Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was described as an "introductory" call.
"They discussed the regional situation and agreed on the need to find ways to restore calm and stability in the region," Fleischer said. "Both reaffirmed their commitment to a strong bilateral relationship." – Albawaba.com
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