Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco’s Travel to Turkey, Yemen and Saudi Arabia

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Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco traveled to Turkey, Yemen and Saudi Arabia March 6-9 as a part of our regular consultations with three of the United States’ key partners.

In Ankara on March 6-7, Ms. Monaco  met with her Turkish Government counterparts as part of the United States’ ongoing engagement with Turkey to strengthen our joint counterterrorism efforts. In these meetings, Ms. Monaco and Turkish Government officials discussed how we can continue to work together most effectively on a range of issues, particularly with respect to  countering the growing terrorist presence in Syria.

In Sana’a on March 8,  Ms. Monaco underscored the United States’ commitment to supporting Yemen’s political transition and reaffirmed our strong security partnership with President Hadi and the Yemeni government, focused on the mutual goal of countering the threat from al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). These meetings were an opportunity for Ms. Monaco to hear from Yemeni government and civil society leaders about their plans for moving forward with the transition, including the implementation of the National Dialogue’s recommendations on  the devolution of power and guarantees for the participation of women in the political process, in order to enable the government to better serve and represent its citizens.  Ms. Monaco emphasized that the United States will stand with Yemen as it continues to implement the Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered political transition initiative in a timely, inclusive manner.  She also encouraged President Hadi and Yemen’s transitional government to continue enacting the meaningful economic and security sector reforms critical to setting Yemen on the path to stability and prosperity.

On March 9 in Riyadh, Ms. Monaco met with her Saudi counterparts to consult on issues of importance in the strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, including our robust security cooperation, ways to promote regional stability, and efforts to address violent extremism and counter terrorism across the Middle East.  Ms. Monaco reiterated the United States’ commitment to continuing to strengthen our cooperation on a range of common interests.  Her visit  follows on the heels of her recent conversation with His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abd al Aziz al Saud, Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in Washington, and comes ahead of the President’s visit to Saudi Arabia at the end of March.