U.S. Senate Leader Meets With Yemeni President After Protests

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met today with the president of Yemen, where violent protests erupted after a video denigrating Islam was posted on the Internet.

Senator Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican who attended the session in the U.S. Capitol along with Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi discussed a variety of Middle East issues.

“We had the opportunity to hear the views of the president and ask him questions,” Lugar said in an interview.

Yemen this month was the site of violent protests in the aftermath of the anti-Islam video that was produced in the U.S. Demonstrations also took place in other Islamic countries including Egypt and Libya, where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in a Sept. 11 attack. Stevens had worked on Lugar’s staff for a year in 2006 on a State Department fellowship.

Hadi addressed the United Nations on Sept. 26 in New York and met yesterday in Washington with Vice President Joe Biden and John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s assistant for homeland security and counter-terrorism. During the meeting, Biden thanked Hadi for securing diplomats at the embassy in Yemen, according to a statement by National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Yemen, bordering Saudi Arabia and Oman at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is struggling to suppress al-Qaeda militants and separatist movements, including a rebel group in the north that has clashed with Saudi troops. Extremists based in Yemen have mounted attacks on Western targets, including an attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner in 2009.

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