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White House encourages Yemen during political transition

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism aide, Lisa Monaco, spoke with Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Monday to discuss the country's political transition and process towards greater democracy, the White House said.

Yemen is in the middle of a so-called National Dialogue aimed at drafting a new constitution, defusing threats from Islamist insurgents, holding a new election in 2014 and seeking compromise between Yemen's myriad tribal and political factions.

"Ms. Monaco commended the National Dialogue for its efforts to develop a shared vision for a more just and democratic Yemen," the White House said in a statement.

"Ms. Monaco also reaffirmed the U.S. government's commitment to stand with the Yemeni government and people as they implement the National Dialogue's outcomes, foster economic development, and combat the security threat from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula."

Stabilizing Yemen, a U.S. ally struggling with al Qaeda militants, southern separatists and northern rebels, is an international priority due to fears of disorder in a state that flanks top oil producer Saudi Arabia and major shipping lanes.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by David Brunnstrom)