"And, as a consequence, we have partnered with the Yemeni government to go after those terrorist training camps and cells there in a much more deliberate and sustained fashion."

Talking to al-Qaeda

In video

Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall reports on Yemen's displaced villagers

Obama's comments come as his Yemeni counterpart said he was ready to talk to al-Qaeda fighters who renounce violence.

"Dialogue is the best way ... even with al-Qaeda, if they set aside their weapons and return to reason," Ali Abdullah Saleh said in an interview with Abu Dhabi television on Saturday.

He said Yemen would pursue those who continued violence, but "we are ready to reach an understanding with anyone who renounces violence and terrorism".

General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, said the US intends to increase its security assistance funding to Yemen from $70m last year to at least $150m this year.

The US has also increased training, intelligence and military equipment provided to Yemeni forces, helping them to stage raids against suspected al Qaeda hide-outs.